Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp

As any of you who follow the news will no doubt be aware, the British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced plans to ban Internet pornography What Are Your Honest Views Of Internet Porn? [You Told Us] What Are Your Honest Views Of Internet Porn? [You Told Us] Read More . ISPs in the U.K. will, by the end of this year, be required to block all porn sites (and any other sites that get lumped in with them) from being viewed unless users actively opt-out of the filters and opt-in to being able to look at pornography.

This isn’t illegal porn Unfortunate Truths about Child Pornography and the Internet [Feature] Unfortunate Truths about Child Pornography and the Internet [Feature] A small blank square and a blinking cursor. A window through which the entire world exists. You only have to say the right word – any word – and your every desire will be delivered.... Read More , which the vast majority of people would accept has no place in normal society. Instead, this is run-of-the-mill pornography that is perfectly legal to buy and view offline in most countries around the world, and involves consenting adults. This notional ban set us wondering what you, the MakeUseOf readership, would ban from the Internet.

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, What Would You Ban From The Internet? Of course, “ban from the Internet” implies you’d like to destroy this thing, whatever it is, at source, but as that is pretty much impossible, we’ll instead be discussing what you would ban people from viewing online. In other words whatever you choose will still be there, but if you were ever King/Queen/President/Prime Minister (delete as applicable) you’d ban your citizens or subjects from accessing it online.

While the planned Internet pornography ban in the U.K. is the main inspiration for this week’s question, don’t let that influence your responses. If you agree with David Cameron that porn should be hidden from view unless and until you opt-in to view it then feel free to say so. But there are many more things you could argue the case for banning (or hiding from view) on the InterWebs.

More Than Just Porn

TorrentFreak suggests that other content could come under scrutiny as part of this effort by the British government to “protect the children.” Dating websites, websites related to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, file-sharing sites, gambling sites, sites discussing suicide and self-harm, sites concerned with weapons and violence, and even social networking and gaming websites could all be filtered out if the authorities took a dislike to them.


TechDirt has since reported that Russian authorities want to ban swearing from the Internet. A law is already in place that blocks access to “information on drugs, suicide and child pornography,” but a new amendment which would “punish people for using dirty language in social networks” is now being considered. So, perhaps swearing is the thing you would like to see banned from the Web.

If you agree that any or all of the above should be banned then feel free to argue your case in the comments section below. Or if you instead feel that none of these things should be subject to government-led bans feel free to argue from that point of view.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and a T-shirt. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to the MakeUseOf readership. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Mikael Altemark

  1. Anonymous
    November 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Ban all porn from the internet . its time we acted on this ( it takes up to much space anyway) we need the space for better things like instruction videos and other helpfull things . ( Time to remove the poison from the web ) there is to much out there to keep reporting it all. ( growing tired of it multiplying )

  2. Jeremy
    August 5, 2013 at 6:05 am

    I would ban pornography. Not just "for the children" (although that is certainly a big factor) but also for myself.

    Pornography is addicting, like a number of other substances and/or practices. I don't want my children to become addicted to it, and I don't want to become addicted to it myself. I agree with those who argue that it hurts/destroys family relationships and tends to lead to other self-destructive behavior. I also agree that it is way too accessible and easy to stumble across accidentally.

    Yes, it is absolutely true that anyone who wants to access porn can and will find a way to do so. Fine. That does not mean that we should simply allow it anywhere. Anyone who really wants to can find a way to get illegal drugs. I don't think that the only conclusion is to therefore stop the war on drugs and let everyone have whatever drug they want. On the same vein, I still lock my door at night, despite the fact that someone who *really* wants to get in will still be able to find a way to do so.

    Now are there valid concerns with a government overstepping its bounds? Absolutely! Are there potential problems with sites being mislabeled (one way or the other)? Yes, there are. These things would certainly need to be considered.

    For similar reasons, I would also ban content that promotes illegal drug usage, excessive violence or abuse, as well as cyberstalking and cyberbullying.

    Add spam to the list as well.

  3. Tom W
    August 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    [I wrote this comment, and then saw that most of it has been covered by other people. I'll post it anyway though, since it's still my opinion]

    I don't believe that anything should be banned from the internet. The entirety of the internet is a reflection of human nature and society. If there is a problem on the internet, then there is a deeper problem within society. Rather than covering it up and forcing it into the deepnet where it cannot be seen and the issues cannot be tackled, it is much better to bring them further into the light and solve any problems there are. This may seem like a naive way of looking at it, but I don't believe it is any more naive than the belief that a ban is an effective way of dealing with the issue.

    There are many other reasons why it is a bad idea to start censoring the internet. First and foremost, it sets a precedent that a single person or group of persons have a higher moral standing that allows them to dictate what is right and wrong to an entire populace. I doubt there are many people who would entrust this to the Government, religion is now representing a lessening percentage of the population, there isn't currently any other options. Not to mention the fact that it would be impossible to police such a group because they are, by definition, above and beyond the morals of whoever were to audit them.

    Another good reason is that, despite it's darker areas, the internet is often more accepting and more open than society is. I was just a kid when I first started using the internet. The adults that I knew in real life had a pre-conception of me being a kid, and it was impossible to have a meaningful conversation. Online, I didn't face that barrier.

    The way to make the internet better is not by banning things, but by educating users. Educate people about spam, viruses, social engineering, and privacy. Educate parents on how to protect their children. Educate anyone who doesn't want to see something on how they can filter it just for themselves. And finally, educate politicians on how to win votes without ridiculous proposals on a technology they never took the time to fully understand.

  4. Casey
    August 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I'd like to ban all of the people who seek to have things banned - all the pissant self-interest groups and vested-interest politicians, all the "ptorect the kiddies at all and any cost" people!

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Think of the children!!!

  5. Jordan
    August 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    One thing - Internet trolls.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      You trollin'? ;)

  6. jay
    August 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Ban dangerous websites, websites providing viruses, porn (if not then seriously ban child porn, a must!) and nothing much else really

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Child porn is already banned, or at least illegal to view, which is really the same thing. You'd ban all porn though... for what reason?

  7. Matt
    August 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    In a "free" society nothing should be banned. If you do not want to view something then don't. We don't need a nanny state to govern adults. It this new thing called "personal responsibility".

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      You can't expect parents to actually look after their children without the aid of the government! Or to control what they themselves watch. Are you mad? ;)

  8. Jack
    August 1, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    If I could ban things from the internet, I would first ban cat videos. Second, I would ban all the sites that are giving out malware/spyware to unsuspecting visitiors. Lastly, I would ban Myspace. I really don't think there should really be any bans on religion/culture/beliefs/views because the internet should be a free place to express your own personal views/opinions and beliefs. Banning all that would be violating free speech in America.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      I assume you weren't being serious with the whole cat videos/MySpace thing. Otherwise it kills your second argument.

  9. Flora L
    August 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I believe, that given we live in a "free" society, the end user should have the choice as to what he or she wishes to see or not see, however, I do think that spam, viruses, and internet hating should be banned...however, good luck in actually succeeding in that if one were to try.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Sending spam, creating viruses, and hate crimes (online or off) are already illegal. I'm not sure they could ever be banned outright though.

  10. Gasper Goo
    August 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  11. Suhail Akhtar
    August 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    If i were to ask for ban i would ban the porn.this is very very bad just spoils the brain.if we completely ban pornography we can save many many people who become victim of rape.
    The case of Delhi where a girl was raped so badly, the convict told that he raped her after watching porn.that girl is now dead.this thing should be banned.And gay system too .just look around we are human even an animal won't do the thing like homosexuality.People have just gone mad these are very very seriously very bad things.
    If a person want to make his character good then he should not come near to these non social, non human things.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      You believe porn leads to rape? So what about the 99.9% of people who look at porn but don't ever rape anyone and would be horrified at the suggestion?

      I hate to be the bearer of "bad news," but homosexuality is rife in the animal kingdom.

  12. Philip Gregory
    August 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I wouldn't ban anything, censorship and democracy are mutually exclusive

    • michel
      August 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      so then, there are no democracies in the world?

      • PhilGreg
        August 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm

        Whether there are existing democracies isn't the point. Censorship is the result of one group's world/moral view being imposed on another. That leads to the tyranny of the majority. Ergo, where there's tyranny there can be no democracy

      • dragonmouth
        August 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        "so then, there are no democracies in the world?"

        In a word, NO. There are no real democracies. Many countries like to think of themselves as democracies. But as long as politicians act from political expediency rather than from the will of the people, as long as politicians make "scratch your back" deal with each other, as long as some group is disenfranchised or has their franchise limited, as long as what people do and/or say is censored or limited in any way, there is and the will be no democracy.

        • michel
          August 2, 2013 at 12:30 am

          I see. I was confused because you keep saying Democracy when you mean Utopia.

        • dragonmouth
          August 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

          Look at the definition of "democracy" and then name one country that comes anywhere close.

          Many countries like to think of themselves as "democracies" but even upon a cursory review they come up short. Some countries are closer to being a "democracy" than others but "close" only counts in horseshoes and handgranades.

  13. Alex D
    August 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I'd ban 4chan

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Reddit user perchance?

  14. Tiago R
    August 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    the easy answer is all the bad things!!!but heck which one person can really say what is bad regarding all the subjects in the world!!!so i really don't know,it's a very tricky question,,,,,,,

  15. Anna G
    August 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I don't want to see a LOT that's on the Internet. But there are a LOT of books I don't want to read. And a LOT of movies I don't want to watch. That doesn't mean they should be illegal. That just means I won't get them.

    Same with the Internet. The only things that need to be banned are things that involve already-illegal activities. The obvious example is child-porn. But banning legal things that I don't LIKE is censorship. Not a fan of that.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Good analogy. "Banning legal things that I don’t LIKE is censorship." Are you listening, politicians?!

  16. Adrian M
    August 1, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I would ban nothing. It's futile. People will and will always be finding ways to get around a problem, in this case, banning something like piracy or porn. Welcome to the internet.

    If a person doesn't want to use the internet just because it's full of racism, pronz, piracy, etc., it's their loss not ours. They're not learning much more than we do. There are way more good sides of the internet than what they think there are.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      It is futile, but politicians have to be seen to be doing something rather than nothing.

  17. Eric
    August 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Ban the people who want to ban things.


    ban misquoted quote mimes

  18. Jonas B
    August 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I would compare it to the real life; banning something is hard. If you try banning it it'll just happen where you won't see it. I would ban nothing. Banning doesn't mean fixing a problem; you're just moving it away from the streets (if so to say). Discussing any topic should be allowed, no matter which view you got on it. I believe in freedom of speech, so saying your opinion (religious or not) should be all right, again in my opinion. Sorry for whatever grammatic errors and stuff - writing on an iPad keyboard

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Of course, there is always a danger of merely pushing something underground. I imagine the TOR browser will get an influx of interested parties when the porn ban comes into effect.

  19. michel
    August 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm


  20. Sh1n0b1
    August 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I wouldn't ban anything content-wise. I'm all for banning those that tamper with it without anyone's permission or abuse it as much as they can.
    I'm thinking

    - Governments
    They have proven over and over that they do not know what a link or a URL is for.

    - Trolls of any sort
    No good has come from patent trolls so far

    - DRM stupidities
    It doesn't protect or help the artist. It enforces the use of a middleman.

    - War mongers
    No department of defense (or offense) has any business on the web as there is nothing to defend that the users can't handle themselves. The web is for sharing, learning and teaching and entertainment.

    - Regulators and lobbyists
    Where these guys are, innovation is run off

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Governments - The woman who drove the UK porn ban is pretty ignorant about the Internet, it has to be said.

      Trolls - Patent trolls are just leeches.

      Warmongers - Tell that to the NSA!

  21. dragonmouth
    August 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Let's ban INTERNET itself. That way everybody's favorite bette noir, be it pornography, cyber bullying, opinions we disagree with, will be forbidden and children will be "protected from any and every kind of evil."

    Of course, the above is said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Internet should be totally uncensored. All countries have laws forbidding what they deem objectionable. Those are the laws that should be applied. If I am found with child pornography on my computer, I will be punished because it is against US laws.

    Censorship is a slippery slope. Once you start banning and forbidding things, where do you stop? It is very subjective and individual. Censorship is the imposition of an individual's, or a group's, viewpoint on others. To some, a woman's uncovered face is objectionable. To others, complete nudity is not only acceptable but an every day occurrence.

    BTW - let's define our terms.
    "Opt in" requirement is not banning. It is merely an attempt to limit access to only a set of "responsible" individuals. US has been forcing sites to change from "opt out" to "opt in".
    "Banning", OTOH, means permanently blocking access to certain sites, or types of sites. Iraq and Iran have banned all non-government sites.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I agree with your main points. Which is why so many people have reacted negatively to the proposed porn ban in the UK. They realize that while it's porn right now, it could be all manner of others things down the line.

      You're pedantically correct on the terminology, but for ease of understanding the word "ban" seemed more appropriate. And speaking honestly I think there's a fine line between the two when adults are being asked to opt-in to see content. Their names will be added to some list or other at that point.

      • dragonmouth
        August 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm

        "pedantically "
        You wound me grievously, Sir.

        "Their names will be added to some list or other at that point."
        Their names and mine and yours are already on many lists just because we frequent the Internet. But that is fodder for another story/article.

  22. Swaminathan V
    August 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    How about banning public comments, especially under YouTube videos? :D Honestly, I wouldn't ban anything. The internet is the only place where people in most countries get equal freedom. If I don't want something, I will ignore it.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      YouTube comments sections are scary places!

  23. Bumferry H
    August 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I live in the UK and am rather worried about this proposed ban. I'm not a fan of porn, but I don't think it should be banned just because I don't like it. Nor am I religious, but I don't believe that religious material should be written off either.
    The whole point of the internet , in my eyes, is that it is a resource for EVERYONE to have access to information and entertainment of any kind without "big brother" insisting on restrictions.
    granted, there are things that are illegal and/or morally wrong, and these should be monitored or even taken off - but (legal) porn, gambling, religious view points and general opinions of the every day man are a different kettle of fish.
    You may not agree with gambling or religion, but your neighbour might.
    Who are we to insist what they can or can not do in the privacy of their own home if does no harm to anybody else?
    We like to think we live in a so called FREE WORLD but sometimes, when politicians try to dictate what is right and wrong due to their own values i can't help but think that this kind of censorship will cause people to hunt "underground" and source their "needs" in other ways.

    There are clever enough people on the net who can find work arounds easier than I can install a security update on my laptop.

    having said that....

    the one thing I love to see vanish from the internet is location based restrictions.
    The amount of times I have tried to click a link for a video of sport clips or a movie trailer from the USA, for example, and been told that I can't view because I am on the other side of the world makes me mad. I can understand the rights of copyright but if the company who owns the video has put it up online for people to view, then why not let EVERYONE view it.
    Get rid of that and I will be a happy man.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      As a fellow Brit I tend to agree. No one (sensible) is arguing for illegal content to be allowed on the Internet, but if something is legal offline then why ban it from being viewed online?

      Geo-restrictions are annoying as hell. I've written impassioned pleas to get rid of them elsewhere, but media companies seem determined to maintain the idea that the world can be divided up into sections. In reality the Internet means we're all connected in a very real way.

  24. Fik of borg
    August 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    NOTHING. Ok, ban caps.

    But seriously, everybody find some subjects absolutely unacceptable, but whose criteria is to decide which subject is banned? Old men? Religious leaders? And why stop at the internet? Why not movies, tv, radio, newstands?
    What is needed is more education. That everyone can access whatever subject and form his/jers own opinion.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Yeah, BAN CAPS! Actually, let's just ban those people who tYpE wItH a MiXtUrE oF bOtH.

  25. Abba J
    August 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Microsoft :D

  26. Rob H
    August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

    The first major problem is that "banning" is censorship and there's the "thin edge of a wedge" problem. Ban hard core porn then how soon before that extends to swimsuit photos?

    We've already seen aspect of that in UK where accusations of "child porn" have been used against parents' photos of their baby naked and even naked cherubs in renaissance paintings. If you think nudity is porn then it's your mental condition I'm worried about not the creator or possessor of the image.

    In any case there is no form of internet censorship that would comprehensively prevent exchange of the nastiest of content, those who want it only need to make more effort to conceal their activities (as already happens with some classes of extreme porn).

    So lets not consider censorship, however there are other issues.

    There is content few of us want to inadvertently encounter on the internet and so I'd be in favour of default ISP and Search Engine "family safe" settings as long as overriding those was explicitly a confidential decision and the right to do so with impunity was written into law, otherwise there's a risk that overriding the setting might be regarded as proof of guilt.

    Personally I set Google to safe search setting at because it improves relevancy of search results anyway. In addittion I use OpenDNS to block several categories of other stuff I might prefer my kids not to be looking at - drugs, alcohol, gambling, weapons. Also the security suite on my PC and NAT firewall in the router help prevent some bad content reach me.

    I'd like Google to do more to clean up the fraudulent and pointless search results. For example if I Google phone number I usually see pages of "who called be from this number" result pages which usually offer no useful information. What I really want is the website of the company whose phone number that is.

    I'd also like to ban idiot internet users who disregard all the good advice like "never respond to spam", the only reason that over 50% of all email traffic is spam is because some people respond to it. Sure most of us don't see much of that because we've got effective spam filters but I still spend far too much time explaining that some.idiot@a-free-email-provder who promises to "get you top on Google" is a spammer and probable hacker/fraudster. Worse still is helping recovering their hacked website or email account after they gave some trickster their login details.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Thank you for an eminently sensible comment.

      I'm sure David Cameron simply referred to "online porn," and such vagueness does leave them open to include all sorts of content in the ban.

      I'm surprised you're in favor of opt-out filters though. Wouldn't it be better to offer the tools to parents and let them opt-in if they see fit? Why should adults without children have to express their desire for a free Internet, whether anonymously or not?

      • Rob H
        August 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        There are always constraints on any kind of freedom. That's to protect us from idiots and to protect idiots from their own stupidity. For most of us "free speech" doesn't mean it's wise to say exactly what you think in all situations. When your girlfriend asks "does my bum look big in this" there is only one correct answer irrespective of the truth! There are words used to describe members of various ethnic, racial and other groups use of which can lead into deep trouble. Why would anyone expect freedom on one specific medium, the internet, not be subject to the same kind of constraint? Where individual common sense and respect for others is not being demonstrated then, like it or not, it's inevitable that the victims of unreasonable behaviour will turn to the legislature for some action to be taken. Some individuals regard that as an infringement of their liberty to act in an antisocial way and that is one reason why there are calls for controls.

        As for the opt-in or opt-out issue - the current situation is that we are all at liberty to opt in to filtering, I do so by using Google safe search and OpenDNS. I tell people about it and yet still I know of nobody who uses either of those because they have to take some action. And I'm talking about my social circle of largely well educated and computer literate people.

        I am absolutely certain that, were you to ask, you would find the overwhelming majority of proponents of a higher degree of default internet access control have not taken those simple steps to opt-in. I am certain there are youngsters out there making unfettered access to materials which would appall their parents and yet those parents choose not to implement the simple controls available to them. That is why I think the default setting should be to provide filtered internet feeds. The legal position in UK regards the presence of various categories of material on your PC as sufficient proof that it is there at your instigation. A piece of crass stupidity on the part of the prosecutors, they might just as well prosecute you for having a virus on your PC, however that is the situation. Just clicking on an ill-chosen search result can result in some nasty images popping up and those are cached on your PC. In the eyes of the law that has been taken to mean you have broken the law by making a copy of illegal material. No ISP or search controls will ever prevent that but they can help minimise the risk. If people are too stupid to opt-in to a safer environment as they can do so easily, then protect then from their own stupidity by setting that as default.

        Another example of opt-in not being used is with organ donor cards, I'd be OK with my organs being used (not so sure anyone would want my poorly maintained and high-mileage components though!) but I'm uneasy about taking the simple action of carrying a signed donor card. But if I had to register as NOT wanting my organs to be used for transplant, I'd not sign up to opt out.

        There are far worse infringements of our liberty in almost every other aspect of our lives. In UK adults can't work with kids without a CRB (criminal records bureau) check. My son was an Air Cadet. On reaching 18 he was classified as an adult and so in order to continue act as an instructor to the younger cadets, many of whom had been his fellows for several years, he had to have a CRB check. Utterly pointless (and at a cost of I think £60), not only an infringement of his "freedom" to continue to act as an instructor but worse, a positive disincentive to voluntarily doing something socially useful. On the other hand there are other "infringements of liberty" few of us would argue with. Why is my freedom to drive a car infringed by the need to pass a test? Having passed the driving test why is my freedom to drive when drunk and at 90MPH infringed? The answer is because before tests, alcohol controls and speed limits people didn't exercise reasonable self control at cost of death or injury to themselves and others. Or consider seat belts. First it was only a requirement that they be installed but many people didn't exercise the common sense to use them, despite their demonstrable safety benefits - why ever not? Because they had to take a positive action, a change of behaviour. So wearing seat belts was made compulsory. Why should the state interfere with your right to be more severely injured in a crash? because the effect is not just on you, it affects your friends, and family, your ability to work and your emergency service and medical care costs are borne by society.

        Getting back to the internet, there is a widespread belief that it offers anonymity so we see abusive trolling with the current cases in UK resulting in changes to Twitter. In practise remaining untraceable is quite difficult and few make the effort - for the same reason as people not opting in to content filtering, it requires positive action.

        The bottom line is that individuals are members of society. We all gain a lot of benefits from that which few of us would want to reject. In exchange we have to behave in accordance with the standards of that society. If we don't and society turns a blind eye it's the road to anarchy and therefore we end up with legislation.

        If you want to see anarchy in action on the internet switch off your spam filters or visit an unmoderated online forum. I once set up a new online forum, I'd not promoted it anywhere and hadn't got around to implementing controls. The first spam posting arrived within a few hours, had I left it unmoderated I'm fairly sure it would have been full of garbage within days.

  27. Dany B
    August 1, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I would ban Censure, but also Religions, Cyberbullying, cyberstalking and Cyberharassing, Child porn, Politicians (Are there any other kinds than stupid in regards to internet policies)

  28. sam
    August 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

    internet comment sections

    • Phil
      August 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Amen, bro.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Why? I admit some end up filled with ignorance and hatred, but not on here, and not on plenty of other sites either.

  29. rob pac
    August 1, 2013 at 11:01 am


    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      For what reason?

  30. Henk van Setten
    August 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Nothing should be banned, for the simple reason that it's _impossible_ to draw a clean and fair borderline between what should be "allowed" and what not. If you start banning specific topics, there will always be sites that should not be banned but (mistakenly) are banned, and sites that ought to be banned but (mistakenly) are not.
    From my own experience I can give you two actual examples of this problem.
    I run StayOnTop, a blog about depression (clinical, bipolar etc.). One and a half year ago, the site's Google Search ranking took a sudden nosedive. Why? It turned out the culprit was a large page that listed all types of antidepressant medication with their side effects, including hundreds of brand names, so people could look up their own medication and get an idea of its known side effects. This same page also warned people explicitly to _not_ buy medication from dubious online fake-pharmacies.
    Well, based on that page, for a while Google seemed to think StayOnTop actually _was_ one of those dubious sites selling cheap fake medication! We managed to gradually bounce back to a normal rating only after removing those exhaustive lists of brand names from that medication page (offering the original version as a downloadable PDF only).
    Second example: being a depression blog, obviously StayOnTop has scores of pages related to suicide and suicide prevention. The most problematic of them (from a view of misunderstanding content) is a page "Suicide Preparation". The gist of that page is something like "OK, apparently you want to kill yourself, but then at least you are obliged to do so without harming or needlessly traumatizing others, so don't jump in front of a train, and _do_ write a good suicide note that answers your family's questions: writing such a letter can also help you to reconsider your decision".
    To avoid trouble, at the top of that page I had to explain very clearly that, no, it does _not_ promote suicide (on the contrary) but that it simply stems from respecting the right of people making their own decision. Still, if governments were to ban suicide-promoting sites, based on some bot automatically classifying content, I wouldn't be surprised at all if StayOnTop would be wrongly interpreted as one of them, and blocked accordingly.
    Now just think of it, you can easily imagine hundreds of cases where blocking content or topics would easily lead to false positives and incorrect blocking. Like, imagine a site that tries to offer some actual help to drug users (not by preaching moralistic sermons, but for example with practical tips to avoid getting HIV). Such a site might get blocked. And meanwhile, a site actually selling drugs could still escape the same blocking - simply by using obfuscating insider language that would be understood only by the users themselves.
    Sorry for this lengthy rant. But I really do think that blocking anything, whatever, would solve nothing. Because drawing clear borderlines is so very hard, blocking would only create a lot more problems. For all of us.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      You've hit on THE major problem with these sweeping attempts to ban people from viewing content. There are always gray areas, as you've experienced with Google rankings.

      If the UK porn ban comes into effect it's going to be fascinating watching which sites get caught in the net unfairly. The moment an innocent site gets blocked there will be outcry, and the government will have to backtrack.

  31. Roger C
    August 1, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Cat videos!!!!

    • Alex D
      August 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      So Youtube?

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm


  32. Janet Green
    August 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I think the only stuff that should be banned, already is, like kiddie porn, while a lot of important government information should be allowed back in. Truth is, with vpns, proxys and even browsers like the torch browser, getting through restrictions is getting easier and easier making the idea of this censorship kind of a joke...

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      So, you think the current legislation is correct, and that nothing else should be banned?

      For sure, only the most uninformed Internet users will be affected by attempts to censor or control online content.

  33. Jeremy G
    August 1, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I think its impossible to enforce banning anything. However, if I could have a wave of the magic 'banning wand,' then bad grammar would have to go. Indeed, I am continually horrified by the sheer lack of syntax, even on highly reputable sites such as this, in the replies given to a well formatted article, such as this.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      I share your horror. Unfortunately, people really don't take the time and trouble to write comments with perfect spelling and grammar. There would have to be some leeway though, as we're all guilty of typos from time to time.

  34. Emlyn Jones
    August 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I would ban censorship and idiot politicians

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      "I would ban censorship." That's rather ironic.

      • Emlyn Jones
        August 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        I know :)

  35. Sargo Darya
    August 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I'd ban politicians.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Even if not banned, those who are ignorant to how the Internet works should perhaps be forced to learn what they're dealing with.

  36. grumpyOldMan
    August 1, 2013 at 6:14 am

    anyone under 15, Myspace because of their new ads are really scary and annoying. sensitivity, CNN, and off brand humor. (like this)

    • Jayghosh
      August 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      An age limit on the internet. Not a bad idea...

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Banning anyone under a certain age would make it easier to justify NOT banning anything else. You may have just stumbled across a genius idea in your attempt at humor.

  37. Christian A
    August 1, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Well aside from the obvious porn which the children nowadays can easily access, i think "piracy" should be ban from the internet. Although i don't think it's easy to happen but piracy is also somehow related to pornography. Porn spreads because it's getting pirated over and over in the world wide web. If we can control piracy i think there would be less porn sites. Just a thought.

    • Flora L
      August 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      well, piracy is already illegal and the U.S. government is trying to find ways to ban pirate sites, however, they are certainly struggling to prove a legal basis for doing so, that and if the sites are not hosted on U.S. soil then that makes it all the harder for them to crack down on it unless they can find a cooperative foreign government to help them.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Piracy is already illegal in many countries. And there have been moves to block access to piracy websites too, so this is already happening.

  38. Glenn
    August 1, 2013 at 5:56 am

    I would ban nothing. If there's something that offends you, don't look at it. Your opinion gives you no right to decide what others may see or discuss. Mind your own business.

    • NewGeek
      August 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      The Internet is the Wild West. Either come prepared, or stay butt home.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      That's certainly one argument. But would you be OK with child porn (just as a mind-numbingly horrific example) posted freely?

  39. Dan
    August 1, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Ban unsolicited bulk email. We will not buy your v1agra or give you our bank details.

    • Eric J
      August 1, 2013 at 6:37 am

      that's it. ban those spam messages selling viagras, telling you have won, you are a beneficiary etc. if only those spam were food i'd be glad:D

    • Lee
      August 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      This. And ban scam ads and posts. No more people clicking on crap that will infect their computer and/or steal their identify.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Spam is already banned, hence people get arrested for sending out unsolicited bulk email.

      • Dan
        August 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm

        Not in all countries. In my country it is not technically banned and every real estate agent and her dentist sends spam to every email address they could get. And they won't respond to your unsubscribe request. Believe me, if spam was illegal, I would report every local spammer to the gov't.

  40. Nick C
    August 1, 2013 at 5:14 am

    I would ban Cyberbullying, cyberstalking and Cyberharassing. Ban it and make it a crime

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      People have been arrested over these things, certainly in the UK, so some of it is already illegal. I don't disagree that more should be done though.

  41. Mrbong
    August 1, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Apple and Google.

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Banning endless Apple rumors is something I could get behind, but Google? Most websites would die due to a lack of advertising revenue, and that would mean using Bing to search the InterWebs!

  42. Terri C
    August 1, 2013 at 3:49 am

    ban nothing !knowledge and information should be for everyone.

    • Barry
      August 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Child Porn isn't information and certainly not knowledge.... Ban it I say!

      • Cutler
        August 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        Already is. Its only in the dark, dark corners of the internet where the scum meet to drown their pathetic lives in useless, trashy, illegal content.

      • Dave P
        August 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        As has already been said, child porn is already banned. It's illegal in the vast majority of countries.

  43. Clarky
    August 1, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Like public schools, the internet should be a secular place, therefore all religious content should be banned.

    • blake
      August 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...

      Why is that so hard to understand?

      • michel
        August 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm

        Perhaps Clarky is not American; the internet is not American. Is that hard to understand?

    • Dave P
      August 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      That would be even tougher to enforce than a ban on all pornography!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *