Tag Archive for Sky

Four ISPs agree to censor internet

Four ISPs have agreed to censor the internet on behalf of the British government.

Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin have all signed up to the agreement to automatically block “adult content”, requiring customers to specifically ask for the block to be removed.  The agreement has come about following a report from the religious pressure group, the Mothers’ Union, which said that censorship is necessary to protect children.

We have a reliable way of preventing our children accessing adult content on the internet without state-organised censorship – the computer is in the living room and we watch what they’re doing.  Not a very high tech solution but it’s a damn sight more reliable than censorship.

This is just the thin end of the wedge.  Today it’s blocking whatever a panel of Mary Whitehouse wannabes determine to be “adult content” for the good of the children (won’t you think of the children, it’s for them), tomorrow it will be what a panel of career politicians decides are “extreme views” and then it will be anything that’s critical of the British government and before long the internet will be censored according to the whims of whichever illiberal clone happens to be in power at the time.

The erosion of civil liberties is one-way, we will never get them back if we allow them to be taken.  This isn’t about porn, it’s about the principal of uncensored and unrestricted access to information.  It’s not about saving children from the ignorance of their parents, it’s about the state establishing the principal of censorship of the internet.  Once you’ve agreed to the principal, the rest is just haggling about the price.

Sky to lose exclusive film rights?

Sky has been told that it may lose its exclusive rights deals with 6 film companies which allows it to show new films first to introduce more competition and give consumers more choice.

This is, of course, what they said about directory enquiries.  Before the replacement of the 192 service with 118 number, it cost 50p for a directory enquiries search and it was free from BT phone boxes.  Now it’ll now cost you at least £1.75 assuming you can do the whole thing from start to finish in less than a minute.

It’s what they said about deregulating the energy markets and all this competition has led to is increasing bills and consumers being ripped off.

At the moment you have a choice if you want to watch new films when they’re released for TV broadcasting – you can subscribe to Sky Movies or use Sky Box Office or you can wait a few months until they end up on one of the network channels.  Ok, you have no choice but to pay Sky for the privilege of watching the film but you’re not tied into subscribing to Sky TV – you can get Sky Movies on Virgin Media and BT Vision.

The truth is, it’s not consumers that need more choice, it’s Sky’s competitors.  More competition often does mean better value for consumers but in this case it means more unnecessary cost and less choice for consumers.  If Sky, Virgin and BT are all allowed to “share” the exclusive deals then consumers who want to watch all new films as soon as they’re released for TV viewing would have to subscribe to Sky, Virgin and BT Vision.  If nobody is allowed to sign exclusive deals with film companies then the film companies lose the money they get from Sky which means they have less money to spend on making and distributing films.

Details, details …

Orange has this clever feature when you ring customer services where you enter your password on your phone keypad – 2 for abc, 3 for def, etc.  It’s a great idea, assuming you don’t have one of these:

You’ll note that, unlike regular mobile phones, the number keys don’t have a set of letters on them on account of the phone having a qwerty keyboard.  The same applies to the Cackberry and every other mobile phone with a qwerty keyboard.  I once pointed this out to someone at Orange customer services who said I was the second person that day to say it.  It was a while ago now and it still asks.

And while I’m complaining, Sky still have their old phone number that changed months ago on the phone number list on the Interactive service.  The “new” number is free for Sky Talk customers to clal but the old one isn’t.