Is the BBC News website really a porn site?

With the boys getting a bit older and taking more of an interest in the internet I’ve started looking into installing an internet filter to protect them while we’re browsing online.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve clicked on an innocent-looking video title on YouTube, for example, only to discover that’s it’s not as advertised. Like rickrolling, but more sinister.

While researching Google Chrome extensions I discovered this one called Christian Anti-Porn:

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What it lacks in pornography it more than makes up for in gruesome images, this one taken from the Mel Gibson-directed ‘horror movie’ The Passion of the Christ (2004).

I installed it—fully understanding that it’s not a complete internet filter package—and gave it a quick test. What if I were to try to visit the Playboy UK website, for example? Sure enough, it blocked it, showed me a bloody and gruesome photograph of Our Lord on the cross, and a couple of inspirational verses from the Bible:

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Heb 10:26-27).

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isa 53:5)

Great! It works, I thought.

By “works”, I mean it prevented me from viewing a pornographic website. I certainly didn’t feel inspired by it. It didn’t make me feel any closer to God. I think it may have had something to do with the horrific photograph of a man being tortured to death on the page.

I know that the cross is central to the message of the Gospel. But actually, I’m with Jürgen Moltmann on this one: you can’t separate the crucifixion from the resurrection. It was the crucifixion of the resurrected Christ; the resurrection of the crucified Christ.

Surely they could have found a more inspirational photograph. Like a sunset, or a butterfly, or a waterfall.

Anway, I didn’t think any more of it and carried on with my evening’s browsing. I was working on my last blog post about browser new tab pages, and testing my new myfav.es bookmarks.

Imagine my surprise when I visited the BBC News website:

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The BBC News website is porn?!

But I’ve got an app for that installed on my mobile phone.

And Facebook was blocked too. Apparently, it’s also a porn site. I didn’t know that. My Mum’s on Facebook!

And Google+ is too, it would appear.

I’ve uninstalled it. I’ll look for something else. But for now at least I know to keep the boys away from watching the news.

Software developers to be held accountable for insecure software

Interesting news item on the PC Pro News website: Lords want sloppy software makers held to account.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is renewing calls for software developers to be held legally liable for security flaws.

Nice to see that software security is being taken seriously.  Once they’ve nailed this could the Lords do something about spam next, please?

Norton AntiVirus 2009 beta

Last month I got an email from someone who works with Symantec, the company that produces Norton AntiVirus, inviting me to be involved in their beta programme for Norton AntiVirus 2009.

No way! I thought initially. The reason that I moved away from Norton AntiVirus to AVG Free was due to the relatively massive hit on system resources that Norton imposed on my PC system.  It definitely slowed things down.

So I did a bit of reading and was delighted to read that Symantec have

The 2009 releases of Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus were engineered to be fast, and light on system resources.

Reading on:

Norton AntiVirus 2009 provides fast and up-to-the-minute defense against all types of malicious software. It keeps your system protected without slowing it down.

New in 2009!

  • Innovative new architecture dramatically reduces the boot time impact, the scan time, the memory usage as well as the system footprint and the install time
  • Smart Idle Time Scheduler runs quietly in the background to let you work and play without disruption
  • Silent-Mode ensures your games and movies are never interrupted by alerts and security updates

It looks like Symantec have been listening to their users.  I’m going to give the beta a go and see what it’s like. I am very hopeful to be honest; other than the performance hit of previous versions I did like Norton AV.

What will be interesting is to compare the update file sizes compared with AVG Free, which is normally < 200-300 KB, so fabulously lightweight.

Update

Unfortunately … as soon as I tried to download the beta I got this message:

Thank you ... A system error has occurred.

Thank you ... A system error has occurred.

Update 2

It took me about an hour but I was able to download the installation file.

Well, technically it wasn’t me.  It was Symantec Technical Support who connected to my PC via Remote Desktop and downloaded it from a different location, which was pretty poor show to be honest.

Tech support were okay — not very chatty, it must be said, and didn’t really keep me informed very well about what they were doing, but we got there in the end. Even if the whole process from looking up their tech support details to finishing the call took about an hour.

What he did was open the download page in my browser, asked me to enter my details, then he clicked the “Continue” button and watched the same error message that I’d got.

The conversation then went like this:

Mr Gareth Saunders: In good technical support tradition it would appear that the fault is at your end. ;)
Tech Support: Please wait

Viewers of BBC Scotland’s Chewin’ the Fat will likely be making some kind of “oooh!” sound while wiggling their fingers underneath their chin at this point!

So now I have the beta downloaded … it’s time for bed.

Seemingly it lasts for 7 days after which you have to install the latest build, I was told.

But from where?! Wasn’t the whole issue to do with the fact that I couldn’t download the latest build?

Mr Gareth Saunders: What else will I require to install it?  Do I require a licence key for this?
Tech Support: you can use it for 7 days and then you can install the latest build
Mr Gareth Saunders: Ok — and will it tell me where I can download the latest build?
Tech Support: You can contact us from the support option from the program and we will do that for you

I hope that part doesn’t involve Remote Desktop because I’m not happy giving control of my PC to software company tech support teams more than once a year!

My earlier feeling of hopefulness about Norton AntiVirus 2009 Beta is slowly draining away, I’m sorry to report.  Perhaps that’s my exhaustion speaking.