Feeds

UK culture sec wants a public service web

One where it's always just before 9pm

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The UK government is cracking its knuckles for a more hands-on attitude to ensuring the quality of internet content, which could put it somewhat at odds with its own regulator.

Culture secretary Andy Burnham at a meeting of the Convergence Think Tank this week trumpeted the importance of “standards”, saying he wanted to “rehabilitate the word”.

“What do I mean by standards?” asked Burnham, “I’m thinking of guiding principles like impartiality and accuracy in TV and radio news, the integrity of programme making and the 9pm watershed, protecting against harm and offence, that have stood us in good stead for years.”

If that wasn’t enough to scare the designer pants off the assembled TV big wigs, Burnham then said he thought the same principles that had given the world Radio 4, Morse and Ant and Dec, needed to be extended to the internet. The internet is simultaneously the commercial TV industry’s biggest threat and the place they’re hoping to be able to make some cash without having to kowtow to nanny state ideas like impartiality.

“I can see how some people feel there is no alternative but to chip away at existing standards on the assumption that they are in fact old world baggage – ballast that’s hampering progress in the new world,” said Burnham.

But, warned Burnham, “With so much of the online world untrusted, I feel we should preserve standards of accuracy, impartiality and trustworthiness, rather than dismantle them. People still use the internet and TV for different reasons and with different expectations and we mustn’t forget that.”

Burnham also warned that he was taking a dim view of “product placement”. European regulations mean the UK has to take a position on the practice. Burnham declared that, “As a viewer, I don’t want to feel the script has been written by the commercial marketing director.”

So, presumably, Burnham would like to see the UK’s prohibition on product placement in TV programs not just maintained but extended to the net. Burnham’s stance will of course resonate with many who would prefer that the world’s view of the UK was more BBC2 than Five.

However, the cynical would wonder whether he’s following Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in her belief that the UK government can wave a magic wand and make the nasty old internet fall into line with Westminster’s thinking. This might be possible, and acceptable, with child porn and the like, but becomes a different proposition when you’re talking corporate placements on YouTube.

Anyway, to date Ofcom hasn’t shown too much stomach for getting a grip on the web in the past. Back in 2006 when Joost and other web-based TV services actually looked like the future, The Register asked Ofcom chairman Lord Currie if the regulator would be taking a look at IP-TV. His response was, “I should hope not.” ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.