nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

back to article
MPs suggest introducing web blocking to tackle suicide rates in UK

Is there anything the internet has not been blamed for?

29
0

The Chappaquiddick incident?

3
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Academic journals

They propose blocking sites which provide detailed information about suicide methods? Does that include sites like the British Medical Journal? http://jech.bmj.com/content/62/6/545.full etc

4
0
Silver badge

How? Every time a proposal like this is floated I wait for the flood of jobs monitoring every document on the interweb and classifying it. Put your money where your mouth is, when I see the job adverts I'll believe you're doing something.

9
0

Presumably the idea is to start supplying the relevant URLs to the IWF block-list using the same ban-hammer for everything else they want to do.

Although I don't think that someone in such a state of mind will see a "website blocked" and knock the whole idea on the head...

11
0

Not being able to access a website won't stop someone from having suicidal feelings. But every barrier placed between a suicidal person and their ability to kill themselves makes it less likely that they die, and more likely that they seek help. Remember when you used to be able to buy a nice jar of 50 paracetamol? Someone in the home office did some maths and calculated that selling paracetomol in boxes of no more than 16, individually wrapped to make them harder to get at all at once, would save a worthwhile number of lives each year. Even a suicidal person has inhibitions against going through with the act; websites that aid and abet suicide are one of the things that lower those inhibitions.

11
3
Silver badge
Stop

There's always Usenet

I think alt.suicide.holiday is still around...

2
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Re: There's always Usenet

There's always the BBC.

I'm in no hurry, but if I ever do decide to euthanize myself I'm following a method I saw a Beeb report on.

1
0
Black Helicopters

> Not being able to access a website won't stop someone from having suicidal feelings.

Seeing the government attempting to control every aspect of my life and blocking access to websites may actually strengthen suicidal feelings. At least mine...

17
0
Silver badge

No sane would-be suicide would use paracetamol, it isnt a quick or pleasant death, taking two - three agonising weeks while your liver dissolves.

As for the 16 pack, the rules dont even work there, you can walk into any cash&carry and buy a cartoon of 16 packs; plus you can buy 2 of each brand even in a supermarket without issue.

I would rather they turned their internet ambitions to fixing their existing websites. I had to register my daughter for school today, and the only way to do it is to ignore and not enter a full post code when prompted; a horrible, HORRIBLE site, where clicking "No" means "Yes", where there are Yes/No buttons with no clear explanation of what they are for, and btw, it wont load correctly in IE, as several off site links for menu icons (FFS!!!) are broken.

It harks back to the day I tried to pay a parking ticket in Tewkesbury a few years ago, and found the council website payment system only worked correctly if you used IE6.

6
2
Silver badge

Denmark, 10 only and one packet at a time. It was difficult to buy one packet each if the pharmacist realized you were a couple. (2002)

0
0
Silver badge

The real problem with paracetamol is that the lethal dose is an unusually low multiple of the therapeutic dose. Many a cry for help has turned to a disaster because of this.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

"As for the 16 pack, the rules dont even work there..."

Except for the resulting 43% fall in paracetamol overdoses. It's saved close to 700 lives so far.

5
1

"Except for the resulting 43% fall in paracetamol overdoses. It's saved close to 700 lives so far."

Not the conclusion you can draw. Just means 700 people haven't used that method - you don't know they haven't picked another option.

Although I would say (as noted by someone above), it's a particularly long, painful and irreversible way to go, so perhaps they were just trying to spare people that.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

"Not the conclusion you can draw."

It is if you read the paper.

3
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Have HMG considered the reason-

-for all the suicides, and further considered that, if they were not doing such a shit job of running the country, people might find themselves less depressed?

35
7

Re: Have HMG considered the reason-

Suicides are a personal tragedy. But obviously, it's always the Tories fault.

Any chance you could put your brain back in the jar and go somewhere nice for Christmas?

9
41
Silver badge

Re: Have HMG considered the reason-

Could you just clarify for me? How do you get from complaining about shit governments to assuming it's just the Tories? I remember Brown's government being very depressing too.

31
1
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Have HMG considered the reason-

@Dr Jones - reading not your strong point then?

You mentioned the Tories, not I.

HMG are always the ones in 'charge', regardless of party.

Dr of Divinity, I reckon...

24
4
Gold badge
Unhappy

Have HMG considered the reason-

As Bismark is reputed to have said "governments come and governments go but the bureaucracy is there forever."

Blair wanted to give the UK ID cards and the cradle-to-grave NIR to go with it.

Incidently blocking these kinds of sites is (IIRC) already listed on the list of site CMD's BS laws already cover. Along with "Esoteria" WTF that is (magick & spells I think)

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Have HMG considered the reason-

@Mycho

Ooh, you were lucky, we had Wilson and Heath.

2
0
Silver badge
Holmes

"the actual number may be higher."

"Over 6,100 deaths in the UK in 2015 were registered as suicides, though the actual number may be higher."

Damn right it's higher. And this is why:-

"Following an inquest, the coroner or jury can reach [its] conclusions once satisfied of the necessary facts to the required standard of proof. The civil standard is used, namely 'on the balance of probabilities', except for conclusions of unlawful killing and suicide where the criminal standard of 'beyond all reasonable doubt' applies."

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/coroners/#a09

Here's a tragic example, the former footballer Gary Speed. He hanged himself in his garage, and yet the coroner said "that he may have been making a ‘dramatic gesture’ rather than trying to kill himself." This is why suicide is under-reported by maybe 50%. It's clearly more comforting to the families, but unhelpful when it comes to framing public policy.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2012/jan/30/gary-speed-taking-life-inquest

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2428116/Call-new-coroners-law-reveal-true-toll-suicide-Campaigners-believe-number-rise-50-cent.html

13
0
Silver badge

Re: "the actual number may be higher."

And with various life insurance companies still (reprehensibly IMHO as mental illness is a potentially fatal illness just as much as cancer etc) operating suicide non payment clauses there tends to be financial pressure on families to get a non suicide "result" to enable insurance claim to go ahead.

5
0

Re: "the actual number may be higher."

Frankly we're talking about a problem that affects between 0.009 and 0.018% of the population.

By contrast, old people dying in winter of generally avoidable cold related issues are at least 40,000. Priorities maybe?

I know three people who have taken their own lives. Two of them had tried before and been stopped, but the core issue never got resolved and the conclusion was inevitable. Suicide is a problem that in general is very very hard to prevent - western society is innately isolating, and there are a heck of a lot of easy ways to go, from trains to jumping off stuff. Would I like to prevent more, yes. But you do that by funding support organisations, not by trying to block information. This is a futile gesture which in general won't do squat.

20
2

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Suicide is sometimes rational

Yet again the assumption behind the article, and the proposal it is reporting, fails to acknowledge that there are occasions when suicide, or assisted death, might be a genuine rational choice.

Let me start by saying that I do not in any way want to minimise the problem addressed. Some people have problems that seem out of proportion to them and need help. The reductions in finance and support of organisations that are there to help seems to me to be a cruel rejection of the caring society that most of us hope that we live in.

However, there are other aspects. The examples most often put forward usually involve people with a terminal condition whose circumstances such as extreme pain or total lack of mobility and who would like the opportunity to be able to decide they have had enough and know that their decision will be acted upon. The palaver and costs and potential liabilities involved in a trip to Dignitas should not be necessary and in any case that option is not open to all. Attempts have been made to make provision for people with a terminal date expected within 12 months and even this has been rejected by MPs.

For me even these proposals do not go far enough. We have all seen horrifying examples of people in care homes with extreme dementia, totally unable to even recognise their relatives, force fed and abused. I for one do not want to get to that state. I am happy enough now in my 70s whilst I can still walk up the village, do my shopping, cook for myself and keep the house reasonably clean. When it gets to the stage where I can no longer look after myself then I want to be able to end it easily and effectively. I totally accept that such decisions should be made whilst one is still rational; but therein lies a snag. Waiting until I am within the 12 months terminal category might be leaving it too late. I want to be able to make the decision now whilst totally compos mentis.

Those opposed to assisted dying are wanting to tell others what to do (or not do). I, on the other hand, am not wanting the right to tell others what to do; I am merely asking for the right to make a decision for myself. It is in the nature of the problem that implementing that decision might be down to someone else; but it should not be beyond us to come up with appropriate safeguards to avoid unfair pressure on vulnerable individuals.

So, to summarise, yes - there are many situations where suicide is perhaps not the right option; but there should be allowances for sane individuals to make a choice about their own continuing existence.

31
0
Silver badge

The MPs recommended...

Blah blah blah,

These wankers are so depressing I increasingly regard death as a light at the end of the tunnel.

If I thought I would have to put up with this bullshit forever I would definitely kill myself.

14
2
Silver badge

Re: The MPs recommended...

Why do you think the Chinese painted the afterlife as a massive bureaucracy?

Best way to prevent suicides ever.

3
0
Black Helicopters

And so it begins...

Nanny is at the door. She wants her peons back.

They'll be attacking the judiciary soon enough. Oh...

8
1
Silver badge

Re: And so it begins...

It's a stupid solution, but @batfastad, they are actually trying to reduce the number of suicides. It's not the worst impetus for Government action.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: And so it begins...

But now there's a general all-purpose Internet banhammer, and when you've got a banhammer everything looks like a nail, MPs sitting in committees can come up with the same cheap all-purpose solution for anorexia/bulimia, bullying, and so on. But will any of societies' ills be fixed?

I'm sure a nice shiny clean Internet (for people who don't know what a small ISP or a VPN is) will have the kind of success at tackling homelessness as moving the homeless on does.

9
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: And so it begins...

the thing is the Internet will never be shiny clean and a banhammer wont change that

0
0
Silver badge

Re: And so it begins...

@ Dan55, you make exactly the right point, politicians are always looking for the easy route to sounding as though they are doing something good for the people. Reducing the number of suicides is undoubtedly a good thing but fixing the ills of society that lead to individuals wanting to commit suicide is far better.

Personally, I object to government interfereing with what I see as one of my rights, I'm 65, if in the future my quality of life becomes such that not continuing is a better option, then I regard that as a right, to terminate an unbearable existence. It's my life in spite of what they think, not theirs to control.

9
0

Re: And so it begins...

@Hollerithevo: Yes I appreciate the Gov appears to at least be thinking about taking positive action on this issue.

Blocking of legal content is censorship.

A few years ago it was blocking illegal child pornography. Yesterday it was logging all accesses to completely legal content because terrorists. Today blocking legal suicide information off the internet because they likely think you can't be trusted. Tomorrow...

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: And so it begins...

@Chris G

In Nanny Theresa's ideal world, you won't have any rights...

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: And so it begins...

@batfastad

Sounds like the penny has dropped.

1
0

Re: And so it begins...

Welcome to the thin end of the wedge.

Your right to look at a website that discusses suicide is being curtailed for your own good, citizen.

Next up, your right to look at a website that described narcotic drugs will be curtailed, because drugs are illegal.

Somewhat later, you will be prevented from looking at a website with a recipe for treacle pudding on it, because the sugar might make you fat.

Somewhat later still, the British Government will start to wonder if they shouldn't be banning VPN software...

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: And so it begins...

"you will be prevented from looking at a website with a recipe for treacle pudding on it, because the sugar might make you fat."

they would have to ban recipe books to enforce that and banning VPN software would be hard

0
0
FAIL

Oh, this old chestnut again

Tackle the cause, not the symptoms!

2
1
Anonymous Coward

As someone who attempted this and has been on the waiting list for the mental health team for over two years, I suspect investing in these areas rather than some pointless web guardian system might be more beneficial. Being told to ring the Samaritans is all very well and good, but when you need more than 40 minutes to talk or need to speak to the same person so as to not go over the same old ground each time with a new person, it's just a sticking plaster. I ended up getting help through my local alcohol support group until funding was cut and they were told not to ask why people were drinking, only to suggest ways to stop people drinking.

14
0
Anonymous Coward

Treat the causes not the symptom...

There is nothing to fear about death. I'm sovereign over my own body and consciousness, which includes having the right to choose to kill it and end it. The fear that the rest of society considers such a view to be so abhorrent as to be an indication of mental illness, that justifies having my liberty taken from me, is backed up by proposals like this.

Rather than trying to treat the symptoms of suicide, perhaps these MPs could put some thought towards the causes. Or would that level of introspection reveal their own (in)actions and culpability?

18
3
Silver badge

The good news...

Personally every time I see the Dail Heil website (or the Sun, Excess etc) I feel I want to open a vein. Usually my own (but not always). Does that mean their websites can be blocked?

7
2
Silver badge

Re: The good news...

Good point. Let's not forget *.gov.uk though.

1
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: The good news...

No, when all three of those rags had a go at the judiciary Theresa May said she valued the freedom of the press. Blocking it would be censorship.

0
0
Meh

Cost/benefit

The government's concern is losing taxpayers before they retire.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Cost/benefit

Actually, cynically speaking, what the government most wants is for everyone to die on the day they retire.

This would cure the pensions problem, most of the social care problems, and many NHS ones as well, whilst having maximized tax take.

There would also be another windfall, as the profits of the pensions companies would jump, leading to additional corporation tax being paid, although this would be transient, as the private pensions businesses would die a death shortly afterwards.

Of course, raising the pension age further will have some of the same effects.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Cost/benefit

"Of course, raising the pension age further will have some of the same effects."

The pension age was set at 65 because few tax-payers lived past 70. That's why we have the pension deficit in the first place and why the pension age is being raised everywhere. I'm surprised it's takes this long to see that and start raising the pension age. The baby boomers masked the problem, but now we are reaching pension age.

0
0

NoYFB

Yep, None of Your Flipping [$%^&] Business.

Here in the US this idea is driven by money [root of all evil] as you must keep paying "live insurance".

[find references to George Carlin thoughts on subject].

Not sure if this applies in your case but I do know that to cover medical it is in your taxes and when the US add-ons are figured in the numbers are not that far off.

A person did not chose to come into this world, that was the decision of the parents, or to the anti-abortionists you were forced into the world.

BE DAMNED that I do have a RIGHT to terminate my life for any reason at anytime.

**Yep, None of Your Flipping [$%^&] Business.**

1
0
Silver badge
Childcatcher

The news is very depressing

For this to work, all news sites and other sources of news will have to be banned as well.

2
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing