With David Cameron’s internet censorship – let’s not be coy and use the word ‘filter’ – rolling out in the UK, I thought I’d round up some of the related material that I’ve published here and elsewhere infrequently.
I’m also going to point you at an article over on The Register, where I’ve commented a fair bit. As just about everyone who has a clue pointed out, there would be perfectly valid sites blocked by this ill-conceived idea.
In their zeal to be seen to be “doing something” people like Cameron and Claire Perry (is she the most dangerous woman in Britain?) have thrown wisdom and caution to the wind. Aided and abetted by a spineless ISP industry, we now have just about the worst of all possible worlds in the UK.
Had the ISPs not rolled over in the face of Cameron’s threat to legislate, he would have had to do just that. Politicians would have had to stand up in the House of Commons and justify why they wanted our internet censored. They would have had to listen to real evidence, and come up with clear proposals about what would be blocked, and who would make decisions, and how sites wrongly blocked would be able to appeal, lest they suddenly find their business disappearing down a black hole of censorship. People would have been able to make a clear case against Cameron’s digital Section 28, which has already seen perfectly harmless lesbian and gay sites such as the Lib Dem LGBT group blocked by UK broadband providers.
Instead, this unholy coalition of censorship, cheered on by the likes of Ms Perry, has led to a system that has no statutory backing, no political oversight – unless you count the whining of the Daily Mail, and the terror it clearly inflicted upon Cameron – and no clear means of challenging decisions. What’s censored is not for you to know, except by experimentation. Your ISP – or someone they’ve subcontracted it to – will be making the decisions for you, in your own best interests.
I’m emphatically not saying that statutory censorship is a good idea; I’d rather we had a free, open net, with people taking responsibility for themselves and their children. But if there has to be filtering, it should be done properly, instead of by ISPs rolling over, and allowing David Cameron to crow at home that he’s protecting children, while still swanning around the world, lecturing patronisingly to other governments about Human Rights, something he’d find rather more difficult had he stood up in Parliament and introduced a censorship bill.
Previously, in the war on sex:
The links here are to other material I’ve published on this blog, or elsewhere, regarding the rather disturbing trends in the UK. You may think they’re rather off topic for this blog, but I think this is all vitally important.
Cameron’s brave new world – clueless, puritan and just plain wrong. In which I explain why none of this really does anything to solve actual child abuse (July 2013)
The chilling idiocy of Cameron’s Good clean wifi. How this idea can’t really be anything other than the start of more widespread intrusion and censorship. (April 2013)
It’s time for the UK’s CPS to stop its war on sex. From another site I manage. How puritan police and the CPS can wreck someone’s life. (August 2012)
Online chat in the UK is still not free. Did you breathe a sigh of relief after the Twitter joke trial? Oh dear… (July 2012)
Digital TV doesn’t need more smut regulation. There’s an off switch, you know. And parental controls. So quit with sanitising the TV, ok? (June 2011)
Censorship – won’t someone think of the Adults. Do you know how many homes actually have children in them? Can you imagine what a list of ‘porn users’ will be used for? (December 2010)
Not directly to do with censorship, but related:
Freedom to snog. Regarding an incident at the John Snow; not directly related to censorship, but to attitudes which may well inform it. (April 2011)
Gay is not a noun. On the use of the word, and why it does matter. (October 2010)
What begins with L-E-S-B. Some things, apparently, aren’t wholesome enough to display instant search results. (September 2010)