95% of UK ISP’s implementing censorship machinery

From slashdot.org:

“The UK government stated in 2006 that they wished to see 100% of UK consumer broadband ISPs’ connections covered by blocking, which includes” — but is not limited to — “images of child abuse. 95% of ISPs have complied, but children’s charities are calling for firmer action by the government as the last 5% cite costs and concerns over the effectiveness of the system. According to Home Office Minister Alan Campbell, ‘The government is currently looking at ways to progress the final 5%.’ With a lack of transparency in the IWF list, firm government involvement, and blocking that only ‘includes’ (but may not be limited to) images of child abuse, it looks like the writing is on the wall for unfiltered, uncensored Internet connections in the UK.”

It will soon be 100%, it seems, with the IWF – an unelected quango – deciding which sites may be accessed from the UK.  No-one wants child porn on the web, of course.  But child-porn is the excuse, not the reason.  What this gives the establishment — not even the elected government, for heaven’s sake! — is the power to block sites they don’t like, without appeal or control or, indeed, even our knowledge.

Now that the establishment has a list of sites which every ISP is blocking, how long before entries in it are added for political reasons?  That sites which are (e.g.) seen to be politically incorrect are added?

I give it two years at most.

9 thoughts on “95% of UK ISP’s implementing censorship machinery

  1. China is always condemned in the west for implementing a firewall, censoring web content for their citizens.
    Protecting children is usually cited for most censorship, in the past we had to protect women and the lower classes from accessing published material that might corrupt them.
    There are many groups in society who would happily demand the censorship of information so it complied with their view, whether it is religious, political or pornographic.
    Will the Vatican firewall block gay porn?
    This is very probably the thin edge of the Wedge

  2. Yes, the parallels with China are instructive, aren’t they?

    Once it is possible to block sites, those who have power will block sites. Once it is easy to ensure that people in the UK cannot see certain sites, it will happen.

    There are quite a number of things which cannot be said in UK public life; indeed the list seems to grow longer every day, as ever more groups demand to be placed above criticism by anyone. Why would this process not apply to websites, once the mechanism is in place?

  3. Once what is blocked is defined – attempting to access it will be become a criminal offence, just as I imagine it is for ‘terrorist’ material.

    PS. I mentioned defensive sites in Poland (c8 bc) in my blog and got a hit off the Pentagon – often wondered if that was a coincidence – you’ll get one now!!

  4. I’m sure that you’re right; defining what is in the list as illegal follows naturally.

    One can imagine it. Police round at 6am. How dare you read a legal US “islamophobic” site, you swine!?!? That’ll be your door broken down and 6 hours “questioning” for you, my lad.

  5. Visiting sites about suicide will become grounds for protective custody, and god help us if the religious right get any influence, they will want to protect children from ungodly ideas like evolution.

  6. Well the “religious right” means fundamentalists like me, and I can tell you that we don’t want to do that. We’re the one of the groups of people who aren’t allowed to express our views, you know!

    The only reason a lot of Christians oppose evolution (unwisely, in my view) is that the latter is often taught as religion, not as science. All those people jeering “Darwin proves your religion isn’t true” are reaping a bitter harvest, it seems.

    If I were trying to teach something to Moslems, I wouldn’t start by telling them that what I had to say would prove their religion untrue; not unless I didn’t care about my subject and cared more about attacking Islam! If I cared about my subject, I’d do everything possible to avoid raising people’s hackles. We can tell that Richard Dawkins cares nothing for science, for instance, from the use he makes of it.

    But I’m sure that you’re right that influential pressure groups — Christians aren’t influential in the UK — will find a form of words to prevent things they find uncomfortable being said. Protecting children from “islamophobia” sounds like an early candidate to me.

  7. I am sorry to have broached this sensitive issue, I was thinking of America in terms of ‘religious right’, and countries like Iran, or Saudi Arabia. Who is a fundamentalist is another issue; humanists find it hard to distinguish, and some would argue that children need protection from any religious indoctrination; young people filled with religious zeal can, it appears, be persuaded of almost anything, even that human sacrifice is an appropriate form of worship.

    Returning to the more stimulating topic of pornography, if we don’t have an unelected quango, the state will have to sanction porn sites, perhaps with some sort of Kite Mark, creating interesting job opportunities, Her Majesty Inspector of Pornography.

    We will end up EEC directive on porn, – causing trade disputes with Russia, with officials visiting Russian Porn magnets on their yachts.

  8. No hassle. I imagine that in some of our comprehensives, morning prayer (including human sacrifice) would be a small step. Must be “diverse” you know. All welcome. Participation from non-members is encouraged, indeed mandatory!

    I appreciated your last two paragraphs. You’re quite right, of course; what isn’t illegal is legal and approved (and, too often, quickly goes from being illegal to something that we are not permitted to discuss except in terms of warmest approval).

    I think we don’t need a quango doing this. Blocking what we are allowed to know should be elected directly and accountable to us all. I don’t trust the establishment a bit; it consists of people whose values and methods are not those of the rest of us, and who actually hate us all.

  9. I think that S&M imagery is regarded as beyond the pale, which bad news for the leather goods industry.

    I disagree with your use of the word “hate” in this context, I think, “despise”, or perhaps “scorn” is more appropriate.

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