Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Block and a hard place: UK’s online porn filter raises more issues than it solves

Published time: July 27, 2013 06:18
Edited time: July 27, 2013 09:31
British Prime Minister David Cameron.(AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)

British Prime Minister David Cameron.(AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has expanded on his recent set of guidelines for an internet filer that would block pornographic content by default. This has aroused further controversy, as other content may now also face the filter.

Internet service providers from the Open Rights Group have confirmed the news, following Cameron’s Monday revelation that by the end of 2013, broadband subscribers will have to make do with a compulsory system installed everywhere to monitor various content the government deems harmful.

These include social media, gambling and pornography as well as other adult-orientated sites. 

The argument was that the nation’s children will be prevented from accessing pornography, once parents start ticking and un-ticking the various options available to them – with the block set by default. According to the PM, this will prevent children’s exposure to “corroding influences” on the net. 

Customers wishing to access legal pornographic material will have to contact their providers in order to have the filter removed.

The move has led to several criticisms being leveled at Cameron by censorship opponents, such as that the system may not work, or lead to over-blocking; also that it may be circumvented and, finally that no one knows the extent to which privacy would be affected.

But this all may be just the tip of the iceberg, as more worrying facts about the program have started to surface in the course of Friday.

Activists from the Open Rights Group have been talking to a number of ISPs expected to become the first to introduce Cameron’s new system. It turned out that the list of resources blocked by default will include far more than just pornography.

Recently, the British PM chose to commend a similar online blocking system already in place, HomeSafe, which is currently the leader in the field and covers several categories of websites.

The problem is that these categories don’t make clear just how sweeping the changes would be once a user ticks or un-ticks a category, allowing the program to omit a whole host of resources during the initial stages of setting it up.

An interesting aspect about HomeSafe is that the company that created it, TalkTalk, is actually run by Huawei – a Chinese company belonging to a former officer of the Chine People’s Liberation Army. This is something the UK government knows, as was evident from an Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report from last month. It said that the “alleged links between Huawei and the Chinese State” are a cause for concern and could “generate suspicion as to whether Huawei’s intentions are strictly commercial or are more political.”

Whether the connection is as direct as the government believes, what is troubling people about TalkTalk is that even when its filter is turned off, its online traffic still passes through Huawei.

UK providers will actually be free to pick any filtering system of their choosing, but some take issue with the fact that Huawei is still not off the list. The only consolation is that users could still be able to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). However, the Open Rights Group believes that there is a big chance this option may also be canceled.

Comments (88)

 

Michelle Little 30.07.2013 07:14

what do they mean by esoteric? spirtulisum and waldolph education banned. Is this a facisist book burning? Lets face it what teenageboy has not had a sneeky look at playboy .

Anonymous user 28.07.2013 13:24

Short-sighted, uneducated, ignorant policy. Slippery slope to censorship right here.

 

Ive Cooper 28.07.2013 11:34

It is just designed to silence political opponents on the web. And to silence channels like RT

View all comments (88)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us