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UK Gov't Plans To Censor "Extremist" Websites Via Orders To ISPs 208

Posted by timothy
from the say-fellas-since-we've-got-this-stuff-in-place dept.
Not content with blacklisting certain kinds of pornography, writes an anonymous reader, according to this news from The Guardian, "The UK government is to order broadband companies to block extremist websites and empower a specialist unit to identify and report content deemed too dangerous for online publication. The crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, said on Wednesday that measures for censoring extremist content would be announced shortly. The initiative is likely to be controversial, with broadband companies already warning that freedom of speech could be compromised."
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UK Gov't Plans To Censor "Extremist" Websites Via Orders To ISPs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:03PM (#45549427)
    n/t
    • by RocketChild (1397411) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:13PM (#45549525)
      I'm very surprised that they moved so quick to do this so provocatively. It seems like that mission creep takes several years before it actually shows up. But that smoke screen of "think of the children" blew away quick. So...that leaves me wondering. What is "really" next?
    • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:36PM (#45549703) Journal
      The department shall be called "The Ministry of Truth" or MINITRU for short.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think you mean #MINITRU

      • In further news, the UK Conservative Party has decided to rename themselves Norsefire in an effort to provide "strong leadership in times of terrorism".
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Here's what happened the last time a British government tried to censor media in matters of extremism and terrorism (in this case, IRA-related organizations):

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4409447.stm

      Spoiler: it didn't do a damn thing.

      It will be interesting to see whether Islamic terrorists manage to do what Irish terrorists couldn't, namely, make Britain clamp down on basic freedoms.

    • So often I hear that the slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy, but here we are. It's held true in this as well as other instances.

      First it targets the child porn.
      Well now that we have the system in place, let's hit piracy while we're at it.
      Now they've hit stage 3: Oh hey look, there's some speech that we don't like, let's get that too.

      • Slippery slope is a fallacy when invoked after a first action. That fallaciousness starts looking a bit dodgy after the second step. Then after the third, it's pretty much QED.

  • Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:03PM (#45549433)

    When Terrorism is 'Any action that is intended to influence the government', what is extremism? Any idea that the current sitting government doesn't like?

    There was once another group of people that went out of their way to censor information their people received, to hide atrocities committed in their name and smash an idea that didn't fit the party line.

    As I recall, at one stage, the UK did quite a bit to stop them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Under that definition voting would qualify as terrorism.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by paiute (550198)

        Under that definition voting would qualify as terrorism.

        Jesus, don't give the retards in the South any more excuses.

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by BlueStrat (756137)

          Under that definition voting would qualify as terrorism.

          Jesus, don't give the retards in the South any more excuses.

          What do you have against people in the southern UK?

          I know you can't mean the American South. This kind of nanny-state crap is the kind of thing you'd expect from the Northeast from people like Herr Bloomberg and/or from the "land of fruits & nuts" aka California and some of the northwestern States from people like Feinstein & Pelosi.

          Strat

          • Fooking English, they they are the ancient enemy! We'll never surrender our kilts!

            • by lgw (121541)

              For the love of all that is good and right: please keep that kilt on!

          • He's clearly referring to the anti-voting laws that have recently been put into place, mostly in the South and Bible Belt states (not exclusively there, for sure, but your bastions of crazy liberalism are not on the list).
            • by BlueStrat (756137)

              He's clearly referring to the anti-voting laws...

              Wait, wait, wait...

              So, now laws that simply require presenting basic personal ID (which everybody would need to have to do almost anything in society) in order to prevent election fraud are now "anti-voting laws"?

              LMAO!!

              Sheesh, you people just get funnier (and more desperate) every single day!

              Strat

            • by lgw (121541)

              Right, right, because laws that require you to actually be eligible to vote, and vote only once, are "anti-voting laws"?

              Anyone who buys alcohol will have an ID that lets them vote. So other than a few conservative Christians, who exactly do such laws prevent from legitimately voting?

            • I assumed he was the increasingly bulbous Alex Salmond, who looks more like a cross between John Prescott & Rupert Murdoch with every passing hour.

      • Well, voting for the wrong party anyway.

    • Re:Well, (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gravis Zero (934156) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:26PM (#45549643)

      When Terrorism is 'Any action that is intended to influence the government', what is extremism?

      you misquoted.

      (b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation][2] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

      just stating the fact, not it's implications.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        does it say OR or OF?

        and I don't know, you could constitute "lets march to piccadilly and show them what we think!" could be a threat..

      • by dnaumov (453672)

        When Terrorism is 'Any action that is intended to influence the government', what is extremism?

        you misquoted.

        (b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation][2] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

        just stating the fact, not it's implications.

        "let's vote them out of office" would qualify as a threat

      • by Xest (935314)

        I don't really see the difference, a threat to influence government could be:

        "Lower taxes or I'm going to start a protest that will disrupt traffic in London"

        Or intimidate a section of the public could be:

        "I'm sick of some travellers being a group responsible for excess litter where they've been staying, I'm going to start photographing them doing it and reporting such littering to the police"

        Threat is a very broad term, so broad as to effectively mean any attempt to exert political pressure for any kind of

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        (b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation][2] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

        The Daily Mail must be worried.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      When Terrorism is 'Any action that is intended to influence the government', what is extremism? Any idea that the current sitting government doesn't like?

      There was once another group of people that went out of their way to censor information their people received, to hide atrocities committed in their name and smash an idea that didn't fit the party line.

      As I recall, at one stage, the UK did quite a bit to stop them.

      Churchill is most likely a bit miffed how the UK government pissed away all the hard work he accomplished. Then again, it's not bad when you are doing it, only when someone else is doing it to you.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Churchill is most likely a bit miffed how the UK government pissed away all the hard work he accomplished.

        You mean, accomplishments like bankrupting the nation, losing the Empire and giving half of Europe (including Poland, which Britain supposedly entered the war to save) to Stalin?

    • There was once another group of people that went out of their way to censor information their people received, to hide atrocities committed in their name and smash an idea that didn't fit the party line.

      As I recall, at one stage, the UK did quite a bit to stop them.

      Hurrah for the Blackshirts!

    • There was once another group of people that went out of their way to censor information their people received, to hide atrocities committed in their name and smash an idea that didn't fit the party line.

      As I recall, at one stage, the UK did quite a bit to stop them.

      Not enough, if you listen to future PM Nigel Farage.

      Oh hang on...

  • Theres a lot of them in the States, but I don't suppose they count.

    On both ends of the political spectrum

  • ..if this kind of shit continues.
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:11PM (#45549509) Journal

    Historically, far and away the most dangerous information a web site can host is the idea it's good, necessary, and proper for a government to have the power to censor.

    That's just based on a silly metric called megadeaths, though.

    • Dammit, my mod points expired!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:13PM (#45549527)
    Maybe they should block the government's web site.
  • by fnj (64210) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:28PM (#45549659)

    One man's extremism is another man's passion for truth and the rights of the people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:39PM (#45549729)

    "The more you tighten your grip... the more bits will simply slip through your fingers."

    Seriously though, censorship? "1984" was a warning, NOT A BLOODY GUIDEBOOK!

    The UK Gov't has its head up its ass.

  • Taleban.com (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AndyCanfield (700565)

    I remember that there was great controversy about the Taliban, then in control of the country of Afghanistan. I would go to www.taliban.com and read what they had to say. It was in English. Then in July it was hacked and the front page was replaced by a picture of the American flag. A month or so later the United States invaded Afghanistan. A month after that www.taliban.com disappeared from the Internet.

    The United States of America does not have to block web sites. If they don't like you, you just cease

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mattsqz (1074613)
      the wayback machine shows this as very incorrect. i did, however, manage to find a taliban.com site from 1998, which told of a move to http://ummah.net/taliban/ [ummah.net] - which by 2000, had again moved to http://www.afghan-ie.com/ [afghan-ie.com] - by the 21st of april 2001, this was down as well.
  • by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:45PM (#45549763)
    It is true that exposure to truth tends to radicalize people. I say again that no government wants the population to have freedom in communications. People who think a lot can be difficult to control. Secrecy is a form of conspiracy in and of itself. Hiding truth tends to maintain social customs. And people can be manipulated simply by hiding the truth. Right now we have a lot of issues with terrorists from the Arab nations. Apparently they have some dream of bring back the caliphate. But how many of these Arabs are even aware that the caliphate was Ottoman and that Arabs were not particularly respected nor valued by the Turks who controlled the caliphate. For an Arab to dream of the joy of living under the caliphate is roughly equivalent to a German Jew dreaming of the good old days when the Reich was in total control of Germany.
  • The Internet began as a freedom of speech thing the same way me standing in a park did. But that was in the '80s. Now, the Internet acts as a full publication and broadcast system, like me putting up a six-storey banner on the side of a skyscraper.

    There have always been laws governing what you can say in a public arena.

    Today, it's the norm for 3-year olds to use online systems, as well as educational institutions, and a whole host of real-world legitimate and vital purposes. It's no longer an optional ac

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @02:20PM (#45550025)

    This is a slippery slope, and I've been assured here on many occasions that slippery slopes are a logical fallacy.

    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      I usually respond to that by saying human behavior is rarely logical and the patterns of people to gradually push things to see how far they can go is well established.
  • In 1985 Margaret Thatcher gave a speech to the American Bar Association in which she said "we must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend". This led to a ban on broadcast of utterances by republican politicians supportive of the Provisional IRA, which in turn led to the absurd situation of news programmes showing video of politicians such as Gerry Adams speaking but with the audio replaced by an actor's voice.

    It only drew attention to the

    • by fatphil (181876)
      But Gerry Adams wasn't really an extremist, he was a useful idiot.
      Personally, I thought the actors voice-over was a pretty smart compromise. The freedom of the press was preserved, but the passion of the rhetoric was diffused.
  • Whether or not this becomes a freedom of speech issue depends upon many factors, one of which is the definition of free speech. Personally I draw the line at encouraging people to commit material crimes (e.g. murder) and at intentionally fabricating false information with the intent to harm others (e.g. accusing a person of rape when they did not commit that crime). Yet even if we all agreed upon that definition, there is the question of exactly what constitutes extremism and how that translates into law

  • There was a story at The Guardian some months ago about internal government documents that had labeled mainstream environmentalists as extremists.

    • by Jahta (1141213)

      There was a story at The Guardian some months ago about internal government documents that had labeled mainstream environmentalists as extremists.

      I suspect that suppressing reports like that (and of course the Snowden coverage) is ultimately where this is heading.

  • by PPH (736903)

    Some ministry of the UK government tried contacting us in regard to content filtering. But we had already blacklisted them as a member of an extremist totalitarian regime. So their communication was blocked.

  • So, Energy from Thorium (promoted, in part, by an international group, which just concluded its 2013 Conference, at CERN, in Geneva) could be deemed as a -commercially- extreme concept, eg, since - if/when Thorium-/LFTR-based nuclear power (cf the recently released eBook "Nuclear 2.0") begins to replace fossil-fueled & even Uranium-based powe plants - a number of well-endowed commercial interests may feel unduly threatened by EfT.

    Could the info & organisations who would like to bring EfT -sooner- in

  • by nurb432 (527695)

    Love the ride down that slope.. ( it accelerates towards the end, so bring seat belts )

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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