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Censorship The Internet United Kingdom Technology

UK Govt's Censorware Blocks Tech, Civil Liberties Websites 148

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-must-give-it-time-you-see dept.
A few days ago, we mentioned that the UK's ISP-level censorware software not only does a poor job of its stated job (blocking porn), but blocks at least some sex education sites, too; now, reader badger.foo writes to say that's not all: "It fell to the UK Tories to actually implement the Nanny State. Too bad Nanny Tory does not want kinds to read up on tech web sites such as slashdot.org, or civil liberties ones such as the EFF or Amnesty International. Read on for a small sample of what the filter blocks, from a blocked-by-default tech writer."
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UK Govt's Censorware Blocks Tech, Civil Liberties Websites

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  • Useless Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Afty0r (263037) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @05:39PM (#45762295) Homepage

    He states, based on a single "URL checker" from O2, that every website he tried to check including slashdot, other tech news/resources sites and his own blog are "blocked by a parental controls regime - according to the URL checker".

    But a little testing would have shown him that disney.com is blocked on this. As is www.gov.uk - the UK governments own official site. The parental controls he's ranting about are bunkum. He should have researched his subject, and posted from an informed viewpoint, instead this article is a waste of time.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @05:48PM (#45762351) Homepage

    This.

    Every single site I tried was either not listed or "blocked by the parental control regime".

    I don't agree with filters, but this particular one (the parental control) is an opt-in filter which just seems to block everything by default.

  • by gnoshi (314933) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @05:49PM (#45762359)

    So, what he's saying is that the blocklist labelled "Parental Control (opt in u12 service)" - i.e. Opt In Under 12 year old - blocks a lot of stuff. Pretty much everything, in fact.
    That would be scary, except that it isn't the default opt-out list, and it is apparently intended as a whitelist of known ok sites. Any whitelist based system will block most stuff, because that's kind of the point.

    I liked this guys post called Content filtering is stupid, but you are stupider [johnband.org].
    To quote: "However, and unfortunately, most of the last couple of days’ Twitter chat about content filtering has involved gibbering idiots who know fuck all about fuck all talking embarrassing nonsense.". I think that sums the OP nicely.

  • Re:Useless Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @05:51PM (#45762383) Homepage Journal

    What is relevant is that the default nanny state setting is “Default Safety“. Almost everythin is blocked in the parental cotnrol setting. I think as a parent you have to manuall add sites to that filter to have anything that resembles the internet.

  • Re:not slashdot! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 22, 2013 @06:18PM (#45762545)

    try on the O2 url Checker: http://www.childline.org.uk/

    I find:

    Parental Control
    (opt in u12 service) Blocked

    That implies that both O2, and the UK government and David Cameron (PM), either condone abuse or are using the impreciseness filtering or are using it as an excuse for other matters political means.. "oops we banned an anti-child abuse website, we clearly didn't mean to do that, we also didn't mean to do freebsd.org"..

  • by julian67 (1022593) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @06:56PM (#45762847)

    The article is bunk and the language used is deceitful and apparently deliberately so.

    I'm in UK and my ISP is TalkTalk, the first ISP here to introduce such a filter. It is entirely optional. The *account holder* controls it, not the government or the ISP or anyone else. I can switch it off or on at will and it takes just a minute or two to take effect. It is even customisable, for example I can allow/disallow any of the following categories:

    Dating
    Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco
    Gambling
    Pornography
    Suicide and Self-Harm
    Weapons and Violence

    The above are default blocked *if* I enable the filter and don't deselect them. Additionally I can add:

    File Sharing Sites
    Games
    Social Networking

    Using the term "censorship" implies that something is redacted, withheld or forbidden or otherwise placed off limits in a way that is outside of the user's control. That is absolutely not the case. The account holder is fully able to switch the filter off or on as they see fit. I was informed of the availability of the filter via email from my ISP and tried it in various options in order to satisfy curiosity and then decided it can remain permanently off.

    What the government has done is to require the major ISPs and telcos to implement a filtering system that allows the account holder to opt in or out and even to have fine grained control. Basically this means that adults control their accounts as they like but that children whose mobile phones and internet access is the responsibility of their parents are obliged to defer to the responsible adult.

    Allowing adults full discretion is not censorship by any stretch of the imagination. Parents having some say in what their children consume is also not censorship - it is part of parenting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 22, 2013 @11:11PM (#45764113)

    The u12 (Under 12) list is actually a whitelist, so you're correct on that, and this entire article is severely flawed in that way.

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