Sunday, December 19, 2010

The creeping hand of censorship and the state

Every day it seems the government is interfering in our freedoms, usually using some pretext or other involving something that some don't like to bring out a raft of legislation to give them (the state) a degree of control over who sees what and how. The internet is of course one of their biggest bugbears, the rapid dissemination of information and news through it causes governments throughout the world headaches, even if a lot of it is half truths and conspiracy theories, though the current Wikileaks hoo hah is a prime example of governments getting upset over their dirty washing being aired in public, even if non of it was too surprising or particularly controversial.
One of their methods is of course to attack our freedoms by attacking porn. There are certainly some disgusting examples out there and some of it does break current UK laws, though as it isn't held on UK sites, there's not a lot the government can do other than prosecute those who download it here. Well that's never stopped the state for looking out for a means to control the internet access we have.

Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, has called a meeting with the country’s biggest broadband providers, including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, to explore changing how pornography gets into homes.
Instead of using parental controls to stop access to explicit websites, a block will be placed at source, meaning adults will have to specifically opt in to receive the images.
The move is designed to prevent children from being exposed to sex at an early age and follows warnings about the hidden impact of pornography.
However, many technology experts said the plans were unworkable even if the broadband providers signed up to a voluntary code. It relies upon the Government or the internet service providers themselves having a complete and up-to-date list of pornographic websites.
Also, critics argued, the move was "censorship through the back door", and could end up restricting many legitimate websites.
And I've no doubt, the critics are right, the government of this country have driven a horse and cart through our ancient rights over the last 30 years or so, so an attack on what we look at on the internet is not that surprising. Using porn as the pretext is part of their usual "for the cheeldren" approach as it gets over protective numpty parents on board to support various illiberal pretexts to censorship. If they don't want their kids looking at porn, don't give the kids internet access in their bedrooms out of site of the parents, simples. Though truth be told, most kids can run rings around their parents when it comes to technology, still, with graphic images, it's a lot harder. Though the parents have no control over what their kids will see at other kids homes. Still, the government shouldn't be encouraged to think they can get away with this sort of thing and such measures need to be fought for by civil liberties groups, because once the government have a degree of control, the bastards are sure to expand it to block sites that they don't want us to see involving the government. Much easier to control us if we don't know what's going on after all.

11 annotations:

Autonomous Mind said...

I am reminded of the very first episode of the West Wing when John Van Dyke says to President Bartlet:
'If our children can buy pornography on any street corner for five dollars, isn't that too high a price to pay for free speech?'

Bartlet replies 'No' and goes on to add:
'On the other hand I do think that five dollars is too high a price to pay for pornography.'

All the government wants in place is a mechanism put in place for blocking content it may want to censor. Pornography is being used as the excuse. I'm only surprised they are asking ISPs how to do approach this instead of talking to their expert friends in Beijing.

Curmudgeon said...

The Internet filtering system at work bars many apparently innocuous sites as "pornographic". including my own blog :-(

Would this be any better

Anonymous said...

Firstly I agree with you about the parents. If some of them tried actually being parents and actually doing the job of parenting, then the kids wouldn’t see the porn. No kid of mine will be subjected to it in my house. Of course you have kids in other houses... but hey, we all saw porn before we were 16. Some of it was tame stuff, but others were stuff that other kids’ older brothers had got from Holland or Denmark or wherever... OK, it wasn’t as available as it is online.

I don’t know what kind of porn they are referring to, but I don’t suppose that there was much that we couldn’t have got our hands on if we had wanted it. They make too much of a fuss about it. It must be done to please the blue rinse brigade that both parties chase for votes.... and of course the Daily Mail and the Sun.

Butt out, I say. Why don’t they try to make their first priority the fact that people die of the cold every year in the UK because they are poor. That is much more important than little Johnny seeing porn when he’s 14.

Bill said...

Every secondary school I know of employs IT geeks to filter web content and every secondary school I know of teaches children clever enough to get round the IT geeks filters.

More rank stupidity from the political class.

Norton Folgate said...

What people should do is simply migrate to ISP's that don't sign up to this bullshit, the others will eventually get the message or hopefully go out of business.

proxy said...

You wouldn't even need to change ISP's. A small annual charge to a proxy server firm will suffice. It's what all the ex pats in the middle east do to get to the wank sites. And a lot of the locals aswell.

Anonymous said...

Dear Quiet Man

" ... and such measures need to be fought for by civil liberties groups, ..."


They need to be fought by everyone.

Plainly the government is addicted to taxpayers' money. They need to be cured of this addiction. It's for their own good.

Time to start the revolution?


Quiet_Man said...

There are other revolutions I'm fighting, I'll support civil liberties groups as I can, but my time is limited.

Georg said...

Hello Quiet Man,

Instead of being proud to be British or English, what about being thankful not to be born a proud Somalian.

Could have happened. You only need to be born there.

I suggest you limit yourself to be proud only of your personal achievements.

Cheers to you

Furor Teutonicus said...

even if a lot of it is half truths and conspiracy theories,

Na, Governments LOVE conspiracy theories. It means they do not have to deny/confirm anything.

Their work is done for them by the tin foil hatters.

Quiet_Man said...

Are you suggesting it's wrong to love your country Georg? Are you suggesting that it's wrong to have pride in what your countrymen have achieved in its history?
Most of the Somali's I've met in this country have been followers of the vile Islamic cult, I'm sure they are nice enough, but their choice of religion tends to put me off.