Friday, 26 July 2013

The Ongoing War On The Internet

This is old news now, but earlier this week, David Cameron has announced that he will be pushing towards action for pornography restriction to be placed on all internet users by using filters at the ISP level. Anyone who apparently still wants to access any adult sites will need to phone up their internet provider and specifically ask for the ability to be able to connect to those sites.

Whilst this subject has been covered no doubt all over the internet for the past week already, I just want to highlight to those who are unaware, some of the other on-going changes to the internet which are occurring right now. If you are to check off the other things which are expected to change over the next year or so, then this current call for pornography censorship under the guise of 'protecting the children' can be seen in context.

This is something I actually already covered in an old blog which I moved away from back in May, but for the sake of saving everyone's time, I'll just raise some bullet points and go through them;

  • After all the revelations about how the press in the UK had been hacking peoples phones, making false statements and manipulating politicians and paying Police for information, the Government decided to call for a 'Independent press regulator'. Unfortunately, the wording used by some ministers seems to suggest that under new legislation, blogs such as this one may be sued for libel. This is however an on-going issue, and decisions have at the moment been put off until Autumn of this year.
  • On top of the possibility of being sued for saying incorrect information over the internet about someone else, it is also a growing trend for people on the internet to be convicted for 'abuse' over sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This isn't something isolated to the UK however, and is occurring more and more all over the world.
  • Possibly the biggest and most concerning threat to the internet in both the UK and the United States is the anti-piracy legislation due to start next year whereby all our download history will be tracked by ISP's (presumably all torrent sites will also be blocked too.) The real sting is that there are currently plans to charge people to contest their guilt. Welcome to the Brave New World!
Whilst I agree that parents should take steps to prevent their children from viewing pornography, this notion of just blanket banning it is ridiculous and simply will not work, as is the idea off stopping child abuse simply by blocking it off the net. Ironically, nothing is really mentioned about the trend of late with the sexualisation of children in general (even some of the children's magazines offer sex and dating advice.)

A worrying thing to mention about the slippery slope of blocking certain things from the internet however: I remember when I first got my Smartphone with O2 and there was a number of political websites of which I couldn't gain access to because all O2 phones come with adult protection on them as standard (like this proposal, you have to phone someone up and request it be taken off.) It also barred many websites even if there was a swear word or naked picture on a page - most people would need to take it off within a fortnight because there would be so much you would be unable to access it'd simply infuriate you. Not that you couldn't access it through a proxy if you really had the determination, thus the whole premise of this idea is completely flawed.

Ironically, the company that they wish to outsource the 'porn filter' to is Huawei, a company with close links to the Chinese Government. Great to see how 'Corpommunist' China is the model for our 2.0 Western society. It doesn't take a genius to consider where this will lead in the coming years (wonder how long before 'extremist' or 'terrorist' websites are blocked along with those torrent sites next year.)

Whether you agree that pornography should not be seen or not is irrelevant, the real question is will these powers be abused to serve other purposes once they have the public's support for this pornography block (which I don't think they ever will in all honesty.) Whilst checking the BBC's article, my faith in humanity was restored slightly when you see that most people are getting switched on to what is happening with the internet, read the top five comments below:

This isn’t really about porn though is it? This is the thin end of the wedge whereby my Glorious Leaders will soon decide which sites are right for me and which aren’t.
Oh for crying out loud, if I'm old enough to vote or to go and die for my country please credit me with the intelligence to decide what I can and cannot view on the internet.
Yet more changes under the guise of "won't somebody think of the children?"
So, rather than encouraging responsible parenting you block every user, including those that will never have children.
This should be OPT IN not OPT OUT.
As number 4 notes, this will block other sites that will require the user to request an unblock, and probably put them on some horrid list for being a deviant.

Surely the responsibility to protect children from pornography lies with the parents?

Why not just introduce a simple opt-OUT system?

Sue Denim
Porn today, articles criticising the current regime next. How would we know?

Its a relief that people are beginning to wake up to the on-going war on the internet. Its far from over yet, but with enough public awareness we can stand-up to the Governments all over the world trying to use any excuse to shut down free-speech and free transfer of information!

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