U.K. government takes heat for porn filtering plan

UK Government Porn Filter Criticism

The United Kingdom has a prudish reputation by nature but nobody could have expected the country’s government would ask ISPs to implement pornography filters as default settings for their users, who will have to opt out of the filter to get full access to the Internet. This plan has understandably sparked controversy and now BBC News reports that TalkTalk, the company that developed the filter, is controlled by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which has been accused of spying on customers on behalf of the Chinese military.

Dr. Martyn Thomas, chair of the IT policy panel at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, told BBC News that he was concerned that the government was giving TalkTalk blanket power to create a blacklist of websites that it could censor as pornography.

“It needs to be run by an organization accountable to a minister so it can be challenged in Parliament,” he said. “There’s certainly a concern about the process of how a web address gets added to a blacklist – who knows about it, and who has an opportunity to appeal against it… You could easily imagine a commercial organization finding itself on that blacklist wrongly, and where they actually lost a lot of web traffic completely silently and suffered commercial damage. The issue is who gets to choose who’s on that blocking list, and what accountability do they have?”

At least one U.K. ISP has come out against the proposed filter and has adamantly said that it will not adopt it. Wired reports that ISP Andrews & Arnold is publicly ripping into U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to make content filters the default setting for Internet users.

“Sorry, for a censored internet you will have to pick a different ISP or move to North Korea,” the company said this week. “It is not our role to try and censor what you do with the internet. We do not try and log or limit what you are accessing. It is your responsibility to stick to the laws that apply to you. We have no intention of putting in place any censorship systems or using censored transit feeds.”

Source:
BBC News, Wired
blog comments powered by Disqus