The U.K.’s porn censorship plan has all the makings of a disaster

UK Porn Censorship Plan Criticism

The United Kingdom’s government has been taking heat for asking British ISPs to implement pornography filters as default settings for their users, who will have to specifically opt out of the filter to get full access to the Internet. Quartz’s Leo Mirani passes along two stories showing why any attempts at instituting mass pornography filters will be abject failures that will anger users and that won’t even stop the distribution of illegal content such as child pornography.

Citing two separate instances, Mirani notes that the London British Library’s filtering system recently blocked one user from accessing Hamlet due to its “violent” content and also blocked another user from accessing a series of Tennyson poems, even though the library claims that its filters are only meant to block access to pornographic material or gambling websites. And while it’s true that the British Library won’t be in charge of instituting a nationwide porn filtering system, Mirani doesn’t see how any such system can avoid such snafus no matter who has designed it.

“The British Library’s filtering system for its public Wi-Fi is like any filtering system: broad, blunt and incapable of nuance,” he writes. “A public filtering system, designed to cover the entire online population of Great Britain, is unlikely to be much more subtle in its approach.”

And given that websites such as The Pirate Bay are already rolling out web browsers that bypass ISP filters, it seems that a nationwide filter wouldn’t stop determined individuals from accessing unseemly content anyway.

Source:
Quartz
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