Any time anyone asks me if I miss living in the UK, I think about stories like this.
I mean, can you imagine the US government ordering ISPs to ban otherwise totally legal content, just on the basis it might cause citizens to get too crazy, or horny or suicidal? And yet that’s exactly what David Cameron’s government has done, asking major broadband and mobile service providers to implement “child-friendly” content blocking across their networks. That blocking has started to roll out for customers of TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Media and Sky. Says the Guardian…
The filters screen out pornography, suicide and self-harm related content, weapons and violence, gambling, drugs, alcohol and tobacco, but users can also opt to block dating, music and film piracy, games and social networking.
But the Guardian also reports that one in five of the UK’s most popular sites have been affected by the blocks, including sites which offer advice on childbirth, political sites and even one for a Porsche dealership. Gawker’s “Jezebel” women’s site has been blocked by mobile network, Three, while the TalkTalk network has banned political blog Guido Fawkes, which frequently publishes criticism of Cameron’s government.
A spokesman for Talk Talk told The Guardian that “customers could report any wrongly filtered material via its website,” which is hugely comforting. For now, though, I think I’ll stay on this side of the Atlantic.