UK joins China in censoring Internet

The UK has joined the ranks of the Chinese in enforcing Internet censorship. The only difference? You UK has an “opt-out” rule — for now — if you don’t mind having your name on a watchlist.

According to Wikipedia,

There is an ongoing program to introduce a broad system of default blocking of certain types of content to all Internet users in the UK. New customers have their Internet access filtered at the ISP level so that certain web sites are blocked. A voluntary code of practice agreed by all four major ISPs means that customers have to ‘opt out’ of the ISP filtering to gain access to the blocked content. The range of content blocked by ISPs includes content tagged as the following:

pornographic
violent
extremist
terrorist
anorexia and eating disorders
suicide
alcohol
smoking
web forums
esoteric material
web-blocking circumvention tools

The scary part, of course, who is the judge in all this, and why does the government think it can (or should) do a better job than parents in keeping children away from that material?

More importantly is the issue of whether this sort of censorship will spread to the US. Our first amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but starting just after 9/11 the US government restricted freedom significantly for “safety and security” reasons.  Are we next?

I hope you are as disturbed as I am about this. Blocking illegal activity I understand. But pornography and eating disorders? What’s next? This is crackdown on basic rights, just the kind of thing the West has been chastising China for!

Welcome to the Brave, New World. Coming soon to an ISP near you — so be afraid. Speak out!