man in black crew neck shirt with red and white face paint

United Kingdom Plans to Filter the Internet

The Prime Minister for the United Kingdom, David Cameron, announced last week that the UK will implement a law that forces Internet Service Providers to block various kinds of websites unless users opt out of it. The measure has been pushed on the back of concerns over “pornography corroding childhoods,” but it was quickly revealed that the filter would block a lot more than that.

Criticisms Leveled at the Plan

UK Prime Minister David Cameron

Cameron asked the ISPs of Britain to implement the filter on their own, but that he could and would force them to do so with legislation if they did not. Some of the ISPs have expressed concern over these changes. One Service Provider, Andrews & Arnold, said that “It is not our role to try and censor the internet… If you want internet censorship, move to North Korea.”

Other people have listed their problems with the proposed filter. Though Cameron’s initial press conference cited Internet Pornography as the main offender, more and more terms and topics have come to light as parts of the filter, including “Bullying,” “Anorexia,” and “Suicide and Self-Harm.” Many are concerned that the default behavior of filtering websites with this content would – rather than protecting children – prevent kids who are searching the internet for help from being able to address the issues they’re facing. The hypothetical youth struggling with, for example, Anorexia, who feels they can’t talk to their parents about it, may normally turn to some internet communities for help. With these changes, that would be impossible.

HomeSafe Internet Filtering System
Cameron singled out the HomeSafe System for praise and an example of what he’s aiming for.

Other critics have lambasted the plan in the same way that Andrews & Arnold did: by comparing it to autocratic censorship measures. After the uproar over the EU’s ACTA bill, or the US’s SOPA, PIPA, and the more recent CISPA, many remain worried about internet censorship. Coupled with concerns about privacy following the US’s Snowden revelations, tensions are high on the topic of Internet Freedom. Some groups have the motto that any internet censorship is too much censorship, claiming that allowing legal censoring of anything on the web will inevitable open the door for more extreme measures.

The future of the internet hinges on the dual questions of privacy and freedom. So far it has been largely unregulated compared to most other forms of media, but that may not remain the case for much longer. David Cameron doesn’t seem likely to back down from this filtering plan, and many ISP’s are already on board, but the opposition is also strong. Whether the plan succeeds or not, though, one thing is clear: this will not be the last plan to change the course of Internet Freedom.

Targeted Results

Define your goals, everything we do is tailored to reach them.

Your Goals are Ours

Reaching your goals through partnership

Global Reach

Leverage our service providers to strengthen your efforts

100% Security Focus

Never wonder if your projects are safe again.