Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Right to freedom of expression? Not to TalkTalk customers it seems.

Do I have a right to freedom to express myself?

If so, what the hell gives TalkTalk retail the right to block access to my blog?

https://www.blocked.org.uk/results?url=http://www.me.uk/

I wonder if I should start some sort of defamation case against them...

And by far the daftest blocking is :-

https://www.blocked.org.uk/results?url=http://blocked.org.uk/

Update: My blog not showing as blocked now, but blocked.org.uk still is by BT and VM.

Update: for other fun, see https://www.blocked.org.uk/results?url=http://loopsofzen.uk/

19 comments:

  1. Ha ha - Are TT *really* that stupid?

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    1. Appears so, they are blocking drobe.co.uk and my blog (along with RevKs) as they aren't kid safe according to http://help2.talktalk.co.uk/org-tool-and-filtering-homesafe which blocks "...sexually explicit material... sites promoting violence, weapons...blogs.." but DO allow through a 2girls1cup mirror site (if you don't know what it is, you don't wanna know!) and two major arms/guns manufacturers...

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    2. drobe.co.uk is a web archive of a site about Acorn RISC OS computers. It has no questionable content of any sort. I cannot see why anyone would ever block it.

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  2. Twitter is blocked on BT:
    https://www.blocked.org.uk/results?url=http://www.twitter.com

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  3. Take it further, make their ridiculous actions visible even more widely, perhaps they *might* think twice next time.

    E.g. This is at least as newsworthy as most of the stuff on TheRegister.

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  4. On VM and page loads ok for me.

    I think the list is unreliable.

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  5. Never mind The Register, apparently the website-blocking issue was covered on the Guardian yesterday - with comments. If the article is correct, the level of blocking can be selected by "the user" and specific categories (e.g. blogs) can be blocked/unblocked. Guido Fawkes' site is a blog therefore has been blocked (for users who selected it). Not sure how all this ties in with reports from www.blocked.org.uk.


    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/02/internet-filters-blocking-popular-websites-guido-jezebel

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    1. Yes, for the most part you can opt out of blocking - the site does explain the methodology they use, essentially accepting the default settings for the most part. Some may allow you to customise the filters to some extent - but why are O2 blocking a *car dealership* unless you specifically request access? Why does TalkTalk *default* to blocking (almost) all blogs, unless and until you ask them to let you access them?

      On the bright side, the greater the overblocking, the more people will turn the filters off and understand they are bad - like my suggestion to RevK that if A&A are ever forced to offer a filtered service, to filter out absolutely all traffic. Fully compliant and fully useless, ensuring that the unwanted service never actually gets used anyway.

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  6. Well done talktalk for demonstrating WHY blocked filters "to protect the kids" are just systems for your own bidding.

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    1. It seems one of the blocking levels blocks "blogs". How can that be anything but an incredibly blunt instrument? A blog by a teenager talking about school dinners lumped in with a blog by an Al Qaeda recruiter. Not good enough.

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    2. Agreed.

      Anyone with a clue shouts from the rooftops that these filters are just a joke and are clearly used for their untrue meanings.

      You upset someone in talktalk (for speaking the truth) and quickly (and with worrying ease) someone is able to block this site from all of their connections.

      Where is the validation?
      Where is the Governance.

      I'm not one to always kick up a fuss but I'd really use this as evidence of the above. Problem is though they'd just blame some "admin error" and dismiss the entire point. :(

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  7. I think I take issue with the ORG's methodology on blocked.org.uk:

    Testing the *default* filtering on ISPs is probably a worthwhile idea since, to some extent, it demonstrates why it is a Bad Thing to push filtering upon everyone.

    However, the ORG say "For lines that came with no filtering active by default we activated the "medium" filtering level" - people who have turned on the filtering on these ISPs have done so *voluntarily*, should hopefully be fully aware of the consequences and have determined the benefits to outweigh the cost. You can't have web filtering with zero false positives, so if you want filtering then you have to put up with them.

    "Protect the kids" is a completely valid reason for filtering an internet connection - the filters aren't going to stop a teenage kid from actually going out of their way to see porn, but do you want your 7 year old to accidentally stumble across it? - sensible for parents to turn on some filtering then. However, "protect the kids" *isn't* a good reason to impose default filtering on everyone - a lot of of people don't need filtering because they don't have kids, or because they manage their kids' internet access more proactively. These people shouldn't have to bear the cost (false positives) for no benefit. Allowing people to proactively opt-out means that ISPs now have to maintain an (arguably quite sensitive list) which could be interpretted as an "I want to look at porn" list (at least, I'm sure that's how the Daily Mail will interpret it if they ever get hold of a list of MPs who have turned the filters off!).

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    1. I agree there - really, they should distinguish between "this ISP blocks that site *by default*", i.e. their customers would have to ask specifically to be allowed access, and "this ISP considers that site unsuitable and blocks it *on request*".

      There is informational value in identifying which sites an ISP has on a blocklist, in the same way various sites can check an IP address against spam blacklists, but it's a very different service from identifying the sites ISPs are blocking by default.

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  8. I wonder how long before AAISP becomes one of the big 7 providers and is then subject to government enforced filtering too? I suppose if enough customers of other ISP's jump ship you might be in the radar soon.

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    1. Not likely we'll be "one of the big 7" any time soon, but even if we do - this is not "enforced", it is voluntary and A&A is not volunteering.

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    2. Strange that AAISP is listed on Blocked.org.uk as their page says "Blocked is an Open Rights Group project to detect and monitor web censorship in the UK by ISPs that provide adult content filtering (both opt-in and opt-out)."
      So being listed there, for pedantic users (like myself) induce that you are providing adult content filtering.

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    3. We are listed as a control for the monitoring system that monitors such sites, duh! The description states the purpose, and the FAQ, and so on do explain why we are included in the monitoring.

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  9. Good! I like my un filtered real internet connection. And DA in the tardis enjoys loops of zen from time to time :)

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