Our prime minister is reported as saying that the same filters used to block porn sites will be used to block extremist web sites. Hansard definitely reports that he is talking of "blocking online sites".
Update: We can't find a proper source for the idea that the porn filtering will be used for this. It makes sense, having badgered large ISPs to have filtering at all, but we cannot find the actual source of that connection.
This is quite brave really. After all, we are not China, or North Korea, yet our prime minister seems to be scared of some people's views, so scared that he is prepared to mess with national communications infrastructure to block the public seeing these views.
I was under the impression that we were all responsible enough to make our own mind up over what we choose to believe when exposed to other peoples views, no matter how extreme they are, but no, apparently we need a Nanny State.
I was under the impression that holding views and expressing them was a basic human right, no matter how extreme or crazy those views are... but no, apparently not! Not if your views are too extreme.
Really, is this how we do things now? Silence the extreme views; Ban wrong thinking; Herd the population like sheep and make sure they can only see the right views and right thinking to ensure they do not form their own opinion of anything.
Of course, this will not stop extremist views, or stop people accessing web sites - no blocks will be able to do that short of making the Internet totally unusable. What this will do is give such sites a huge stamp of credibility for being so dangerous in their views that the prime minister is scared of them. Any site with any "anti government" viewpoint will want that stamp of credibility, and will just publish links via google translate or other proxies so everyone can see their views. Or are we banning google translate as well now?
It does rather expose the real reason for these calls for filters - many of us said this was just to ensure every ISP has a filtering system in place so that the filters could be extended bit by bit. I am surprised that the prime minister has not even waited for the major ISPs to all have the porn filters in place before showing his hand and extending the remit to cover extremist web sites. There is a fine line between extremist and minority, and it is always one small reasonable step forward to add the next level of unapproved viewpoints to the list, especially when the list of banned sites will not be under any supervision or scrutiny.
Maybe I was wrong, maybe we are in North Korea after all. A&A still have no filters, and short of some very well written laws, we won't.
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