The recent story about Wikipedia being censored by a large number of UK ISPs has raised a lot of blog post/ tweets / column inches about quite how terrible / good it is that our Internet is not free and open.
Wake up UK! … this ain’t nothing new.
The UK has had censored Internet connections since mid-2004, as highlighted by Fraser Lovatt who wrote about BT using Cleanfeed in Digital-Lifestyles.
The blocking of highly-emotive Child pr0n was used as the headline reason for removing the open access to Internet connections.
IWF cite that viewing child pr0n is illegal in the UK, which is true – it doesn’t force the need for censorship.
A slippery slope
The difference between no censorship and even a little – even if it is is well intentioned – is a massive step. Once that has been breached, the step to expanding what is covered is relatively small to take. That is where the rot can start.
What’s even more worrying it where the body in charge of the censorship is unaccountable.
Bodies like the Internet Watch Foundation, who hold the power for large sections of the UK to not be able to access some Web sites, aren’t accountable to anyone. They’re a self-appointed body.
Surely they shouldn’t be in charge of what people can and can’t see online?