UK Filters Block MP’s Site, but Not Porn

ClairePerrySiteCensoredLONDON – Everyone should have seen this coming: A recent test shows the UK’s new mandatory ISP-level filtering is doing an excellent job … of blocking everything except porn.

Member of Parliament Claire Perry received an object lesson in how well the filters aren’t working this week, when her official website was blocked as “smut,” presumably because Perry’s was among the loudest of the voices campaigning for the mandatory filters. In attempting to convince fellow MPs and the general public that unfiltered internet access will lead to the rapid decline of civilization, Perry littered her webpages with impassioned rants about the dangers of porn, sex and various and sundry other now-verboten topics.

The British press are having a field day with the news.

“Given what they do with our money, I suppose you can indeed decide that Parliament and the Government are forms of pornography,” contributor Tim Worstall wrote for Forbes. “But it’s that blocking of Claire Perry’s site that is just so joyous.”

Perry’s website isn’t the only online resource to be caught in the British government’s porn trap. Sites belonging to child-protection and women’s charities also have been blocked because they sometimes mention porn addiction, violent crime and sexual abuse. Sites belonging to some gay rights groups, the British Library and the National Library of Scotland also are inaccessible for those with filters in place, as are sites run by Sexual Health Scotland, Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline, Reducing The Risk, Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and BishUK, an award-winning sex-education provider.

On the flipside, according to the BBC’s Newsnight, the filters employed by the UK’s three major ISPs — TalkTalk, Sky and BT — failed to block anywhere from 7 percent to 100 percent of 68 known pornographic websites included in a test run by the programme.

The ISPs unilaterally maintain the filters are a work in progress. With public input and improvements in technology, eventually the software should become more discerning, spokespeople said.

In the meantime, one enterprising software engineer already has released a piece of freeware that provides a fairly elegant — and simple — workaround for the filters.

Go Away Cameron, an aptly named plugin for the Chrome browser, “automates a private and smart proxy service to route your access around censorship so you can regain your access to your favourite blocked sites in the UK,” according to the developer, an anonymous Singaporean computer-science graduate who goes by the handle @nubela. “This will work anywhere and with any websites that are blocked by firewall, universities, workplaces, nanny filters, or well, censorship.

“I enjoy my internet freedom and urge all of you to never give that up, let alone to any government agencies,” he added.

 

Marty O'Brien

Marty O'Brien

Raised in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, Marty O'Brien was the first of the O'Brien clan to obtain a college degree. A former sports journalist, O'Brien got a peek at the inner workings of the adult entertainment industry while on an assignment to cover the Los Angeles Lakers. He joined the YNOT editorial team in late 2010 and now specializes in technology , business news and ogling starlets.

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