A group of UK MPs, the Daily Mail and religious pressure groups are pushing for a law that would require all new Internet subscribers to opt out of an unaccountable censorwall, which will silently block a secret list of websites from their Internet connections. This is bad enough. Unaccountable block-lists are an attractive nuisance -- as we saw with the Swedish and Danish child porn filter leak, 98.3 percent of the material on the secret blacklist wasn't child porn.
But it gets worse: once the legitimacy of secret, privately maintained censorship lists has been integrated into UK Internet service, it will be trivial to add new censorship to the service without fanfare or debate. And as we've seen, this won't stop kids from seeing porn, but it will incorrectly block non-pornographic material because of incompetence and/or malice.
The Open Rights Group needs you to write to your MP today to stop this absurd, evidence-free push for national, Chinese-style censorship in the UK.
Some MPs and religious groups are mounting a campaign to push 'default on' network level blocking on the UK Internet.  There is now a public consultation considering this idea.
However well meaning, we know from our own research  what happens when ISPs put blocks on the Internet. Through accident or abuse, censorship leads to lots more content being blocked than originally intended.
Sites will get blocked if they casually mention sex. Sexual health sites will get caught. The websites of clubs and bars, personal blogs and community sites get filtered. Chat sites may be banned – because they might not be sufficiently “policed”. In short, if you’re small and independent, you will suffer.
Innovation and free speech are threatened by this clumsy website blocking. And the government is considering turning this on by default. You may be presented with a list of ticked “filtered” categories, and have to untick them if you want to avoid the filtering.
And if this happens at the network, then future governments can easily extend what gets filtered without having to ask you. Mass censorship would be couple of clicks away.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.