great firewall of cameron

David Cameron promises law to force ISPs to censor a secret blacklist


The UK Prime Minister has doubled down on his Great Firewall of Cameron, which is an arrangement whereby the UK ISPs "voluntarily" agreed to block websites that had been secretly ruled to be pornographic, unless customers specifically asked them not tp. Read the rest

Parenting and the Internet: the smarter, missing third way

My new Guardian column, What is missing from the kids’ internet? discusses three different approaches to teaching kids information literacy: firewall-based abstinence education; trust/relationship-based education, and a third way, which is the proven champion of the offline world. Read the rest

David Cameron will publish the financial details and viewing habits of all UK porn-watchers

That's not what he says—all porn sites will have to gather and retain proof of customer identity. But everything leaks, so it's what he meant.

There was a David Cameron who swallowed a fly...

In my latest Guardian column, I talk about the real danger from the UK Tories' plan to ban effective cryptography: not the initial mandate forcing companies to help spy on their users, but all the things we'll have to do when that doesn't work. Read the rest

Great Firewall of Cameron blocks sex-abuse charities

UK Prime Minister David Cameron demanded that ISPs opt their customers into "adult content" filters (and now Sky is opting in everyone whose account predates this announcement), ignoring all the people who correctly predicted that these filters would block important sites. Read the rest

World-beating email EULA

I amuse myself (and sometimes others) with my email sig, which makes you promise to release me from any agreements I've gotten into with your employer -- but it turns out I'm a rank amateur. Read the rest

Great Firewall of Cameron blocks Parliamentary committee on rendition/torture

Thanks to the bullying of UK PM David Cameron, everyone who signs up for an Internet account is asked "Would you like to keep 'adult content' blocked on this connection?" It's a misleading question. Read the rest

CCC website censored in the UK

The Great Firewall of Cameron is supposed to block "extremist" websites, and somehow, the website of the respected, excellent Chaos Computer Club, one of Germany's foremost centers for technology research and political analysis, has been blocked. Read the rest

UK Tories demand a "ban this terrorist filth" button for the Web, ISPs comply

David Cameron says that the reason Britons are fighting with IS is that they were hypnotised by unstoppable sorcerous "extremist" words on the net and that the best way to fight this is to get the big UK ISPs to agree to block any "extremist" content that's reported by the eagle-eyed public and added to (yet another) secret, unaccountable, extrajudicial list of websites that can't be reached from behind the Great Firewall of Cameron -- and the big ISPs agree with him! Read the rest

PSA: UK small businesses, don't get ripped off by BT's "PC Security" scam

I cancelled my small business BT account last year when they endorsed the Tory Internet censorship plan -- and to my surprise, they kept sending me bills, but that wasn't nearly so surprising as what I discovered next: a seven-year-long overbilling ripoff that took most of a year to untangle. Read the rest

Fewer than 10% of UK families opt into "parental" filters

But they're going to be on-by-default, opt-out-only in the near future anyway, because the Great Firewall of Cameron is based on lazy populism, not evidence. Read the rest

Podcast: What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like?

Here's a reading of a recent Guardian column, What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like? which debunks the UK government's stupid arguments for its national anti-porn firewall: Read the rest

Sky Broadband parental filter blocks jquery

The parental filter on Sky Broadband, one of the largest ISPs in the UK, blocked jquery, the widely used Javascript library, without which many websites cease to operate. While the block was in place, Sky advised customers that they could get the Web back by disabling the filter, or switching off the "phishing/malware" category.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has unilaterally decreed that these parental filters will soon be switched on by default for all broadband customers in the UK. But don't worry, the Great Firewall of Cameron won't make any mistakes, because the PM has decreed that Web companies must:

a) Censor all the bad things, but;

b) Don't censor the good things.

Whew, that's a relief. Read the rest

Great Firewall of Cameron blocks game update because "XerathMageChainsExtended" contains "sex"

Redditor LolBoopje discovered that the UK's Great Firewall of Cameron -- the national censorwall put in place by the prime minister -- was blocking updates to the game League of Legends. The update archive contained two files, "VarusExpirationTimer.luaobj" and "XerathMageChainsExtended.luaobj" that had the word "sex" in them, triggering the censorship algorithm. The censorship is totally silent -- users got a "file not found" error -- and it was only some very clever sleuthing that revealed the error.

I've written at length about the worse-than-useless nature of censorware as a means of keeping kids from seeing bad stuff. One of the key points to note here is that silent failure: there is no way of telling how many of the timeouts, file-not-found errors, and other miscellaneous bugs in your daily Web experience are caused by the Great Firewall, and that is by design. It is a system that is intended to make it impossible to tell if it's working. That's not going to be pretty. Read the rest

Total corruption: Organised crime infiltrated and compromised UK courts, police, HMRC, Crown Prosecution Service, prisons, and juries

A leaked Scotland Yard report disclosed in The Indepedent documents the near-total corruption of the British government and justice system by organised criminals. The report documents "Operation Tiberius," which dates to 2003, and contains a series of explosive allegations about corruption, including the sale of £50,000 "get out of jail free cards," the buying off of juries, and the "at will" infiltration of Scotland Yard by gangs.

The report quotes a Senior Investigating Officer who said, "I feel that at the current time I cannot carry out an ethical murder investigation without the fear of it being compromised." It claims that a Metropolitan Police detective's son was employed as a torturer for one gang, and that the detective impeded any investigations into the gang his son worked for and the crimes he committed.

There's no reason to suspect that the crimes documented in Tiberius stopped there, nor that they couldn't take place today. And yet today, the political establishment sees nothing wrong with total surveillance of every person in the country, from ubiquitous CCTVs to illegal harvesting of Internet data and mobile phone logs.

The thing that corruption stories -- even astounding ones like this -- teach us is that our systems need to account for the possibility that the authorities are corrupt, or sloppy, or duped. Creating laws that give police and magistrates the power to declare anything anyone does illegal, storing massive DNA databases, allowing for secret courts and warrantless surveillance, creating unaccountable systems of censorship, and letting spies run wild are all examples of systems designed on the presumption that the establishment is both uncorrupted and perpetually uncorrectable. Read the rest

Great Firewall of Cameron: the worst of all worlds for British parents

In my latest Guardian column, I explain how UK prime minister David Cameron's plan to opt the entire nation into a programme of Internet censorship is the worst of all worlds for kids and their parents. Cameron's version of the Iranian "Halal Internet" can't possibly filter out all the bad stuff, nor can it avoid falsely catching good stuff we want our kids to see (already the filters are blocking websites about sexual health and dealing with "porn addiction"). That means that our kids will still end up seeing stuff they shouldn't, but that we parents won't be prepared for it, thanks to the false sense of security we get from the filters. Read the rest

UK's new national firewall: O2's "parental control" list blocks Slashdot, EFF, and Boing Boing

The Great Firewall of Cameron is going live, with all British ISPs defaulting their customers to an "adult content filter" -- meaning that you have to call up and say, "I demand pornography!" or all the sites on the blacklist will be off-limits to you. Included in O2's "parental control blocklist" are such hotbeds of hardcore porn as Slashdot, EFF, Linux Today, Blogspot, No Starch Press, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and, of course, Boing Boing. The "parental control" list is something you have to ask for (not the default-on filter), but it's being actively marketed to parents as the responsible thing to do. For the record, I've switched my broadband to Andrews and Arnold, who oppose Internet censorship. Read the rest

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