British Airways blocks Boing Boing

David Weinberger — author of Everything is Miscellaneous — is in London's Heathrow airport today, and he's discovered that British Airways' internet terminals block Boing Boing:

Internet Access to this site has been BLOCKED

British Airways Plc prohibited website information page.

British Airways has blocked access to certain Internet sites which may be considered to be illegal or offensive. This site is currently on the barred list.We understand that the Internet changes constantly and that the decision in respect of this particular site may no longer be appropriate. If you would like us to review the decision to bar access to this site, please give the website URL and a contact e-mail address to a member of staff at the Lounge Reception. The response will be written confirmation that either the ban on this site has been lifted, or that the site continues to contain material that is inappropriate and, therefore, the bar on access will continue.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Date/Time: 2007-09-28 – 07:29:54
Category: "Nudity;Personal Pages"

BA is probably using one of the censorware companies like SmartFilter, who also supply the censorship technology to governments in countries like Syria and the United Arab Emirates. SmartFilter's business model is to fill sleazy boiler-rooms with prudish unemployable drones who spend all day clicking on web-pages and classifying them based on whether they'll offend the delicate sensibilities of the world's tyrants.

BA contracts with these scam-artists to control which information the adults who fly on its planes can use — because you lack the capability to choose which web-pages you want to look at, and need an airline to choose the pages for you. We've been vocal critics of these companies, and so they all block us, using rubrics like "nudity" or "circumvention" — because if you have one nude thumbnail or one page about circumvention, then all the tens of thousands of pages on your site will be blocked. What a "non-nudity" site is, then, is a site in which no nudity has ever appeared and no nudity ever will appear (SmartFilter says that a web-page with a picture of Michaelangelo's David counts as a "nudity site").

I'm a BA platinum flier, logging hundreds of thousands of miles per year on the oneworld network. I guess it's time to try Virgin instead.

Link to Boing Boing's "Defeat Censorware" page