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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The unaccountable, multi-million-pound feel-good porn filters that UK ISPs were ordered to install by the Prime Minister are (predictably) grossly overblocking the Web. Among the (predictable) victims: sites related to sexual health, sex education, and pornography "addiction." Also, rape crisis centres. Done in one, Davey, you've kept the nation's children safe with your insane political posturing. Read the rest
As the UK government continues to roll out the Great Firewall of Cameron (by which ISPs are required to opt their customers into an "adult content filter" that is meant to block sites related to porn, gambling, "esoterica," "forums" and more), an official report reveals that the Houses of Parliament network logged 300,000+ attempts to access online porn last year. However, a Commons spokeswoman says the figure isn't "accurate." Read the rest
The NYT's "Room for Debate" section asked a variety of people for positions on the UK's Great Firewall of Cameron -- a new rule whereby ISPs must slap an "adult content" filter on every Internet connection in the land, which is meant to stop everything from porn to gambling sites to "esoteric material" (whatever that is). I wrote one of the pieces, as did many others. Read the rest
The British Library is an instructive test-case as we ramp up for the Great Firewall of Cameron, whereby all British ISPs will have to opt all their customers into an "adult content" filter. The BL's new filter blocked Shakespeare's Hamlet for excessive violence. Because it's dead easy to get enough prudes to look at all the webpages and decide which ones to censor, right? Read the rest