June 14, 2004
UK Net censorship

There's an interesting article on the BBC News website today about free speech and how the UK's leading broadband provider silently is making some sites "disappear" from the feed they provide:

Because the announcement is about child abuse, anyone who dares to challenge it is instantly under suspicion as a supporter of paedophiles. But this should not stop us pointing out that Cleanfeed is a bad idea and must be stopped.

This is not just because it will not achieve its goal, although it seems that it will be easy to get around, but because it sets a precedent for ISP control over what their users can do online that is simply unacceptable.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, freedom of expression is fundamental to our society, and blocking websites in this way defies that tradition and must not be allowed.

The article also quotes digital rights campaigner from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cory Doctorow.

Seth Finkelstein points out that anonymizers, "humourous text transformers" etc may also be blocked.

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