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Monday, 22 July 2013

Cameron's Blue Dot Internet

I had planned to write a lengthier post about David Cameron's new pornography opt-in scheme for the UK, but over at Head Rambles, Grandad has covered pretty much what I would have said, saving me at least a thousand characters:
And where does this stop?
He stops child porn today? Tomorrow he goes after any violence. The day after it’s incitement to racism? After that any unpatriotic [i.e. anti-government] material. After that, just about anything he disagrees with. Welcome to China.
I do have a bit more to add. I suppose having failed at introducing minimum pricing to protect the plebs from themselves, and having decided [temporarily] against plain packaging for tobacco products to protect children from dangerous logos and trade marks, Cameron and coalition, wishing to appear to be doing something to protect us all, have now decided to do their utmost to break the Internet in the UK.

Because it's clear that nobody in Parliament actually understands how the Internet works nor how easily any "controls" can be bypassed by a monkey with a mouse and keyboard; nor do our dear respected leaders ken that people who want the sort of material that our leaders seek to have "eradicated and stamped out" are unlikely to use any major search engine to find it, but even if they did they would adapt and use terms that were not blocked.

Of course the Government will fail magnificently in its attempts to stick a giant, digital blue dot on the Internet to protect the plebs from pornography of all sorts, and businesses of all kinds will pay the price for that failure, but not before those businesses -- fearing hefty fines or imprisonment -- overreact and/or misinterpret what will certainly be an ill-drafted law and block anything that anybody might deem unsuitable for children, like this blog for instance, which is already blocked by several UK councils' free wifi schemes. Asking for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to police the Internet is not going to go well at all.

Grandad stopped short of bringing Public Health's tobacco control industry into play on this, so allow me to retrieve my crystal ball:  I foresee the prohibitionists will seize the opportunity to include a ban on anything tobacco or smoking-related, possibly even e-cigs because it "looks like smoking," including written text and blogs, because they'll say our sole focus in life is to protect the children no matter the costs to free speech and liberty.

Lastly, there will be the innocents caught up in this programme, because some people will do it simply for the "Lulz." It's not at all difficult to mask a hyperlink or set up redirects to the sites that simply accidentally looking at will have you added to the sex offender registry, thanks to your panicky ISPs. The only way to police the Internet is to monitor of all our communications, and the only way to enforce compliance is with force and the threat of imprisonment or extortionate fines. Much like how smoking bans are enforced if you think about it. You will be made to suffer in the Orwellian sense, because this move by Cameron has little do with protecting you or anybody -- it is instead a move to consolidate the power of government.

Sadly, the infantilisation of Britain marches apace. We are all children now, at least that is how our government treats us.

And we let them.