Monday, December 08, 2008

UK Internet Firewall already affecting Wikipedia

Original article, more here

So the UK turns on their transparent internet filter designed to protect kiddies from child pornography, and already there have been 2 immediate effects:

  1. Because the filter redirects all users through a proxy, their IP address is the same, which means social websites like Wikipedia can't distinguish between legitimate users and those who maliciously vandalise their content

  2. An article on a 1976 metal band with an album cover of questionable taste has vanished

This has major ramifications that do nothing to aid the purported cause:

The IP addresss issue means other systems that rely on blacklisting the IP address of abusive users, like for example the comment system on a weblog like this, have to block everyone behind the filter. Could the same also apply to SPAM blacklists? Could it block access to internet banking? What other sites would you suddenly find yourself unable to use?

Reiterating my previous point, it does nothing to address the real issue with society, but has very real, harmful effects. Whether the album cover is tasteful is perhaps a subject that could be discussed in a mature way between parents and their kids, as opposed to the government stepping in and forcefully assuming a role that is not theirs.

It's a very short, slippery slope between throwing buzzwords around like "child pornography", and the great firewall of China, a tool employed by a repressive military regime.

Do we really live in a free nation or not?

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