We’ve been following the latest developments of UK mobile censorship closely; documenting when a website is found out to be censored on so-called ‘adult filters’. After documenting several websites that got censored, the next one to be found on the blacklist turns out to be us.
Our coverage began early last week where Open Rights Group decided to try and figure out which websites were being unfairly censored. The story began with the blocking of websites such as Tor, La Quadrature Du Net (digital rights advocacy website) and several others. The story has simply mushroomed from there. Later on, more websites were discovered to be censored including news outlets and political websites. More recently, TorrentFreak wound up getting censored themselves. As if the story couldn’t get ridiculous enough, British mainstream news outlet The Telegraph also got censored. After reporting all of this and being particularly critical about such censorship systems, we asked Open Rights Group the status of ZeroPaid. Turns out, ZeroPaid has also been censored by the ISP Orange. As of this writing, we don’t know how many other ISPs are censoring ZeroPaid.
There are many ways of talking about getting censored in this manner. One could make smart remarks about the Internet being a dangerous place. One could joke about how some of the most mundane of topics such as talking about a video about a slinky on a treadmill is now such a dangerous thing for kids to see, that ISPs feel the need to block it out to protect their innocence. One could undergo a review of some of the news stories that disagreed with the government (too many to link) on certain topics. Ultimately, they all lead to the exact same thing, that these blacklists simply do not work.
I think that this censorship issue has been a shoot first, ask questions later policy. A bunch of websites get censored and then there ends up being a review process of some sort to try and lift any blacklists whenever complaints come up. Everything we’ve seen so far has proven just how corrosive of a policy this ultimately is.