We usually think of places like China, North Korea, and other repressive dictatorships when we think of Internet censorship. UK Internet censorship is, however, reportedly blocking up to 20% off websites online. This information comes courtesy of the Open Rights Group, and it is damning of the UK’s handling of the Internet, and its desire to give its citizens true freedom.
UK Internet censorship is blocking up to 20% of all websites
The UK Internet censorship move is designed to keep under 18s from having access to pornography, talk of smoking and alcohol, and free from hate speech. Which may or may not be a noble cause, I’ll leave the moralizing to someone else. The fact of the matter is that many websites are being blocked either by accident, or on purpose, which do not fit under these categories.
Open Rights Group have been working to see what sort of websites are being blocked that certainly do not fit the bill. Three odd examples include:
- A Porsche car broker
- A political blog
- An article about post-pregnancy care that a new mother was trying to read
Out of the three, it is the political blog which worries me, and should worry you, the most. Is the British government starting to quietly silence outspoken political writers? Let’s all hope that this was one of those errors talked about.
— markhughes (@markhughes) July 11, 2016
How did the UK Internet censorship movement begin?
The UK Internet censorship movement began in July of 2013. Prime Minister David Cameron, an online expert </sarcasm>, urged ISPs within the UK to put a block on pornography. To “protect the children,” as these people like to say. They came up with three levels of censorship:
- Light: Covers porn, “tasteless” content, hate websites, self-harm websites, references to drugs, alcohol and smoking, and oddly enough dating websites.
- Moderate: Blocks all of the above, plus nudity, mentions of violence, websites about weapons, gambling, and social networking websites.
- Strict: Blocks all of the above, plus fashion websites, beauty websites, file-sharing and P2P, games, and websites that stream media.
Users can also choose to add websites themselves manually. It’s hard to know what they would block as the Strict setting blocks pretty much everything on the Internet.
— Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊) (@schestowitz) July 9, 2016
What’s the problem with the UK Internet censorship movement
- Many people aren’t even aware of it. What ISP is going to brag about how much of the Internet they don’t let you see?
- People are afraid to ask to turn it off as they feel that their account will be targeted by their ISP.
- How can you prove that there still isn’t manipulation behind the scenes, and how can you know that you are truly experiencing the open Internet?
The first point is an ongoing problem with poor online education. The second point is leading to psychological intimidation, it prevents people from getting what they want as they fear for their freedom – a classic dictatorship tactic. The third point points to a clear distrust amongst ISPs in the UK now.
Once the UK Internet censorship movement let the cat out of the bag, it’s hard to stuff that rabid and wild cat back in and gain the trust of the people once more.
Get around UK Internet censorship
There is, of course, the way above – call up your ISP and ask them to remove the blocks. But then there’s the third point: Do you trust that the UK Internet censorships blocks have really been removed.
Your other option is to use a VPN that is good at getting around geo-blocks, like the 5 we review here. These services change your IP address. Choose an IP address that is outside of the UK and you’ll once again be able to access all of the material censored in the UK as your computer will now be in another country virtually.
Not only will you be able to experience the Internet as it exists outside of the UK in terms of a lack of censorship, but your new IP address will allow you to unlock geo-blocked content. This will open up brand new possibilities for your connection – freeing you from the repressive UK Internet censorship movement even further.