The blacklist of banned websites set to be included in the UK’s new “porn filter,” which will be managed by a company with close ties to the Communist Chinese government, will also censor content that has nothing whatsoever to do with pornography.
The British government has demanded that the porn filter, which is being justified as a means of protecting children against harmful online content, be automatically enforced by ISPs from the end of next year. Customers will have to contact their service providers to opt out of the system.
“According to ISPs speaking with the Open Rights Group, the filter will target a range of other content too,” reports TorrentFreak.
The risk of controversial websites being caught up in the porn dragnet mimics how Internet censorship has been applied in other countries, including Australia where activist websites were blocked as a result of being included on a government blacklist.
After liaising with Internet Service Providers who will be mandated to implement the “pornwall” system, the Open Rights Group has confirmed that the blacklist of websites will by no means be restricted to pornography.
Under HomeSafe, a version of which is likely to be used as a template for the UK blacklist, numerous categories of websites are automatically blocked until a user unticks the option. The graphic below illustrates how websites related to file sharing, social networking and “weapons & violence” will also be blocked. The term “violence” is so generic that it could easily include political websites which feature news content.
As we reported earlier, HomeSafe is a product of the TalkTalk ISP, which is owned by Huawei Technologies. Huawei was founded by a former PLA and Communist Party member and the company has been accused of spying for the Chinese government.
“What’s clear here is that David Cameron wants people to sleepwalk into censorship,” warns the Open Rights Group. “We know that people stick with defaults: this is part of the idea behind ‘nudge theory’ and ‘choice architecture’ that is popular with Cameron.”