Lots of folks are talking about the decision by BT to block access to child porn and how this is the "first mass censorship of the web attempted in a Western democracy." Actually, that's not true at all. Pennsylvania has been forcing ISPs to do this for years. While most of the Guardian article above focuses on how it's now technically feasible to do so, it doesn't really get into the reasons why this is problematic. First, it's unclear who gets to make up the list, and how they decide what's "bad" and what's acceptable. The article mentions a list, but it's not clear that's the list that BT will use - or if there's any kind of appeal procedure for sites that have been unfairly blocked. It's also not clear if (as in Pennsylvania) blocking a site that's on a shared server will mean every other site on that server will also get blocked. The article talks up how this was an idea by NCH, the children's charity who has a habit of putting out very biased and very misleading studies trying to blame child porn on everyone but the people actually creating and hosting the child porn. This is yet another effort by them to try to hide away the problem, rather than dealing with its root causes.
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