Another Problem with UK's 'Nudge Censorship': No Clear Accountability
from the thinking-it-through dept
As Tim Cushing has noted, David Cameron's half-baked plan to make online pornography opt-in in the UK has continued to earn him ridicule around the world. Despite that fact, there is already talk about extending this censorship approach to a host of other completely legal areas. The UK Open Rights Group (ORG), which discovered that slide into general censorship, not just of porn, has published another post which points out a further reason why what they call "nudge censorship" -- using default blocks that require a conscious opt-in to remove -- is so dangerous: the lack of clear accountability:
DCMS [the UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport] and [crusading MP Claire] Perry have been pushing both network filtering and 'nudge censorship' onto ISPs. ISPs have agreed; now those of us who think government has got it wrong have nobody clear to pressurise.
Because there will be no legislation that specifies how all these blocks are to be imposed, or on what, the public seems to have no recourse for when things go wrong -- as is bound to happen. In particular, ORG asks the following questions about the current vague and unworkable plans:
1. Are ISPs responsible for incorrect blocks?
The debate will doubtless continue, but ORG's analysis does highlight one thing: the danger of moving to "voluntary" schemes for tackling difficult problems in the online world, rather than crafting new legislation, since they offer little in the way of formal debate or checks and balances.
2. Are ISPs financially liable for incorrect blocks?
3. What happens when government suggests that 'terrorist content' be blocked with not 'opt out'?
4. Are ISPs responsible for adopting the nonsense 'preselected censorship' policy -- as it is not official government policy, but apparently the personal position of Claire Perry and DCMS heads such as Maria Miller?
5. Will Claire Perry continue to have a personal veto on the nature of broadband set up screens?