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Report Highlights 10 Sites Unfairly Blocked By UK Mobile Internet Censorship

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the block-'em-all-and-let-gore-sort-'em-out dept.

Censorship 94

Mark.JUK writes "The Open Rights Group (ORG), which works to raise awareness of digital rights and civil liberties issues, has published a new report that examines the impact of internet censorship on UK mobile networks and lists an example of 10 legitimate websites that often get unfairly blocked (PDF) by adult content filters (over-blocking). The study is important because similar measures could soon be forced upon fixed-line broadband ISP subscribers by the UK government. Some of the allegedly unfair blocks include censorship of the 'Tor' system, a privacy tool used by activists and campaigners across the globe, and the website of French 'digital rights' advocacy group 'La Quadrature du Net.'"

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Some of the most popular sites... (2)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998203)

...could be blocked! What about www.expertsexchange.com? Oh yeah, forgot the hyphen: that should be experts-exchange.com.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998247)

... and nothing of value was lost.

that is truly one of the worst sites on the web, cluttering up every coders google searches with it's spammy SEO paywall.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (4, Informative)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998467)

Manage Blocked Sites: https://www.google.ca/reviews/t [google.ca]
I've had Experts Exchange blocked for years now.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999165)

Thanks!!

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (2)

ficuscr (1585141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999239)

So far on my list... www.bigresource.com w3schools.com www.w3schools.com php.bigresource.com experts-exchange.com

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999707)

As a coder I expect you know how to append "-experts-exchange.com" to your search? Thus, at a stroke, eliminating its (no apostrophe) spammy CEO paywall.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002229)

As a coder, you should know to automate this instead of retyping it every time.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002231)

Oops, sorry. I thought you were replying to this person:

Manage Blocked Sites: https://www.google.ca/reviews/t [google.ca] [google.ca]
I've had Experts Exchange blocked for years now.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998299)

For the most part if the site is blocked and you need access to it, you can normally request access and the organization will unblock the site. There are other sites such as eHow can answer some "Dirty Questions". If you could think back to when you were an adolescent kid, you could get find erotic (to you) material, from non-porn areas.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998333)

If you could think back to when you were an adolescent kid, you could get find erotic (to you) material, from non-porn areas.

By which I believe you mean the Sears catalog. ;-)

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (5, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998459)

I read about Sodom and Gomorrah in The Bible.

On a more serious note, when I was 15, I wanted to see a movie, but for that you needed to be 16, so I bought the book instead.

Years later I saw the movie and I must tell you that the book was much more, uh, adult then the movie. So kids, if you want to get around censorship on the Internets, go to the library. Shocking amount of books with adult content available.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (2)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999617)

I read about Sodom and Gomorrah in The Bible

You were allowed to read Fiction at such a young age?

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (4, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000151)

He didn't specify at what age he read the story, but from your post I think we can reasonably conclude that you still believe that The Cat in the Hat is a true story.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008333)

...whoosh?

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40001985)

If you ever get the chance to read the novel that became the Disney movie "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing", you too will be amazed that it was ever allowed into a catholic primary school library. As was I...amazed, but very, very pleased...

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998473)

and www.penisLand.com

The 10 blocked sites (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998489)

1. ‘Tor’ (www.torproject.org). We established that the primary website of this privacy tool (meaning the HTTP version of the Tor Project website, rather than connections to the Tor network) was blocked on at least Vodafone, O2 and Three in January.

  2. La Quadrature du Net (www.laquadrature.net/en). The website of this French ‘digital rights’ advocacy group was reported blocked on Orange’s ‘Safeguard’ system on 2nd February. La 13 Quadrature du Net has become one of the focal points for European civil society’s political engagement with an important international treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
  The block was removed shortly after we publicised the blocking.

    3. Shelfappeal.com was reported blocked on 15th February 2012 on Orange. This is a blog that features items that can be placed on a shelf.

    4. Septicisle.info was reported on 7th February, and was blocked on Vodafone, Orange, and T-Mobile. This is a personal blog featuring political opinion pieces. It does not contain any adult content.

    5. The Vault Bar (www.thevaultbar.co.uk) in London. We established that the home page of this bar was blocked on Vodafone, Orange, and T-Mobile on 6th February.

    6. St Margarets Community Website (www.stmgrts.org.uk), is a community information site ‘created by a group of local residents of St Margarets, Middlesex.’ Their ‘mission is simple - help foster a stronger community identity.’ We established it was blocked on Orange and T-Mobile on 8th March.

    7. eHow.com is an advice and educational site. It provides tutorials on a wide range of everyday issues, from ‘navigating after-school care’ to ‘small space garden tips’. We established it was blocked on Orange on 9th March.

    8. Biased-BBC (www.biased-bbc.blogspot.co.uk) is a site that challenges the BBC’s impartiality. We established it was blocked on
O2 and T-Mobile on 5th March. It is classified as a ‘hate site’ by O2’s URL checker

    9. Yomaraugusto.com is the home page of a graphic designer, offering a portfolio of his art and design work. This was found to be
blocked on Three and Orange on 6th February.

    10. Exquisitetweets.com allows users to create one-page threads to save or share from conversations on Twitter. This site was
blocked on Vodafone, Orange, and T-Mobile on 15th February.

(Posting anon to avoid karma-whoring)

Re:The 10 blocked sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998853)

Looks like they know which side their bread is buttered on.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999065)

Shelfappeal.com was reported blocked on 15th February 2012 on Orange. This is a blog that features items that can be placed on a shelf.

While at first this may seem innocuous, the truth behind this website is that it is a vipers nest of Al Qaeda militants, making money off of selling miniatures of the British flag burning and pictures of the queen with a bullseye painted on her. The proceeds of these shelf-items then go to an Al Qaeda trainingcamp hidden deep in the wastelands of Sussex where they are trained in operating micro-UAVs (preferably capable of resting on a shelf while not in use) aimed at miniature Big Bens (also preferably shelf sized).

Yes, laugh now, but you'll rue the day when someone told you about this vile plot to collapse British society as we know it and it actually happens.

Exquisitetweets.com

And nothing of value was lost.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999189)

Once again we see that nothing good comes from Sussex.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (1)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000313)

Don't you be dissin' mah county, boy, it ain't no wasteland!

Except for Worthing.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003811)

And Horsham

and the random word twitten to describe a small alleyway is used nowhere else in the world

Re:The 10 blocked sites (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999237)

T-Mobile and Orange stopped two of us looking up the menu at one of my favourite (and family friendly) local pubs. We couldn't get to the following site on our iPhones: http://theblacklion-hammersmith.co.uk/eating.php [theblackli...mith.co.uk]

For me that's way worse than any of the other sites you listed :)

Re:The 10 blocked sites (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39999703)

Well, maybe we should cut them some slack at this early stage while their filtering algorithm is still being perfected.

After all, it's not hard to see how their blocking software could innocently misinterpret the misleading, double entendre, and possibly purposely misspelled names of these sites. It is difficult to write such "fuzzy" matching software that will accurately detect all possible cases, and of course they need to err on the safe side in order to protect the children.

1. Tor (www.torproject.org) - misinterpreted as "torpedo projectiles", a site for male member comparisons.

2. La Quadrature du Net (www.laquadrature.net/en). - misinterpreted as menage a quatre

3. Shelfappeal.com - misinterpreted as a subtle reference to "sex appeal"

4. Septicisle.info - misinterpreted as an obfuscation of "testicle" to get around their filter

5. The Vault Bar (www.thevaultbar.co.uk) - misinterpreted as a pole dancing site

6. St Margarets Community Website (www.stmgrts.org.uk), - misinterpreted as a kinky nun sex site

7. eHow.com - misinterpreted as a sex education site

8. Biased-BBC (www.biased-bbc.blogspot.co.uk) - BBC stands for Big Black C*ck (really, look it up)

9. Yomaraugusto.com - misinterpreted as a site featuring eating yogurt off of nude bodies

10. Exquisitetweets.com - misinterpreted as a sexting site

Re:The 10 blocked sites (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39999765)

8. Biased-BBC (www.biased-bbc.blogspot.co.uk) is a site that challenges the BBC’s impartiality. We established it was blocked on
O2 and T-Mobile on 5th March. It is classified as a ‘hate site’ by O2’s URL checker

"After Jihad, the premier evil that threatens [the UK] is homosexual fascism."

Yep, seems like the filter was pretty much spot on. This site does not challenge the BBC's impartiality, it simply catalogues every time the BBC runs a story about homosexuals or Muslims and doesn't mention that the prophet Mohammed and a "disproportionate amount" of homosexuals are pedophiles.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (1, Insightful)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999807)

+5 AC

Re:The 10 blocked sites (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002705)

Like all the best lies, a grain of truth can be found. Mohammed probably did have sex with a ten year old (give or take a year), but by the standards of the time and region that wasn't outragiously young. Eyebrow-raisingly young, yes, but not outragious, and even that was a political marriage, and he put off the consumation for a few years. Similarily, pedophiles tend not to overly care about the gender of their victim (No secondary sexual characteristics, after all) so if you just count any man molesting a boy as a homosexual, it looks on first glance as if homosexuals are inclined to rape children. On further examination though, most of those men molesting boys are completly straight when it comes to their adult relationships: Their victim was chosen based on accessibility.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000525)

Just tested them all from my residential DSL line, and none of them (except for Tor) are blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Make of that what you will.

Re:The 10 blocked sites (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003097)

I'm on Tesco Mobile, who use O2's network

1. Not blocked.
2. Not blocked
3. Not
4. No
5...

Not even the evil TPB.se is blocked.

What gives?

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998715)

and what about http://www.penisland.net/ [penisland.net] :)

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000121)

Why would Expert Sex Change be blocked? You don't want to go to an amateur do you?

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000887)

Why would Expert Sex Change be blocked? You don't want to go to an amateur do you?

If you go to expertsexchange, ametures is *exactly* what you will get.

Re:Some of the most popular sites... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000549)

...could be blocked! What about www.expertsexchange.com? Oh yeah, forgot the hyphen: that should be experts-exchange.com.

What reason would there be to block a website about sex change?

But but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998205)

You evil bastards, this is for the children....

Even in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998209)

blogspot randomly gets blocked
Vimeo is also blocked on and off by some ISP's

Re:Even in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40000347)

blogspot randomly gets blocked

Maybe they think it means "blo g-spot" and is a sex site?

ORG? (4, Funny)

tocsy (2489832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998233)

Am I the only one that was hoping their website was www.org.org?

Re:ORG? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998261)

Nope :-(

Re:ORG? (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000875)

Three letter domain names under .com, .net and .org were all sold long before the Open Rights Group was set up.

Anyway, it's a UK organisation, so it should be a .uk address, and Nominet don't allow org.org.uk

Personally, I blame Scottish highlanders.

Re:ORG? (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013935)

they need to add another word / that will be another letter to their name then... Open Rights Group of Yonder has a nice ring to it.

"unfairly blocked" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998267)

On the contrary, those in favour of the censorship plans consider the blocking of these sites to be quite fair.

Only an idiot would think these measures are about protecting children.

Tor... (0)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998301)

Some of the allegedly unfair blocks include censorship of the 'Tor' system, a privacy tool used by activists and campaigners across the globe

That's a bit of a white-wash. What Tor is is a network allowing for file exchange which makes it impossible or very difficult to tell the identity of the file sharers. It should come as no surprise that a filtering scheme would block a network that allowed for content of any type that the filter cannot operate on. It's not 'unfair' in that this is mistakenly being filtered, it's 'unfair' in that unfilterable networks that allow any content will be casualties of any filter worth its salt.

Re:Tor... (2)

_8553454222834292266 (2576047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998401)

Sure, but they blocked the website for the project.

Re:Tor... (5, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998471)

What Tor is is a network allowing for file exchange which makes it impossible or very difficult to tell the identity of the file sharers

Who told you that? Tor is an anonymity system for TCP/IP, which is primarily used for HTTP. It is frequently used to defeat national firewalls in countries like China and the UK; it is no surprise that these countries try to block it. It is embarrassing that a member of the free world is resorting to the tactics that we see out of China, but that is sort of the point of TFA.

Re:Tor... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000907)

It is frequently used to defeat national firewalls in countries like China and the UK;

There is no national firewall in the UK, it was blocked by a private company on their network.

Re:Tor... (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002063)

A private company that is presumably offering "internet access" to it's customers, but then defining "internet access" to be a subset of the actual Internet.

Trades descriptions appeal anyone?

Re:Tor... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998911)

>>>Tor is a network allowing for file exchange which makes it impossible or very difficult to tell the identity of the file sharers

What the fuck is wrong with that?
Bastard. Way to defend censorship. Go saluite your EU flag and then burn in hell, you anti-free speech bastard

Re:Tor... (3, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999483)

>>>Tor is a network allowing for file exchange which makes it impossible or very difficult to tell the identity of the file sharers

What the fuck is wrong with that?

Well for one it's a wildly inaccurate description of the tor network. File sharing has grown more accepted on the network but it still discouraged as it strains network resources. It's mainly a way to access (exit nodes) and share (.onion sites) information in an anonymous manner.

Re:Tor... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003887)

Go saluite your EU flag and then burn in hell, you anti-free speech bastard

Are you kidding? The EU and ECHR have done more to protect our freedom than pretty much anyone in the last couple of decades.

Re:Tor... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006019)

>>>The EU and ECHR have done more to protect our freedom than pretty much anyone in the last couple of decades.

Wow.
That's so wrong I don't know where to start. Maybe goto youtube and listen to some speeches from Nigel Firage and Daniel Hannan. Educate yourself on how the EU operates a lot like the former Socialist Union (where the tyranny came not from the elected leadership, but the unelected bureaucrats, technocrats, and appartchiks).

Random Example: A ruling that if bananas and cucumbers do not have at least 45 degree curvature, then they must be destroyed (which hurts farmers and the EU economy). Another ruling that water bottles can not make the claim to cure dehydration (ridiculous). Or the way that Greece and Italy have been taken over by unelected leaders who serve the Central Bank, not the people.

Re:Tor... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006787)

Maybe goto youtube and listen to some speeches from Nigel Firage and Daniel Hannan.

You expect to get impartial and accurate information from those guys?

Random Example: A ruling that if bananas and cucumbers do not have at least 45 degree curvature, then they must be destroyed (which hurts farmers and the EU economy).

Oh dear [youtube.com] I'm actually surprised anyone believes in that one any more.

Another ruling that water bottles can not make the claim to cure dehydration (ridiculous).

It doesn't. Dehydration as a medical condition is caused by all sorts of thing, most of then not involving a lack of water intake. Drinking more water will not cure it so it can't be advertised as medicine for that condition.

Or the way that Greece and Italy have been taken over by unelected leaders who serve the Central Bank, not the people.

You mean the caretakers who are in while the organize elections? What is your alternative, anarchy?

Re:Tor... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40007873)

They should have left the previous elected leaders in place. What they did in Greece/Italy was equivalent to kicking-out UK's Prime Minister, and then inserting some random unelected guy that the bankers liked.

And yes I expect that Nigel Firage and Daniel Hannan would know more about the inner workings of the EU bureaucracties than say..... some random guy on slashdot named AmyMojo.

***censored*** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39998377)

This is a ***censored*** study. Everything ***censored*** just ***censored***.
  ***censored*** works ***censored*** here. I totally ***censored***!

Yours ***censored***

***censored***

Britain leads the way yet again... (4, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998387)

Having the highest density of CCTV cameras anywhere in the world (London) isn't enough. Toying with biometrics (face-recognition specifically) at every opportunity isn't enough.Trying to pass national data retention laws that would log and store every little thing any UK person does on the internet in a data center for 24 months isn't enough. Trying to extradite Julian Assange to the United States on nebulous charges isn't enough. Putting anti-aircraft missiles (2012 Olympics) on the rooftops of London housing estates isn't enough. Putting a battleship on the river Thames (also 2012 Olympics) isn't enough. ---------- Now add to that list UK mobile/cellular phone operators randomly censoring websites you can('t) access on smartphones. --------- All of this and more makes me glad at times that I don't live in the UK. ------ What's wrong with the UK these days anyways? I used to think that Britain was the "cradle of democracy" with its televised Parliament debates, quality newspapers, speaker's corner and such. -------- What happend to you, UK? Why is all this negative stuff happening in the UK?

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (3, Interesting)

TallDarkMan (1073350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998503)

You know, I've watched all the things you listed happening over the last few years, and I wonder to myself if Britain is like a test-bed for all the things that the United States would like to do to it's citizens (and is trying at every turn). I can just see the (US) government's response to outraged citizens going something like, "We are inacting these measures for your protection, and they have been proven and accepted in the United Kingdom, so get with the program...otherwise we'll be left behind by those darn Europeans!" (...right, as if we aren't already at the bottom of the barrel in innovation, education, and on and on....)

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (3, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998673)

The UK does feel at many times like it is a test-laboratory of sorts for various Orwellian things. Ironic that it was in this very country that Eric Arthur Blair (aka "George Orwell") wrote 1984. ------- If the UK had somewhat better political parties, this stuff probably wouldn't be happening there. Both the Labour Party and the Tories in the UK are really into deploying surveillance-tech on ordinary people. So it doesn't matter who wins elections. Both sides are really into using this stuff on UK citizens....

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998731)

Both the Labour Party and the Tories in the UK are really into deploying surveillance-tech on ordinary people. So it doesn't matter who wins elections

We have exactly the same situation here in the United States; the two major parties work to further the same causes, and ordinary people are the losers. Unlike the UK, the US adds a special twist: there is a high probability that you will be incarcerated (world's largest prison population), and that probability higher if you are a (not wealthy) man, and even higher if you are black.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003181)

Ironic that it was in this very country that Eric Arthur Blair (aka "George Orwell") wrote 1984.

Orwell had a fine sense for his compatriots' mentality w.r.t. the surveillance of a nanny state. He merely pointed this out in Nineteeneightyfour. More often than not, fiction literature is an early warning sign of a society's malaise and undercurrents.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (5, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998717)

The idea that the UK is some kind of surveillance state is a myth propagated on Slashdot by people who don't know better. If I recall correctly the "highest density of CCTV" meme comes from an article in the Daily Mail (aka Daily Fail). They counted all CCTV cameras, including all private cameras, in one very small and specific part of London. Despite the fact that these cameras are subject to the data protection act and typically not even connected to a communications network, they then extrapolated that small area of London to the entirety of the UK and asserted everyone was "being watched all the time", which is about as accurate as saying your email is always being read (by automatic spam filters).

Internet censorship proposals keep getting floated every few years by "save the children" types in the UK, whereas the idea is taboo in the USA. That's good for America. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean there's no censorship in the states. US residents and citizens are subject to a comprehensive and effective system of financial censorship instead. For example, when politicians there decided that internet poker was bad, they decided to censor online poker sites. Rather than do it via DNS or IP blocking they commanded banks and payment processors to block financial transaction to those sites instead. The effect was the same - Americans cannot use these sites.

The financial censorship system operates the same as you would expect from an online censorship system. There is a large blocklist [treasury.gov] of questionable accuracy - it includes companies and people who do not exist and performs matching by name only. There is no right to appeal and no evidence is required to be added to the list. It is subject to political manipulation as we saw with the WikiLeaks blockade. It requires pervasive monitoring, implemented via government access to banks financial records. Foreign financial transfers are also available to the US government via the "Terrorist Finance Tracking Program", which basically dumps every wire transfer, credit card transaction etc into a giant database that is queried hundreds of times per day - essentially the equivalent of deep packet inspection.

Of course, like any form of censorship, ways around the system are also censored. Whilst attempting to evade online censorship is typically not treated as a serious crime even in places like China, attempting to evade US financial blocklists is considered to be money laundering and can result in imprisonment for up to 20 years. In fact, being used by third parties as a way to evade this type of censorship is also money laundering even if you're simply an unaware middleman! The original formulation of these laws had a "mens rea" requirement, ie, to be guilty you had to actually intend to break the law and have a guilty mind. Virtually all money laundering cases fell because of this, so Congress simply removed the requirement.

Finally, because censorship systems have to be global to be truly effective, the USA has been persistently "harmonizing" this system onto the rest of the world since its inception. It gets tiresome to read posts from Americans trashing the UK for being some kind of censorship crazy surveillance state when the depressing reality is the reverse.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (4, Insightful)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998957)

Rather than do it via DNS or IP blocking they commanded banks and payment processors to block financial transaction to those sites instead.

Later on, they seized domains too: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/16/feds_online_poker/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39999151)

The idea that the UK is some kind of surveillance state is a myth propagated on Slashdot by people who don't know better.

That part certainly isn't a myth. The myth is that the US or anywhere else is any better, or will be in the near future.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39999299)

A myth? Really? Here's a challenge...

Get on a train to London. Count the number of CCTV cameras in your train carriage. (On the train I take for example, there are eight in each).
Then get off the train in London and count how many cameras you see in the station. (At my terminus - one of the smallest - there are more than fifty, and I'm sure I missed some).
Get on the tube, and see how many you count on your way across town. Again, don't forget those in the carriages on top of the escalators, platforms, and tunnels.
Now come out of the tube, stand in the street, and take a look around. It doesn't matter where you are. How many cameras can you see from the single spot you're standing? I find it's usually north of twenty.

The amount of surveillance in the UK, and in particular London, is nothing short of astounding; and all in the name of safety and security (except that the quality of the footage is so poor it's unusable as evidence most of the time). The irony of course is the ongoing persecution of any member of the public with a camera... you know, 'cause nobody ever take photos in a tourist hotspot like a capital city.

Yours,
Surveilled of Sutton

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999443)

I don't see your point. For there to be a surveillance state, there'd have to be some capability to follow a specific person around across all these cameras, and as already pointed out, that capability does not exist. It's the modern equivalent of having security guards on patrol. Useful for security, not so useful as a method for the state to persecute annoying individuals.

If you aren't concerned about that specific capability of the state then you're making a more general argument which is very different, namely that you want some abstract notion of privacy in public places - moreover, public places that are highly trafficked and historically have been targeted by organizations like the IRA. That more abstract notion of privacy is significantly harder to guarantee (individuals would be unable to take photos or film in public places), so most countries draw the line after "the state can spy on anyone with impunity" but before "videoing people in public places is forbidden".

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999525)

That more abstract notion of privacy is significantly harder to guarantee

Not really. Just forbid the government from spying on everyone with cameras in public places for any reason. The government doing it and individuals doing it are quite different things, as individuals aren't everywhere at once like the government's cameras.

And it isn't really "abstract." The government does not need to be able to track everyone at once. They simply need to find someone they want to track in public places (to watch their actions), and then use the camera footage against them. If they find such an individual, that is.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (3, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999883)

Not really. Just forbid the government from spying on everyone with cameras in public places for any reason. The government doing it and individuals doing it are quite different things, as individuals aren't everywhere at once like the government's cameras.

Perhaps my original post was not clear enough, or you did not read it. There are very few "government cameras". There are a lot of cameras put in places by the owners/operators of that place. Eg at railway stations it's the station operators who pay for, install and operate the cameras with the police having no special or unusual access beyond what is allowed via law. Therefore the UK government is already unable to "spy on everyone with government cameras" because there is no legal or technical mechanism for them to do that.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003843)

The police do have easy access to many of those cameras simply on asking. I installed a few CCTV systems for customers in shops, and typically the police would demand they have them and make the footage available (at the shop's expense) in return for a license to sell alcohol. The cameras had to cover the street outside the shop and as much of the surrounding area as possible. If there was a car park or playground nearby they would demand a camera pointed at that too.

When the police wanted some footage they turned up with a USB HDD and a member of staff copied the data onto it for them. This turned out to be a big waste of someone's valuable time and it happened with such regularity that the shop owner decided to switch to a mirrored RAID system. When the cops wanted footed he just pulled one of the drives and handed it to them, replacing it with another. There were mostly a small chain (5 locations) of convenience stores.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40001489)

Like this [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999461)

Finally, because censorship systems have to be global to be truly effective, the USA has been persistently "harmonizing" this system onto the rest of the world since its inception. It gets tiresome to read posts from Americans trashing the UK for being some kind of censorship crazy surveillance state when the depressing reality is the reverse.

Don't worry. We trash the US at every opportunity we get.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40001473)

The British surveillance society meme is not just perpetrated by slashdot and the Daily Mail - the BBC gets in on the action too. According to this report [bbc.co.uk] there is one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the country. 4.2 million cameras doesn't sound excessive to you?

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003167)

Finally, because censorship systems have to be global to be truly effective, the USA has been persistently "harmonizing" this system onto the rest of the world since its inception.

True. And what most people don't know: most banks abroad (not just Swiss banks) and many telco providers are now getting rid of (prospective) customers who happen to be US citizens, exactly because they don't want to be suddenly subject to all kinds of administrative obligations that the US Govt' wants them to adhere to.

Re:Britain leads the way yet again... (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999911)

You so obviously have used either the Daily Wail or the /. echo chamber as your source of primary information. +6 internets. -6 research.
At time of posting you were modded +4 Insightful. WTF? I mean, really, WTF?

Can I get unblocked internet? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998393)

If I lived in the UK could I ask the ISP to give me an unfiltered version? Or has the Parliament arbitrarily decided to be my surrogate dad, and control what I can or can not see? (It must be fun to be treated like a child.)

Re:Can I get unblocked internet? (2)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998465)

It's easy enough to get it unblocked. I tried to find the D&D cartoon on http://www.chick.com/default.asp [chick.com] and found the site blocked on Vodafone. It's just a case of phoning them and removing the block if you're over 18.

Why was that blocked in the first place? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998493)

Who thought that blocking a comedy website that avoids "bad words," makes only mild references to sexuality, and shows only mild cartoon violence was a good idea?

Re:Why was that blocked in the first place? (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998617)

The state knows best. The state always knows best.

Re:Why was that blocked in the first place? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000939)

The state knows best. The state always knows best.

Vodaphone is a private company.

Re:Why was that blocked in the first place? (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000977)

It's a Christian tract site. So, let's see. Already it was used to block political speech, religious speech...

Re:Can I get unblocked internet? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999157)

Mobile phone: yes, provide them with a credit card number (which means you're 18), or show ID in a store, and they will unblock it.
Fixed-line: unrestricted by default

There is also a system that blocks some foreign child pornography websites. The large ISPs use it; the small ones don't.

Re:Can I get unblocked internet? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002799)

It's supposed to block only child pornography websites. There was that incident a while back when it blocked a part of wikipedia due to an overzealous operator deciding one of the images could be considered child porn. The incident also revealed that when Cleanfeed blocks a site, some ISPs return a spoofed 404 message rather than a notice explaining the block, so if they were to block a smaller legitimate site is is likely they would never be caught: Those prevented from accessing it would just assume the site to be down or removed.

Re:Can I get unblocked internet? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000603)

If I lived in the UK could I ask the ISP to give me an unfiltered version? Or has the Parliament arbitrarily decided to be my surrogate dad, and control what I can or can not see? (It must be fun to be treated like a child.)

That's missing the point of the article. This is about websites where there is no good reason for blocking them in the first place. And consider that you might actually want to prevent access to websites that are unsuitable for your six year old child, and the tickle-me-elmo website which is absolutely suitable for your child is blocked. You don't want to remove filtering, you want the wrong filter for that website removed. For everybody.

Re:Can I get unblocked internet? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002791)

Depends on the provider. Some mobile operators will unblock it on request and proof of age, others require you to jump through a few hoops. I'm with Vodaphone, and they allow the block to be removed via their website. I had to jump through only two hoops: Firstly, to dig up my contract papers and some numbers on them (fortunatly I kept those). Secondly, they needed a credit card to prove age, and even though I am over eighteen I posess only a debit card which they deem insufficient. So I had to borrow someone else's card. I've heard stories from others reporting either easier or more difficult experiences, so it does vary.

False positives are a surprise? (5, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998395)

Any sort of selection or filtration system is going to have TWO very different forms of error: false negatives and false positives. Missed badguys and caught goodguys. Most of the testing is done to reduce false negatives, so that you're not embarrassed by a glaring badguy getting though. As a result, lots of false positives are generated because they are less unacceptable. Do not expect rationality from censors -- that is not their objective.

The real customer's objective is to minimize the total cost both of false negatives and false positives. It doesn't help until people realise the [often high] cost of a false positive -- a large sales order that was missed & lost by a spam filter.

Some areas like police, do not have any notion of a false positive -- "It's all good -- they needed a warning".

Horrendous Typesetting (3, Insightful)

Wootery (1087023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998551)

Really, what were they thinking on the 10 legitimate websites that often get unfairly blocked [openrightsgroup.org] pdf? It's horrible trying to read it on a screen, and I'm using a desktop. Good luck to anyone on a smartphone...

Seems painfully ironic that they're excluding mobile users in this way.

We use HTML for a reason, ORG...

To look at it from tanother perspective... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998753)

If this is all that there is which has been inadvertentlky blocked by censorship, then it should be fairly trivial to make exceptions for these cases.

Not that I'm saying I agree with this... just pointing out a possible argument that highlighting these sites could be seen as a pro-censorship position.

More than likely, however, I expect that there are considerably more than these ten, so the argument is admittedly a weak one. It's only real strength may lie in absence of any demonstrable proof that the actual length of the list of unfairly blocked sites is not boundable.

Re:To look at it from tanother perspective... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39998951)

It doesn't matter how "good" it is.

If the system is there it will be abused.

Re:To look at it from tanother perspective... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999675)

You're probably right, of course... but people who suggest these sorts of things in the first place never seriously consider that possibility, or at best think that it such concerns are baseless paranoia.

The CEOs (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39999503)

The CEOs of these telco companies should step down in shame and go hide in a castle on a Scottish island.

What about Scunthorpe? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40000189)

Let's not forget the infamous Scunthorpe problem [wikipedia.org] . Does anyone, anywhere, know of a time when blocking domains actually did anything useful?

Dear leaders (3, Insightful)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40000821)

You are doing it wrong. First you set up censorship systems and only block really hardcore illegal and semi-illegal porn. Then you say 'look it works all the nay-sayers were wrong'. Then you wait until it is in widespread use in every country. THEN you start blocking political speech. Honestly quit being so impatient.

Odd happenings at Virgin (2)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002939)

If I try access the national lottery website (presumably blocked as it is gambling) over Virgin Mobile's 3G/GPRS connection I get the "adult content" block page, which invites me to some soft porn and a betting site that happens to pay for a spot on that page. Like so: http://imgur.com/6iLPN [imgur.com]

(that image mentions reddit, as I've lost the pre-edited screenshot and can't be bothered to take a new one, but it was the same page for any page that trips the adult content warning)

Technical ineptitude (1)

Squeak (10756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003127)

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. From the article:
For example, parents may not be aware that network-level blocking systems are unable to selectively filter ‘encrypted’ traffic. ‘Https’ encryption is a way to make traffic unreadable by intermediaries such as ISPs. It is widely used in online financial transactions, for example. It is also increasingly common in routine, everyday Internet use. New browsers are built to check if encryption is available, and if so, to use it. Encryption makes it impossible for an ISP to ‘check’ the web address the user is visiting.
For example, recently BT was ordered by a court to block customers’ access to ‘Newzbin2’. But that does not prevent people from visiting ‘https://www.newzbin.com’.

Somebody doesn't understand the difference between an address and a protocol.

Workaround (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003187)

The quick workaround, if you don't mind your browsing going via their proxies, is to use Opera Mini on your phone. Since all traffic goes via Opera's servers, it bypasses the filters.

I started using it when I discovered that a (non adult) site I wanted to visit was blocked on O2. It's competitors weren't, which raises two interesting questions - could they sue for unfair restraint of trade as it gives their competitors an advantage, and could they also sue for defamation as they are effectively being accused of being an adult site?

Re:Workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40005193)

Only one way to find out. Email the company in question and let them know they may have a massive money case.

Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003651)

the smart kids on the block get their porn from Google image search (all they have to do is turn SafeSearch off).

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