Department of Dirty Spanks UK Porn Filters: Filtering Won’t Work

The Open Rights Group has begun its high-profile campaign against the UK Government’s prolonged attack on internet freedom. In a stunt website titled ‘Department of Dirty‘, the organisation highlights the issues related to default-on web filtering. On its own website, Open Rights Group says that it wants to protect freedoms of the Internet and “preserve its openness.” Fighting against “disproportionate, unaccountable surveillance and censorship”. So, in the wake of government-backed UK ISP filters, you can imagine they’ve been quite busy. The UK Government has forced ISPs to offer a default-on web filter for new customers, to block out ‘non-child’ friendly content. This ranges from pornography to forums. They haven’t proven too popular, as first attempts showed filters blocking access to mental health and sexual health websites as well as casual websites. Censored So, Open Rights Group has begun  protesting against UK default-on web filters, the group has created a mock website, The Department of Dirty, to show how the government could begin to police and monitor web traffic. The satirical website includes a video showing how normal users could be penalised and soon the state could know all we do (more than they do already).

Whilst using government black-lists to block websites could enter nasty territory very easily. Department of Dirty talks about the problems with default filters and criticises David Cameron’s ‘quick fix’. Undeniably, it is about education and filtering never works.  This has just been a ‘tick box’ operation for politicians to prove they can ‘fix’ social problems. Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock told Wired.co.uk that the system is “flawed and not a one-click to safety as a David Cameron would have us believe”.

“We want people to know it’s OK to not sign up to this stuff [the filters].”

Users have the choice to opt-out of the block, with many taking up that offer. Recent statistics from the regulator Ofcom; show that on,y 1/7 Brits keep these filters on.  This breaks down to only 4% of Virgin Media customers, 5% of BT customers and 8% of Sky customers. As the Department of Dirty highlights, we need to take a long-term stance against extremist, abusive and undesirable content online. Not by filtering, but by educating, we each have a responsibility to teach each other how to surf responsibly. It’s just sad that educating costs too much these days. Children are clever, they’ll work past any filter in place. USB, cloud storage, friends… You name it. I’d also argue that, currently, the government has no right to be taking the morale high ground, so there!

Therefore, when Open Rights Group asked teenagers why they thought filters wouldn’t work, this response summed it all up nicely:

“No, won’t work, in my family I set the settings!”

Source: Wired 

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