15 October 2011

Censorship in the UK, coming some time or not?

               Recently the UK Government asked Reg Bailey the CEO of The Mothers Union to have a look at the modern pressures on children.

Dr Petra reviews it far better than I ever could here

 But basically the finding are :-

  • putting age restrictions on music videos to prevent children buying sexually explicit videos, and to guide broadcasters over when to show them
  • covering up sexualised images on the front pages of magazines and newspapers so they are not in easy sight of children
  • retailers to offer more age-appropriate clothes for children and sign up to a code of practice which checks and challenges the design, buying, display and marketing of clothes, products and services for children
  • restricting outdoor adverts containing sexualised imagery where large numbers of children are likely to see them, for example near schools, nurseries and playgrounds
  • giving greater weight to the views of parents above the general public in regulating pre-watershed TV
  • providing parents with one single website to make it easier to complain about any programme, advert, product or service
  • banning the employment of children under 16 as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing, and improving parents’ awareness of advertising and marketing techniques aimed at children.
  •  making every customer make a decision at the point of purchase over whether they want adult content on their home Internet, laptops or smart phones, rather than receiving it automatically

Oh look, it's censor the Internet!

I have lots of knowledgeable friends in the ISP game. It's sad to say that over the last 5-6 years it's been an increasing smaller pool of ISPS in the UK to choose from. In some parts of Yorkshire you don't have any choice at all!

As Broadband has been rolled out, it's been getting more expensive to buy the infrastructure from wholesalers eg BT Wholesale, so this has been the main reason for the consolidation.

The UK government has been trying to get the ISPs to store peoples Web browsing history, and the headers of their emails for about 6-7 years now, and not much progress have been made. So it's surprising that David Cameron has promised that Web Filtering will be the default options for new accounts. But then the ISPs say, actually No, it's going to be an option.

So..it's starting to look a little less draconian, and more like a sales tactic for a system that probably any school child could get around in a few minutes.

How can you actually filter the Internet?

Currently the following methods are used in the smaller scale of businesses, schools and homes. The obvious methods are:- 

DNS Blocking:-  such as you can get via Open DNS http://www.opendns.com/ 
You could possibly get around this buy changing the DNS servers in the Network setting, or you can put different DNS servers in the local Hosts file. Or type in the IP address if you have it.

Forcing Proxy and filter list:-s eg Squid Proxy http://www.squidguard.org/
A web proxy is basically a server that intercepts your request for a web page, and either filters it, returns a copy of the page on the server to you, or asks for the page and passes it back to your web browser. This can be a bit more tricky to bypass as it should in theory intercept all web traffic

From  Fortiguard :-

Based on automatic research tools and targeted research analysis, real-time updates enable you to apply highly-granular policies that filter web access based on 78 web content categories, over 56 million rated websites, and more than 20+ billion web pages - all continuously updated via the global FortiGuard distribution network.

How to bypass an Internet filter?

You could use a web based proxy such as  www.loband.org

Using a VPN or SSL to connect to a remote server and forward all your traffic through it. This can be done via the setting on the router itself, or with some easily down loaded software on your PC, such as http://www.witopia.net 

 Something that seems to have passed under the radar has been the new standards for advertising billboards in the UK.              

 So no more Wonderbra ads.

                         GOODBYE BOYS 

“When governments start covering the eyes and ears of the whole nation, however, there is a real problem. We only need to look at those governments that have taken it to the extreme and burnt books to understand that. But there are more subtle ways to inhibit the flow of ideas that we need to be just as alert to.”
-- Kate Lundy, Australian Labor Party Senator

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