Last year a new internet law was passed in the UK. This required customers signing up to new internet service plans to “opt out” of installing filtering software. The law was sold to the public as a way of preventing children from accessing adult material.
I was staying at a relative’s house over the weekend and tried to access the IAA forum from their computer. It returned a message saying that the filters had blocked access to the site, as it was categorised as “violence and weapons”. However, for some reason the BOCN forum could still be accessed as usual. I never heard this angle discussed when they were passing the law. I have no idea whether this also extends to other providers, as my experience was with one provider and one specific computer.
At present there is a way to remove sites from the block list individually. However, it makes me wonder if this law was passed as a way to gradually get the public to accept compulsory internet filters. This would be much the same as creeping gun control laws. If not, perhaps it allows the serivce provider to force the company’s own agenda on users.
I wonder how far down the road it will be when access to any information regarding firearms is restricted by law in the UK. I could also see them saying that anything critical of the government or its policies is “not suitable for children”, and eventually the entire general public.
Of course if it does come to this, the filters could always be bypassed as users in countries like China already do. I am surprised more effort has not been made by governments around the world to restrict the internet. Never before has the average person been able to access so much news and opinion outside of the mainstream media. I can see why effort to restrict it is starting now. However, it seems that free internet is not something that will be given up easily, as there is opposition to it across the entire political spectrum. Many people today also rely too heavily on it.