Monday, September 12, 2005


Content blocking in UK

Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain (a Berkman Center mentor) is at a "cybersafety" conference in the UK this week, where he ran into some breath-taking content blocking. He writes
. . . I searched for the "virtual child pornography case," to find Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition. What I got instead was not only a block page, but a note that the IT manager would be investigating whether the "attempted access to illegal material" was intentional or unintentional.
The Internet is acting as D.A. and court system? (That's a some smart 'net.) The IT manager serves as detective/enforcer? (I guess they teach "intent detection" right after they teach system upgrades.) JZ continues
I'm on a Vodafone wireless CDMA card as I type, and can't get to Orkut -- that appears to be for "over 18 only," and after a byzantine process to enable the card for "adult" content, I still find it blocked.
Signs of an Internet where "Everything is forbidden even when it is permitted." Freedom to Connect? Not.

UPDATE: Here's a prose-grab of the "Ashcroft v. Free Speech" block page that JZ got:
Webpage address:
Said Business School
University of Oxford

The webpage you have tried to download has been blocked. This page may pose a threat to network security, or contain offensive, pornographic, illegal or other inappropriate material. Attempted access to blocked webpages is logged and in cases of intentional access computers and users will be traced.

If you inadvertently attempted to access the unauthorised content, no action will be taken.

Intentional access to websites containing offensive, pornographic, illegal or other inappropriate material is in breach of School and University regulations and may lead to suspension of network access and disciplinary action. Browsing or downloading files from websites containing illegal material may lead to criminal prosecution. If you believe the website should not be blocked please contact the Network Manager, Said Business School.
UPDATE #2: Here's the Vodaphone block page that JZ got when he tried to access Orkut:

It says:
If you're 18 years old or over, you can easily remove Vodaphone Content Control. Go to About Content Control below for further information and details about how to remove it now.
Link to this page.
Link to About Content Control page.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

You may enjoy

Some lawyers might even enjoy
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?