Despite any dislike I have for various Coalition policies, it has been a long time since I have been this angered by a policy suggestion (at least a year I would say). Today I read “ISPs discuss central blacklisting body for piracy sites” on the Telegraph website (via @Jim_Watford). Just last week I tweeted in support of both BT and Talk Talk for challenging the authoritarian Labour ‘Digital Economy Act 2010′. The Digital Economy Act planned only to collect data, contact ISPs which in turn would have to contact the end user. If the end-user in any way then, didn’t comply and stop filesharing, the ISP would only throttle or temporarily disable Internet access.
I say “only” – despite the DEA being an atrocity of legislation – because compared to what I have read today, it would be like living in a truly free world. The new proposal filters the Internet access to begin with. Blocking websites that the group do not deem appropriate for us to use. (On a quick side note, comparing what this proposition to the IWF – is akin to comparing the cuts protestors on Saturday to Apartheid, the Suffragettes, or pretty much any cause which meant something ever). This new act will bypass the ISPs so that they have nothing to do in the matter.
I am absolutely furious that this Government could even be considering this. This is a coalition government where both parties were opposed to ID cards, both were opposed to the the CCTV nation and both were supposedly opposed to other aspects of the thinly-veiled nanny state which we live in. Both of these parties campaigned on civil liberties. Indeed, their agreement on civil liberties is one of the few places where both parties found it easy to get together last year. Both of these parties are supposed to be socially liberal. And importantly, both of these parties would condemn China or North Korea, because they both censored their citizens so much. And what the fuck are they doing now?
The Government should be closing its ears to ridiculous, civil liberties-eroding, freedom-stripping censorship such as this at the very first hurdle. I do not like to react irrationally about the nanny state that we may or may not be in. But if this is the first step they take, then what happens next? What happens when someone puts a link criticising the government? What happens when someone discusses chemistry online that could be misinterpreted as a bomb making kit? What happens when someone discuss a psychological problem that might make them seem manic or unsafe to the public? What happens when someone reveals information about a politician or a party, that they don’t want to see? How long until the entire democratic process is reduced to a Korean-like safe search, where the concept of the Internet means nothing anymore? This is one of the most horrifying things I’ve read in a long time.