– UK Porn Filter: Censorship Extends Beyond Pornography, But One ISP Is Fighting Back (International Business Times, July 26, 2013):
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday that British Internet service providers (ISPs) must install porn filters and require customers to opt-in for adult content. Cameron said the policy is aimed at combating child porn and the “corroding influences” of sexual content in the U.K., but several people are unhappy with the plan. Reports have linked the filters to controversial Chinese company Huawei, and others have found that the filters will block much more than just porn. Some ISPs have publicly refused to force the filters on their users.
The Open Rights Group spoke with several ISPs and found that in addition to pornography, users will also be required to opt in for any content tagged as violent, extremist, terrorist, anorexia and eating disorders, suicide, alcohol, smoking, web forums, esoteric material and web-blocking circumvention tools. These will all be filtered by default, and the majority of users never change default settings with online services.
One U.K. ISP, TalkTalk, already has “The HomeSafe System,” which was singled out for praise by David Cameron when announcing the new policy. It gives another good idea of the kind of Internet censorship the British government is looking to implement.
The HomeSafe filters may give an idea of what David Cameron wants to be mandatory for all UK ISPs. TorrentFreak
More troubling is the revelation that HomeSafe is actually operated by Huawei, a Chinese company that both the U.K. and the U.S. accused of having close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army, and a recent report by the Intelligence and Security Committee said, “the alleged links between Huawei and the Chinese State are concerning, as they generate suspicion as to whether Huawei’s intentions are strictly commercial or are more political.” The U.S. has branded Huawei a threat to national security.