Friday, 20 December 2013

Talk Talk filter is not politically neutral

I was doing some late night checking of Twitter in relation to the fact that the LGBT+ Lib Dems Website was blocked under Talk Talk's porn filter and came across this converstation.

Fortunately for Talk Talk we are outside an election period at the moment or else there could be implications from the fact that they are blocking both the Lib Dems and UKIP's LGBT websites but not that of Labour or the Conservatives. It means that they are able to differentiate sites and someone should have spotted this for the other political parties assuming that the Conservative and Labour sites had to be exceptions for the use of the language especially in relation to same-sex marriage, transgender issues and the like which are the key words that would automatically have been flagged up.

Of course the issue is far wider than this, these filters by the ISP providers are not good enough to differentiate what is health, education and public awareness sites and what is pornography etc. This was the crus of the debate at Lib Dem conference in Glasgow this September when we referenced back the motion on internet safety as it failed to address these issues in a way that the majority of the internet literate members of our party were already aware. The fact that our LGBT+ website is now parked behind such a porn filter is a case in point.

Earlier today someone else Tweeted this showing the BT definitions of what is blocked:

Some of the implications of this especially in relation to sex education have implications that some of our young people may be kept in ignorance as a result of parents not lifting the filter. This is especially true of LGBT youth whose parents are opposed to their child being LGBT and don't want them to find out about help that can be provided for them.

As a Liberal Democrat I don't believe that anyone should be enslaved by ignorance. But when the filters by two of the largest internet providers in this country can block access to some of the LGBT groups of our political parties, or information on sex education, including respect for a partner, STDs and LGBT lifestyle then there clearly is an issue. Thankfully the mainstream media are catching up with something that I know many Lib Dems have been shouting about for years. Some of our LGBT bloggers have found our own websites blocked on certain connections in internet cafes or wifi hotspots.All we are doing is talking about the issues, using language that can be used in good as well as for porn.

On an issue of porn, even notice that the emails selling you sex good get around your spam filter in your email by not using the actual words in full, but use punctuation and spaces to get around this. Guess what some porn does exactly the same.

Read also Alistair MacGregor's piece on Lib Dem Voice about this.

1 comment:

  1. I assume your objection is not intended to be one of principle but only because your party is targeted. If it had been UKIP alone you would have been enthusiastic for censorship.

    After all you never object to the state owned broadcaster, with a legal duty of "balance" censoring UKIP to a much greater extent than would be allowed in Russia. That seems to me to be many orders of magnitude more serious than a subgroup's online presence in a private facility.

    Of course next year is an election year so perhaps you will object then to such blatant censorship of the party tipped to be most popular. Perhaps not.