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ISP's Forced To Block Illegal Content

Posted: 18th May, 2006 By: MarkJ
ADSLGuide has spotted an interesting news piece from LINX. The governments Home Office Minister, Vernon Croaker, has set a deadline of the end of 2007 for all ISPs to implement a “Cleanfeed”-style network level content blocking platform:

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Recently, it has become technically feasible for ISPs to block home users’ access to websites irrespective of where in the world they are hosted. It is clear from the various meetings that Ministers have had with the ISPs, that the industry has the will to implement solutions to block these websites. Currently, all the 3G mobile network operators block their mobile customers from accessing these sites and the biggest ISPs (who between them provide over 90 per cent. of domestic broadband connections) are either currently blocking or have plans to by the end of 2006.

We recognise the progress that has been made as a result of the industry’s commitment and investment so far. However, 90 per cent. of connections is not enough and we are setting a target that by the end of 2007, all ISPs offering broadband internet connectivity to the UK general public put in place technical measures that prevent their customers accessing websites containing illegal images of child abuse identified by the IWF.

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New ISPs will be required to implement such a blocking platform within nine months of starting operations. The government may seek tougher legislation should ISP’s fail to universally implement the technology.

On the surface this is good news, although one could easily read between the lines and see how such technology could be adapted to other, less clear cut, areas.

For example, imagine a comedy piece about Osama Bin-Laden being blocked because a government minister read something about it out of context and assumed it glorified terrorism etc.
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