In the decade since the UK rolled out its Great Firewall, the project of somehow dividing the entire internet into “good” and “bad” (or even “all-ages” and “adult”) has run into a series of embarrassing gaffes, blocking rape crisis sites while letting through all sorts of ghastly porn — and at every turn, the Conservative government’s response has been to double down on internet censorship, expanding it from a parental filter to an opt-out porn filter, whose biggest backers have repeatedly demonstrated their technical incompetence. …
Unsurprisingly, the list is full of embarrassing false positives, including disney.co.uk (the official UK site of the Walt Disney Company), as well as Disney’s disneymoviesanywhere.com. More awkward: the UK’s largest ISPs are blocking internetsafetyday.org, a website that teaches kids to use the internet safely; also blocked is kidsandcode.org, which teaches children to write software.
The list goes on and on: playkidsgames.com (games for kids), vikingsword.com (a website about Viking swords), and a raft of VPN providers, whose tools allow users to evade privacy-violating trackers and filters.
This is why no filters should be compulsory or opt out. Filters are flawed with false positives. People should be free to choose a filter if they think it will be helpful for their business or family. But no one should be forced into a filter – or even made to opt out of one.