The problems with filters

Boingboing reports:

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 censorshipexpanding 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 (the official UK site of the Walt Disney Company), as well as Disney’s More awkward: the UK’s largest ISPs are blocking, a website that teaches kids to use the internet safely; also blocked is, which teaches children to write software.

The list goes on and on: (games for kids), (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.

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