The crime and security minister, James Brokenshire has decided save the UK from sites which are not “British” by bringing in censorship.
He announced the end of the free internet in the UK by saying that he will order ISPs to block sites which he thinks are too dangerous to be seen by the great unwashed.
Brokenshire said that he will also establish a specialist unit to identify and report content deemed too dangerous for online publication. We guess that membership of that committee will be perfectly ordinary retired majors, priests, nuns, Daily Mail readers and knee jerk reactionaries – or loyal Tory supporters.
He announced yesterday that the committee will be responsible for censoring what he considered “extremist content”. This apparently follows the success off the model which was supposed to crack on online child abuse.
The Internet Watch Foundation, which is partly industry-funded, investigates reports of illegal child abuse images online; and it can then ask service providers to block or take down websites. You will notice that there is no online child porn in the UK now thanks to this measure.
Brokenshire said that Prime Minister, David Cameron, wanted to see a similar model for terrorist content.
Of course there are “freedom of speech issues” but the government is sure that it can have a process in place to test what is illegal.
Broadband companies good appeals process could overcome some of those concerns. The government might want to block Welsh or Scottish Nationalist sites, but if it has to explain to a judge why it thinks they are “extremist,” it might be a little more sensible.
Less clear would be sites which organise things like student protests.