Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Porn and Terrorism

If you watched the news in Canada, you'll remember there is a politician called Vic Toews.  This guy is rather unmemorable for me from most angles, but he always comes across to me as a bumbling twit who generally doesn't know his Gluteus Maximus from his Articulatio Cubiti. 

One particularly bumbleworthy episode in Canada involved getting a bill through that was supposed to install Internet Surveillance requests as a legal mechanism for law enforcement.  In short, a few people were up in arms against it, so Toews made sure that it got royally messed up by saying that anyone who was against this bill are siding with "child pornographers".  That then swung pretty much the entire country of Canada into taking an interest in the bill and realising this guy was out to lunch. A quick skirmish with Anonymous jumping in, and it was all over. 

Canada had dodged the surveillance bullet.

In the UK, however, someone else was taking an interest in surveillance.  Yesterday, the UK's David Cameron announced that instead of dealing with the crucial issues of crime, poverty, education, the economy or health, he's been working on porn.

This was hilariously unveiled in a way that sounded as bumbling as Toews had previously sounded, as Cameron said that the ISP's had "rewired their technologies" to filter out porn - making it sound like they re-routed the "porn cable" away from the web page cable, or the internet radio cable. 

Of course, to turn it into a complete circus, the likes of the Daily Mail trumpeted "victory" over obscene material and "childhood corroding" imagery, whilst showing DC on one side of the page, and a passel of scantily clad breasts on the other side.

 

As part of this block on porn, it was unveiled that every account in the land would have the filter applied by default, and you had to opt in to porn if you wanted it. 

Some technology to consider:  To filter, you need to inspect the data and remove the requests and content responses you don't want to have go through to the end user.  This is a form of automated surveillance.

Yes, let's rewind this all back a bit, and paraphrase: 
The UK is installing surveillance on every account in the land "because of porn".

Yeah, right. 

If you opt in, the filters and surveillance is not removed - just the porn requests flow again.

You may remember that not long ago I said this:
"what has happened is the UK is mimicking the USA's efforts since they had their 9/11 attacks - the big difference being that whilst the public sees this stuff in the form of the TSA and it's security measures in the USA, in Britain, it's integrated slowly onto the streets and general public life.  To put it another way, whilst the USA play's "whack-a-mole" with it's threats in a perceived isolated manner, the UK is openly carpet-bombing society to cover every threat angle."

This "carpet-bombing" approach is actually worrying - not because they're doing it, but because people in the general public aren't putting two and two together.  The public knows that North Korea China and some Middle-East countries monitor every account to filter out content - and they're going to freak when they realise that the UK just joined that club.

I don't mind surveillance when it's warranted, but the UK's rapidly decending into a situation that is wholly unhealthy. 

The question I will leave you with, to mull over, is this: 
Who's controlling the filters?