UK PM Wants To Censor The Web?

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Censored - CensorshipIn 2011 the very idea that the UK's Prime Minister could even be considering to censor or control the internet is scary. Very scary.

Cameron's government are facing a serious problem, with the UK descending into chaos and anarchy over the last week. But does that justify even considering blocking Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites from the British public?

Even if blocking them "helped" is the price too high?

Blocking access to websites is the kind of thing you would expect of a totalitarian regime. Not a democracy and not one of the oldest democracies in the world.

I'm not suggesting that British politics and democracy are perfect - they obviously aren't, but that the British PM could want to even consider this kind of censorship worries me greatly. If this is what was said in public I'd hate to think what was going on behind closed doors.


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6 Responses to UK PM Wants To Censor The Web?

  1. Kevin Murphy August 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    What Cameron said:

    “Mr Speaker, everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media.

    Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.

    And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them.

    So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

    Nothing about censorship there.

    No more than an ankle bracelet or jail time “censors” a criminal’s ability to pop down the pub for a quick pint.

  2. Michele August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Kevin – so he wants to target specific people only?

  3. Kevin Murphy August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Michele —

    Obviously I can’t know for sure what he has in mind, but I think some of these “he’s going to ban Facebook” headlines are totally overblown considering what he actually said.

    On the face of it, it sounds like he wants to ban specific known thugs from using these services.

    In practice, I doubt anything will come of it. The companies will tell him it’s impossible and eventually it will be forgotten.

    What worried me was the notion put forth by an MP or two in yesterday’s debate that wireless services should be shut down during riots. Turning off local cell masts, eg.

    That struck me as incredibly dangerous and totally idiotic — if you’re trapped on the wrong side of police lines with a knife in your gut, how the hell do you call for help?

  4. Michele August 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm #


    Well the UK statute books have some very odd legislation on them 🙂

    Turning off communication systems is a really bad idea – it would also impact people working on the ground .. or,as you said, people who might need them


  5. David Quaid August 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi Michele,

    I strongly agree with your post and I drew the same conclusions and fears that you did. It’s absurd and its probably fear of control, similar to whatever prompted Sarkozee [sic] to say the same thing at the last Great8. Of course politicians want to be in control of Media – just look at the incredibly odd nature of the BBC. It has a Swahili unit. It even ran programmes for the Kingdom of Swaziland (which was never a British colony).

    Good post and great comments.

  6. SteveG August 15, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Great post and comments.
    Two things leap to mind:
    1. Cameron is playing shoot the messenger in a knee jerk reaction typical of politicians in situations like this.
    2. A ban like this could simply be sidestepped by creating another account or similar.

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