Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The United Kingdom forgets itself

The world's first modern democracy, the United Kingdom, has started ordering Internet Service Providers (ISP's) to block The Pirate Bay.  The way to read this is "the UK's internet censorship regime has begun".

Mind you, the good old U.S.A's censorship regime began last year.

There are a number of disturbing and queasily amusing angles to this.

First, one of the great Western powers is acting like a third world country in censoring the internet, whatever the "reason".  I mean, it's not even about kiddie porn, but protecting media cartels.  Really?

Secondly, of course, is how trivially it can be bypassed.  Among many other methods:  The UK Pirate Party has set up a proxy (note the URL).

Also, sometimes websites cache other websites, such as the famous Wayback Machine.  Choose a date in the Pirate Bay's history and pull up a full archive--with working search and torrents.

Or, you can just check Google's cache.  Yes, Google is a censorship evading service.  And a HUUUUGE copyright infringement service.  Just search for "torrent" in your search terms, for example.

And this is as it should be.

What is not as it should be is that citizens of Western democracies have to resort to the exact same tactics as Chinese citizens, when they have to bypass their regime's censorship.

It's unforgivable.

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