A Google Chrome internet extension has been published aimed at circumventing a porn filter imposed by the UK government. The new filter has come under fire because it also blocks access to sites that provide advice on sex education and porn addiction. Some tech and civil liberties sites also appear to be blocked by the filter, according to Peter Hansteen, as well as legitimate file-sharing services and news websites like TorrentFreak.
Go Away Cameron is a new Google Chrome extension adapted from Singapore’s “Go Away MDA,” which allowed Singaporean users to circumvent blocked content such The Pirate Bay.
The creator, Singapore-based computer science graduate @nubela, said that he did not have a list of the banned sites, the add-on simply picks up the government block and bypasses it.
“I don’t have, nor will I ever have, an exhaustive list of UK banned sites. What I can do is to merely detect whether the website returns you an error message saying the UK blocked it. (This is when the extension kicks in),” he wrote on the browser extension’s download page. “This will work anywhere, and with any websites that are blocked by firewall, universities, workplaces, nanny filters, or well, censorship.”
“I strongly disagree with a censored internet, especially one that is implemented on a government-basis, opt-out or not,” he told The Register.
The new filters are designed to protect users from various types of supposedly inappropriate content, from porn to drug abuse, suicide-related content, and extremist political material (which apparently includes the popular U.K. political blog Guido Fawkes). So while the filters may commonly be referred to as a porn blocker, they’re actually in place to restrict access to a wide range of content.
So far, U.K. anti-censorship campaigns have been less vocal than the parenting groups supporting the new content filters. While there is plenty of anti-filter buzz on social media, there is not a great deal of serious action among mainstream politicians—unsurprising, considering the fact that the filters are being marketed as a service to protect children from hardcore porn. It’s difficult to speak out in favor of public access to pornography, even when the real arguments against the content filters are more to do with freedom of information.
David Cameron’s Internet Porn Filter is the Start of Censorship Creep
Censorship Triggers Liability: UK ISPs Need to Be Sued Way Out Into Atlantic