Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Talks held by the UK Home Office  over the summer with Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry manufacturer  Research in Motion were originally said to be about web blocking, but altered to be merely ‘constructive discussions’.  What was really going on? Did the Home Office really do a U-turn as was reported?

 My take on this is a little different, and based on the

policy briefs held by UK government departments. The Home office brief concerns interception, but does not extend to regulating the communications networks. the Home Office  would have to work with the relevant department if it had a requirement concerning communications.

DCMS is responsible for telecommunications but it delegates most of the policy-making to our industry-cuddly regulator Ofcom.

 The brief for web blocking belongs with DCMS / Ofcom. As discussed in my other article, Ofcom is working hard on web blocking measures. It is very likely that behind the glass windows in their respective buildings either side of the river Thames, a decision was taken to leave web blocking to Ofcom. Allowing the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to say honestly that she did not want to discuss web blocking.

 But I expect she will have asked RIM to make Blackberry Messenger interceptible.

GSM mobile phones originally could not be intercepted, but they can be now and in that sense Blackberry would only be following in the footsteps of other technologies.


PLEASE CITE AS: Monica Horten (2011) Why the Home Office won't block the web 1 September 2011 . This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License for  non-commercial purposes, with the author attributed.



States v the 'Net? 

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance & European policy, including platform accountability. She is a published author & Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet Freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, she has led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament. She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012.

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