The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

Content filtering

This is a new section for 2014 to discuss the introduction into Britain of a parental control system. The stated political objective of the parental control system is to prevent children from being able to access 'adult' content. However, there are many problems with the implementation, which appears to be ill-thought through and potentially unlawful.

The general assumption would be that 'adult' content relates to that which previously has been known as 'X' rated and pornographic. However, the system is being introduced without any clear criteria and the implementation is known to be blocking many ordinary  websites which contain content that does not fall into either of those categories.

The British parental control system has been introduced as a mandatory national measure, and is being made a  compulsory defaul for all adults subscribing to an Internet service. It therefore serves to block content to a large group of the population who arguably do not need to be protected.

If you like the articles in this section and you are interested in policy-making and the Internet, you may like my books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Teecoms Package’

On the same day as the Queen’s Speech on 27 May, a  private members’ Bill was introduced to Parliament  that provides for wide-scale content filtering by network providers and device manufacturers.  Whilst the headline objective is to remove ‘adult’ content from the Internet, the Bill opens the door to  a much broader interpretation and in that regard, poses serious risks to freedom of expression.  If adopted, the proposed regime would  be implemented and overseen by private companies, outsourcing the government’s duties to corporate actors. It may never get on the Statute, but it does signal attempts by lobbying communities to pressure the government.

Read more: Online Safety Bill 2015– a back-door to Internet filtering?

 Usually I would expect to feel pleased when a prediction I made comes true. But this time, I feel rather sad and it’s why I’ve struggled to write anything as a new year posting.  I’ve been  following the content filtering  agenda since 2008 and saw it coming. One of the reasons why I write Iptegrity is to inform the debate because  filtering is the one thing that I believe above all is a threat to free speech and a most dangerous step to take.  

Read more: Welcome 2014 – happy filtering!







The Copyright Enforcement Enigma tells the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package and how the copyright industries tried to hijack it.

'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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