UK ‘Porn Filters’ Ruled Illegal by the European Union

While the European Union’s much-contested net neutrality laws are causing much consternation amongst internet rights activists, one knock-on effect that the legislation has had is to make UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘porn filter’ illegal. The EU’s net neutrality laws require all member countries to “treat all traffic equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference” whatever the “content accessed or distributed”, making Cameron’s “opt out” adult content filter unworkable, to the dismay of anti-porn campaigners.

While a form of adult content filter can still be applied in the UK, it would have to be “opt in” only, meaning that internet users can choose to use such a filter, rather than it being turned on by default. The ruling is designed to put control back into the hands of the use, allowing them to “access and distribute information and content […] via their internet access.” The UK Government required ISPs to introduce the “opt out” porn filter in July 2013.

Despite the ruling, a spokesperson from Downing Street said that “nothing would change”. Another spokesperson told the Daily Mail, “This means that if we need to we will bring in our own domestic law to retain the existing filtering systems the ISPs have put in place.”

Wikipedia Founder Says There’s “No Excuse” Not to Use Encryption

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, a major proponent of both freedom and privacy online, as evidenced by him filing a lawsuit against the NSA following the reveal of its mass surveillance program by whistleblower Edward Snowden, has declared that there is “no excuse” for not using internet encryption, whether that is providers arguing that it is cost-prohibitive, or UK Prime Minister David Cameron moaning that it makes spying on people harder.

During his keynote speech at the 2015 IP Expo Europe IT conference, Wales said, “There’s really no excuse to have any major web property that’s not secure.”

“There is a massive trend on the internet towards SSL—secure connections,” citing figures from Sandvine that show nearly 30% of internet traffic was encrypted as of April 2015, which is expected to jump to 65% by 2016. “My expectation is that this is going to narrow; over the next couple of years, [unencrypted traffic] is going to end up being a five or six percent slice,” he said, adding, “All major traffic is going to be encrypted very, very soon.”

“It is not feasible in any sense of the word for the UK to ban end-to-end encryption,” Wales added, in a swipe against David Cameron. “Not only is it not feasible, it’s a completely moronic stupid thing to do.”

Thank you Vice for providing us with this information.

MI5 Boss Poses New Threat to UK Encryption

Andrew Parker, Director-General of MI5, the UK’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, has joined Prime Minister David Cameron in calling for a ban on end-to-end encryption to make its surveillance efforts easier. According to Parker, online companies such as Facebook and Twitter, plus popular instant messaging app WhatsApp, have a “responsibility” to share private user details with the UK government, rather than a responsibility to protect the rights, privacy and integrity of its users.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4, Parker claimed that “[Terrorists] are using secure apps and internet communication to try to broadcast their message and incite and direct terrorism amongst people who live here who are prepared to listen to their message.” He added that it was “in nobody’s interests that terrorists should be able to plot and communicate out of the reach of any authorities with proper legal power” and that encryption is “creating a situation where law enforcement agencies and security agencies can no longer obtain under proper legal warrant the contents of communications between people they have reason to believe are terrorists.”

“Because of that threat we face and the way the terrorists operate and the way we all live our lives today, it is necessary that if we are to find and stop the people who mean us harm, MI5 and others need to be able to navigate the internet to find terrorist communication,” Parker concluded, failing to throw in  “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” in his Kafka-esque appeal to trashing civil liberties, built on the false assumption that only “terrorists” and “criminals” seek privacy and a failure to acknowledge that surveillance is ineffective in preventing terrorist attacks.

Thank you The Express for providing us with this information.

David Cameron Plans to Ban WhatsApp

Since Edward Snowden spilled the beans on how government agencies spy on us, a lot of companies took precautions in preserving users’ privacy when using their apps. But it seems that will be made illegal and such apps look to be banned in the future, at least in the UK, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The PM plans to pass a new legislation by the name of “Snoopers’ Charter”, which will have popular cross-platform messaging and social media apps banned. The first one on the list seems to be WhatsApp, but the legislation looks to prevent people from sending any form of encrypted messages and has iMessage, as well as SnapChat in its sight too.

“In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” said Prime Minister Cameron .”My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not’.”

It is said that if the legislation passes, all three aforementioned services will be banned in the UK. Furthermore, all Google searches, Facebook conversations, WhatsApp group messages and even SnapChat videos will be available to the UK police and Government officials when they want to ‘browse’ through them. But is this really for the best? Do we need to compromise our privacy for security? Or are we giving away our security along with our privacy? Let us know what you think.

Thank you Express for providing us with this information

David Cameron Declares War on Encryption

In an effort to out-Tory even himself, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has reaffirmed his intent to outlaw data encryption during Prime Minister’s Questions this week. Cameron thinks it’s an affront that we peasants be able to send data and communications to each other without that cannot be read by him. Because, y’know, terrorism.

In response to a question from Conservative shill Henry Bellingham MP, querying whether “companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter […] understand that their current privacy policies are completely unsustainable?”, Cameron responded:

“Britain is not a state that is trying to search through everybody’s emails and invade their privacy … We just want to ensure that terrorists do not have a safe space in which to communicate. That is the challenge, and it is a challenge that will come in front of the House.

We have always been able, on the authority of the home secretary, to sign a warrant and intercept a phone call, a mobile phone call or other media communications, but the question we must ask ourselves is whether, as technology develops, we are content to leave a safe space—a new means of communication—for terrorists to communicate with each other.

My answer is no, we should not be, which means that we must look at all the new media being produced and ensure that, in every case, we are able, in extremis and on the signature of a warrant, to get to the bottom of what is going on.”

Cameron first voiced his intention to ban end-to-end encryption in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre – because there’s nothing quite like using a tragedy to push your fascist agenda – when asked “we want to allow a means of communication between two people which even in extemis with a signed warrant from the home secretary personally that we cannot read?” he said, “My answer to that question is no, we must not. The first duty of any government is to keep our country and our people safe.”

It’s an age-old story by now: we should sacrifice our freedoms to fight our enemies. It’s not an easy, fearmongering excuse to spy on and control citizens, it’s for our own good. Yes, having rights that not even terrorists could affect taken away from us is “for our own good”. The US tried similar, dating back to the Nineties, and it didn’t stop the World Trade Center attacks in 2001.

So, say Cameron’s plan is enforced as law: either say goodbye to e-mail, instant messaging, online banking, and even credit and debit card transactions, or it’s farewell to privacy and security. It’s for our own good, y’know.

Thank you Business Insider for providing us with this information.

Europe to Fight UK Porn Block Reveals Leaked Document

A leaked document from the European Union shows that Brussels will fight UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts to block internet porn. Two years ago, Cameron announced that every UK home would have pornography automatically blocked, unless users opted-in to viewing adult content. A number of UK ISPs, including Sky and TalkTalk, have already introduced automatic adult content filtering that blocks adult materials.

However, in a document seen by The Sunday Times dated 17th May, the Council of the EU is proposing measures to prevent internet providers from having the ability to block content without the user’s consent. The proposal puts the power back into the hands of the user, right where it should be, with filters only being implemented with the user’s consent whilst maintaining the “possibility to withdraw this consent at any time.”

According to John Carr, a member of the executive board of the UK council on Child Internet Safety, a chief adviser to the UK government on online security for children, told The Sunday Times that the EU proposal would mean “a major plank of the UK’s approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke”.

Damn the EU, with their defence of people’s freedoms!

Thank you The Independent for providing us with this information.

TalkTalk Forces Porn Filter on Customers

UK ISP TalkTalk is activating an adult content filter by default for all its users, thanks to prompting by tech-illiterate Prime Minister David Cameron. Under TalkTalk’s HomeSafe system, any website deemed to be hosting adult content will be blocked, unless users opt out.

According to the Alex Birtles, writing on the TalkTalk blog, auto-on content policing is for the user’s “peace of mind” and is “helping families stay safe online”. Birtles then writes, “We pre-tick the ‘on’ option, but it’s the customer’s choice”.

The Open Rights Group (ORG), however, contests the idea that content filtering benefits the public. Jim Killock, executive director of ORG, told the BBC, “Censorship should never be turned on by default.”

He added, “Filters block all kinds of websites, including some that provide useful advice to children and young people,” referring to instances of abused children being blocked from websites such as childline.org and samaritans.org by supposed adult content filters.

Source: BBC

Twitter Reacts to David Cameron’s Encryption Ban Plan

On Monday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to essentially ban end-to-end internet encryption and to grant British intelligence access to any part of the web they choose if his Conservative party is re-elected in May.

http://youtu.be/u_kqM0gn63M

Cue Twitter to mock, protest, and express absolute incredulity at the clueless politician:

https://twitter.com/onetruecathal/status/554916719027036160

Cameron seems to think that end-to-end encryption is a nefarious tool only used by “terrorists”, either ignorant of the fact that the post-internet world runs on encryption – every international transaction his banker friends makes relies on such protocols – or appealing to the implied ignorance of the British public. With an election looming, the latter seems most likely.

Source: Techcrunch

David Cameron Will Allow Government to Easily Monitor Your Internet Activity if Re-Elected

UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to introduce powers allowing security and intelligence services to monitor internet communications if re-elected in May. He made the promise on Monday morning during a speech on the economy in Nottingham.

Referring to the basic concept of internet privacy, and being able to monitor communications and access content in direct breach of that privacy, Cameron said, “Are we going to allow a means of communication where it simply isn’t possible to do that? My answer to that question is ‘No we must not.'” In other words, anything anyone in the UK posts online is at risk of having their privacy violated, supported by the rule of law.

“If I’m Prime Minister I will make sure it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that makes sure we do not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with each other,” he added, using the nebulous term ‘terrorism’ as justification for encroaching on liberty. The UN brands such actions a violation of human rights, and a move towards an Orwellian state.

Previous attempts to introduce similar legislation have been shut down by the Conservative’s coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, but Cameron argues that these powers were “absolutely right” for a modern liberal democrat, demonstrating a total misunderstanding of the words “liberal” and “democrat”. Then again, the same accusation could be levelled at the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg.

Last year, the head of GCHQ, the British security organisation that handles communications intelligence, implored Twitter and Facebook to grant them greater access to user messages.

Source: Reuters

UK ISPs Hijacking Browsers to Force Porn Block on Customers

In order to comply with UK legislation by the deadline at end of December, UK ISPs – including Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, and Sky – have been redirecting users’ web connections to force them to choose to opt in or out of adult content blocks.

The browser redirects to a permission page, where the user must choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the many blocks – designed to censor content including pornography, violence, and gambling – before they are allowed to continue to the desired site. BT is even stopping all internet access to customers until they make a decision.

The controversial legislation, foisted on the country by Prime Minister David Cameron, is meant to user in a “family friendly” internet experience, taking the responsibility for monitoring children’s online activity from the parents and giving it to the Internet Service Providers.

Internet rights groups have described the move as “completely unnecessary” and “heavy handed”. Open Rights Group, a digital rights organisation, has been especially critical, saying, “How can a customer tell the difference between an ISP hijack and a phishing site made to look the same? There are better ways for ISPs to contact their customers—particularly given that they have our phone numbers, email and actual addresses.”

Source: Wired