Here’s something interesting, possibly a bit amusing and definitely a bit suspicious. OpenRightsGroup is the UK’s only digital campaigning organisation working to protect the rights to privacy and free speech online. We have featured many of their campaigns and opinions at TruePublica. They have another website called ‘Blocked‘. The Blocked project aims to improve transparency about filters that are provided by mobile phone companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This was the mandatory blocking of inappropriate ‘adult’ websites the Conservative government forced through early last year.
In terms of those particular ‘adult’ websites, the Government claimed at the time that the top 50 sites account for 70% of users. You could make your own estimate from that how many websites could be blocked.
The website ‘Blocked’ describes their project as follows:
Mobile and broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have created filters to stop under 18s from seeing harmful content online. Unfortunately, filters block many harmless websites by mistake – even sites that are aimed at children! Often website owners don’t know that this is happening.
We need people to use this tool to check and report sites that shouldn’t be filtered. Not only will you be helping website owners, you will also increase transparency about filters by helping us to get a clearer picture about overblocking.
622,740 websites are blocked from a total of 21,864,167 websites tested – this represents 9.70%of Alexa (the website ranking service) top 100,000 sites blocked on default filter settings.
Part of the service the ‘Blocked’ website offers is to be able to search by domain name, category or keywords. So we had a go – and found this:
Type in the keyword ‘porn’ and 4,809 are blocked. This is understandable as this is exactly what the mandatory government blocking service is designed to do. Whether all these sites should be blocked is another matter.
Type in the keyword – ‘politics’ and 385 websites are blocked. One supposes there are good reasons for this, but at this point you might be wondering why.
However, type in the keyword – Theresa May and 1,295 websites are blocked and the words ‘Conservative Party’ blocks a whopping 2,499 websites.
In contrast, type in the keyword – ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ and just 1 website is blocked. Type in the keyword – John McDonnell and 2 websites are blocked.
Type in the Foreign Secretary keywords – ‘Boris Johnson’ brings 51 blocked websites or Emily Thornberry (Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary) and zero are blocked.
The keyword ‘Israel’ brings 120 blocked sites but ‘Russia’ reveals 660.
Right-wing newspaper ‘The Telegraph’ gets 13 websites blocked but left-wing newspaper ‘The Guardian’ gets 68 blocked.
Is there a pattern emerging here? Do you get the sense that negative information about the Conservative party is being censored?
For a better idea of where we are going on this – Read our recent article: Theresa May launches ‘Fusion Doctrine’ – A new era of dictatorial power
Have a go yourself – CLICK HERE for the ‘Blocked’ website
Featured image is from TruePublica.