Friday, August 26, 2011

The Great Firewall of Britain

Given the average age of MPs hopefully this will be the last crop who'll prove so totally out-of-touch with technology with any newly elected MPs having grown up with it and (hopefully) understanding its complexity. That should mean we'll never see the likes of the Home Secretary entertaining serious discussion over shutting down social networking sites in times of crisis.

Ignoring the legal ramifications of trying to shut down legitimate businesses as and when the government feels like it; or the fact that so many of these sites are hosted in countries not under our jurisdiction - exactly how was this meant to happen?

One would have to install filters at the main access points of the UK internet backbone to deny traffic from certain IP addresses. Which is possible; except it would be also be possible to access an external site not on the banned list that would act as a relay to the banned site in the same way anonymizers work - the data from the banned site is wrapped in the legitimate IP address of the relay.

Another stage of this knee-jerk reaction was to ban messaging services. Most particularly the BlackBerry system which is encrypted. Again this would be possible, but only if they ordered the company to turn it off; oh and of course it would be turned off for everyone which would include most of the current Cabinet who apparently use it.

Update - thank you NewsThump


Orphi said...

In terms that these simpletons might perhaps understand: Trying to stop people using the Internet to organise and mobilise themselves would be like trying to stop people using the public telephone system or organise and mobilise themselves. In which universe is that even remotely feasible?