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The UK’s Internet Filters Are Blocking One Fifth Of All Websites


07.02.14 Sophie Weiner

UK’s anti-censorship organization Open Rights Group has been testing thousands of sites to see whether they are accessible through filters designed to protect children from adult content. They found out that approximately one fifth of sites are caught in a filter and blocked from the UK public. These sites include “a Porsche broker, political blog Guido Fawkes and a post-pregnancy care site,” Wired reports. We’ve written before about the UK’s penchant for censorship but ORG’s study makes the problem much clearer.

All of the major ISPs in the UK have been under pressure to add default filters to their services, which, as this project proves, will end up catching a lot of sites that have no reason to be in there. The censorship is worrisome both for the owners of these specific websites, some of which are losing major income from being blacklisted by ISPs, and the public in general. Users can submit their own links to ORG’s Blocked project to check if they’re blocked by major providers, and the full list is updated every 20 days. In the near future, ORG hopes to open up their project to more people in order to “decentralize” the process and provide further checks on its accuracy.