Geotagged at home (51.427051,-0.333344)

On UK Censorship (And Robert Heinlein)

There are many things I'm not going to comment on here. I'm not going to comment on whether we live in a democracy in the UK or not, nor whether it's democratic or not to block access to a particular web site on the sole say-so of an industry body. I'm not going to comment on whether this web site blocking is enabled by legislation that was effectively rushed onto the statute books despite strong protest from the UK tech community and without that community having the opportunity to present their side of the case. I'm not going to comment on whether such sites really do destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists or whether any evidence to support such views has been presented. I'm not going to comment on the apparent hypocracy of blocking a web site which hosts links to content which may or may not be infrininging copyright and intellectual property yet not block a web site which actively hosts content which may or may not be infringing.

I'm not going to comment on the loss of access that unsigned UK musicians and artists have to The Promo Bay or whether the aforementioned industry body doesn't think that's an issue because these musicians and artists are unsigned. Nor am I going to comment on the fact that despite a particular web site being blocked here in the UK, a simple web search for pirate bay mirror shows that the block is on a single domain name and thus pretty much ineffective.

I'm also not going to comment on what I think about paying a monthly subscription to access the internet over my home broadband connection, the entire internet, only to be told by my government and by this industry body that I can't do this for certain sites that they, effectively, don't like, and that, effectively, that it's for my own good.

What I am going to comment on is that like or loath the music industry bodies (not the musicians and artists I hasten to add), the record companies and the British ISPs who are forced to comply with this legislation, this is out and out censorship. I'm also going to quote the late, great Robert Heinlein who had this to say ...

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you may not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

... and I'm also going to comment that I think these are very wise words indeed.

Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user