by Joseph Cox, Vice
Almost one in five websites are blocked by the UK’s internet service providers’ filters, according to the Open Rights Group. Using an in-house developed tool, the digital rights organization have tested the top 100,000 sites on the web and found that many of the 20 percent blocked by filters — which are intended to protect kids from inappropriate content — included innocuous, inoffensive or educational content.
For example, a website used to sell and service Porsches is blocked by O2, while TalkTalk denies access to a feminist rights blog. Other blocked sites include the political blog Guido Fawkes, whose editor Paul Staines said: “We would really appreciate it if TalkTalk would remove us from their block list. The only people who block us are them and the Chinese government.”
Open Rights Group have launched the tool they used to test sites, which means anyone can check if a website has been filtered and keep track of a running total of blocked sites. At the time of publication, the number of blocked sites had risen since the initial launch to over 22,500.
As for the point of all this, Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, said: “Through the Blocked project we wanted to find out about the impact of web filters. Already, our reports are showing that almost one in five websites tested are blocked, and that the problem of overblocking seems much bigger than we thought. Different ISPs are blocking different sites and the result is that many people, from businesses to bloggers, are being affected because people can’t access their websites.”
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