Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Will they Block this content?

Holier than thou politicians and organisation busy-bodies are forever trying to stop you saying things. It 'offends' me. If it 'offends' them they can banish my words. If they offend me, I must shut up it seems; all I can do is laugh at them.

So laugh I do.

This content has been blocked because it does not comply
 with the acceptable usage policy

No Mate. To see or not to see. THAT is the question.

Mark Forsyth had us all in stitches today:

On Monday, I was sitting in the British Library frantically trying to write my new book in a shturmovshchina. I had to quickly check a particular line in Hamlet, so I Googled Hamlet MIT, because the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has put the entire works of Shakespeare up on the Internet.  I clicked on the link and...
 A message came up from the British Library telling me that access to site was blocked due to "violent content".
 Now, Hamlet is a violent play. I see that. When the curtain comes down there's a lot of bodies on the boards. But...
 I tried it again. It told me that my attempts to access this violent content were being logged.
 I took my computer over to the information desk, and after I had explained to them what MIT stood for (really), they called the IT department and told them about the webpage that I had been blocked from.


 They had to spell out Shakespeare letter by letter. Really. Ess. Aitch. Ay. Kay...
 I asked them if they were surprised that Hamlet was now banned in the British Library.  
They shrugged.
I asked them how it was that I could still access youtube, facebook and twitter. I asked why the girl at the next desk to me had been able to spend the last half hour on Guardian Soulmates, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's website was banned.  
They shrugged.  
 I asked if they saw the problem, perhaps just the symbolism, of Hamlet being banned in the British Library.  
They shrugged.
"If I have to get down and dirty, sunshine...."

 The IT department said there was nothing to be done, as it was only the British Library's wifi service that was blocking Hamlet, and the British Library's wifi service, they seemed sure, had nothing to do with the British Library. They were merely ships that passed in the night. Children crying to each other from either bank of an uncrossable river.
 'But,' I said. It's one of those points where you just want somebody to understand the central point. 'The British Library has banned Hamlet for being too violent.' 
 And the lady behind the desk nodded and smiled. 
 It's one of those points where  
I don't know whether they're insane,  
or if it's me.  
Maybe Hamlet should be banned. I wrote an angry e-mail, and this morning I got one back saying they're looking into it. But maybe I should give all this up and get a job as a lighthouse keeper.  
But I fear I'd still have those dreams, those dreams about that man with poison sword and the people fighting in the grave and the venom being poured down my throat. O God! God!

Whom the Gods destroy, they first send mad.

Some Politicians think they are Gods. Or God's gift, or maybe God's avenging Angels.

Take Theresa May for example. Please:

“There is no doubt that people are able to watch things through the Internet which can lead to radicalization,” May told the BBC in an interview this week.  ”We need to see if we should be doing more; we need to see if there are additional steps we should be taking to prevent radicalization.” 
Her suggested remedy is a three-pronged approach: ban more organizations and Muslim schools that the government believes are inciting hate; block extremist websites, and revive the Communications Data Bill, which would which would require Internet service providers and mobile companies to keep records of every user’s browsing activities, email correspondences, and texts for 12 months. Phone companies in the UK already are required to retain email and telephone contact data. 
And of course, make sure that Hamlet does not lead to chavs being chavs in our streets.

Big Sista, She has a beady eye on you.

Some filters against extremist websites have been in place since 2010, May told the BBC. Since then, police have gotten more than 5,500 postings deleted from the Internet, she added. Police and governments routinely request that Internet companies and Web hosts take down, block, or filter content they deem to be offensive or illegal. Companies can voluntarily comply or wait for a court order to do so.  
Ve hef vays of makink you komply.
Now May would like to examine whether officials should have broader power to demand that content be removed.  
Home Office spokeswoman Sally Henfield said in a telephone interview that the examination will be part of the government’s Extremist and Radicalization Task Force, established this week in the aftermath of the Woolwich stabbing. Further details have yet to be decided. 
The conservative government’s coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, said that in the wake of the Woolwich murder, they would agree to some parts of the draft Communications Data Bill, which they blocked in April over privacy concerns.  
Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Telegraph this week that the coalition needed to support security services when they say they need more power to monitor suspects.
Some countries, like the US and UK, protect hate speech unless the speech actually incites imminent violence.  
Others, like Germany and Austria, restrict some speech under certain circumstances. Those two countries forbid not only denying the Holocaust, but also hate speech that instigates violence or demeans the value of groups in a way that “can disturb the public peace.” This is what May appears to be proposing now in the UK, even though nowadays, neo-Nazis based in Germany and Austria can just run their websites through countries, like the US, that do not restrict speech.  
It can be hard to distinguish between hate speech and speech that is merely offensive. There are no agreed-upon international definitions. Facebook recently changed its policy on hate speech to be more responsive to complaints about pages that appear to condone violence against women.  
Violence against men, however will still be permitted as entertainment on the BBC.
 Online companies and ISPs routinely are asked by governments and individual users to block sites or specific pages. While most takedowns are due to alleged copyright infringements, they are also asked to censor other forms of speech that may be controversial but not meet a strong definition of hate speech. 
In its Transparency Report, Google said that last year it had followed all 20 requests from the UK government or police to take down 75 sites due to national security issues. In addition, it blocked one YouTube video at the government’s request due to hate speech.
What was I saying about being sent mad?

Well, it was in Shakespeare, I think.

I think therefore I drink.

A Glass or two of Endurance ?


  1. Great article. A jolly good read. I wonder if you could also comment on the state of this sort of privacy intrusion under the guise of 'protecting the public' from our current Australian government.

  2. Maybe I could. Amd maybe I will wait for some comments from around the bar. perhaps you can lead them off with some of your examples of 'protecting the public'.

    I do wish someone would censor Chairman Kev though. He seems offended by Abbott suggesting a candidate has 'sex appeal' and is scandalised. It did not stop Kev berating a young woman who got his lunch order wrong though.

  3. I am confused... I thought you were a Brit ex pat living in Oz? Am I wrong?

    That's mind boggling that the British library would ban anything really,but Shakespeare? Unbelievable!

    The Uk cyber laws are still pretty non-existent I found when dealing with hate speech directed at me. In Canada however, I had no problems getting it removed[which contained my real name],England a big fat NO. When it came to obsessive cyber stalking and harassment I was told to avoid the problem by not going on the internet. YET THEY BLOCK SHAKESPEARE????? Typically British to do that which is never consistent or makes any sense whatsoever.

    1. Be not confused m'dear. I am indeed English - despite Wolfram thinking I was a Kraut. And I am in Oz; a Magical land where the entire world lies outside the Tavern doors.

  4. I am English too living in Canada now. What part of England are you from?

    1. I entered the world into the smoking rubble of Coventry. The timing was way off, unfortunately, as I was supposed to be the offspring of Lady Godiva.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..