Watch it, Jon Stewart & Co! You guys may be taken down sooner than you think. The fact that political satire is being censored in an increasingly number of countries should not come as a surprise to anyone. But the legal technicalities for doing so may do; political satire is to be treated like porn – as not suitable content for people under 18 years of age. and therefore to be censored in the same way.
“It’s not blocked for just the under-18s. It’s blocked for anyone who hasn’t proven to the operator they are over 18 — and that means you will have to give your full identity to them before they allow you to enter this site.”
As you know, there are more than a few countries in the world where making a pointed political joke can lead to less-than-funny consequences. That number is probably going to rise substantially over the next few years. Despite the comedians loudly rejection to any statement saying that their satire is undermining the political establishment, and other powerful interest groups, we know that it is not quite how the targets often perceives it. Also, history will prove that humorous writers, singers and troubadours have made significant contributions in forming the public opinion before – it’s a very clever form of communication. And there has been no legal way to stop a crusading-comedian-gone-wild before, up until now, that is…
This peculiar fact was discovered by a blog called “Pride’s Purge” by Tom Pride a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that his website was blocked by his mobile operator’s child protection filter.
Of course, Mr. Pride immediately contacted the mobile operator, 3UK, using Twitter and got the answer:
I didn’t know. but it now seems that there is a category of material called “mature content” that is distinct from “adult content“, and that is also blocked by child protection filters,(at least on 3UK’s network).
“Pride’s Purge” is a blog who takes “an irrelevant look at UK politics.” (obvious British satire..), and it becomes even more worrying when the mobile company also confirms that political satire is now regarded as “mature content”, not suitable for persons under 18 years of age, and will therefore continue to be censored in the future.
This means that the British company 3UK now officially regard political satire as porn – and are censoring it in exactly the same way.
Tom Pride explains the whole thing here.
Over at Techdirt.com they try to explain the big picture:
“Smartphones have some big advantages: they offer considerable computing power in a highly portable form, and are available at prices that allow a broad spectrum of users to get online easily. But as we reported last year, there’s a big downside, too, one that’s all-the-more dangerous for being invisible to most people: overblocking of sites caused by opt-out “child protection filters” applied by some mobile operators to their Internet feed.”
“This very broad, default censorship is disturbing for at least two reasons,” they continue:
“First, because many people will be unaware that this kind of “mature content” censorship is taking place at all, and therefore won’t ask for it to be stopped. And secondly, even if they are aware, the fact that asking for the filter to be lifted could be seen as tantamount to wanting to access porn — something that many will understandably be reluctant to have noted down on their Internet access record — means that they will simply put up with a limited feed. And so the creeping, silent censorship of the mobile Internet not only continues, but probably gets worse in the absence of any significant pushback against it.”
Well, sometimes there really can be a very fine line….
Related by econoTwist’s:
- Norway To Get Its Own SOPA
- Protecting Panties: Victoria’s Secret Uses DMCA To Suppress Public Criticism
- Google Starts Watching What Do Offline, Too
- Bank of America Blocks Certain Websites
- Google Removes More Than 350.000 Websites Every Day
- You Can’t Always Think What You Want
Other related articles
- Smartphone Filters Are Censoring “Political Satire” And Other “Mature Content” (theintelhub.com)
- Smartphone operators are censoring satire, feminism and homosexuality as ‘mature content’. Is that what we want? (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Satire like Porn? How 3UK are bringing Chinese-style political censorship of web to UK (tompride.wordpress.com)
- 3UK treats political satire as porn and blocks it (techdirt.com)
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