Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
Online pornography to be blocked by default in the UK, announces Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech today. Internet users will have to contact their ISPs to opt out of the filter. Possession of pornography depicting rape will also be illegal. Here is the full text of the speech. Coverage by The Independent, the Telegraph, and a shortened video of the speech at the Guardian. [more inside]
Is the internet rewriting history? Teaching the difference between truth and propaganda online via BBC [more inside]
The British Government wants to ban porn from the internet. The move would force ISPs to block all pornographic content unless users had 'opted in' (providing a handy list of people who wish to view pornography) and is said to be motivated by a desire to combat the early sexualization of children. There is no word on how 'porn' is to be defined.
UK adoption agencies are reporting "huge numbers of calls from 'deeply distressed' adoptive parents whose children have been contacted" through Facebook and other social networking sites, in violation of the traditional, confidential reunion process between birth parents and their offspring who have been placed with other families. Full report from Channel 4. [more inside]
British internet users face ban for illegal downloads. A draft copy of a Green Paper produced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was leaked to The Times newspaper which detailed how the government was considering introducing legislation that would require ISPs to take action against users who access pirated material. [more inside]
You can't just give away free software! Or can you? Firefox's copyleft premise destroys U.K. anti-piracy laws. Gervase Markham takes on a U.K. official who wants to arrest pirates for distributing firefox.
UK politician chooses his blog over his party: Paul Leake, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Durham, was asked by his local party to remove any "controversial" posts from his weblog and to give them the right to vet future posts. Denis Jackson, another Liberal Democrat on Durham City Council, said that the Labour councillors were using the blog to find "lurid headlines". Leake refused, and stepped down from the party. He'll now serve his constituents as an independent. [Via The Political Weblog Project]
Teenagers find the internet a frustrating experience A survey in the north east of England finds that teenagers are increasingly being alienated in their online experience because they aren't being given the skillsets to cope with finding or using the information. Seems to be the old story of schools buying computers but the kids not being engaged enough on how to use them (which has been the case since I was stuck in front of an Acorn Archimedes fifteen years go). Here is a similar article from Australia which describes how their eductation system is coping with the issue.
AltaVista lies to England about free net access. I am shocked that a company in the honorable net industry could think of such a scam! Shocked I say!
About time too! From today, British Telecom effectively lose the right to block free internet access to UK residents (via Kitschbitch )
Freeserve relaunched today: Considering that the vast majority of UK internet users have this set as their homepage, what's your opinion on the new-look Freeserve homepage. (it's like MSN - no?)