Good Luck With Banning Google

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The British government is to take to itself the power to ban Google in the UK. And Facebook, Twitter and all the rest.

Good luck with that really. For it betrays a certain lack of knowledge about how the internet works. Which is, you know, to route around such things as censorship? Or, to run the thought the other way, those who can access a VPN get censored how?

Social media sites could be blocked from the UK if they breach proposed new duty of care laws, which will be kick-started on Wednesday.

Baroness Morgan, the Culture Secretary, will tell the Lords that the watchdog Ofcom should be the regulator and get powers to protect children and other users from online harms, as predicted last week by The Daily Telegraph.

The tech giants including Google and Facebook will be expected to quickly remove illegal content linked to terrorism and child abuse and to protect children from potentially harmful material such as that which could encourage suicide and self-harm.

Ministers have yet to decide on the sanctions but a power for Ofcom to require internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites or apps which commit “serious, repeated and egregious violations” of their duty of care remains on the table despite reports last year it might be dropped.

It’s not even something that would work under the law. France tried this with the right to be forgotten. Telling Google that global results must be altered to accord with French law. The European Court of Justice sent the French away with a flea in their ear. Sure, results on Google.FR should accord with French law. And even where it’s obvious and known that Google.com/uk/bg etc is being accessed from a French IP address then it should accord with French law. But for standard general use by the rest of the world then the laws of the rest of the world, not those of France, apply.

Thus anyone with even the most basic location spoofing or VPN can and will get around such geographic restrictions upon content.

Canute was a demonstration of how the earthly power cannot command the tides, you’d think that a thousand years was long enough for a government to understand that, wouldn’t you?

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The Mole
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The Mole

To answer your question, firstly you use legal means to try and ban them (used by terrorists, paedophiles), when that fails (as businesses will push back) you create some sort of licensing scheme so that only businesses can afford to legally access them (e.g. mandatory that VPN providers do the blocking, accessing one that doesn’t is illegal). On top of that you build a great firewall and put technical measures in to detect and block access to VPN sites (by ip) and through packet inspection. Of course it will be a constant game of whack-a-mole and there will be a… Read more »

John B
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John B

Good VPNs are in locations outside the jurisdiction of freedom abusers.
‘… technical measures in to detect and block access to VPN sites…’

VPN = Virtual Private Network. The whole point of VPN is they and their users are invisible. It is like having a direct connexion from your computer to the website… nobody can interfere.

If they could be detected and blocked, they would be of no use in the first place.

The Mole
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The Mole

Nope the point of a VPN is to hide what exactly you are accessing through the VPN, it hides what exactly you are doing, not that you are doing something. The actual connection to the VPN server is really easy to detect and potentially block, the authorities just can’t see which porn, terrorist materials or subversive material you are accessing. It might be a game of whack-a-mole in blocking particular servers but if they are widely used then they are easy to identify. Even then there are side channel attacks that sometimes can give a clue as to what you… Read more »

Pcar
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Pcar

@Mole

Drum roll,

– TOR

Boom, boom

John B
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John B

‘For it betrays a certain lack of knowledge about how the internet works.‘

Do they know how anything works? Electricity generation & distribution, batteries, free market, economy, society, humanity, business, science… ?

‘ Canute was a demonstration of how the earthly power cannot command the tides, you’d think that a thousand years was long enough for a government to understand that, wouldn’t you?’

But it works with climate, so why not everything else. There are even those who think climate can be commanded by taxation.

jgh
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jgh

They don’t seem to understand how national sovereignty works either. How can a UK legal system hold a non-UK entity to UK law? Gunboats? Revive the West Africa Patrol?

Tim the Coder
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Tim the Coder

“I got an unpleasant letter in the post.
I demand you punish and ban the postman.”
We are being ruled by morons.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

I saw something unpleasant on the BBC (Grera something?). Please ban the BBC.