British prime minister David Cameron’s plan to filter all pornography on the UK internet unless users explicitly opt-in will be based on technology designed by Huawei, the BBC reports.
“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger,” said the moralising scaremongerer when he announced the plans. Now Cameron’s plan is facing some scaremongering of its own:
Huawei’s position was recently the subject of an Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report. It criticised the lack of ministerial oversight over the firm’s rapid expansion in the UK.
The committee said “the alleged links between Huawei and the Chinese State are concerning, as they generate suspicion as to whether Huawei’s intentions are strictly commercial or are more political” – but added that it had not found any evidence of wrongdoing.
It said it had worries that a UK-based testing centre set up to examine Huawei products was staffed by experts employed by the Chinese firm.
It is unlikely that even households which do opt to have their internet filtered by the government-sponsored, Daily Mail-reading nannies will see a web without porn (after all, there’s plenty of porn on the Chinese internet if you know where to look). While Cameron would presumably argue that we should think of the children (won’t somebody please think of the children?!), the scheme will be even less effective at dealing with child abuse images, as the EFF explains:
If you wish to defend your nation’s children from abuse, when such abuse is frequently from within the family then locking children away from external but “adult” advice and giving the key to those who control the rest of their lives, is the worst possible strategy. That’s why youth advice charities and abuse survivors have come out against these filters. Meanwhile, the precedent is set: private service providers have been positively encouraged to interfere with their users’ Internet traffic at the hands of the government.