The UK now has it's own equivalent to China's great firewall. My current ISP "bethere" is one of several which have opted into using it. If I try to access the wikipedia article on the Scorpion's album "Virgin Killer" I receive a "404 not found response" which does not originate from Wikipedia. This album had a controversial picture of a young girl naked on the cover. The censoring proxy has blocked access to both wikimedia's copy of the album cover but also the entire article about it (including discussion about the album cover controversy).

There are two things in particular that really annoy me about the way this has been implemented. Firstly, the response I get for a censored page is an unadorned 404. At the very least it should be an explanation of why I cannot access the material, and who to contact if there has been a mistake (no doubt in the eyes of our moral superiors there are no mistakes). Secondly, my ISP has signed up for this and implemented it without telling me. I will shortly be moving both my broadband and that of my parents away from them.

The scary thing for me about George Orwell's 1984 was not just the total control but how ruthlessly efficiently it was implemented. So far this has been implemented predictably poorly, first of all it's trivial to circumvent the block on wikipedia, at least; secondly, they've inadvertently buggered up editing Wikipedia for those affected.


Comments

This is what I get from a traceroute using TCP packets to ports 80 and 81:

# traceroute -T -p 80 en.wikipedia.org
traceroute to en.wikipedia.org (91.198.174.2), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1  192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)  1.266 ms  1.852 ms *
 2  * * *
 3  * * *
 4  * * *
 5  * * *
 6  * rr.knams.wikimedia.org (91.198.174.2)  53.554 ms  55.194 ms

# traceroute -T -p 81 en.wikipedia.org
traceroute to en.wikipedia.org (91.198.174.2), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1  192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)  1.532 ms  1.984 ms *
 2  * * *
 3  * * *
 4  * * *
 5  * * *
 6  * ldn-b4-link.telia.net (213.248.84.201)  64.649 ms  64.680 ms
 7  * * *
 8  * * *
 9  * * *
10  * * *
11  te3-4-3508-cr0.nik.nl.as6908.net (78.41.154.14)  66.049 ms  72.024 ms  64.770 ms
12  ge7-2.csw1-knams.wikimedia.org (78.41.155.38)  64.965 ms  65.728 ms  66.068 ms
13  rr.knams.wikimedia.org (91.198.174.2)  38.171 ms  38.347 ms  37.957 ms
fragglet [livejournal.com],