Hey, O2 Wifi: Your filters are leaky

I have never been too good with rules, especially regulations I deem as illogical and unfair. Like my old grammar school who outlawed “football scarves” but permitted neck coverings from everything other than those of football teams. Rugby, fine. Plain, patterned, tartan, all fine. Football, banned. They claimed it stirred up fights and arguments which was just ridiculous; when I was at school it was clear teenage boys do not need a reason to squabble and fight. I found it unjust. So during the winter I wore my scarf. I only had one scarf and I wasn’t being cold because some teacher had a logic deficit. I was challenged, and I refused to comply. I wasn’t the only one. Eventually the rule was removed from the school rulebook; they deemed the ban to be pointless.

And although that was a minor victory, it is an example of the deep-seated contempt many hold for being censored. I value personal liberty; if an action harms no-one then there should be no rule against it. Imposing subjective values or a moral code onto people that will not subscribe to them has no place in a modern society. Censorship is inflexible and illogical and it holds the belief that someone somewhere is better placed to decide what is best for me.

And I find that really hard to deal with.

I am me; I make the decisions over what’s best for me and I live and die by those choices.

If someone wants to enable filters on their devices then that is their choice and I have no problem with that; in fact, I have registered my site with the major proxy suppliers to assist with this. If someone makes that choice because they want to get a censored view of the world then that’s fine, it’s their free will. I have issue with filters being imposed on me. After all, who is to say that they know better?

It’s a nanny-state arrogance that I find so infuriating. Don’t worry about it, we know best. It’s all for your own good. Hey, we are caring, kind people, we’ll look after you. It’s to stop nastiness and evil, and you don’t want to see that. Trust us.

The Government are using the same tactics with DRIP: it’s just to catch terrorists and paedophiles, it’s just an extension to the law, it’s nothing really, it’s procedural. The only people against it are fundamentalist conspiracy theorists. It’ll be OK. Don’t worry your pretty little mind about it. It’s to protect you. Trust us.

Bollocks! Both views are patronising bollocks, but the attitude is everywhere. Like O2 Wifi: they ban my site. It’s unsuitable for public places apparently (we’ll ignore the fact that every picture and word on my site is also on the laptop I’m accessing the Wifi point from, so is my laptop not suitable for public places either?) But it’s banned, I’m “offensive.”


But they only ban my site on HTTP. I run a self-signed certificated HTTPS variant to my site so I can login securely and that is not banned.


So O2Wifi think they know better than me, want to protect me and all that malarkey, but they don’t know that most sites on the net can be accessed from both HTTPS and HTTP protocols. Seriously, guys: the only thing worse than censorship is incompetent censorship.

Like the blacklisting of Wikipedia because it had an album cover that the censors disliked. Or the sex education sites? The abortion sites and so on. It’s just crazy.

That shield of protection looks more like a colander.

But who needs protecting anyway? Some adults while sipping their overpriced coffee might want to read a blog post or a naughty story that my imagination has cooked up. That’s their choice: it’s not appropriate to impose a subjective code of values onto free citizens.

Furthermore, circumventing the web filter is trivial: proxies, VPNs, redirects, the list is endless. Or now just use the HTTPS protocol. The “protection” is worthless. I could have broken that as a 12-year-old.

In fact, I would expect most people to circumvent that “protection” with ease. It’s trivial, and if you think you are protecting the kids, think again. Once one kid works it out, everyone will know. I wasn’t the only computer kid at school and we all spread our knowledge far and wide. And if adults want to access filth, smut and nefarious material, they will; a cursory glance at the best-sellers chart for last year, you might notice a certain book by EL James at the very top.

People like smut; adults like adult content. And just because some people can’t process that, it doesn’t give them the right to make decisions for me. I wouldn’t accept that state of affairs at my school twenty years ago; what makes you think I will find any more acceptable now?

I would be interested to know if any other UK bloggers with adult sites who frequent an unnamed coffee shop (it Costs-a lot for coffee there) if they can access their site across their Wifi, using either HTTP or HTTPS protocols.

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