The UK government has spent years trying to impose its version of morality upon the Internet, demanding that ISPs impose mandatory opt-out porn filters, even if those filters have since been easily bypassed and often block entirely legitimate websites. Worse, the UK government has seemed intent on throwing itself face-first down the slippery slope of censorship, with plans to expand these filters to block arbitrarily-defined "extremist" content. Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly and loudly proclaimed to anyone who'll listen his sole mission is to "protect the children" from the beasts that dwell in the "darkest corners of the Internet." In the process he's blamed nearly everyone, including Google and Yahoo, for not doing enough to thwart child porn.
Apparently, people who live in glass houses should not throw thermonuclear warheads (I think that's how that saying goes). Reports have emerged that top Cameron aide Patrick Rock -- who helped draw up proposals for the country's Internet porn filters -- has been arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography. There seems to be some heated criticism pointed Cameron's direction for keeping the issue quiet, with several UK news outlets also suggesting Rock was given a little extra time between his dismissal and his arrest:"Mr Cameron's official spokesman has confirmed that No 10 was first made aware of the alleged offence regarding child abuse imagery on the evening of February 12. The matter was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Mr Rock resigned his position as deputy head of the policy unit. In the early hours of the morning of February 13 he was arrested at his home in London."So if this timeline is correct (and the Guardian seems a little murkier on those specifics) the government was made aware of Rock's offense on February 12, Rock "resigned" on February 12, but he wasn't arrested until February 13 after the government contacted the NCA. Presumed innocent and all that, but it seems a touch hypocritical and inconsistent to whine like a screaming banshee for years about how everybody else isn't doing enough to protect the children, while your own staff member and architect of your porn filters is storing child porn on his PC. It's of course notably worse if it's found the government gave Rock a little extra time before law enforcement came calling (though perhaps the NCA just moves slower when it's higher ranking officials).
Regardless, I think it's time for UK ISPs to begin developing sophisticated algorithms capable of filtering out David Cameron's bad ideas from the public discourse ( via techdirt.com ).