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The Guardian propped-up the Tories latest internet crackdown

Boris Johnson and the Guardian Logo

Boris Johnson’s Tory government is cracking down even further on our internet freedoms. It’s doing it under the guise of children accessing porn. Yet the ever-clueless Guardian propped their nonsense up anyway.

Authoritarianism under the guise of child protection

The Tory government wants Twitter and Reddit to introduce age checks for users. It says it’s because of the amount of porn on these sites. The government therefore wants Twitter and Reddit to force users to give them passport, driving licence, or bank details to prove their age. Obviously, at present, anyone can use these platforms over the age of 13. And sites like Twitter would have the option to remove porn altogether. But this would really impact sex workers.

The planned rules will form part of the contentious Online Safety Bill. But the Tories plan to ‘protect’ children is little more than a smokescreen.

Paul Bernal is a professor of IT law. On Wednesday 9 February, he tweeted about the Tories’ planned changes. Bernal called it a “slippery slope”. He said:

The real idea is to make the whole internet subject not just to age checks but identity checks. It’s an authoritarian wet dream.

He also said that it would affect people’s anonymity. And as Bernal noted:

authorities can determine what content is and is not acceptable is a recipe for disaster.

Read on...


So, did the Guardian question the government’s reasons for this policy? Did it hell.

The Guardian: shilling for the Tories?

Writer Jim Waterson framed most of the article around the Tories wanting to stop children accessing porn. As he wrote:

Ministers said that social networks “where a considerable quantity of pornographic material is accessible” will have to conform to the same age verification rules as other commercial pornography websites.

Waterson also noted that:

The proposed law will see individual British internet users required to hand over a form of identification – such as a passport, driving licence or credit card – to an age verification provider, which would then tell a website hosting porn that the user is over 18. Outlets that fail to prove they have robust age checks could be fined 10% of their global revenue by the media regulator Ofcom, or risk being blocked altogether by British internet service providers.

He got quotes from people in the age verification business. And he did highlight the potential impact on sex workers and smaller websites. But not once did Waterson mention any of Bernal’s crucial points. Nor did he get comment from anyone with expertise in privacy or civil liberties issues.

Tories: policing the internet

As Bernal alluded to, the Tories’ proposed rules for Twitter and Reddit are really about control of the internet. The Canary previously wrote:

As if censorship on the internet wasn’t bad enough already, the Online Safety Bill will just entrench and further it. It arms both the government and social media companies with extra tools. They could use these to even more actively crack-down on dissent, legitimate protest, and opposition.

Now, the Tories’ using access to porn as an excuse to restrict Twitter and Reddit adds to this. Not only will this hit sex workers hard, but it also shows our freedoms on the internet are becoming more and more at risk. Now, more than ever, we need an independent critical media, not one happy to whitewash this government’s increasingly draconian plans.

Featured image via the Telegraph – YouTube and Asvensson – Wikimedia 

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  • Show Comments
    1. The Guardian propped-up the Tories latest internet crackdown
      Good article here I stopped my funding of Guardian new paper
      Because they stopped me from posting on Boris parties I nNo,10 + Govt matter so I know about the problem with this new paper bosses personally
      I took the decision to STOP MY FUNDING as why should I pay a fee to be Gagged by BORIS OR ANY OTHER GOVT Dept Minister from speaking what I beleave to be true posts (On Boris lying to us public plus parliament)
      Do beleave Govt P.M. + Minister should keep out of paper news website
      Information set by poster & commenter alike remember what we post
      On is Part of the paper new headlines already.
      Guardians need to understand we still have freedom of speech plus a right to post what we wish that is not bad or offensive as Boris & his Minister have not taken our rights away yet or our freedom, but they are speeding up the process now to strip us of our right + Freedoms away In the U.K area Ms Petal is changing the laws again on Advice by Boris.

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