The Home Office mulled whether to add extremism – and Brokenshire’s “unsavoury content” – to something called the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list.

The list was supposed to be a collection of child abuse sites, which were automatically blocked via a system called Cleanfeed. But soon, criminally obscene material was added to it – a famously difficult benchmark to demonstrate in law. Then, in 2011, the Motion Picture Association started court proceedings to add a site indexing downloads of copyrighted material.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

And something else curious was happening too: A reactionary view of human sexuality was taking over. Websites which dealt with breast feeding or fine art were being blocked. The male eye was winning: impressing the sense that the only function for the naked female body was sexual.

It was a staggering failure. But Downing Street was pleased with itself, it had won. The ISPs had surrendered. The Washington Post described it as  “some of the strictest curbs on pornography in the Western world” -  music to Cameron’s ears. Suddenly the terms of the debate started shifting. Dido Harding, the chief executive of TalkTalk, was saying the internet needed a “social and moral framework”.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

The filters went well beyond what Cameron had been talking about. Suddenly, sexual health sites had been blocked, as had domestic violence support sites, gay and lesbian sites, eating disorder sites, alcohol and smoking sites, ‘web forums’ and, most baffling of all, ‘esoteric material’.  Childline, Refuge, Stonewall and the Samaritans were blocked, as was the site of Claire Perry, the Tory MP who led the call for the opt-in filtering. The software was unable to distinguish between her description of what children should be protected from and the things themselves.

At the same time, the filtering software was failing to get at the sites it was supposed to be targeting. Under-blocking was at somewhere between 5% and 35%.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

“The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.””

Michael Chabon | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books, April 2014. (via metanautics)

There is a lack of understanding at the Home Office of what they are trying to achieve, of how one might do so, and, more fundamentally, of whether one should be trying at all.

This confusion – more of a catastrophe of muddled thinking than a conspiracy – is concealed behind a double-locked system preventing any information getting out about the censorship programme.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

“Ministers are trying to figure out how to block content that’s illegal in the UK but hosted overseas. For a while the interview stayed on course. There was “more work to do” negotiating with internet service providers (ISPs), he said. And then, quite  suddenly, he let the cat out the bag. The internet firms would have to deal with “material that may not be illegal but certainly is unsavoury”, he said.”

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

“We’re going beyond Silicon Roundabout. It’s going to be exciting.”

designswarm thoughts | Hackerston: the new frontier of Tech City

“Where is reality then? Out there, beyond the white cube and its display technologies? How about inverting the claim, somewhat polemically, to assert that the white cube *is* in fact the Real: the blank horror and emptiness of the bourgeois interior.”

— Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen. (via juhavantzelfde)

“If those fail, neighborhood groups can also file a CEQA or environmental lawsuit under California state law, challenging the environment impact of the project. Perversely, CEQA lawsuits have been used to challenge a city plan to add 34 miles of bike lanes.”

How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF’s Housing Crisis Explained) | TechCrunch

“Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was getting the power right. Over the winter, I only had four solar panels, and they didn’t generate nearly enough energy to keep up with the demands I was placing on the system. I have webcams running 24 hours a day, and the batteries were sucking up all the available power. I also needed to charge my laptop, wifi, mobile phone, and camera. I got two extra panels, but with the longer spring days, I now have an excess of energy. If I were to do this project again, I would want to use wind power too.”

Stephen Turner’s Amazing Exbury Egg House Tour | Apartment Therapy

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