Get around the UK's national 'porn filters' with a simple Chrome extension

Earlier this week, leading UK internet service provider (ISP), BT Broadband, announced that it will begin blocking access to adult content by default for new customers, with existing customers being affected by the new policy next year. The move is not one of BT's choosing; it is the result of years of campaigning by special interest groups in the UK.

With the support of Prime Minister David Cameron, ISPs have been told to implement network-level filters to block adult content by default, or face legislation forcing them to do so. Account holders have the option to disable these filters if they wish to view some of the more spicy and stimulating content that the web has to offer, but teenagers, spouses and partners who don't have access to the account holder's login details are, theoretically at least, out of luck. 


Believe it or not, this isn't actually porn.

Theory and practice are, of course, two completely different things. In theory, for example, the filters are only supposed to block genuinely inappropriate and even illegal content. In practice, however, sites that are far from inappropriate or illegal are also being blocked. Examples include rape crisis centres, gay lifestyle (not porn) sites, and even the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community site for one of the UK's political parties, the Liberal Democrats, as Guido Fawkes reports. 

BBC News notes that while some innocent sites are being blocked - including an award-winning sex education site for children that has been running for over twenty years, and a site that deals with domestic abuse - filters are failing to block even some hardcore pornographic sites. 

This state of play creates problems across the board. Responsible adults wanting access to pornographic content have to opt out of the mandatory filters to do so; parents cannot expect the filters that were put in place to protect their children to work reliably; and those wishing to do nothing more than access perfectly legitimate and non-pornographic content are finding their access to entirely harmless sites being blocked. 

It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that a pretty straightforward workaround for the filters has already been created, in the form of a free Chrome extension called 'Go Away Cameron'. 

The extension "will work anywhere, and with any websites that are blocked by firewall, universities, workplaces, nanny filters, or well, censorship", according to its developer. It is described as a "private and smart proxy service to route your access around censorship so you can regain your access to your favourite blocked sites in [the] UK." 

Full details and installation instructions are available here.

As Guido notes, this extension "basically means 15-year olds don't have to tell their mum they want to access porn" - highlighting the folly of the whole approach to restricting access to adult content by default, when the means to circumvent the filters are so embarrassingly simple to use.

Source: Go Away Cameron via Guido Fawkes

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