Russia's seeming benevolence towards a man hunted for speaking a truth he felt the world should know, stands in sharp contrast to how it deals with its own citizens who dare to raise their voices. The irony of the Kremlin's tacit acknowledgement that those who speak out on matters of serious public interest deserve protection will not go unnoticed by Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova. It will not be overlooked by scores of people across Russia who find their ability to speak increasingly restricted since Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency.
It seems that Fortiguard aren't just in the business of keeping vulnerable eyes away from explicit sexual content and blogs about independent filmmaking. Their website describes the alternative beliefs category as blocking "Websites that provide information about or promote religions not specified in Traditional Religions or other unconventional, cultic, or folkloric beliefs and practices". Make of that what you will.
The irony that the UK government is proposing to introduce the exact same internet censorship mechanisms that it has routinely condemned in China has so far received little attention. Part of the reason for this is that many people in the UK tend to have an exaggerated view of what goes on in China to begin with and therefore the comparison seems far-fetched. But is it, really?
David Cameron's plan to introduce opt-out Internet censorship at service-provider level genuinely scares me. What's more worrying is his treatment of the technical arguments against such a move: in his speech he said, "Set your greatest brains to work on this... You're the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the earth from space." Which is to say: "I don't want to talk about the problems or consequences. Just do it."
It is both right and proper that stringent measures should be put in place to put an end to child pornography online. But Vince Cable's reactionary plan for Google and other search engines to police content in the wake of the convictions of Mark Bridger and Stuart Hazell is at best oversimplifying a very complex issue and at worst, a cynical ploy to absolve the coalition government of any immediate responsibility.