When considering the issue of regulating the Internet, we must not overlook the possible harmful implications of even seemingly minor regulation. Every governmental intervention carries with it limitation of personal rights, whether its primarily aim is to serve the governments' interests and control or even where it is limited solely to the legitimate purpose of protecting and serving the citizens themselves.
With Beyond The Ballot, HuffPost UK wants to spark a national conversation on the three urgent issues which have largely failed to make a pinprick in the Westminster bubble - the failure to deal compassionately with mental illness, the silent millions stuck in the extortionate rental market, and the cack-handed efforts to regulate and censor the internet. Crucially, we're using our What's Working approach to look for solutions to these hard-to-tackle topics, to pin down politicians on concrete policies they think will solve these pressing problems. We are calling for an end to meaningless 'we need to do more' rhetoric.
The first amendment in the United States is a wonderful thing. It means you can say whatever you like about anything... But with the increasing popularity of Facebook comment section fights, and chatroom brawls, I'm seeing more and more often that people seem to forget that freedom of speech goes both ways.
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?
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.