According to a report from TechRadar, the website at www.promobay.org has been blocked by some Internet Service Providers in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media, BE broadband and BT are blocking the legal spin-off of the well-known “Pirate Bay.” Whereas The Pirate Bay hosted torrents of all kinds without discriminating between legal and illegal, “Le Promo Bay” seeks to provide a new way for independent artists to freely distribute their works.
The Pirate Party UK quickly responded by saying that “this is exactly what we warned would happen … it really illustrates the dangers of web blocking.” At MrGeek, we concur. Once we open the gates to web censorship, there’s no telling where it will end. If a website like Promo Bay can be blocked just because some of its owners are known to be involved in copyright infringement, just imagine the vast number of websites that could one day be inaccessible. Whereas a court order to shut down a website is at least tangible, is proved in court, and then is acted upon, this new practise of censorship seeks to get around the proper procedures.
If China can censor material that it finds is remotely contrary to the government’s messages, what will happen next in the UK and other western democracies? Will Wikipedia be blocked because it describes illegal activities? Will 4chan and other shady gathering places be banned because of the potential for coordinating crime? Will MrGeek be blocked for speaking out against censorship?
At times like this, the Americans and their obsession with free speech don’t look so foolish anymore. If we want the Internet to remain an open platform where information flows freely and without government hinderance, we need to stand up for our rights.
About Jeremy Andrews
Freelance PHP/MySQL developer, tech support guy, travel agent, transit photographer, and lover of poutine. Jeremy Andrews is a young guy from Montreal, Canada who enjoys writing about technology, can develop a website, and can do your travel arrangements! Contact him today at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on any of these services.