I try to keep my politics away from this blog, but the news that Virgin Media has now been forced by the Government to introduce an ill-conceived "family filter" (aka "porn blocker") really winds me up so if you'll permit me, I'm just going to vent a little spleen here.
I have a family, but my daughter is over 20 now and I have no desire whatsoever to curb her civil liberties, nor those of my wife and me. We're all adults in this household.
But we're going to be asked by the Government (and we all trust Cameron and his GCHQ spies) if we want our internet filtered, not just for pornography, but for access to any sites featuring drug use, hate speech, violence, self-harm or suicide. At least, that's today's list. Tomorrow's may filter left-wing news sources or NSA revelations or anything the Daily Mail wants to block.
But more to the point, how many charities or genuine sites are going to get blocked as their coverage of legitimate problems of society are caught up in the over-zealous algorithms and false positives that such clumsy, ill-conceived technology will inevitably use?
Virgin is the last of the big four ISPs to comply to the government-mandated directive - BT, Sky and TalkTalk are already there. All new VM customers will be asked whether they want the filters turned on or off, and we'll all be asked by the end of the year.
Virgin's system works at a network level which means all devices in a house which connect via its router will be subject to the same filtering system. Maybe in time it will be refined, but if it is as clumsy and pathetic as the Torrent sites blocks then I don't think anyone benefits one way or the other.
I won't get into a debate here about the harm (or value) of pornography in today's society - personally, it leaves me pretty cold - but this is an extremely slippery slope we're on now, when state censorship and surveillance is being applied to us all. It is an irresponsible knee jerk reaction to a media-generated moral panic.
Even if you want your family's internet censored, think twice before saying yes to the Government's nanny state controls - other, more effective family filtering solutions are available.
(I've added a poll (top right) to see how the VMHD massive feel about this.)