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Glyn Moody

Glyn Moody's look at all levels of the enterprise open source stack. The blog will look at the organisations that are embracing open source, old and new alike (start-ups welcome), and the communities of users and developers that have formed around them (or not, as the case may be).

Russia to Ban Swearing Online: UK to Follow?

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Yesterday I wrote about the slide into censorship and self-censorship that the UK government's misbegotten plans to impose a default set of Net blocks could bring about. Of course, the UK is not alone in seeking to introduce disproportionate schemes. Here's one from Russia:

State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina intends to make further amendments to the Law "On the Protection of Children." The chairwoman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children put forward a suggestion to punish people for using dirty language in social networks.

According to politician, the pages full of posts and messages containing swear words, will have to be blocked within 24 hours, if harmful information is not deleted. This should apply to pages on social networks, websites, and various forums. According to Mizulina, children can begin to see profanity as a norm.

As that makes clear, this is an extension to an existing censorship system that even invokes children in its name, making it a cousin of Cameron's plans. Moreover, insane though it is, the proposal could be enacted because a blacklist of sites that must be blocked in Russia already exists: adding to it is trivial.

And that's precisely the problem in the UK, as I noted yesterday. Once net blocks have been set up, the UK government could one day bring in a similar scheme in an attempt to eliminate swear words from the UK's networks. It's absurd, and wouldn't work, but that won't stop some ignorant, bigoted politicians from insisting that we try, and rendering much of the Internet useless along the way.

It's another reason why we need to fight the government's plans to censor "dirty pictures": so they can't then move on to attack "dirty language", as in Russia.

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