UK govt to allow access to wrongly-blocked sites

The UK government is compiling a list of websites that have been wrongly blocked by its porn filter, and will go about unblocking them.

Along with smut sites, David Cameron's porn filter has inadvertently blocked plenty of websites aiming to educate and inform about sex-related issues, as well as those reporting on news of torrent sites. Now the UK government is finally getting to work on allowing access to those wrongly-blocked sites, the BBC reports.

The government is drawing up a list of sites that were blocked accidentally -- many of which are run by charities -- and will get to work ensuring everyone has access to them. Well no one said this filtering business would be easy.

The coalition government has a group dedicated to investigating accidental blocking, and how to go about rectifying the situation. The group is also investigating how to implement a system that would let any site that thinks it has been wrongly blocked to notify the ISP, so it can be fast-tracked to the approved list.

According to David Miles, who chairs the group on over-blocking for the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, the amount of inadvertent blocking is "low". "However," he says, "if you are a charity and you deal with teenagers in distress, that one in 10 matters to you."

Sites that were inadvertently blocked by the filter include the Edinburgh Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and Sexual Health Scotland. It also blocked the website of Claire Perry, the MP who campaigned for it, because of her numerous mentions of "porn".

The Lib Dems have slammed the filter as giving parents a "false sense of security". As soon as it launched, someone came up with a simple way to bypass it with an extension for Google's Chrome browser.

At the moment, most ISPs only ask new customers whether they want the filter implemented, but later in the year they'll start asking existing customers as well.

Is the filter a good idea? Is it going far enough? Or is it a false sense of security, like the Lib Dems claim? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

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