Internet filtering has been a hot button issue for the past several years. With the slow gutting of protective measures like Net Neutrality, and with governmental powers seeking an end to online anonymity, it’s rather harrowing to see the slow progression of political and social policing of the internet.
Recently, after about a year of lobbying, the United Kingdom enacted a piece of legislation that many have come to call the “UK Porn Filter.” What the filter requires is for British ISP’s to implement filters and controls, which are on by default, that will block access to “violent material,” not limited to “extremist and terrorist related content,” “anorexia and eating disorder websites,” and “suicide related websites.”
The filters are also aimed towards policing “esoteric material” and “web forums” that the government may deem overly offensive or damaging to the interest of UK internet subscribers.
The filters are completely opt out, though requires the owner of the account to contact the ISP. The aim of the filters is for the government to prescribe what is or isn’t obscene, and banks on the idea that people generally “stick with the defaults” according to Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock. This may evidently be enough wiggle room for Governments worldwide to “prescribe” their own filters and protections for entire populations of online consumers.
The first casualty of the legislation appears to be the League of Legends Patch tool.
According to Reddit:
If your patcher logs show many lines like this:
RADS::Common::HTTPConnection::GetFile: File not found
And that happens with files with a name similar to this:
The cause is that your provider is blocking any URLs that contain any pornographic content. Apparently that includes cases like this. An other cause are Router protection settings, which may also block the word sex. If you are experiencing this problem, you can try to get the whole LOL folder zipped from a friend every time you patch, or just call your ISP to life the blockade.
For those of you missing the problem. I underlined the dirty letters S, E, and X that just so happen to show up next to each other. In what appears to be a poorly calibrated filter, the UK Porn Filter seems to be intercepting and stopping the patcher from fully executing.
While this might appear to be a false positive, it’s worth taking note of the power that ISP’s and their governing countries have over how consumers experience the internet. And how innocuous changes impact more than just the intended “targets” of censorship.