Internet filters are a sensitive matter. There are several reasons for that, like freedom of speech, personal choice, but also the fact that filters are usually affecting sites that should not be affected in first place.
What is meant by that is that sites get filtered or blocked that would not be blocked if the process of adding domains or web pages to the filter would be manual.
A filtering system went live recently in the United Kingdom which aims to protect children from accessing pornography on the Internet. How that is done? By giving Internet account owners a choice to either enable or disable the filter. More precisely, it appears that existing users will have a choice, while new users may have the filter enabled for them automatically.
While I cannot say if the filter is automatically enabled for all new users, it seems to be the case for new BT broadband customers.
What's wrong with a filter that protects children from accessing pornography you may ask. Nothing at all, were it not for the fact that legit sites are caught in the crossfire left and right.
It did not take long before browser extensions began to appear that let you bypass the filtering system.
Go Away Cameron is a browser extension for Google Chrome that you can use to visit blocked sites. It routes the traffic through a proxy connection which bypasses the filter effectively.
To use it, do the following:
- Visit Go Away Cameron and create a free account on the site.
- Install the extension from the Chrome Web Store.
- Open the extensions settings with a click on the icon on this page: chrome://extensions/
- Login using your account that you have just created.
- Open chrome://extensions and enable incognito mode use for it, so that it works in the private browsing mode as well.
Whenever you want to use it, click on the icon. It should display up then which indicates that it is working and that you can make use of it. To disable it, simply click on the icon again.
The free account limits the bandwidth that is at your disposal. Account upgrades are available for £1.99 per month that improve the speed of the connection.
Note: Go Away Cameron uses the same technology that other proxy and virtual private network services make available. If you got access to any of those, you can make use of them as well to bypass the filter. To name a few: Hotspot Shield, Tunnelbear or CyberGhost.
All solutions have in common that the bandwidth available to free accounts is limited. Not a problem if you just want to access websites and services that are blocked even though that should not have happened.
Automated filtering solutions do not work. It is as simple as that. While they may block a large portion of sites that should be blocked according to its purpose, it is always the case that some sites won't get blocked, while legit sites will be caught in the crossfire.
Are you living in the UK? What's your take on the filter?