Digital Economy Bill Spoof Campaign Debuts

Jan 31, 2017 4:00 PM PST

LONDON — The Open Rights Group has launched a spoof recruitment campaign to highlight the “absurd proposals” in the Digital Economy Bill, which was debated at its committee stage at the House of Lords today.

The spoof comes in the form of a website called “New Government Jobs — the Biggest and Most Pointless Jobs Creation Program Ever,” advertising “millions of positions available” for jobs as internet censor.

Passage of the U.K.'s Digital Economy Bill would mean the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) would have to try and categorize all of the porn on the Internet.

“The British government has big plans for the Internet. In the Digital Economy Bill, they've outlined how they are going to get the BBFC to classify and censor online content in the same way it does for films,” the spoof site said. “The BBFC will decide if a website is pornographic and if it is checking and monitoring the age of its users. If not, the BBFC will have the power to censor it.

“The only problem (well not the ONLY problem) is that the internet is massive, so the few people they have at the BBFC aren't going to be able to do it all by themselves. That's where you come in.

“Apply for a job as an internet censor to help the government with their ambitious plan. Anyone with access to the internet can apply.”

The Open Rights Group, with its 3,000 active supporters, has all along dismissed the proposed law, emphasizing that the BBFC would be given the authority to order ISPs to block sites that don’t comply — even if the content on the site is perfectly legal.

“Social media sites, such as Twitter, may also be forced to block accounts belonging to non-compliant porn sites,” the group said. “The BBFC will have to classify massive amounts of adult content in order for this scheme to work. Age verification has privacy risks and could leave porn users open to Ashley Madison style hacks.

“No one thinks it will work. Tech-savvy teens will get around the proposals by using VPNs, Tor or sharing porn in other ways.”

The group also noted that the U.K. government is putting in place a framework where thousands of websites can be censored even though their content is legal.

“This can be used against porn sites for now but who knows how it will be used in the future. It means it will be much easier for the government to censor the website,” the group said.

With the site, the Open Rights Group is seeking signatures for a petition in an attempt to ax the bill.

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