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11/03/2007

Would Maggie have blocked YouTube in the UK?

It's one thing when corporate lawyers at media giants like Viacom get twitchy about the freedom of movement of content (or theft, depending on your viewpoint/mood/whether you've illegally downloaded or viewed any content that week)...

But now states are getting nervous about its potential to let their citizenry get access to video files on it withThailand's military government following Turkey's into the shame of having blocked access to YouTube.

This time it may have been an attempt to stop people seeing interviews with the previous prime minister. Given all the spin about a grateful nation welcoming their liberating generals into power you'd think they wouldn't have minded so much.

But it says more than that they were sensitive about a particular piece of content: it says that Thailand and Turkey had both put in place the systems and technology to block access to a major website. How many other governments have this in place already and ready to roll? Does yours do you think?

Also got me thinking: if YouTube was around in the 1980s maybe we'd have had Spycatcher being read out on it by Tony Benn instead: it's the speaker's corner of our age. Naturally, it would already have been available as a Bittorrent file, with the juiciest extracts published on blogs and wikis severally...

So what do you think: would Maggie have blocked YouTube in the UK?

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Comments

China has blocked news.bbc.co.uk (but not www.ccn.com) for many years. Considering how frankly difficult this is, it would be intriguing to see how the decision was taken.

Crazy and nasty as she was, I susepect the Mrs T was too clever to think any such blocking attempt would be successful. Although she didn't figure out that the only thing that might make anyone read "spycatcher" was a governement ban.

The same's true of these other countries. But before we get smug about it, we should ask ourselves just how much information the ISPs are giving the government about our behaviour. Perhaps privacy is more important than access?

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