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UK porn filters bypassed by a simple Chrome extension

by Mark Tyson on 23 December 2013, 15:27

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A), UK Government

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qab6sz

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A simply installed Chrome browser extension allows users to circumvent the UK government's highly publicised and expensive porn filtering initiative. The extension requires no technical knowledge to install and activate and is free, its name is 'Go Away Cameron', or GAC for short.

The browser extension was written by Singaporean computer science graduate @nubela, the creator's home country has a similar porn censoring system called 'MDA' and a similar solution from @nubela. The author wrote that "I built this Chrome extension to bypass UK's censorship. It is the easiest way to access blocked sites. Simply install the GAC Chrome extension, login, and the blocked sites are immediately bypassed."

It's been just over a week since we heard about the parental controls, which are a default opt-in choice choice for large UK ISPs like BT. These and similar controls, which the government pushed to be introduced, are all sidestepped by the GAC extension. However the author wrote the extension merely as a "holiday project" and with some optimism that he could protect internet freedom and achieve a viral hit.

The GAC extension works by using a proxy service and the author said it isn't geographically tied; it can be also useful for folk outside of the UK in avoiding web filtering. You can read more about how Go Away Cameron works, its required permissions and the safety of the extension on the dedicated GAC page.

Porn filters were leaky anyway

Even before the easy to use GAC extension appeared there were questions about how well the system worked. Shortly after the filters were publicised they were tested by the BBC and found to let through some hardcore porn sites yet block a range of self-help and charity sites.

The filters were found to block sexual health related sites which are meant to help and educate the public as well as some domestic abuse charities. Wired reports that Virgin is yet to implement its filter options but hopefully it will learn from other companies' mistakes when it does put them in place in early 2014.

An unrelated filter that probably works

In any case, we must remember these content filters are still voluntary at this time, even if they are pre-ticked for customers from now on.



HEXUS Forums :: 29 Comments

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I wish the government would just leave my internet connection alone. It's not about being able to see porn, it's about what else they might add to the filter in future.
Also, the argument 'Think of the Children' isn't good enough, surely it's up to the parents to control what their children are doing and seeing.
Hahahaaaa

If only the government would spend my money on something a) useful and b) not infringing civil liberties, that would be great.
This goes to show the governments total lack of understanding on how these things work, either that or they chose to ignore the advise saying it wouldn't work.
In the end its us poor customers that are going to foot the bill for something that amounts to little more than a PR exercise.
When will the government learn; on the internet the internet nerd always wins
Corky34
This goes to show the governments total lack of understanding on how these things work, either that or they chose to ignore the advise saying it wouldn't work.
In the end its us poor customers that are going to foot the bill for something that amounts to little more than a PR exercise.


Definitely that. Cameron is just desperate for people to like him for something at this point, and about the only thing he's prepared to do along those lines is tweak the public's obvious sensitivity about children and sexuality. I wish he'd remember that the trick that almost-but-not-quite got him enough votes to win the election was when he pretended he would be the Tory to protect the NHS. If he hadn't been lying about that, he might have some genuine goodwill right now without having to resort to stunt politics. Sad man.