UK MP Andy Burnham's formal title is Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport. Apparently this portfolio carries with it the responsibility of censoring the entire internet. In an interview in The Daily Telegraph, he talks about cooperating with the incoming Obama administration to censor English-language websites. Burnham, [email him] thinks the internet is a "quite a dangerous place" and thinks that each website should be rated, like Hollywood movies
"In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham says he believes that new standards of decency need to be applied to the web. He is planning to negotiate with Barack Obama’s incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites.
The Cabinet minister describes the internet as ”quite a dangerous place” and says he wants internet-service providers (ISPs) to offer parents ”child-safe” web services.
Giving film-style ratings to individual websites is one of the options being considered, he confirms. When asked directly whether age ratings could be introduced, Mr Burnham replies: ”Yes, that would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus.”
ISPs, such as BT, Tiscali, AOL or Sky could also be forced to offer internet services where the only websites accessible are those deemed suitable for children. "
[Internet sites could be given 'cinema-style age ratings', Culture Secretary says, By Robert Winnett, December 27, 2008]
He also mentions libel—if you're used to modern American journalism, you have no idea what it's like to live in a jurisdiction where the constant threat of a libel suit is hanging over your head. Of course, any attempt to coordinate with the Obama administration should run up against the First Amendment, which doesn't exist in the UK, a place that no longer has freedom of speech. But does Obama believe in the First Amendment? Do Congressional Democrats? And remember, as discussed in my last night's piece Internet Filters–Private Sector First Amendment Workaround, or Gov't Censorship In Disguise?, there are already computers in offices and libraries throughout the United States where "the only websites accessible are those deemed suitable for children." This does not include VDare.com
Update: See Martin Kelly on the same story here.