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Web censorship reconsidered

Well, this is good news for all those who like a free internet. Given the restrictions imposed on the internet by Egypt this week - and the horror they inspired - it's amazing that the Government was even considering blocking websites which it found primarily being used for illegal file-sharing. Whether it's Egypt that has inspired it we don't know, but now they're looking at it again.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he has 'no problem with the principle of blocking access to websites used exclusively for facilitating illegal downloading of content.' But he admits he's not sure if the legislation that introduced the idea - the Digital Economy Act - actually gives the Government the authority to block sites.

The Open Rights Group, a advocacy group, welcomed the review. 'It's encouraging that the government is listening to people's genuine concerns about the Digital Economy Act,' they said. 'The web blocking provisions are a real mistake - they would stifle freedom of expression, for unproven benefit, whilst being extremely costly and difficult to manage.'

No way of knowing what the result of the review will be, but it sure sounds like the beginning of a climbdown to us. Here's hoping...

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