Timmy banned elsewhere

An interesting little email I received this morning:

Dear Mr Worstall,
I wonder whether you know that your website is blocked at (at least one branch of) Costa Coffee.

I was disconcerted to discover this yesterday – apparently your site is a \”known alcohol website\”, whatever the hell that means, and thus blocked by Costa – presumably in the interests of promoting bodily health and general goodness.

Is this part of the wowsers\’ fight back against those who say that minimum pricing is a God Awful and exotically stupid idea?

I wonder who is running Costa\’s web blocking software?

27 comments on “Timmy banned elsewhere

  1. Hence, the obvious danger of our Glorious Leaders’ determination to get blocking software on every internet access device. Who gets to decide?

    I remember back in the early days of the internets (well, early-ish) a lot of people used to come out with this Utopian stuff about how it “routes around censorship” and free speech was intrinsic to it and governments were powerless to control it. I can remember saying that this was naive and people got quite upset, often.

    The major problem we have particularly in Anglo countries is a very slimy form of government that “partners” with nominally private sector agents in order to implement draconian policies. This is why they like markets consolidated into a few major players, who can be invited into the minister’s office for a chat, over which always hangs the threat of new legislation. One typical example is the odious BBFC- everyone pretends it’s a “private sector” organisation and the industry is merely being kind enough to “self regulate”. This allows the pompous pricks who infest the Commons to stand up and talk ludicrous bollocks about how there is no State censorship in Britain like those nasty foreign countries, while running the most draconian censorship regime in the nominally liberal Western democracies.

    So, you basically just lean on the big players in the market to do the dirty work for you, lathering on nonsense about “corporate responsibility”. Makes my blood boil.

  2. Don’t preen too much, Tim. McDonalds block my website & f**k knows what I’ve done to upset them. I’ve even sung the praises of their French operation, on occasion.

  3. Isn’t Costa owned by Whitbread, and therefore part of a conglomerate that stands to benefit from higher pricing?

  4. This is why they like markets consolidated into a few major players, who can be invited into the minister’s office for a chat, over which always hangs the threat of new legislation.

    I watched this happen with the new banking KYC rules. Although they had a further step in there – a private publishing of some thoughts on what the new legislation might look like.

  5. I watched this happen with the new banking KYC rules.

    It’s widespread, or better still one might say, “endemic”. Personally I consider it an endemic form of corruption.

  6. I had the same problem with Jancis Robinson’s web site, on Virgin Mobile, which made it difficult to follow up wine recommendations when standing in Waitrose. It’s tricky to turn it off. Tor for Android and Orweb to the rescue (next time).

  7. For those suffering from such censorship, try the Opera browser – that has the option to connect by proxy to their US based servers. Officially this is for data compression, but it’s quite handy to avoid the censors too…

  8. theProle: It’s great for other reasons too. The feature you’re referring to is called “Opera Turbo”.

  9. I can’t read you on our corporate network either. I asked our IT boss and he says if a site has, and I quote, “fucks, shits and cunts” then it automatically gets blocked.

  10. he says if a site has, and I quote, “fucks, shits and cunts” then it automatically gets blocked.

    Presumably the whole government domain is blocked then?

  11. Standard Chartered Bank’s internet access also block you, also for “alcohol”, so there’s something going on which is not just swearing, like a list you’re on or something.

    Worth a solemn FOI-ish email to costa’s CEO asking all innocent-like what’s up? might be fun.

  12. “Robert Clayton – Tim, you’re blocked as adult consult on Vodafone 3G as well!”

    Ditto T-Mobile (EE).

    If using these companies at all, one can use “startpage” (ie rather than google as a search engine), which then supplies a ready link via “ixquick proxy” to provide access to anything that might be blocked.

    Or else, simply ask them (EE etc) to switch off adult content blocking.

  13. It’s true the exclusion of Costa is a negative for the free market principal. It was also a triumph of the vocal minority, of vested interests.

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