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News and Comment December 2011

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11 December - Websites banned by Bexley council - Click image for list of banned sites

Access DeniedI don’t get as many complaints about Bonkers being unavailable at Bexley libraries as I used to, presumably it is now better known that the web address was banned by Chief Executive Will Tuckley who doesn’t like you knowing too much about his source of close to £250,000 a year. However one would-be reader was sufficiently concerned about the censorship that he asked for a list of banned sites. Not a very large number actually. If you want to find out how to build a nuclear bomb or make a suicide vest you’ll have no problem accessing the information. If you are an extreme racist then Bexley council welcomes you, but if you are a five year old with an interest in BBC Cbeebies then tough luck, you are banned. Similarly Bonkers and Olly Cromwell’s site. Bexley council cannot bear to be criticised. Hence a Harassment warning for the dastardly crime of “criticising”. Of all the trillions of websites in the world Bexley council only wishes to ban those that expose their dishonesty, incompetence and occasional criminality.

If you click the image you will see a list of all the banned sites. It could be clearer but that is because as supplied by Bexley council (†) it was unreadable, some processing was necessary to improve things. I’ve not tried all the banned URLs by any means but I found three on Page 1 of the list which led to ‘Page not found’ including Cbeebies which goes to a BBC page which directs you to another one, so like most things to do with Bexley’s web services, the list is not kept up to date. As with most web related things, restrictions are fairly easy to circumvent. Next time you are on a library computer Google for ‘banned web addresses’ and investigate web translation services. Google has one.

† A screenshot was supplied embedded within a Microsoft Word file making it unusable to anyone who didn’t own a copy of Word, and worse, the images were so small that reading the text was close to impossible. The Word file had to be disassembled to extract the original data. Why does Bexley council assume that everyone owns Word and knows how to extract embedded files at the original (and not degraded) quality?


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