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Why trying to police the web is a waste of time and money

Few people like to be told what to do, and this is certainly the case online. If you're told that you're not allowed to visit a certain website, it is only human that you question why - and it may well increase your desire to visit said site.

Around the world, governments have taken it upon themselves to try to police the internet. It's something many would describe as an exercise in futility, and it seems they are correct.

The implementation of restrictions on access to certain websites can be seen in many countries, but it is something that the UK government has shown itself to be particularly keen on. So how successful have initiatives to blocks access to the likes of the Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents et al actually been? Not very. One site that helps users to get around web restrictions is proving more popular than both Skype and Spotify.

You would think that Microsoft's messaging tool and the streaming music website would account for a fairly hefty chunk of web traffic. But in the UK they are both less popular than Unblocked, a site designed to help people bypass web blocks and get to restricted sites. The UK's Conservative government has taken it upon itself to restrict access not only to sites that might provide links to copyrighted software, movies etc, but also to sites that feature hardcore pornography.

But where there's a will there's a way, and people will always find a way to circumvent any access restrictions that may be put in place. This is where Unblocked is really coming into its own. As reported by TorrentFreak, the site is now the 192nd most popular site in the UK. That's a lot of people looking to get around government restrictions.

The top 200 websites are littered with streaming porn sites, as well as big-hitters like Google, The Guardian, and so on. Getting so far up the chart is not easy, and it just goes to show the level of interest people have in accessing blocked content, and the futility in attempting to block it in the first place.

Censorship of the internet has always been a divisive issue. There are those who argue that any form of restriction amounts to censorship, while others say it is only right that certain content is subject to policing. But the global nature of the internet means that any country's restrictions can be bypassed using services like Unblocked.

Short of closing down individual sites, it's time to realise that time and resources pumped into trying to control what people can see online is being wasted. It's time for a rethink.

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