Unwanted Wordpress Withdrawal
March 15, 2014 2:55 PM   Subscribe

How can I easily and reliably bypass the IWF blacklist and Cleanfeed in the UK?

The IWF has once again screwed up Wordpress and I'm frankly unwilling to continue being their victim. I want to be able to edit and use my Wordpress blog without week-long outages every few months. What can I use or install to do this?

Two criteria:
1) I can't change my ISP (TalkTalk) at the moment, but suggestions for ISPs that resist the IWF are welcome.
2) I'm not technically minded, so the simpler the better.
posted by Thing to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Because it is blocked through your ISP, no matter what you do you will be sending traffic through the equipment with the filtering software installed. There may be a way around, but I'm not sure what that would be.

I'm not in the UK. I understand that the system is opt-out, but that it seems to come with a lot of stigma (because nobody understands the nature of the filtering system and thinks the only reason you would opt out is to look at porn and other things possibly damaging to children). And there is documentation that you actually opted out, which may or may not come with consequences at some point.

I'm sure people have been looking into it. Maybe there is a way to complain to your ISP and/or government to document that this totally normal thing is not working?
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:24 PM on March 15, 2014

Here's the Open Rights Group's writeup on Cleanfeed; here's their page to report "overblocked" websites. Giving some money to ORG will help them challenge the "omg the children" line of the filtering brigade.

Subscribing to a VPN would dodge the routing issues for editing (unless VPN endpoints get added to the blacklist) but that doesn't really solve the problem of having your blog accessible to users with those filters in place; moving from wordpress.com to another hosted Wordpress environment would mean you're not being judged on the company your website currently keeps; going self-hosted with a dedicated IP address would be even better in that regard, but both of those options come with recurring costs and some additional technical burden.

FWIW, I was dealing the other week with an online store whose SSL checkout was throwing up opaque errors because it was on a family filter. Breaking store checkouts seems to me like complete stupidity, but that's where the UK ISP industry is right now.
posted by holgate at 3:42 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's apparently not just a Talktalk problem. Some people here are with different ISPs and appear to be having the same issue.

You can turn off most (but not all*) of the website blocking stuff in your Talktalk account here. I've no idea whether this will help with your particular issue or not.

*Talktalk will block access to certain sites, such as torrent sites, no matter what you do, if you try to access those sites via Talktalk's servers.
posted by Solomon at 3:46 PM on March 15, 2014

All Wordpress blogs are actually accessible, the problem is that logged in users cannot manage or edit! Basically they've screwed up the website without making the content unavailable. Amazingly inept.

I have switched off HomeSafe on my TalkTalk account, but it has made no difference. I must say that I'm happy with the existence of opt-in filters for parental controls, and for the blocking of websites which have been ordered by a court. But the IWF blocks through Cleanfeed without any oversight and in an utterly incompetent way.
posted by Thing at 3:48 PM on March 15, 2014

Re ISP's who don't subscribe, Zen is apparently one of only two.
posted by Solomon at 4:01 PM on March 15, 2014

Two avenues I can think of. 1. Tor anonymizing software may give you what you need and 2. There is a mobile WordPress app if you have an iOS or Android phone that does not use your ISP connectivity.
posted by artlung at 9:18 AM on March 16, 2014

Have they now screwed up https access as well?
posted by flabdablet at 10:25 AM on March 16, 2014

Sounds like a VPN would solve your problem-- Try Goldenfrog's VyprVPN it has a three day trial. They've even got a propriety protocol 'Chameleon' which they advertise as being the best at getting around the great firewall of China, but sadly, might be quite applicable to the UK too these days.
posted by Static Vagabond at 1:46 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

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