Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Censoring

Yesterday I had an email from a UK government department asking me to remove or alter two comments on one of the entries on this blog. I’m not a big fan of censorship (my views on censorship having liberalised somewhat lately, in that I may not agree with what you say but I’ll defend your right to say it), but I did comply with the request.
Though I may be denying someone of their freedom of speech, the comments were also denying someone of their privacy – namely, they had posted the name, email address and telephone number of someone working for the government’s insolvency service. It was this person who contacted me, asking me to remove those details and also some other incorrect information.
I do believe freedom of speech is very important, but not when another person’s right to a private life is sacrificed as a result. Though this was a minor case, it does mean that anyone who posts details another person’s personal details may expect their comments to be deleted. As it happens, this has happened before but with less fanfare, since the information that was posted in a comment was protected by a court order and covers all media outlets in England and Wales, so I deleted it without much hesitation.

10 Comments

  1. Absolutely. As you may know, I’m not a fan of unrestrained freedom of speech anyway, but whatever; you did the right thing. Well done (hope that doesn’t sound patronising ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

  2. Haven’t EU directive 95/46/EG been implemented in the UK? In Sweden it protects personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and other private stuff.

  3. Eh, probably. No idea. Even if it hasn’t it’s still not very nice.

  4. What was wanting edited?

  5. It was a comment on one of the GetMeTickets articles.

  6. I fully support your decision to remove the offending comments. In fact, I don’t see it as censorship at ALL. That information should not have been posted in the first place.

  7. Well that’s odd, my Gravatar isn’t showing up.

  8. Yes, I’m sure. Though the person in question worked for the government it was not in any kind of intelligence role.

  9. you did the right thing!! 100%