There has been much made about China’s ‘Great Internet Wall’, a series of (US Built) routers that filter out access to any site that the Chinese government do not deem suitable. I am proud to tell you that Blogger News is included on that list!

What about censorship here in the US? Much has been made of the NSA spying on our internet habits, and quite frankly I don’t much care. They can spy on me all they want, hell, I might even give them the occasional chuckle. Being beaten up in email by my wife, being accused of everything but a nice guy by the occasional commenter, this is all par for the course.

But there is no censorship in the US? This is the ‘land of the free’ after all. Do ISP’s censor content? Yesterday I would have said “No”, but today I have a different view.

One of our writers here on Blogger News sent me a rather sad email, his father had just died, and he wanted to share the article he had written. However when I clicked on the link I got this:

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This 403 error message makes it look that I do not have permission to view this site. However, that is not true, it is my ISP AT&T blocking access. This was easily proved by asking a couple of friends who use a different ISP (Comcast) to try it. They get this:

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I asked Andrew about this, his response, “Oh it has been like this for a year”. Apparently no one that uses AT&T can access his site.

This sounds like censorship to me! Andrew does not write a sleazy column, he is a music critic, his apparent problem is a couple of articles he put up about the launch of the iPhone, and an innovative way to activate it. He also explained that at least one AT&T customer has complained, however all that happened was a frustrating experience with customer support, being bounced from one department to another, and no one able to offer a sensible explanation.
His father has just passed away, and BNN will carry the article that AT&T will not.

Its exactly 7 days to the minute since my father lost his battle with pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver & lungs. We have been through the process of dealing with funereal arrangements and the actual funeral. It was a great send-off for my father. 21 gun salute from the honor/color guard at the burial. Many thanks to Dan Bolin for all the arrangements regarding the military presence, including a rifle tribute from the Navy. In fact the only time during the whole day when I got a bit choked up was when Dan had a hard time getting the words out as he handed the flag over to my mother. Considering the man does this quite often in his role with the American Legion it was impressive and moving.

To be honest for the funeral I was more concerned with getting my cues right for the opening music, the closing music and my three minute speech about my father. It was nice to have a couple of my debate team members spotting me in the pews making sure I kept it concise.

My father had three ministers to send him off. The couple, the Revs. Zimerli and Lisa did a wonderful job with the religious angle of the event. It was an affectionate yet dignified affair that clearly reflected the man being remembered.

There were quite a few laughs and the fact my father made the entire event wait a total 14 minutes worth of music (Bird Alone & Miles Davis Bye Bye Blackbird) was apt.

Andrew, Jan and I offer our condolences on your loss. And I think AT&T have much to answer for. Oh, and if you have read this far, try Andrews site www.andrewiandodge.com (only works for non AT&T customers).

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

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