Avoiding UK Government Censorship & Spying


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As you may or may not be aware the United Kingdom government recently passed the highly controversial Online Safety Bill, at this time it’s awaiting royal assent before it becomes law, this law will severely impact freedom of speech in the UK, but more importantly, it will risk undermining the safety of every single person living in the UK, by threating online encryption technology with government mandated backdoors.

Aside from trying to force platforms to censor any speech they deem ‘hateful’, which could be anything at all really since there are no strict guidelines, these encryption backdoors run the very real risk that they will be exploited by criminals, exposing personal information. Before you say “I have nothing to hide”, this includes banking, medical, housing and other information that most sane people want to keep private.

Defenders of this awful piece of legislation say it’s required to protect children, the truth is however this will do very little to accomplish that goal and may even have a negative effect on a child’s privacy, the vast majority of child exploitation already occurs on platforms that do not utilize encryption, and from countries outside the UK, regardless it should not be the job of the government to protect children in the first place, lazy and incompetent parents are what they should be targeting.

Ultimately this is almost certainly going to be a disaster, and will hopefully backfire badly on the British government, numerous companies have already indicated that they will block UK users rather than undermine their encryption, after all, who wants the UK government spying on them?, this does mean you will need to be more careful in the meantime in which software and platforms you make use of.

Ironically this law will actually help you find the companies that can (within reason) be trusted, by seeing which ones block the UK, so I guess we should thank them for that.

As usual with most governments they really don’t understand how technology works, there are numerous ways to avoid censorship and protect your online safety and privacy, in this article I will cover the most important of these, you may also find additional useful information in my prior article.

Virtual Private Network

The easiest way to protect your privacy is to use a VPN, there are many available including free ones, these also allow you to bypass government blocks by routing your connection through another country, whilst this isn’t 100% secure against a government trying to unmask who you are, it’s good enough for the average person.

Some popular ones that are privacy focused are ProtonVPN (free available) and Mullvad (paid), as always do your research before choosing a VPN.

Data Minimisation

If you are going to post things on the internet then you should at least take the time to minimise personal information, avoid using your real name, age and date of birth, do not upload pictures of yourself or your family or any sensitive documents, this doesn’t only apply to social media but also educational and government websites, none of them can be trusted with personal information.

If you are going to upload images make sure location data is not included, if you are unsure you can strip all metadata with a tool such as ExifCleaner.

Alternative Platforms / Software

Avoiding mainstream platforms is also important since in many cases these are the most likely to comply with the UK government and other censorship, some alternatives to popular platforms are:

There is a whole bunch more, mainly you want to look for things that are open source, provide end to end encryption and refuse to censor content.


With the proper tools and a bit of effort you can protect your privacy online whilst retaining the right to say whatever the hell you like, make no mistake this sort of intrusive monitoring and censorship is going to come to all countries in time unless you fight against it.