UK shows why filtering the Internet is a bad idea

internet-censorship

Don’t get me wrong – we need to protect our kids, and educate them about the Internet the same way we teach them to cross a road and how to swim.

Somehow, without fail, everything do-gooders try to do always goes wrong.  They should stop messing around in other people’s lives.  Here’s a great example of an own-goal from the UK  

The UK has decided that all ISPs must deploy opt-in pornography filters: so that children are not by chance or mishap exposed to “legal hardcore porn” in the words of the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

This is, as you are obviously aware, as a result of a campaign by the usual suspects to insist that teenage boys looking at naked people is going to bring about the very fall of our civilisation.

Yep.  The same way civilization crumbled when our parents and their parents did the same thing – with the (b)leading edge tech of their day.

What the campaign and the campaigners forget of course is that the internet tends to route around censorship. So it only took 24 hours for a Chrome extension to be released that entirely bypasses all such filters.

And they also were unaware that creating an effective filter is actually quite difficult. You can’t just block every site that includes the words “sex”, or “porn” or “rape” because there are many sites that use such words but which are not pornography.

If you have to have Government control of the Internet, I think New Zealand has the balance about right.  It  is opt-in only, depending on which ISP you choose, so you can avoid it.

The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System is operated by the Department in partnership with the following New Zealand Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Joining the filtering programme is voluntary.

The following ISPs support the DCEFS:

Airnet
Kordia
Maxnet
Telecom
Vodafone
Xtreme Networks

Doing anything more can lead to this

But the changes have led to internet users being denied access to a wide range of organisations including child protection charities, women’s charities and gay rights groups. Among institutions that have found themselves subject to the blocks are the British Library and the National Library of Scotland.

The opt-in filters also deny access to the Parliament and Government websites and the sites of politicians, including Claire Perry, the MP who has campaigned prominently for the introduction of filters.

Given what they do with our money I suppose you can indeed decide that Parliament and the Government are forms of pornography. But it’s that blocking of Claire Perry’s site that is just so joyous. For of course the blocking has come as a result of her using that very same site to campaign in favour of the filtering. Leading to her site having a heavy usage of the words “porn”, “sex” and the like and thus being taken to be itself pornographic.

Instead of blocking people from the realities and threats that life presents, it is actually better to educate them and given them coping mechanisms.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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