New Zealand filtering company “Watchdog” is drooling over the opportunity to milk the Australian internet-paranoia market. Watchdog has started writing to ISPs offering “partnering” opportunities.
Watchdog’s slogan? “Get the worst out of the internet.” Har.
Their front page is worrying. Watchdog blocks “harmful” content? Sure. Good luck trying, but sure. Whatever.
They also block “inappropriate” content. We’ve talked before about the dangers of trying to determine what is “inappropriate”. (See also here and here.) Internet filters have, in the past, blocked access to feminist sites, political sites, youth work sites, birth control information sites, AIDS information sites, disability information sites, religious tolerance sites, major news media, and the Vatican.
But it gets worse.
Not only does Watchdog plan to block content it deem harmful or inappropriate, it plans to block “unproductive information“:
The Internet is a brilliant tool , opening up a world of opportunities but the uncontrolled nature of it means that dangerous, inappropriate or simply unproductive information can be accessed with the touch of a button.
“Unproductive information“. Think about that for a minute.
Do you really want Mr Rudd or the profiteers behind Watchdog to decide what use of your internet time is or isn’t “productive”?
Anyone who thinks that proposed filters will only block domains set up exclusively for child pornography? Think again. The web-panic articles posted on the Watchdog site focus almost exclusively on social networking sites such as Bebo and Myspace.
Repeat after me: There is no sensitive, specific way to filter the internet. No across-the-board proposals are technically feasible and effective. None. And there isn’t any way to argue around that.
[Hat tip to Ken Taylor from Highway1.]