QOTD: Andrew Bartlett #nocleanfeed

In a comment at LP:

The government’s compulsory internet filter will not make the internet any safer for children to use unsupervised, nor will it make police detection of users of illegal content any easier. One thing worse than an expensive government initiative that doesn’t work – let’s face it, there are plenty of those – is when people are fooled into thinking it does work, and change their behaviour accordingly.

This is what gets me. There’s some monomaniac hammering away at LP about how we all accept TV and Film censorship and why should the internet be exempt? (a) it’s not exempt – illegal content is already shut down when it is detected, and (b) I’ll tell you why, jackass – technological effectiveness.

It is technologically extremely simple to stop TV stations and cinemas showing content that is deemed illegal. It is technologically very difficult to do the same with respect to the Internet, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a fool or has a hidden agenda.

Why would anyone want to simply have a false sense of security about nasty stuff on the internet? Wouldn’t the money be better spent on better funding for policing of illegal content, which has been shown to work in actually shutting down child porn and terrorist networks online?



Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, media, technology

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9 replies

  1. Imagine a customs hall where if you were a drug smuggler, you could take a pen, draw a door on the wall, open it and walk through, erasing the trace of the door after you left.

    It would make customs rather pointless.

    jon.

  2. Not sure that this is about “pornography” and “illegal material” or RC for that matter.
    Seems to me that this is the entry point for an extension of the internet censorship legislation. Once passed it will be easy for this and subsequent governments to add to the secret blacklist.
    Add some music download sites, extent to stop torrents, mix in some extreme political sites and presto you have a carbon copy of one or murdoch’s outlets.
    I would rather may tax dollars go towards policing the illegal material and any left over balance towards docs or a similar department. Hey I would rather pay more tax and really fund protection of children at risk.
    Leave the parenting to us parents.

  3. The technical limitations of the proxy filter mean that they simply won’t be able to filter as much as some might like, bryan. And even if they do, the filter only works on HTTP! What about all the other internet protocols?

  4. That’s why you need to block all ports other than http, and force everything to go through the proxy 🙂 Totally unworkable, but that hasn’t stopped them so far.

  5. Thanks tigtog. I really should write a piece about this on my own (or someone else’s) blog I suppose, rather than just leaving comments on other peoples’.

  6. You’ve put me in mind of pool fences. I have no idea what the current stats are, but I remember there was a time in the ’80s (wow, I am old aren’t I?) when the rate of drowning deaths in Queensland, where pool fences were not required, was significantly lower than in states where they were required. The standard explanation was that people watched little kids with diligence around unfenced pools, but figured the fences made the pools safe. Notsomuch.
    Pretending to make the interwebs safe, whilst doing no such thing is dangerous.
    Although I am just as concerned about the misuse of secret blacklists.
    Good thing it’s really easy to access foreign feeds to find the things you need. Oh hang on, that’s kinda the problem, right?

  7. I read a Philipino newspaper which had a headline which read something like this: “Australia: The first democracy to censor the internet.” Considering the iffy ethical standards of a previous government I could name, I don’t want to go there.

  8. The assertion that all that will be filtered is already illegal and that the filter is simply a sensible extension of current restrictions is TOTALLY FALSE. You can in Australia quite legally purchase MAGAZINES on almost all the fetishes that Conroy wants to censor (ie spanking, bondage, watersports, etc.). In fact Australians have been able to do so since Don Chip was in charge of censorship, without the country imploding.
    The RC Classification is deliberately framed to be vague and broad, plus it changes depending on the media in which the material is presented.
    @ Mr Barlett if you are going to write on this topic please use your legal training to verify what I have stated above. I am really getting tired of Conroy’s latest lie.

  9. I wonder what would be the reaction if Mr Conroy’s department suddenly got large quantities of said magazines with photographs of where they are available from in ome petrol outlets or newsagents … though I don’t think the public servants who have to open the mail deserve some of those ‘interesting images’ being thrust upon them!
    I would like to think that someone in the Senate might actually toss some of these same magazines, the content of which Mr Conroy has been fulminating about, and point out just how ”illegal” it is to actually obtain copies of same – specially if they can demonstrate that the copies were purchased from just around the corner from Mr Conroy’s state or federal office (Canberra has such lovely regulations in place about that sort of thing – that no other state has *snark*).
    Mind you, it never fails to amuse me that dirty minded little boys are equally titillated by low-res bitmaps or high-res glossy photos but the low-res bitmaps are more difficult to get hold of, and are therefore more ‘desirable’.

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