There seems to be an increasing desire to "tame the internet" at least in some areas. The question then arises as to who should be responsible and even if it should be attempted at all.

I can well understand restrictions in educational and public access environments such as schools and libraries, but what about in the privacy of your own home?

Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating a laissez faire approach to kiddie pr0n or the like but I can see a potential pitfall here.

If Nanny State takes over control of filtering then it produces a very strong case for the argument: "well it didn't get filtered so it must be OK"

The growing proliferation of online paedophilia and child sexual abuse offences has forced governments to strengthen measures controlling, blocking and/or prohibiting illegal Web sites, in cooperation with the Internet service providers and telecom operators who are responsible for the trade and transfer of Web content.

From a regulatory point of view, there are various legal systems with jurisdiction over the issue of controlling illegal online content. In France, for example, agreements are being reached with local authorities for ISPs and operators to filter illegal content specified on blacklists of prohibited Web pages and sites.

In this situation, the government assumes responsibility for informing operators of the content classified as illegal and the operators must then decide what technology they will utilise to block the sites in question and prevent them from reappearing at another domain. In the UK, the issue of a Web rating system has already been raised by the Culture Secretary and debates have arisen to determine how involved government should become in Internet control.