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Thread: Nanny State or what?

  1. #1
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    Nanny State or what?

    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.

  2. #2
    AO's Filibustier Cheap Scotch Ron's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Swamps of Jersey
    Agreed. Also, having the government responsible for defining and enforcing content restrictions is a threat to freedom.

    content classified as illegal
    I guess the French forgot about the Nazis. Apparently, they control/limit the history books in their schools too.

    As much as I disapprove of some material available on the internet, freedom of speech is more important.
    In God We Trust....Everything else we backup.

  3. #3

    Australian perspective

    Here in Australia this is a VERY hot topic at the moment, with the government about to go through first trials of ISP level content filtering. This will be administered (the filter list) by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (govt agency).

    My biggest problem is I have not seen a definitive statement from the Australian Govt on what it is they are trying to filter out and protect Australian society from. My biggest concern is that it is not overly transparent at the moment and that it is a pretty easy slip into over zealous filtering because of the subjective nature of morals and ideals that the government may try to uphold.

    I am all for filtering out the Kiddy P0rn (or how to make explosives to maximise killing potnetial), it is disgusting and no child should be subject to this stuff but I think the problem lies with how to implement this effectively. There is no way any blacklist (blocking known bad) will stop all of these sites, it is simply not possible due to the rate at which new sites appear on the web, in addition to that what about the mistakes of over zealous filter administrators of adding a legitimate site to the blacklist, for example I seem to remember many posts on this site in earlier times about different AV and content filtering vendors adding antionline to "hacking Sites" lists.

  4. #4
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    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"
    Agreed, but there are already blocklists published by various private organizations.
    I see a gov't blocklist as an additional resource. It would do no harm as long
    as its use was not mandatory. We are in danger of the net becoming fragmented
    though, if every country has contradictory criteria, with some blocking holocaust
    deniers, others blocking Tibet sympathizers, and yet others targeting those
    who dare to blaspheme the Great Pumpkin.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    I see a gov't blocklist as an additional resource.
    Yes, but could you trust it................or more importantly that it would be well maintained? Too many opportunities for faceless, amoral, "jobsworth" incompetents (sorry I meant "bureaucrats") for my liking

  6. #6
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    Australian perspective

    Australia are now proceeding with a trial run:

    Communications minister, Stephen Conroy, has announced six ISPs will participate in the first phase of the Federal Government’s controversial plan to introduce mandatory filtering of Australia’s Internet
    However the big boys don't seem to be too impressed with the idea:

    Telstra, the nation’s largest ISP, refused to participate in the trial, calling mandatory Internet filtering an attempt to boil the ocean.

    Story here:
    Last edited by nihil; February 13th, 2009 at 12:40 PM.

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