The lies of the internet censors: Your. Filter. Won't. Work.

The title is the title of a nice essay at Crikey. I especially like this:

Bernadette McMenamin of ChildWise, you've crossed the line, defaming everyone who’s protested the government’s plans. "Most of these people are not fully aware of the facts and secondly, those who are aware are, in effect, advocating child p-rnography," you said. How dare you!

Ms McMenamin, to really stop child abuse we need to spend our resources efficiently. Let's run through it one more time. And let's skip those hysterical, made-up "statistics" you still peddle. Child abuse is bad enough without heading into your paranoid fantasyland.

Kiddie-p-rn is hard to find. As Inspector John Rouse, former head of Queensland Police's Taskforce Argos told the authors of The Porn Report, "the chances of stumbling across this material… are minimal as it isn’t really distributed on web pages." P-dophiles use peer-to-peer software and, as Crikey reported six months ago, none of the filters can deal with P2P. The filter will not work. The. Filter. Will. Not. Work.

Catholics, on the other hand, really like the filtering scheme. So do the major political parties. Can't imagine why - and I can only guess what they will want to be filtered next.

As ITWire says, it's time for a great debate. Now, not after it's in place. In the meantime, iiNet's defence of the suit brought against it for not taking action against its users who had been accused of copyright infringement proceeds. It seems to me that they did the right thing, and if the laws say they didn't, the laws are wrong. Overuse of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act by aggressive corporations and interests are rife, with people being taken down just on the sayso of an accuser. iiNet passed on the complaints to the police, and in the absence of action by them, they shouldn't have acted. This case needs to be settled the right way to set a precedent.

More like this

It's hard not to sound like a paranoid schizophrenic when dealing with censorship on the Internet, but let's face it, governments of all stripes are absolutely terrified of the uninhibited exchange of information. I'm sure every single proponent of Australia's filtering system isn't thinking about the chilling effect on civil liberties, they have the missionary's zeal, that they're protecting children, that they are absolutely righteous and that to question them is to be a supporter of wickedness.

But really, the whole thing is pointless. As the Great Firewall of China demonstrates, anyone with sufficient technical prowess (and it doesn't take that much to point your browser at a proxy, or to use peer-to-peer software) is, for whatever reason, going to bypass the filters.

Wait until the Bittorrent guys finally rewrite their protocol in UDP. The ISPs are going to have a nightmare just trying to shape that traffic, let alone filtering for pornography or piracy.

By Aaron Clausen (not verified) on 16 Dec 2008 #permalink

Unfortunately panic sells.

Package something in 'the sky is falling' wrappings and people will respond. It seems as though people are actively looking for things to be afraid of, whether warranted or not.

Once convinced, it takes more than logic and information to disabuse them.

I certainly hope it never reaches here, but the conservative mindset is growing even in Canada.

By Gary Bohn (not verified) on 17 Dec 2008 #permalink