Sunday, December 28, 2008

Internet Censorship looms closer downunder

Just in case we Aussies think we're the only ones being broadsided with impending Internet censorship -- have a look at this piece, which appeared in The Inquisitor a short while ago:

It's always about protecting children from what's available on the computer ... and I can see the point behind this; but here's the rub: parents are also in charge of TV sets, DVDs that can be highly un-kid-friendly, CDs of rap music with content that'd make a sailor blanch, plus the old but good paperbacks and magazines that depict anything and everything you can imagine, and a lot you can't!

Books, magazines, videos and music are all under similar scrutiny ... but none of them are censored or filtered the way the Internet seems to be in danger of. You have the official State Censorship Bureau for your region, and they decide what's going to be burned right there on the dock, and what's going to be rated G or R or triple-x, or whatever.

I agree with pasting ratings on websites! In fact, responsible publishers already have well-positioned warnings as per adult content. You can go into your Blogger settings and have them display a "warning" page before the blog loads, for instance. You can also slap up an image or text block in the sidebar space, giving fair warning, along the lines of "This page contains adult material, do not proceed if you have problems with this."

But how in the world is the Internet going to be regulated like television?! Various websites go offline in the UK, Australia, China, Iran and Egypt, until 9:00pm, when the sex and violence get revved up on TV?

Where is the text on the rap CD case that says, "This CD may not be played during daylight hours due to offensive content" ...?! Where's the sticker on the DVD skinflik that says, "It is illegal to play this DVD before 9:00pm" ...?!

Surely, it comes down to the responsibility of parents. Would YOU leave an inquisitive, disobedient 7-year-old in the house alone with your prominently-displayed collection of DVDs, skinrags and so forth? No? Then why don't you just password-protect the computer and TURN IT OFF before leaving the kiddies alone with it? That way, they can turn it on if they like, but if they don't know the password ("thispcisakidfreezone", or, "thispciskidproof," or "getyourdamnednoseoutofthispc," or similar), they'll just look at a pretty blue screen for two hours.

Just as parents are responsible for hiding their skinrags, p*orno novels and DVDs and locking out the "adult" channels on the cable box -- make them responsible for password protecting the damned computer and LEARNING WHERE THE POWER SWITCH IS!!!

If fact, make it illegal for parents to have unprotected computers.

Make it illegal for a unprotected PC to be in the same building with a child over 2 and under 18. That way, your pregnant 17 year old, who's home minding the twins to which she gave birth last year, and watching We Were Soldiers and Saving Private Ryan, while chain smoking with both hands, knocking back a six-pack and lighting up the whacky-weed, won't be able to start up the computer and look at sex and violence on the Internet ... where it's illegal. Fine or imprison the parents if they let this 17 year mama old get onto the computer without the supervision of a mature adult.

Okay, I'll stop being flip and glib ... but you take my meaning. Here's the bottom line:

  • Parents are responsible for their children
  • The WWW is no more virulent than TV and DVDs
  • the community at large has come to depend on the net
  • you can't cripple the net to protect little kids because
  • the community at large depends on it! And
  • parents must be MADE to take responsibility...

...even if they don't want to, or are too lazy, or too stupid.

Yet we're still on the road where all Internet users are rabbit-punched because of the few stupid, lazy parents out there. P2P is about to be worst-hit in this country .... the Rudd government is looking at just blocking the lot and calling it good.

Read 'em and weep for the sheer stupidity of "The Great Aussie Firewall":

...stop the planet, I want to get off!


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