Sunday, March 1, 2009

Aussie internet filtering: score one for the good guys!

Don't start celebrating just yet -- it's far from over, but Reason and Logic have scored a major point for Australian Internet users:

Xenophon opposes mandatory ISP filtering, but fight not over yet

That's Senator Nick Xenophon using his vote to effectively -- though temporarily -- block the impending Internet filtering package which has been bearing down on Australians like Darth Vader and his TIE fighters closing in.

However -- Sen. Xenophon's motives could be somewhat less than pure: he's playing the power politics game, where you support the government in something it desperately wants to do, if they offer you what you desperately want/need in return.

However, the block, however temporary it may be, remains good news because it's a time-buyer ... and time is what has been needed to prove that the whole Internet filtering concept is ludicrous and patently unnecessary.

We don't have the infrastructure to carry the system -- bandwidth is thin on the ground downunder. Too thin. The web is already slow as a tired snail; slow it down yet again by imposing upon everyone the measures needed to protect the children of a few, and the www will do a face plant. With broadband running at the speed of the old dial-ups, most of the web will vanish between the time-outs; and as for dial-up accounts (on which rural areas rely), those users won't be able to "get on" at all. The web would be reduced to the simplest email accounts; and I've heard rumblings about the Aussie government wanting to filter email content too -- as if they think that having robots spy on people is acceptable, while the human spying preferred in countries like China is dreadful. I put this to you: what are the robots looking for, and to whom do the little cyber-buggers report?! And what happens next??!!

Also ... is it just me saying this? PARENTS ought to be the ones responsible for protecting their offspring. They were given the opportunity, over the space of years, to get a free Net Nanny. Few bothered; of those, only a handful are still using the thing. What's going on here? Don't they care if their little ones are exposed to adult content? The numbers say -- they don't.

Therefore, the government must ride to the rescue ... but why don't they just make it an offence worth a fine of up to $25,000 to have an unprotected computer in a home, school, office, church or whatever, where kids are likely to be present? This should light a fire under the brainless, careless individuals who were ready to a) make babies and b) buy computers, but don't have the intelligence or decency to protect A from B. Said individuals would then hurry out and buy a bloody Net Nanny license and run the damned software -- out of fear of getting caught red-handed and fined within an inch of their mortgaged homes. There: problem solved.

But I must be the only one saying this. Maybe I'm not saying it loudly enough or to the right people?! And of course it doesn't help that Google zeroed out my page ranking, so the only people reading this column are the Regulars (yourself!) ... and you'll all be saying, "Find a different song, Keegan, we've heard this one so often, we could sing it for you!"

And you're absolutely right, of course.

I'll find something fresh to ramble on about tomorrow.


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