Sunday, October 10, 2004

Filter the fiddlers?

Freedom is removed one step at a time and each step can be tiny. Those who hate freedom are able to make each step sound reasonable and those who oppose it unreasonable.

There is a lot of talk in Australia about mandatory filters for PCs to shut out kiddie porn sites. A Norwegian company has reported having the technology. You'd assume that if the government adopted the idea, it would be the ISPs who were forced to filter sites.

I do not like kiddie porn. Although I have some sympathy for the people who find themselves attracted to children (and I'm having one of those sympathy/empathy moments, where I'm hoping the one I've chosen means I feel sorry for the perverts not that I feel the same way!. But we do not choose our sexuality and what we need sexually can be ugly even to ourselves), I don't feel they should be encouraged, and I do believe that those who have mistreated children should be punished.

But I like even less the idea of a filter, a built-in censor. Yes, we will all agree that kiddie porn must be stopped! but who knows what else decent people might need to be protected from? Terrorist websites? That horrible Al-Jazeera that insists on objectively reporting both sides in the conflict between the US and the Moslem world? Communists? Cuban websites? Dr Zen?

I read that Telstra are considering it and I shiver. Telstra owns the only line into Australia, so far as I know. And they're for sale...


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