Friday 29 June 2012

Sensible Not Censorship

The Government has recently started a consultation on Parental Internet Controls. I strongly believe that this is completely the wrong way to address the issue.

The Internet doesn't present any more of a threat to children than the newsagent round the corner, or your older brothers collection of pornographic magazines. The idea that we can solve the problem of children accessing "unsuitable" content by technical means is laughable.

One of the ideas in the proposal is "active choice":

Active Choice: customers are presented with an unavoidable choice or series of choices through which they consciously choose whether or not they want filters and blocks installed on their internet service or internet-enabled device

This is a poisonous idea that must be stopped! I don't want every ISP in the country to have a record that "Jeff likes his internet unfiltered, but Joe doesn't". The idea of a Government appointed set of goggles on the Internet is not attractive in the slightest!

How's it going to work? Let's imagine that little Joe wants to see some pornography. His parents have opted for filtering, so he's completely safe right? His first search for "breasts" returns no titillating content whatsoever so he gives up. Of course he doesn't! He starts to search for ways around the shield. What's next, do we block all information on proxy servers or Tor, or any other of the million and one ways that any technological solution can be by-passed?

The solution to this problem isn't technological.

It doesn't cost any money.

It doesn't need much resourcing.

It's very simple.

Let parents be responsible for what their children see online.

It's sensible not censorship.

Please read the proposal and give feedback before its too late.