Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Culture Secretary Wants Website Ratings, Censorship

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the since-the-aussies-seem-so-excited-about-it dept.

Censorship 377

kaufmanmoore writes "UK culture secretary Andy Burnham calls for a website rating system similar to the one used for movies in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. He also calls for censorship of the internet, saying, 'There is content that should just not be available to be viewed.' Other proposals he mentions in his wide-ranging calls for internet regulation are 'family-friendly' services from ISPs, and requiring takedown notices to be enforced within a specific time for sites that host content. Mr. Burnham wants to extend his proposals across the pond and seeks meetings with the Obama administration."

cancel ×

377 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Noooo (5, Insightful)

FreeFull (1043860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241369)

*cringes in agony* Please, please, please don't bring censorship into UK. It will certainly be used in the way that the Chinese censorship is used. Why the hell does someone in every country think "Let's censor internet!"? Internet is not something to be censored, it's composed of the work of people who want to communicate. The government shouldn't choose what people can communicate to each other and what they can't.

Re:Noooo (2, Interesting)

x78 (1099371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241381)

The government _can't_ decide what can be viewed and what can't, won't stop 'em all from tryin' though!
I'm already proxying myself through servers in other countries to avoid the censorship that the big UK ISPs recently signed up for.

Proxies will be useless in the future (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241495)

Proxies are only useful if the government can't control them. Things aren't looking good now that democracies are taking the example of dictatorships and clamping down on the Internet. Having a proxy chain composed of different government regulated servers (and honey pots) isn't security.

Re:Noooo (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241967)

See my post below: If they implement a whitelist as opposed to a blacklist, then they can very well decide what can be viewed because your proxy servers will never get a rating.

Of course, it will require so much manpower and money it may bankrupt the country - but that won't be a shock as it seems to me the UK workforce will in a few years be employed solely in checking people aren't peadophiles. Think of the children!

Re:Noooo (4, Insightful)

jombeewoof (1107009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241393)

...Why the hell does someone in every country think "Let's censor internet!"?...

The less open communication you have the more control they have. It's all about making our decisions for us. I thought we were starting to get used to the idea. At least here in the states we are.

Re:Noooo (2, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241543)

Reminds me of that sci-fi story where in that world people thought for themselves, and parents took responsibility for their kids.
And there was this kind of thing they called fair justice everywhere. *thinks* I just can't remember the title...

Re:Noooo (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241659)

Reminds me of that sci-fi story where in that world people thought for themselves, and parents took responsibility for their kids.

The think-of-the-children arguments are just a red herring; if there weren't children around then people would think of other reasons to censor. There will always be excuses to control people.

Re:Noooo (1)

jombeewoof (1107009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241737)

I must have missed that one.

Re:Noooo (4, Funny)

c_g_hills (110430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241423)

Perhaps it is just a stealth policy to tackle rising unemployment by creating jobs for looking at websites all day.

Re:Noooo (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241433)

*cringes in agony*
Please, please, please don't bring censorship into UK.

What do you mean "bring"? The UK already has a lot of censorship. The BBFC has been censoring media for quite some while.

Re:Noooo (1)

FreeFull (1043860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241445)

Bring more censorship, then.

Re:Noooo (3, Funny)

jassa (1092003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241557)

No no, that's even worse!

Re:Noooo (5, Interesting)

DanBrusca (197887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241703)

What do you mean "bring"? The UK already has a lot of censorship. The BBFC has been censoring media for quite some while.

The BBFC's job is classification, not censorship. It has no power to ban material or demand cuts in any material. It can withhold certification, but certification is only withheld where it's considered the material in question would breach the criminal law, usually the Obscene Publications Act.

It's worth noting that over the past 10-15 years the BBFC has trended towards permissiveness, granting certification to previously 'banned' films, often attracting the ire of politicians in the process and effectively pushing the boundaries of what can be considered (legally) obscene material.

It's also introduced the principle that artistic merit can be an overriding factor, such as a few years back when the German film Taxi Zum Klo was granted a certificate enabling it's broadcast on television, despite it containing a scene featuring actual urolagnia between two gay men.

Censorship is enshrined in law thanks to the likes of the Obscene Publications Act so any criticism should be directed at our politicians, not at a body which has no choice but to work with the law presented to it and which tries to be as liberal as possible within that law.

Re:Noooo (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241785)

The BBFC's job is classification, not censorship.

Nonetheless, labeling something based on its morality or decency is an enabler for censorship.

Re:Noooo (2, Insightful)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241439)

These powers could be abused but I'm comfortable that Gordo and Jackboots Jackie will only use these powers for good.

[fx: wipes a tear away that was brought on by the laughter]

It's the kind of diversity that NuLabour are best at: now we're taking choice elements from the best despotic societies such as China and the Soviet Union and integrating them into our culture. I'm almost moved to vote but I'm not convinced that the other lot are going to do that much about it.

"Papers please." --- get used to hearing that.

Re:Noooo (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241555)

Indeed. Labour would be looking at a massive defeat in the next election, if only the Conservatives didn't reply to every stupid Labour idea with 'Look at us! We can be more stupid than them!'

Re:Noooo (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241993)

The Tories are lockstep in line with New Labor (sic) - they differentiate themselves largely by their position on the foxhunting ban. So our 'elections' are a choice between a totalitarian government and a totalitarian government that gets its rocks off maiming small animals. Go democracy!

Re:Noooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241649)

I'm starting to think a lot of them are just ignorant of the internet, which given how little the average person knows is highly probable.
Censoring the network of computers that is the internet is about as easy as censoring the network of people that is society. But because the internet is delivered over a little cable, like, and often the same cable as television, they think they can treat it the same way. Assign little ratings to all the "shows" and make the magic box on the end only show the good ones.

Re:Noooo (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241671)

Was movie-rating system used in the way it was used in China or other countries? I mean, limiting political speech?

There are plenty of politically very dissident movies and some of them are even getting huge profits, like Fahrenheit 911.

MPAA rating limits the profits of a movie, and therefore its distribution. I know many people equate it to a censorship, but it is still a different thing.

Indiscriminate defense of free speech is an extremism. All people agree to a different extent that even free speech should be somehow limited, but whenever the society as a whole comes with some sort of implementation of that limitation, there always be people objecting to it.

There is a reason why there is not a single country in the world where libertarians are in power. This reason is called "common sense".

Re:Noooo (1)

FreeFull (1043860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241817)

The point is that the movie rating system is not suited to the internet. Movies are usually produced by big companies which can be responsible for any content. The internet is made by people, for people. There often isn't any company behind the content

Re:Noooo (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241767)

*cringes in agony* Please, please, please don't bring censorship into UK.

Why are you asking them to not bring censorship? Remember the whole Virgin Killer incident? The UK already is censored. See http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/12/09/210230.shtml [slashdot.org] and that's aside from the all the restrictions on newspapers in regard to sub judice criminal cases. And the fact that people can sue for libel over completely true claims in England. The UK already has a lot of censorship. This would be just another form.

Free speech (4, Insightful)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241379)

Excuse me, but don't they have free speech in the UK?

There is content that should just not be available to be viewed.

Don't tell me they can do that? I'm pretty sure that would be completely unconstitutional here in Belgium. And why do these idiots keep messing with our internet. You don't like, don't visit it.
I friggin' hate Modern Art and that's why I stay away from museums.

Re:Free speech (3, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241441)

There are plenty of terms that are thrown about to counter free speech. Some examples from the UK include laws against "inciting religious hatred" and "obscenity" - neither term is defined. There is also the chilling effect caused by the threat of legal action against content that probably does not contravene any law at all. It's made all the more effective when you look at the scope of our 'anti-terror' laws and what they can do to you if you refuse to comply.

I'd be surprised if Belgium didn't have some laws lurking on the books that make certain content illegal.

I've said it before on Slashdot, but I'll ask again: what can we do when our politicians try to do things like this. Writing letters (yes, real ones, on paper), voting and protesting have all been ignored. What realistic options are left to us?

Re:Free speech (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241575)

I've said it before on Slashdot, but I'll ask again: what can we do when our politicians try to do things like this. Writing letters (yes, real ones, on paper), voting and protesting have all been ignored. What realistic options are left to us?

If any realistic options were available, they'd be illegal -- and dangerous to talk about.

Re:Free speech (2, Interesting)

shinier (949631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241909)

If you don't like any of the available parties then the realistic option is to start your own party and stand for government. If the Internet is useful for anything, its for stirring up action. It shouldn't be too difficult to win at least one seat with a viral campaign and enough supporters. That's the great thing about Democracy. If you don't like the government, you start your own. Take advantage while you can.

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241995)

Don't worry, I'm unrealistically trying to bring Guy Fawkes back from the dead. I've heard that back long ago on a dark November night he almost solved this problem.

Re:Free speech (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241871)

I've said it before on Slashdot, but I'll ask again: what can we do when our politicians try to do things like this

Talk about it. An effective protest movement needs popular support. The only way you get that is by convincing people that the issue is important and that it affects them. And the only way to do that is to discuss it. Talk to people and get them to talk to people.

And don't give up on voting. Just don't vote for the main parties, since they almost certainly are bought and paid for in advance, regardless of what it says on their manifestos. Find someone who gives a shit, and who isn't going to be shut down by party head office if they make a fuss, and vote for them.

Re:Free speech (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241517)

I'm pretty sure that would be completely unconstitutional here in Belgium.

Is child porn legal or censored in Belgium?

Re:Free speech (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241757)

Very illegal I guess. I'm sorry but I have never been involved in such a case :)
Still Child porn is something different as it is still a very sensitive thing.

Re:Free speech (4, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241809)

Excuse me, but don't they have free speech in the UK?

No. There is categorically no legal right to free speech in the UK. There is also no right to remain silent either. In the 1980's the UK government censored the voices of the IRA (for good old fashioned terrorism reasons). This resulted in TV stations trying to get around it with a loophole, by using the voices of actors.

Also, if you remain silent in court this can be assumed as evidence of guilt.

People assume the UK has always been free, however in truth it never has been. It's just that recently it has become terrifyingly unfree, and becoming more so every day that the Neues Arbeit Regime remains in power.

Re:Free speech (1)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241811)

Unconstitutional? We're talking about the United Kingdom here...

Re:Free speech (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241929)

I fail to see your point [wikipedia.org]

Re:Free speech (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241969)

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. We don't have a singular document that is "the constitution", it's scattered around several documents.

Re:Free speech (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26242009)

Excuse me, but don't they have free speech in the UK?

Alas, no. That's the USA you're thinking of.

Don't tell me they can do that? I'm pretty sure that would be completely unconstitutional here in Belgium.

It's going to go in through the back door (no pun intended). First they'll say it's about child porn; then they'll say it's about "violent" porn (the UK has a history of denying certain basic rights to people who engage in BDSM). Then it's going to be regular porn, although it won't be banned outright - there'll just be rating requirements. And then they'll make it more and more difficult to actually comply with the requirements, de facto killing things that they cannot kill de jure (check out 18 USC Section 2257 record keeping requirements in the USA, for example). And finally, when public support for regular porn has waned, it'll be outright outlawed, too, in a step-by-step strategy: first it's going to be porn that "degrades" women, for instance, and then that definition will again be expanded until any and all porn will be included.

And so on.

Hmmmm (4, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241383)

I think I speak for everyone here when I say: "Good luck with that".

For workers revolution to sweep away capitalism! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241385)

Forge a revolutionary Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party! Smash imperialist barbarism with new October revolutions worldwide!

scarily ignorant (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241387)

Not only does this show that the individual making these proposals is not qualified to consider the subject, but it also tells us that the advice he is giving is incompetent.

In practice, of course, this is not really a serious proposal - it's merely a way of seeing (from the reaction) who amenable the public would be to being censored.

Sadly, most people have such a degree of scorn for this and other governments, that they won't take this seriously - or make any comments about it. The consequence being that the "public opinion" - whichever way it comes out - will be decided by a small, ignorant, but vocal minority who have their own agenda or fears.

Whatever happens, it won't represent the opinions of the people - but that's "democracy" for you.

UK culture secretary Andy Burnham (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241473)

We have a Minister for Culture? WTF?

More snouts in the bloody trough. Bah.

Re:UK culture secretary Andy Burnham (1)

The Lawnmower (953638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241657)

In Australia we have a minister for every little thing.
It's ridiculous.

A minister for every little thing? (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241849)

I am not sure that our health service would cover them in the UK.

Re:scarily ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241777)

advice he is giving is incompetent.

If fact, the incompetence is interpreted as evilness by many. Also, the proposals will be laughed at by any constitution honoring US administration.

There is content that should just not be available to be viewed

Oh, I can imagine any page demanding a status change for Northern Ireland should not be viewed by anyone. God save the Republic from the Evil Queen, ARRGGHH! (English view of IRA, I'm sure.) The ultimate nightmare for Andy Burnham would be somebody suggesting letting Afghans to deal with their issues themselves, of course.

Re:scarily ignorant (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241957)

Also, the proposals will be laughed at by any constitution honoring US administration.

Let us hope, then, that the next administration will be one of those, for a change...

Re:scarily ignorant (1)

Lazarian (906722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241887)

"In practice, of course, this is not really a serious proposal - it's merely a way of seeing (from the reaction) who amenable the public would be to being censored.

I believe you have hit the nail on the head with that statement, although I don't believe the "representatives" who make such proposals are in any way ignorant of the practicalities of these proposals. I've always had the thought that they already know the idea of rating systems on websites would be beyond possible to implement, since they likely have had input from consultants and experts (paid for on your dime).

The internet went from a relatively limited network between universities and research institutions to an uncontrollable behemoth where anybody, anywhere could express ideas and communicate without having to be shouting on a public pedestal for all to know who you are (and without the powers that be being able to find you and throw you into prison).

They will force ISPs to implement massive resources and blow horrendous ammounts of tax dollars on an utterly futile endeavor that nobody with any sense of rationality wants, spouting "think of the children", "stop the pedophiles", and "we must protect ourselves from the terrorists". Once that fails utterly, they will claim that the internet is too out of control, and with their brothers in arms, the media corporations, they will lobby governments to begin restructuring the fundamental premise of the internet.

The internet became this wild, unstoppable creature that couldn't be tamed, so they want to kill it and have it rise again like some twisted, neutered phoenix that will sing only their song. Freedom be damned.

They just tried it with Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241397)

Virgins were killed. [wikipedia.org] ,

Also, Wikipedia censors by calling things "not notable" or "unreliable sources". And this will be censored too.

Re:They just tried it with Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241609)

Keyword, were killed, it was beaten.

This will also be beaten into the corner.

When people hear about censorship, they WILL stand against it.
ISPs start censoring stuff, other ISPs will pop up saying they don't, they get more customers, other ISPs lose out.
No ISP would want that. (well, except the ones who would want the extra customers)

Re:They just tried it with Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241693)

I was going to mod you down but then I left the UK government. :-) (Ü) (-:

Ha-ha-ha-ha .... this is sooooo funny! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241401)

Burnham is a moron. This is another great example of a minor politician grasping at something to make him-/herself seem more important, and resulting in him appearing more stupid than dirt.

If something in the region of 90% of all websites are outside the UK, how on earth can this be implemented and enforced? The US has strict laws on censorship, so this cannot work there, so I can't see why he's wasting his time trying to get the US involved, unless he's simply posturing and trying to boost his ego.

Andy - wake up, you'll end up being a laughing stock, not a hero.

Re:Ha-ha-ha-ha .... this is sooooo funny! (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241923)

And if the router at the border just drops the packets for these alleged "outside the UK" sites, then what?

Don't believe it won't happen.

On behalf of the UK (4, Funny)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241405)

I unreservedly apologise for our stupid politicians. Unfortunately, many of them don't reveal themselves as barking until after they get elected and then get given a Government job. I believe that you in the US have had similar problems in the past.

Re:On behalf of the UK (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241597)

Those problems make me wonder why that whole "impeachment" thing doesn't happen more often. I don't know much about law. My guess is the process of removing corrupt elected officials from office is controlled entirely by corrupt elected officials.

Re:On behalf of the UK (2, Interesting)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241977)

Haha! This happens because every government reflects its people in one way or another. Like somebody said before in this post: there are lots of people who believe that internet censorship is a good thing. These people still does not see the internet as a tool for free-speech, but as a toy for teenagers.

IMO, from the government point of view, this is the right moment to impose a internet censorship: the generation that actually understands the internet does not have any political power yet. More and more they wait, more it will be difficult.

excellent! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241407)

so myspace and msn gets blocked from under 18s I take it? brilliant, bring it on!

The IWF's competence is unequalled! (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241413)

The Internet Watch Foundation, protectors of the British citizenry against uncceptable material on teh intarweb, have declared Wikipedia illegal in the UK [today.com] .

Several police forces had advised the IWF concerning the site, swearing their actions had nothing to do with anything in the site about senior policemen or their behaviour.

"The fourth most popular website in the world is an encyclopedia," said IWF Obersturmgruppenwhitehouse Myra Hindley. "What sort of message does that send about the youth of today? They should be using mobile phones, dealing drugs, smoking cracks to 'jazz' music in discos and knifing each other in the streets. God help us if they see record covers!"

Police across the country used sophisticated hammer-detecting equipment to swoop on the homes of rumoured Wikipedophiles. All computers, mobile phones, televisions and any technology more sophisticated than scissors will be confiscated for investigation, and will be returned in due process in twelve to eighteen months when the filthy fucking nonces have been brought to trial, assuming they survive multiple beatings in jail.

"Fuck these filthy fucking fuckers," said Zoe fucking Hilton of the NSPCC. "And give us money, or you're a filthy fucking kiddie fucker yourself. Turd."

"We absolutely won't be adapting the system to discussion of ID cards," said Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. "Nor will MPs raising the issue have their offices or homes raided. Probably."

Virgin Media users had failed to notice any difference, assuming the connection problems were service as normal, and went back to watching the football except for the last ten minutes of the game.

Re:The IWF's competence is unequalled! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241547)

Why is this rated funny? Surely it must be the result of several mis-clicks while aiming for "informative"...

Re:The IWF's competence is unequalled! (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241613)

You're on your way to getting yourself put on a do-not-fly list.

Re:The IWF's competence is unequalled! (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241953)

If you think I'm ever, ever going to visit America ...

Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241425)

There is nothing in principle wrong with "movie style ratings" for sites. The question is two fold:
- How will it be enforced?
- Who will [pay] to enforce it?

If the answer to the first question is "software that users put onto their systems" then I am fine with that. Parents should have the power to control what their own kids view. We're always talking about parents taking parental responsibility so let's give them TOOLS to do so.

The second question is who will enforce these movie style ratings? Now that is really the hard part as you have 90% of the internet outside of the control of the US and UK governments unless they wish to put up some kind of firewall (bad plan).

I think everyone should get together, Governments, ISPs, and internet standards bodies and come up with a cheap, and simple way to mark all sites.

Then the UK and US should mandate it within their own borders and put international pressure on other countries to do the same.

That way we will give parents control, make the parental software really work, and give governments less ammo to firewall the Internet for us adults.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

FreeFull (1043860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241459)

Who says that the censorship will be used exclusively for that? Also, good luck installing that software on a linux machine when you don't have the password.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241563)

That way we will give parents control, make the parental software really work

Also, good luck installing that software on a linux machine when you don't have the password.

The parents will either get the password or confiscate the computer.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241617)

The parents will either get the password or confiscate the computer.

That's why I always advise teens with Linux to set up a layered approach, with a false administrative user/password leading only to a virtual machine; the machine should contain a copy of the teen's real documents, not including anything it's vital the parents not see.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241579)

I assume you meant when you do not have a password for an account with some level of administrative access.

The beauty of Linux (and most other operating systems) is that if I have write and exec access to my home directory, I can install and run anything that will fit so long as it does not need to access devices to which I do not have access to.

Many Windows programs require write access all over the place just to function.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241577)

There is nothing in principle wrong with "movie style ratings" for sites. The question is two fold:
- How will it be enforced?
- Who will [pay] to enforce it?

And how will it be kept updated? This is far from trivial, with movies/music/games and whatnot you can submit the final product for review and that's forever the rating. Every time you update your blog it could potentially change its rating if you take up topics or display graphics that aren't suitable for the age group. Even if I wasn't taking up any particularly sensitive topic I'd have to enter some kind of agreement not to replace it with hardcore pornography in the future, which means 99%+ of all normal sites would never bother to get a formal rating.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241639)

You wouldn't have to install any software. Browsers could build it in. You select "PG or lower" rated sites and the browser doesn't let you go to anything else.

Sounds good...but probably not workable.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241647)

Once the websites start to be rated, it would be pretty easy for the companies making web browsers putting some sort of 'parental control' option on the browser, where you just go into a menu and select what kind of content or ratings you do or don't want the person using the browser to access. In this way, the 'censorship' will be entirely voluntary and entirely parents' responsibility.

As far as the ratings, I'm not entirely sure, but I think there are two feasible options: Either just let the internet community in general rate the websites (hey, it worked for Wikipedia) and figure that the vast majority of reasonable people will more than make up for the few unreasonable ones, or else just put out a statement that rating websites is the owners' responsibility, and unrated websites will be put in the most highly restricted category, along with porn and such.

Although, I hope the 'content that should not be viewed' restrictions stay pretty much the way they are: No kiddie porn, no snuff videos, etc.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

Saishu_Heiki (969303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241687)

The problem with the "parental resposibility" model that you mention is that it is parenting by proxy. Instead of teaching the children what is acceptable and why the rest is not, most parents take the easy route and simply block the "unacceptable" material.

My parents objected to MTV, so I was forbidden to watch it. Even if the technology had been available, they would not have removed the channel from the lineup because that teaches nothing. Too many parents want to have the onus put on schools, the community, or technology, and then bitch when the precious little ones end up as ill-behaved monsters with no concept of self-restraint.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (1)

ratbert6 (515555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241837)

Horrible idea. The tools parents need already exist. I don't need anybody rating websites for me or my family and I certainly don't want to pay for this service for those who think they do need it. I have a better solution for them, take away their internet as they are obviously too stupid to safely deal with it on their own.

Re:Censorship = Bad; This = Good, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26242043)

Actually, HTML already includes a rating meta element which lets you choose whether to rate it safe for kids or not. (not that anyone uses it as it isn't required - as aren't most meta tags) I would be astonished if none of the numerous child protection softwares on the market let you choose to allow only sites rated safe for kids. If this idea was to only require all websites to add such a tag it wouldn't be that bad. International sites would add that too to get that extra traffic from UK and porn sites would not add it because they don't want to risk getting filters from Google.

And there are a lot of browser plugins too. MyWot (My Web Of Trust) is one that I use (because it helps staying away from scams too). It let's the community rate website's child friendliness (among other things) and it can be set to warn you when you are about to enter a bad site. Some advanced version of that to all browsers and preventing such entering without parental password sounds like a really simple thing to code.

But do we really think that the proposal would end that way? Not a chance.

2009 will not be the year of the Linux Desktop ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241447)

. . . but the year of Internet Censorship!

To all you former UK citizens, I would like to say a hearty, "Welcome to Vietnam!"

Try the Pho.

Before all the Americans get up in arms... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241457)

Run it through the English->American translator. Yes, they said the word "censorship". However, you will find that you do indeed have censorship the other side of the pond too. You just have a taboo against calling it censorship. Is kiddy porn illegal? Yes? That's censorship. The only difference here is that people in the UK actually call it censorship instead of tiptoeing around it to double-think ourselves into maintaining the belief that the First Amendment is absolute. Nowhere is free from censorship. Every nation on earth has agreed that it is a good thing in specific circumstances. Even Sealand, the data-haven that was against censorship, had two laws. Both censorship. No spam, no kiddy porn.

So please, let's everybody get past the word "censorship", and move on to the actual proposals, shall we?

The rating system. That can be implemented in a benign manner. We already have technological solutions such as PICS that allow websites to self-rate. The family-friendly services from ISPs? Just disallow unrated content and let the parents set the permitted PICS content labels or analogue. Takedown notices within a timeframe? That's a tricky one. Obviously it can be accomplished for the cases where something is obviously against the sites terms of service, however in some cases, especially in cases of dishonest complaints, it can require effort to establish if something should be there or not, and mandatory takedown notices are going to push providers into just taking everything down upon a complain to be sure.

Virtually everything in the article can be implemented in a benign way. The important thing is not to rage against the machine, but to ensure the government actually goes about this in the right way, instead of being dumb and just trying to get the BBFC to classify things.

Campaign Against Free Speech (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241467)

I thought the quote "There is content that should just not be available to be viewed." would have been something taken out of context just to be inflammatory. Nope -

"There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical. This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it."

Content ain't "content" unless you're able to view it. This guy's attitude makes me cringe. You can't have freedom of speech unless you're willing to stand up and support your most vocal opponent's right to say the most offensive things. No one on the planet should tolerate groupthink attitudes like those of Culture Secretary Andy Burnham. Care to engage in a lively debate with him about the subject? Well, not without the necessary oversight, because, well, your statements might be harmful to Mr. Burnham's reputation or to the Office of the Collective Culture Ministry, and we can't have that, now can we?

Do you remember the TV commercials where they desperately plead with you that "This isn't your father's Oldsmobile."? Why would they do that? Because it *is* your father's Oldsmobile, and they know it.

This is not a campaign against free speech ...

Oh yes it is.

Re:Campaign Against Free Speech (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241623)

You can't have freedom of speech unless you're willing to stand up and support your most vocal opponent's right to say the most offensive things.

Free speech is all well and good, but what about things like hate speech, child pornography, videos of youths knifing other youths and so forth? Yes, it may be the stereotypical and usually worthless "Think of the children!" cry, but it makes it extremely difficult to effectively argue against it in a public space, claims of Free Speech or no. As a result this sort of ridiculous law can be seriously contemplated, because anyone trying to stand up against it is faced with vague tutting and the veiled implication that you approve of such things.

Of course, the real issue is that censorship doesn't actually address any of these issues, but it gives a nice big headline which the government can point to as showing how they're looking out for us.

You know, whether we want them to or not.

Re:Campaign Against Free Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241779)

Good points however they can't win the debate unless they can control it.

hate speech, child pornography, videos of youths knifing other youths and so forth?

Aside from the child porn, I don't have an issue with this stuff. The bible is full of hate speech, why don't they ban that? Could it be that censorship is a bubbling cauldron of bullshit? Surely it's possible to advocate malicious acts without resorting to hate speech? Consider...

Andy Burnham is such a lovely man, every UK citizen should send him as many belated Christmas cards as they can spare. In these difficult economic times, don't worry about postage. It's the thought that counts.

See also the speeches our politicians made about invading Iraq or the way that Burnham himself disguises his outright hatred and contempt for freedom of speech / expression (and by extension, the public who have a legal right to it) by playing the child safety card.

Soceity has survived (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241471)

I'm sick of politicians limiting freedom to "protect" us. There is no need to have some mandatory rating of websites, movies, or music. It's all just political BS. Society gets along just fine without these ratings. The whole "protect the children" thing is a sham.

Peer Pressure (2, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241481)

Mr. Burnham wants to extend his proposals across the pond and seeks meetings with the Obama administration.

Same with Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other notable world leaders. Let's hope peer pressure doesn't sway anybody to think that censorship is a good idea.

Age ratings never worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241485)

When I was younger (late 90s), "South Park" was in its biggest craze, despite the fact that the Videos were rated "15" they were almost universally watched by younger children.

Also thanks to "pirates", any kid smart enough to use "piracy software" can download films without "verifying" their "age".

Age is just a number, I am now an "adult" according to the "law", and I can fucking do anything and you can't stop me. And I am not afraid of "Jail", you "jailed" me as a "child".

I spank monkeys at the zoo by the way.

Must be stopped (4, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241507)

This notion simply disgusts me and is a dangerous development, which clearly sets dangerous precedents which may be used to supress certain political dissent and create a saudi arabia like totalitarian state where everything from perfectly harmless pornography of consenting adults for consenting adults, to certain kinds of music and political views are illegal. this creeping vicious totalitarian trend is quite disturbing to me and creepy. As a supporter of free speech and liberty, I strongly oppose this idea, and that to protect our freedoms and human rights, this horrible idea which threatens the rights of the people should be totally defeated. It is quite clear that many countries are degenerating into a totalitarian police state where powerful elites may decide what you are allowed to see and hear. People did not fight and die in vain so that we would give up the freedoms we fought for. I am surprised that a country like the UK, which had a near death experience from the Nazis and was nearly invaded, and barely escaped having a totalitarian Nazi regime imposed on it, and fought hard to defend their rights and freedoms, will now willingly give up those rights and freedoms it worked so hard to protect.It seems, the mentality is, they saved their rights and freedoms from the Nazis just in time for them to willingly give themselves up themselves and turn their country into a big brother totalitarian police state of horrific proportions from within. The UK seems to be especially degenerationg into a police state very quickly, with more cameras per capita in London than any other city in a western country, and with police state tactics including mass surveillance and ID cars (nazi phrase: your papers please!).

I strongly hope that the citizens of the UK do not tolerate this gross abuse of power and erosion of their rights and liberties. Government should not be in a position to determine what people are allowed and not allowed to look at, and what they are allowed to say and publish and not allowed to say and publish. Government is clearly treating people like children, by creating a nanny state, a big brother state, which endangers the well being and safety of all people. Privacy is an essential part of freedom, and so is free speech and both are being totally violated by the UK government, through net surveillance and now censorship. The surveillance is an enabling factor which further allows establishment of a police state tyrannical order and destroys basic privacy expections at the cornerstone of any free society. This power can very easily be abused by governments seeking to create dossiers of views and opinions of its people,. this is the first step that allows them to be singled out and attacked by a government. And even if i am just e-mailing my grocery list, its not really any of the governments godd*#% business if I prefer to drink 2% lowfat organic milk. Just the concept of government of prying into our daily lives and personal communications and preferences, should outrage us and should be completely intolerable to us.

The censorship aspect should be completely defeated. The only thing which even remotely one could say it might be justified to censor is child pornography, but I am concerned that even that system could be abused, it would be too easy to add websites which might be politically unpopular by some to such a filter, "accidentilly", such as socialist or communist websites or ones critical of the prime minister or the queen. So for that reason i am opposed to the idea of any filter at all since it is a far greater danger to our freedom and is not warranted. Child pornography should be combatted by going after producers of it.

As far as a self ratings system which would encourage websites to self label themselves with a PICS label in the HTML code, for instance for violence and such,and thus allowing the consumer to choose whether or not to allow such content, this might be acceptable, as long as the consumer is control and will decide if any filtering will be applied. I do support putting the consumer in control and being able to opt-in by installing a filter on their computer. I am against any forced filtering which would be in direct violation of basic human and civil liberties.

Re:Must be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241569)

--The only thing which even remotely one could say it might be justified to censor is child pornography

Given that child porn can be photoshopped, not even this.

He doesn't seem big on human rights. (4, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241509)

I don't like the man. he was previously in charge of identity card legislation and was also a big supporter of the right of the state to detain 'terrorist suspects' for 42 days without any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever.

Re:He doesn't seem big on human rights. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241959)

Fear not, as the UK Govt is losing credibility all by itself already. We had one comedian saying this week that Gordon Brown trying to fix the economy was the equivalent of sending Bomber Harris to offer to repair some windows in Dresden. Time will come when we get an elected PM again...

How about opt in? (3, Insightful)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241549)

While like everybody else here I'm absolutely opposed to anybody censoring my internet connection, I wonder if the politicians have ever thought that this could maybe be a public service that people could opt in to?

A decent content rating system that's made available by any ISP to customers who want to use it, with an independent body doing the ratings could be very useful to people who actually do want their content filtered. I can see it being useful to parents, some old folk would certainly use it, as would a few religious types.

Done as an opt in system (maybe even opt out at a push) it could achieve pretty much the same results, without antagonising all of us who feel we're old enough and mature enough to decide what we want to see.

Re:How about opt in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241637)

Interesting idea but opt-in would be used to further the censorship agenda. An opt-in with a fuck-off options would let us establish from the outset that the only people willingly subjecting themselves to a censorship regime are cranks and morons.

So how would the courts define a "site"? (4, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241583)

This is something I've wondered whenever this topic comes up. Suppose I have a home server, and I've helped several friends build their own web sites on it. One friend has registered JoesKiddieSite.org and the name points to my IP address. Another friend has registered SuziesPornSite.com and that name also points to my IP address Yet another friend just uses my example.com domain, and I've set up SamsPetPics.example.com and SamsNudeMidgets.example.com domain names for him.

Are there one, three or four "sites" on my machine? Would a rating system give them all the same rating (presumably X), because they all have the same IP address and are thus the same "site"? Or would it give each of them a different rating, because they all have different domain names and are independent "sites"? Or would all pages owned by the same owner would be a single site, even if Sam keeps his two "virtual sites" strictly independent?

So far, I've never heard a coherent answer to such questions.

I have a curious case on my real machine, and on a remote account where all my stuff is mirrored in a guest account. Over 10 years ago, I got tired of the claim that if you put something online, any child can find it. So I put a naughty picture on my web site, an "artsy" picture of a naked woman, and challenged visitors to find it. So far, according to the server log and "ls -lu", nobody but me has ever accessed the photo. It's hidden by the most trivial method I know: the directory has an index.html file and there are no links to the image. So you can only find it if you type the bizarre random-looking name that I gave it. The question is: Because I state openly that the image exists, would my site get an X rating? Would a court subpoena the image's URL, and would I have to tell the judge how to find the picture?

It's pretty easy to come up with absurdities about such site ratings. As long as it's only search sites that are doing the rating, it doesn't much matter if they are occasionally nonsensical. But if written into law without dealing sensibly with questions like the above, it seems fairly clear that a legal rating system for web sites would be simply wrong much of the time. It might give JoesKiddieSite the same rating as SuziesPornSite the same rating due to a common address, or might give Sam's two "sites" the same rating due to a common owner.

Or perhaps someone has worked out a scheme to reasonably define "site" for legal purposes in a way that solves such problems. Anyone have a link to such a scheme?

Re:So how would the courts define a "site"? (1)

jombeewoof (1107009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241713)

I know I'm trying to introduce logic into a system that clearly was not designed to handle it, but how is this for a simple solution to your question.

Any collection of web pages that is designed to be viewed as a single object.
With your examples, every single one of the "sites" would be their own entity.

To put another example out there, my brother has a web page that is mostly hosted by a provider. There are certain things that provider will not host, and those portions are on my server at home. This makes, blog.jombee.com, chat.jombee.com and www.jombee.com all one single entity because they are designed to work with each other, the subdomains are there to physically separate a single logical entity onto multiple servers.

If the site is designed to be viewed as a whole object, even if there are drastically different elements in each of it's pages then it would be a single entity. If there are several different sites on a single machine, those would have to be treated as different entities.

It would be similar to a brick and mortar building where one half was a bar, but the other half is a day care center. Same physical location, but drastically different content.
But then, I'm not a politician so there has to be something significantly wrong with this. It almost makes too much sense.
Yea, they'll never go for it.

Re:So how would the courts define a "site"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241741)

Logically, one would think they'd have to define a site by the means of access. In other words, if one domain gets you one site and another gets you another site, it doesn't really matter that they're served from the same IP address. Of course, they have to see what comes up when they visit the IP address as well. And then one wonders about ports besides 80/443 serving HTTP... or indeed, about the ones that don't as well.

I don't know about the UK, but in the US the answer to your question about whether we should collectively freak out about normally-inaccessible content on a website seems well answered by the Hot Coffee incident (GTA: San Andreas). Hopefully Obama is more level-headed in his approach to these silly concerns about videogame content -- there seemed to be no such qualms about discussing suspicious dress stains on the evening news less than a decade ago, and I wasn't yet 18 when I was reading the Starr report out of the family newspaper, so let's cut the shit about pretending this censorship is about worrying about what the little tykes see.

Andy Burnham is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241585)

That's all there is to say on the issue.

Although I would be interested in suggestions regarding how to best protect children from the Andy Burnhams of the world.

Oh God not more unnecessary legislation (1)

IngeniousCognomen (1318383) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241627)

Hooray! More kneejerk legislation by people who quite evidently have far too much time on their hands. If Burnham is worried about what his kids might encounter online, there are such things as net filtering services to take care of this for him, though I suppose it is a little too much to hope for that the witless dingbats infesting the current Labour government could ever be aware of such things.

encrypted internet? (1)

h-xman (1127981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241631)

What happened to that plan to encrypt the entire internet? We need it ASAP! I think TPB came up with that: The Pirate Bay Wants to Encrypt the Entire Internet [newteevee.com] ... but the project seems to by dying out:-(

A voluntry system is fine (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241665)

An open standard voluntary system would be fine, where webmasters can add some accepted code into the meta tags of their site so search engines can be trained to recognise and filter it. That way you could have user profiles on PC's as options like the movie ratings. You could then apply that age rating, which would then apply the filters to the search results. I know dansgardian is supposed to be good.

This solution would be more aimed at keeping inappropriate material away from minors. It also assumes a completely unfiltered output for adults who don't want filtered, which I don't think our esteemed Minister has in mind when he talks of censorship. It would also rely on webmasters knowing about, then deciding to apply the ratings system agreed on. It since it would be self applied. it also relies on webmasters all having a similar view of the guidelines of what is suitable for 13+ etc which I believe is all but impossible. This would bring in all sorts of legal issues. The web is worldwide, so enforcing anything will be difficult and very expensive (if at all possible).

New Labour are well known for throwing all sorts of red herring policies to the media to distract from some other Government business they need to get through. They tend to pick controversial topics they know will get the attention of the public. It's the Government equivalent of shaking a shiny bauble in front of a pram, while the other hand feels about inside the handbag hanging from it for the purse and any other valuables. These red herrings are never meant to be serious, they exist to distract the media and the public. When the frenzy has built enough they can back down and claim that they've "listened to the people". As has been said though....if the reaction is muted, they may just decide they can get away with actually doing it.

The best way to filter is for the parents to start getting clued about PC's, and for OS vendors to provide a preset profile mode which includes basic (easily GUI editable) filtering as a starting point. The parents need to set up profiles for their kids which match their age range. This of course relies on a hellavalota things that are not likely to happen, when that's more hassle that screaming at the government to "think of the children!". Besides, learning means "taking responsibility", and we can't have that can we?

Re:A voluntry system is fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241869)

An open standard voluntary system would be fine, where webmasters can add some accepted code into the meta tags of their site so search engines can be trained to recognise and filter it. That way you could have user profiles on PC's as options like the movie ratings. You could then apply that age rating, which would then apply the filters to the search results

Nah, they'd never do that. It has too high a chance of actually working and doing what they said it would.

It also assumes a completely unfiltered output for adults who don't want filtered, which I don't think our esteemed Minister has in mind when he talks of censorship.

Of course not. That would be treating people like responsible adults, and we can't have that. People might start ($DEITY forbid) thinking for themselves!

*removes tongue from cheek*
Why do I have a horrible feeling that, no matter how I vote, these stupid ****s are still going to carry on regardless.

silly duffas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241677)

the creepy bit is this line imo

We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.

does anyone else read this as

We have got to define where we think the public interest ought to lie and be clear about what content we are going to block

anyway, the net works round stupidity, so good luck with that.

I approve... (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241697)

SAVE THE CHILDREN!

UK's banned lists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241711)

  I don't know what everyone is surprised about. The UK already has lists of banned books and movies. About 120 movies currently.

  If they can ban anything, they can ban internet sites.

  Unfortunately for him, the US government can't even ban a book. Nothing's going to come of it here.

Re:UK's banned lists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241829)

Unfortunately for him, the US government can't even ban a book.

Why don't you try publishing a book full of hardcore child porn and then report back your findings to Slashdot? Something tells me that the USA government can, in fact, ban a book. FFS, the USA is the country that invented the concept of an illegal prime number.

So how long... (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241807)

... will it be before the average politician has the slightest clue about how the internet actually works, and is savvy enough to simply laugh off hopelessly stupid ideas like the one presented in this story?

I don't mean "technically", I just mean at least as good as the average 10 year old.

Do we really have to wait until the current crop is dead?

Re:So how long... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242027)

Most of the people I know (18-30 age group) don't have the slightest clue about how the internet actually works.

Don't make the same mistake that everyone else does in assuming that being comfortable using computers and being on the Facebook every waking hour somehow means that you have any idea or any desire to know how it all works.

He may be proposing a whitelist (4, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241893)

His idea seems to be (although he is being vague about it, probably on purpose) to have ISPs only allow access to sites (in context presumably meaning IP addresses) that have a certificate - one we can only assume has to be applied for.

If this is indeed what he is suggesting, its horrific. For crying out loud, Iran only operates blacklists. We would officially have worse Internet censorship than a nation that executes women for being victims of rape.

The reason totalitarian nations haven't tried a whitelist by the way, is the amount of work it requires. Of course, that may work to the advantage of the UK government. A slow process of being allowed to publish controversial material on the web would prevent non-government groups being able to react quickly to government abuse. By the time your web page got through the government approval (after your personal details have been lost a few times) the controversy has died down, government wins.

I don't want to live in a society where you need to apply to the government for permission to speak.

I'm starting to believe ... (1)

Sepiraph (1162995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241987)

That Orwell was an optimist...

Our in-house rating system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26242011)

We have a very elegant in-house rating system for our 8 year old son and 4 year old daughter: I look at the sites they wish to visit and determine if the material is appropriate. My son is not yet technically sophisticated enough that I need to enforce a whitelist or anything like that; my hope is that by the time they're 12 they'll be mentally prepared for most things he would encounter in the real world, or at least prepared enough to seek my or my wife's guidance on things.

I'm pretty sure that the sight of a bare breast will not permanently warp them. Hate-oriented material is of more concern, but it's always going to be out there so all I can do is try to teach them how to see through its fallacies and make good judgments for himself.

Or is that approach passe these days?

Disaster waiting to happen (4, Interesting)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242015)

Not to be melodramatic, but computers and the Internet are probably the single-most important human acheivement in the past 1,000 years. Free communication has the power to transform our society from warring tribes to a true global civilization, concentrating efforts to better our lives. It's the first truly accessible bidirectional network (or "peer-to-peer" as corporate/government drones like to say).

It has the power to dislodge those who seek to position themselves between productive people (for tax or ideological control). These are people who don't produce anything useful; they are simply parasites on the system. Thus, the loss of a global communication network is of little negative consequence to them.

And these are their opening shots; thousands of petty little dictators from all walks of life (government, religion, busybodies, corporate) have zeroed in their guns and are beginning to fire. If they are not stopped, the end result will be disasterous. I did not spend the last 20 years of my life building another glorified cable TV entertainment network.

We, the technically inclined... the engineers who conceptualized, and then actualized this network... we hold the cards. We build and install the equipment, we write the software, and we understand what's at stake. We need to organize, and we need to do it now.

Perhaps a worldwide RBL that completely deletes a hostile force from the Internet, based on a vote. Australian government implementing a censorship plan? No packets to any subnet associated with the Australian government until those responsible are found and punished. New bill to restrict anonymity on the Internet, forcing people to use identifying information? Let's see how well that senator does without email. After all, if he gets his way - to damage our ability to communicate - should we not get ours?

Perhaps a worldwide union of engineers for a collective maintenance; all member engineer will refuse to cooporate with unethical requests (routing to censorship hardware, violating principles of net neutrality, etc), and the union will pay their salary, and assist in finding a new position, if they are terminated for insubordination. In any case, firing an engineer is expensive. Let's make these companies hurt.

The net routes around damage... yes. But nothing is invincible. If we fail to defend it, we lose everything. If a critical mass of governments succeed in inserting themselves as gatekeepers, we have lost. Not because secure communication will be impossible... nothing can stop the individual. But because it will stop the masses. And that's all they want.

Proof once again! (2, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242019)

"The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe."

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?