national filtering scheme – can anyone say 'china'?

many of our international breathern would be moritifed at a plan where a national goverment tried to enforce a nation-wide internet filter to block specific content.

they do it in china – at what cost? – and the world cries foul. then they consider it seriously in a modern western democracy – with a lot of political pressure within the ruling party – and the mainstream media barely raise a whimper of concern about it.

ok, so snuff films, child pornography and many other ills to be found online are unquestionably bad news. with the ‘mandate’ of universal public distain for this content (the weirdos who are into it don’t speak up and acknowledge it for obvious reasons) the debate gets legitimacy it does not deserve.

the key question being asked at the moment is “who will pay for ISP level filtering”. the natural answer to this is government – they’ve got a fat war chest of a budget surplus and there’s nothing commercially compelling ISPs themselves to offer server level filtering. so the government pays for the filtering, and then presumably controls it as well (you’d have to be a mug to buy something designed to censor and control and then leave the control of it to someone else).

and all of a sudden you’re china.

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