Friday, May 11, 2012

Blocking porn: just another step on the road to slavery

Here's a question for the boys (and possibly girls), do you remeber whne you saw your first bit of porn? Depending on your age it was either a dodgy magazine, an equally dodgy video (where you had to fiddle withthe vertical hold and skip past the bits where the tape had stretched due constant pausing and rewinding), or it was some flash movie online. You were probably also a teenager I imagine.

Today though, we live in terrible and desperate times when it comes to porn. As anyone reading the populist press will be aware, or anyone watching certain pious Tories wishing to impose their values on others, ever child is pretty much having porn pumped into their line vision whilst they're eyelids are pinned open. Every night they go to their bedrooms with their laptop, webcam, a packet of ham and snorkel like Jay in the Inbetweeners (I'll let you fill in the gapos if you've not seen it) and engage in the most base debauchery.

Our children are literally one step away from being rapists... well that's the general implication anyway, and so something must be done, and that something is to introduce blocking of all porn online and make people wear badges that say "I like to watch porn on'tinternet" if they errr "like to watch porn on'tinternet".

OK, so they're not really going to make them wear badges, but if it were to happen they might as well, because you're going to have to request that you want the "good stuff". The thing is, this is a monumentally stupid and ridiculous idea for so many reasons.

  • Exaggeration of the problem: I've already alluded to this, but does anyone seriously beleive that all the kids are busy "banging one out" to hardcore porn online every night? "Banging one out" maybe, that's natural after all, but I've not really seen much more than selectively chosen anecdotes, and how they're any different to the glorious VHS days is beyond me.
  • Learning the wrong things about sex: This is the classic old chestnut that suggests if you see porn as a kid you're going to think it's perfectly normal for a girl to let you cum on her face, engage in anal sex and/or whatever other weird thing floats your boat. That argument has been around longer than Internet porn. It didn't come to fruition then, it's unlikely to now, mainly because of the reality of the previous point.
  • You'll end up blocking legitimate content: The reality is, unless we go down the route of "legislative approved website" (more on that in a bit), you're inevitably going to block some content that is not porn however good you think the code logic might be. The classic example is the URL containing the word "scunthorpe".
  • You'll end up not blocking illegitimate content: This is the same as the previous point in reverse obviously. I for example can recall a certain high street mobile phone retailer who's corporate network blocked the Agent Provocateur website (because staff shouldn't be looking at lingerie models) but didn't block the lingerie section of the M&S website.
  • "They're" going to have to watch you: Not that they;re not watching already some might say, but honestly, if you're going to block content that means you have inspect traffic and that means you have watch what everyone is doing. Blocked content is little more than full-scale tracking via the backdoor.
  • False sense of security: This flows from the previous two points. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Once you make the claim to "block" something and then you inevitably fail to do so, it is only a matter of time before some company gets sued with the claim that have not protected the children. The real failure here though will be those who think that the promise to block is in anyway cast-iron and so palm off their personal responsibility towards what their children see to the Government and the law.
  • The DH Lawrence Conundrum: Way back in the mists of time there was a book called The Rainbow. It had sex in it. It had lots of sex in it, and boy did it upset some people. So much so in fact that it was banned and all copies burned out of necessity to protect the masses from such filth.
  • Do you want Government approved websites?: Go to China. Seriously, if we, as a supposed liberal democracy, take the first step on the road to blocked Internet access by default then we might as pack up the whole thing now, scrap elections and install a Politburo. Sounds alarmist I know, but this all comes down to what I and other call the Stalin Test. It's an easy game to play. When making a judgement about liberty infringement ask yourself the questions: "Would Stalin have liked this? Would Stalin have found it useful?". If the answer is yes then it's worth pausing. Remember, just because you trust today's politicians doesn't mean you should assume the trust and good faith of tomorrows. Building the infrastructure to enable an oppressed state only requires an enabling act to bring into being.
In the words of Pitt the Younger: "necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." 


 

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