The lies of the internet censors: Your. Filter. Won't. Work.
It’s time to call the purveyors of pervasive internet censorship out on their lies and demand to know why they’re not advocating the real solutions to child s-xual abuse, writes Stilgherrian.
Gloves-off time. The purveyors of pervasive internet censorship — handful that they are — have burned their goodwill. It’s time to call them out on their lies and demand to know why they’re not advocating the real solutions to child s-xual abuse.
Bernadette McMenamin of ChildWise, you’ve crossed the line, defaming everyone who’s protested the government’s plans. “Most of these people are not fully aware of the facts and secondly, those who are aware are, in effect, advocating child p-rnography,” you said. How dare you!
Ms McMenamin, to really stop child abuse we need to spend our resources efficiently. Let’s run through it one more time. And let’s skip those hysterical, made-up “statistics” you still peddle. Child abuse is bad enough without heading into your paranoid fantasyland.
Kiddie-p-rn is hard to find. As Inspector John Rouse, former head of Queensland Police’s Taskforce Argos told the authors of The Porn Report, “the chances of stumbling across this material… are minimal as it isn’t really distributed on web pages.” P-dophiles use peer-to-peer software and, as Crikey reported six months ago, none of the filters can deal with P2P. The filter will not work. The. Filter. Will. Not. Work.
Every single dollar wasted on a demonstrably unworkable filter isn’t just wasting taxpayers’ money in tough times. It’s a dollar that hasn’t gone to the police so they can do what does work. Good old-fashioned policing and the kind of undercover sting that resulted in 19 arrests last week, including a retired QC and a NSW police officer.
But, as blogger Jon Seymour points out, Ms McMenamin has a vested interested in moral panic. “An ineffective filter is actually a very good thing, because it means the oxygen that sustains the flames of moral panic, and her organization ChildWise, will never disappear,” he writes.
“Perhaps McMenamin and ChildWise have done worthy work in the past. Perhaps they do some now. But why should anyone continue to be charitable about a person who unapologetically accuses her opponents of being witting or unwitting supporters of child p-rnography?”
“Public intellectual” Clive Hamilton has been the other public face of censorship since 2003. In Crikey last week he deconstructed Paul Kelly’s writing about emissions trading, saying “Kelly’s spray could be used as an exemplar in a course on how to use debating tricks to try to win a losing argument.” The same could be said for Hamilton’s own writing in support of censorship.
In a piece for ABC News, Hamilton cherry-picks blog comments to construct an anti-censorship straw man of such awesome proportions his hay fever will last a century. He fails to even mention the rational arguments he should be addressing, and then admits, “I have deliberately not considered the question of whether it is feasible to effectively filter extreme and violent p-rnography on the internet.” Let’s not let reality get in the way, shall we Clive? Fortunately the post’s 275 comments re-introduce that reality.
And finally the minister, Hamilton claims Senator Stephen Conroy is boldly going ahead with filtering trials billed as a “live test”. But no, it’s another closed network test and won’t involve actual customers. Even the list of “10,000 sites” is a made-up number.
Opposing the filter are the Opposition, The Greens, Save the Children (who’ve rolled up their sleeves and done the dirty work of protecting kids since 1919), the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre and even ultra-conservative Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and Glenn Milne.
Why is taxpayers’ money still being spent on this farce?