Protecting Your Children

Thinking more about internet censorship today.  I have half a dozen different tangents buzzing around in my head, but I’ll try to pull them out into focused topics for you and publish each one separately.  The reason there is so much buzzing around in my head is because this internet filter that the Australian government are planning to implement has so many flaws and reasons why it’s wrong for the government to do this to the Australian public that one doesn’t quite know where to start!

Today I was thinking about the claims by the government that they plan to implement this mandatory censorship simply to protect children from child pornography.  This is the hub of all their arguments, and it’s a cunning little ploy to force all of us that are against their censorship to look like we actually condone child pornography on the internet.

This is not true.  Those of us who are against censoring the internet are very much against child pornography, but we also know that this “filter” will do NOTHING to protect children from these predators, while actually making it easier for them.

Let me direct you to a fairly good description of how censoring the internet will not prevent or protect children from child pornography…

Click here

Now, as the post above explains, filtering the internet does not cover peer to peer networks (which is what child pornographers are using, and will be using even more once the internet is censored, because it will become even more safe for them).

A simpler explanation is this.  The internet is a whole bunch of computers all around the world, all connecting to each other through a web of internet service providers.  It is possible to filter internet service providers so that things you don’t want people to see are blocked, as well as files and documents are filtered so you can’t share illegal material.  However in doing so, it does things like slow down the service, block things you don’t want blocked, and be controlled by something like a government body.

A peer to peer network is like a small ring or web of computers that are only connected to each other.  Other than those actually in the network, who have been screened and invited, there is no way to block or filter it.  So people who are using p2p have the ability to share illegal material easily amongst themselves, passing it from one to another with no problem at all.  They don’t have to worry about the authorities finding it, because it’s not connected to the greater internet.

This is what child sexual predators are already using to share their disgusting child pornography.  As well as chat rooms, postal mail, and even hand delivery.  The internet filter will not affect this AT ALL.

Child predators do not build websites to lure children in.  They go to where the kids already are (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and other popular sites), pose as other kids and groom them up there to trust them and make decisions that their young minds aren’t ready for.  No filter will fix this.  The only thing that will is awareness in kids as to what is safe behaviour, and good police resources to work towards capturing the predators.

Add to that the fact that the billions of your tax dollars that will be spent on this internet censorship will actually be diverted from areas like police, legal and prison resources that actually DO find, catch, prosecute and sentence child predators.  If the government have money to spend on this ineffective filter, why don’t they devote it ALL to resources that ARE effective?

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to protect children on the internet at an immediate level.  The most effective way is parental supervision.  That doesn’t just mean hovering over the computer while your child uses it, but teaching your kids that stranger danger doesn’t just happen on the streets, that it’s not ok to talk to people on the internet you don’t know.  It means teaching them how to use the internet to find good information and fun safely.  It means having the computer in a common area of the house if you have children, so that you are present to answer their questions or notice strange behaviour.  And if you have quite young children (under 10) then there are inexpensive software packages that help YOU choose what they can and cannot access on the internet.  Perhaps the government could spend the billions of dollars of your tax money in providing this software to every household that has a child?  It could quite easily be sent home from school with them, or mailed to you.  Or on a government website for you to download.

Instead of offering all these solutions that we know actually work, they plan to put an mandatory internet filter in place that will not actually help prevent child pornography or catch any child predators are out there.

Which raises the question… what is it that they really want to block us from seeing and why? Food for thought hmmm?

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January 11, 2010. Australia, censorship, child pornography, child predators, children, education, internet, No Clean Feed, paedophiles, pedophiles, peer to peer networks, police, politics, responsibility, safety, taxes, technology, transparency.

4 Comments

  1. MikeFitz replied:

    Some good points, Kath.

    Yes, the filter is objectionable because… It won’t work; it’s a waste of our taxes; parents will let their guard down; children will be harmed.

    And as you say, a better solution is parental supervision, aided if necessary by in-home filtering software targeted at the age-group of the children.

    It’s almost criminal that Conroy dismantled the Howard government’s program of supplying free in-home filtering software (it was shut down on 31 Dec 2008) WITHOUT having any alternative in place.

    It’s an important question you ask. “Now that it’s quite clear that the ISP filter will not achieve its stated aim, just what is Conroy’s real motivation?” Of course, it IS censorship, but there’s another possibility which I explored at http://mike.brisgeek.com/2010/01/06/pervert-conroy/

    — @MikeFitzAU

  2. sleepydumpling replied:

    Thanks Mike. Off to share your post around the social web.

  3. Thestudent14 replied:

    I agree completely!
    But please try not to exaggerate by saying billions of tax payers dollars when its only dozens of millions. I read your blogs because you have a very balanced view and factual based view. Exaggeration makes your blog less credible. Apart from that top stuff =)

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      Ahh but that’s just it. It starts out at 42 million for the initial setup, but once it’s established that it doesn’t work, that blows out beyond what we can measure, into the billions. It’s no exaggeration at all.

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