When I first read this story, I could not help but think of the story of “The Pied Piper of Hamlin” as the many companies that follow this logic is astounding, and just like those rodents, they will all go off the cliff that their journey is taking them to.
A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you’ve got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything:
"Child pornography is great," the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. "It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites".
The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title "Sweden — A Safe Haven for Pirates?". The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others…
"One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close cooperation with IFPI and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand," Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.
When the foot gets in the door with this, then the rest becomes that much easier. Why is it that the average person doesn’t see through this?
I think back to when Andrew Cuomo shouted to the rooftops “child pornography” and many ISPs, including mine, Verizon, removed news groups from what they offered. All because the spectre of child pornography was raised. It did not end child pornography, it did not do much except make things inconvenient for many who used the newsgroups. But it made the right people nervous, and got Cuomo a big rise in ratings. That was just what he wanted, and he did not care what was destroyed in the process.
In electronics, one of the things you learn is that, no matter how sharp you make the filter, you always are filtering out things that are desired, but you must live with the results in order to get out what the filter was designed to remove. The best filter, in those cases, is no filter, and a bit more care in the design of the circuit.
In the same way, perhaps more time should be taken to ponder what the consequences of any blocking or filtration might be, before the irreversible action is taken.
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