Monday, 29 September 2008

Not Ones To Let The EU Have All The Fun…

…the Government is now jumping on the ‘Internet Censorship’ bandwagon:
Social networking websites and major technology companies are joining the government in an organisation designed to improve children's safety online.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is to be launched by Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Well, how could a scheme launched by those two intellectual giants possibly fail?
The council will promote responsible online advertising and will seek to shut down "harmful" websites.

It will also develop a voluntary code for websites featuring users' content.
Firstly, how are they going to ‘shut down’ websites, especially those hosted overseas? For that matter, what does ‘harmful’ mean? Who gets to define it? And if it’s a voluntary code, what happens if you aren’t signed up to it?

No, it seems this initiative is merely to create yet another nice little quango for politician’s mates to serve on.
The council, which will report to the prime minister, will have a membership of over 100 organisations, including technology companies such as Microsoft and Google, websites such as Facebook and mobile phone companies such as O2.

It promises to create codes of practice in protecting children from "illegal internet sites that promote harmful behaviour" (Ed – ‘illegal’ how?) and will address issues such as online bullying.

There will also be an examination of how websites handle videos or messages posted by users - and what the procedures should be for removing offensive or inappropriate material.
And if the procedures aren’t complied with by the site in question? What then, given it’s supposedly voluntary?

Empty posturing (I hope)….


Longrider said...

Harmful, presumably, is all those nasty right wing blogs that attack the Labour Party and who cannot be refuted by the new internet hit squad.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but in a while you will hear that sinister announcement:

"The current voluntary arrangements are not working..."

It's only voluntary FOR NOW.