Thursday, 12 December 2013

Conservative, "Radical" Feminist & Evangelical Christian Want Team Up to Block Online Porn

A few seconds of "stable" image (source).
I can remember when my father bought me a combination boombox and black and white television. It was a highlight of my childhood.

Sitting in my room, alone, I laughed at David Letterman (I think he was better in the 90s) and terrified myself watching The Day After and other nuclear war themed movies from that era.

Then there were those latenight softcore movies always on the French channel - a stark contrast to the anglophone offerings of blood, guns and explosions. Inevitably, things would just start getting interesting at the moment they cut for commercial!

And then there were those scrambled channels on the downstairs television, which was hooked up to cable. I can remember weekends after staying up watching a 2 hour Doctor Who marathon on PBS. I would tune into these channels and wait, hoping to catch something for a few seconds when the picture stabilized. The colours were all still inverted, of course. Around the same time, modem-based BBS systems allowed me to download images at a painfully slow rate - so long as my mom didn't pick the phone up.

Forgive me. I was a 12 year old boy.

Well now a conservative MP, a radical feminist and an evangelical Christian have joined together to block online porn.

Apparently, it's become a PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY SITUATION by just the sorts of people you'd expect to find it so.

Conservative MP, radical feminist and evangelical Christian come together to block online porn in Canada

They want to have ISPs monitor and block objectionable online content -- for now, it's pornography, maybe later atheism? -- and force people to opt-in if they wish to see it. They claim to be doing it to protect the children but I think it's pretty evident none of them would shed a tear if all porn just disappeared completely.
“If we can get a man on the moon, certainly we can figure out a way to protect children from unwanted porn,” said Winnipeg Conservative MP Joy Smith, who is formulating a private member’s bill that would automatically block access to online pornography. Anyone wanting to access porn would have to contact their Internet service providers.
And, naturally, the ISPs would have to charge some kind of fee for this activation. It would drive up the price of such material and likely have a negative impact on the porn producers - but it's all for the kids.

There is, of course, a simpler approach. It involved monitoring your kids rather than letting the computer be a babysitting device. In fact, it's evangelical Christians who have come up with services to do just that. There are many monitoring and blocking services out there for parents to choose from. It is even possible to monitor the sites visited at the hardware level in your router itself.
Anti-Internet-censorship activist Bennett Haselton, founder of, a website that creates portals to get around blocked sites, said the burden of proof should be on anti-porn activists ‘‘to show that what they are blocking is harmful somehow.” 
“In the United States and Canada and most other developed countries, an entire generation now has grown up that, for the most part, actually did have unrestricted Internet access, and they’re not mentally warped by it. There’s no evidence that they’ve been harmed by it,” said Mr. Haselton.
Even so, as a parent, I don't want my child to see pornography. Listen, I get it.

So, for the time being, I've locked the IPAD and have removed the web browser ability. We've also put in "safe browsing" mode for the Youtube app. Later, when he gets more savvy, I will add reporting software to our router so I will be kept abreast of which device is going where. Perhaps I'll also purchase some additional software.

But among some of my most technically savvy friends there is one common thread. They all know that the best filters and blockers (even run by the ISP) can be worked around.
Mr. Haselton, however, said filters may not pose accessibility issues for internet-savvy individuals. “No filter blocks new proxy sites after they’re released, so if people can get access to proxy sites, then, yes, they can get around the filters,” he said.
And that's why my geeky friends all use the simplest and most effective means. They put their child's computer in a public place, like the kitchen! And they turn off the Internet connection or block the device from the Internet during times where it cannot be monitored. It's simple! It's like the television.

I tell you what. Why not have this as opt-in program for parents who wish to have their Internet filtered by censoring companies - who may very well either be fundamentalist Christian or have a widely evangelical customer base. Then, rather than charging people who do not want every website they visit logged, scrutinized, categorized and potentially blocked, they can charge those who don't mind some company controlling what they should or should not see.

The Conservative MP, Joy Smith, claims she received a letter from a distraught 10 year old who feels horrible for having viewed porn.
“Yesterday, I got a letter from a young boy 10 years of age telling me he was addicted to porn,” she said. “It just brought me to tears.”
For real? What 10 year old boy would even know he's addicted to porn? And what ten year old boy would think of writing a letter to his MP!  Please!

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