Happy Blocking 2014
Happy Blocking 2014
One of the best little presents Claire Perry and David Cameron welcome you with to 2014 is website blocking, coming to your home now and bringing you many reasonable Internet blockages like ‘Respect your Partner’, ‘Childline’ and other threats your wise government wants to protect your children’s souls from. Besides real offenses, of course, which no one doubts anyway.
Now, does it make sense to protect a child from explicit material? Absolutely! Does it also make sense to implement a huge filter system right into the heart of the Internet – with or without best intentions? Well, besides the fact that the road to hell is paved with good intentions: Absolutely not!
Why’s that? Imagine the Internet as your hometown, along with streets, schools, theatres, operas, malls, and, of course, dark corners, some of them really dark, others just described as dark by someone. For what reason? You don’t know. Now imagine yourself walking the streets of your hometown with your family. Would you allow your under-aged son or daughter to visit the local adult video shop for a quick instructive evening? See the picture? You don’t need a guard on every corner of every street to tell you what’s best for your children, because you already know. You know, because you CARE! You’re already acting responsible on your own! So, what then are these guards for, that even refuse to explain, why a road, a corner or a location are off limit now?
Actually nobody really knows. It might be, your government recently discovered the Internet, got shocked to find the real world in there and decided to implement a filter system to keep it out, in favor of child protection. It might be, and who with a sane mind would ever go against child protection? But then again: Even Disney had to acknowledge that an evil stepmother is an indispensable part of Snow White and left it to the parents, whether or not they want to dispose their child to this fact or not. Without having to make clear you actually want this freedom of choice, like you now have to make clear that you don’t want a filter.
And who are those people anyway, those in charge, those who decide what has to be blocked, and how, and why? You and I and other parents? No. An anonymous online voting platform that decides what sites need to be hidden from public access? No. At least an independent consumer or citizen department being involved? No. Then who the hell decides about what is allowed, which road should be closed, and according to which criteria?
Well, at least for now it’s somebody at your ISP or at a third party company (yes, some filters are just being bought). Which raises another question: What’s going on in the mind of someone, who waves children away from a place like childline.org.uk, where abused children can get help, but has no problem with McDonalds.com? Does he (or she) sound like a child psychologist? Or a counselor? Or like anybody having a grip on him- or herself? Will ‘a somebody’ ever be able to judge objectively? Or will filters change and extend as soon as ‘a somebody’ changes: from porn to abortion advices, from abortion advices to religion, from religion to Darwinism? And what’s next? Terrorism, of course, but what exactly after that? ‘Threats’ like youth crime, unsocial behavior, bad attitudes, demonstrations, different opinions? The list of possible dangers is endless – and since it’s so easy for a politician to find a nice word or an argument to justify any strange idea, it surely will be extended. Like a meltdown in a nuclear plant it’s not a question of whether it will happen or not – but when.
Something you can do about it? To straighten things up, to get back your freedom of choice and to make clear you are an independent and responsible grown up? Yes, you can help the Open Rights Group for a start and report any blocked sites, that are no danger at all and should obviously be added to a white list, and, if you feel like you can’t trust neither your government nor your ISP anymore, get yourself a nice little VPN, your best present for Cameron and Perry in 2014. It doesn’t necessarily have to be CyberGhost – but do you know any other VPN at the moment having a € 20,14 offer for 2014? For a complete year?