The government is holding a consultation for a proposed new law which it says will protect children while using the internet. This proposal follows a campaign called SafetyNet. The campaign and now the consultation is about requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to “[block] pornography and other content at network level whilst giving adults a choice to ‘opt-in’ to this content”. This proposal won’t work and if anything could put children at greater risk. Here’s why…
The Communication Data Bill is yet another poorly thought out that attempt to monitor what everybody is doing and thus keep an eye on all of us – innocent or not. I appreciate there will be some purported legitimate reasons for wanting to monitor certain people for particular reasons but there’s a pretty decent chance that anyone who is using the Internet for criminal activity (and copyright infringement is not a crime) will already work around the bits where they leave a trace. This bill must be stopped.
The SafetyNet campaign might have the safety and protection of children at its heart but its using the wrong tactics. Those tactics will not help vulnerable children any more than an 18 certificate on a DVD will. Educate parents, get them to speak to their kids, help them. Don’t try to scare them into signing up for a law which a) won’t get passed and b) would be worse than good if it was.
Tomorrow (18 January 2012) the web will be different. Tomorrow some of the web will be blacked out. Tomorrow the web you use will be changed in protest against something that could keep it that way forever.