UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced steps to further censor the web – amoung other things – in a speech on Monday 22nd, July. The speech confuses and conflates many issues and appears intended to appeal to sexual prudes and religious bigots. Cameron’s proposals are half-baked and show a fundamental ignorance of internet technology. It’s all a bit disappointing and surprising because you’d expect his speech writers and researchers to do a better job – he is UK Prime Minister after all. It’s almost as if these researchers and writers don’t have any experience of porn but that can’t be right.
Many issues are confused and conflated: pornography, pornography depicting rape, child pornography, child abuse, childhood ‘innocence’. The speech even starts confused intended to appeal to prudes and bigots that believe any expression of sexuality is as bad as biting apples: “I want to talk about the internet the impact it is having on the innocence of our children how online pornography is corroding childhood and how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.”
It’s confused, isn’t it? By innocence he means ignorance as if ignorance should be encouraged and lauded. How is online pornography corroding childhood more than any other pornography? Children do not have access to online pornography. Adolescents probably doo but not children. And so what? Is it that much worse than war films or everyday violent television, television where people are getting shot, murdered and maimed?
“… in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.” If they’re in the darkest corners of the internet they’re not any danger to your children. Cameron is trying his hardest to scare you. Is this taking over now that terrorism BS is discredited and wearing thin?
“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scare-monger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come.
This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”
I think that’s exactly why Cameron is making this speech: to moralise and scare-monger. Protect our children and their
ignorance innocence. Oh please stop it.
“The internet is not just where we buy, sell and socialise it is where crimes happen and where people can get hurt and it is where children and young people learn about the world, each other, and themselves.”
It is where SOME crimes happen. People can get hurt? Well not physically. Where children and young people learn about the world, each other, and themselves? Oh don’t be so stupid. The internet is only a small part of childrens’ world. They go to school because they’re children. They interact with other children. They watch telly. They are members of families. The internet is only one part of their lives.
“The fact is that the growth of the internet as an unregulated space has thrown up two major challenges when it comes to protecting our children.”
Here it comes …
“The first challenge is criminal: and that is the proliferation and accessibility of child abuse images on the internet.
The second challenge is cultural: the fact that many children are viewing online pornography and other damaging material at a very young age and that the nature of that pornography is so extreme, it is distorting their view of sex and relationships.
Let me be clear.
These challenges are very distinct and very different.
In one we’re talking about illegal material the other legal material that is being viewed by those who are underage.
But both these challenges have something in common.
They are about how our collective lack of action on the internet has led to harmful – and in some cases truly dreadful – consequences for children.
Of course, a free and open internet is vital.
But in no other market – and with no other industry – do we have such an extraordinarily light touch when it comes to protecting our children.”
Cameron says that these two issues are distinct and different … but I’ll conflate them anyway.
The ‘proliferation and accessibility of child abuse images on the internet’ is a myth. Cameron is quite simply making it up. The Internet Watch Foundation collates sites containing child abuse, tells ISP and the ISPs block them. That’s happening now. It’s difficult to find child abuse imagery, you have to make deliberate efforts.
Are many children viewing online pornography and other damaging material at a very young age? Is that pornography so extreme, that it is distorting their view of sex and relationships?
They’re unlikely to be that young. I would expect that they would certainly be in their teens and post-puberty to have an interest in it. Is pornography that extreme? It is certainly posed and acted but then the BS they see on telly will also distort their view of sex and relationships. It’s dead easy to distort childrens’ view of sex and relationships come to think of it. They will have one main, overwhelming model for a start: their very own parents.
Cameron’s on a roll now, there’s no stopping him. “My argument is that the internet is not a side-line to ‘real life’ or an escape from ‘real life’; it is real life.
It has an impact: on the children who view things that harm them on the vile images of abuse that pollute minds and cause crime on the very values that underpin our society.”
The very values that underpin our society. That will be page 3 then, that’s no problem. Somehow objectifying women is not distorting childrens’ view of sex and relationship? Oh that will be because it’s owned by Murdoch.
I’m getting tired of this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying sex and the sooner young people become aware of their own complex being, the better it is all round. To Cameron there is only one type of porn: evil, and I’m surprised he’s such a prude but then he’s probably not. [26/07/13 On reflection, I think that he probably is. He’s certainly no John Major, eh? Gizza. Gizza.)
There is child pornography on the net but you have to look for it and will not stumble across it accidentally. There is some confusion amoung commentators on Cameron’s speech who should know better. Paedophile imagery is on hidden services, part of encrypted, anonymity networks. I would be surprised to find any on peer-to-peer (p2p) networks.
I would much prefer that Cameron and the government pursued real paedophiles abusing real children. I have stumbled across a real paedophile and have a pretty good idea who they are and why they are not pursued.
Cameron’s speech supports the why we must all be spied on agenda of covert spying agencies. If we are spied on as much as has recently become apparent, shouldn’t far more paedophiles be in prison?
25/07/13 Addendum 2
“And today I can announce that from next year, we will also link up existing fragmented databases across all the police forces to produce a single secure database of illegal images of children which will help police in different parts of the country work together more effectively to close the net on paedophiles.
It will also enable the industry to use the digital hash tags from the database to
pro-actively scan for, block and take down these images wherever they occur.”
That will be incredibly easy – trivial – to avoid.
Cameron continues his speech talking about default-on ‘filters’ and outlawing extreme pornography. Filters are going to further censor the internet. The internet is already hugely censored in e.g. libraries and workplaces, through Microsoft produced censorship software. Some forms of extreme pornography is already illegal.
“Once CEOP becomes a part of the National Crime Agency, that will further increase their ability to investigate behind pay walls to shine a light on the hidden internet and to drive prosecutions of those who are found to use it.”
This is a clear mistake. There is nothing illegal about using the so-called “hidden internet” and no possible prosecutions per se. I’m running a hidden internet server FFS. This speech is a mess. I’m looking for work.