Saturday, December 27, 2008

Great News for Nanny-Staters: Age Ratings for Internet Sites

Just what we need, another massive government bureaucracy to monitor websites for content.

In the real world, parents are responsible for what sites they choose to block. The last thing we need is another bloated government-controlled monster scouring websites to see what should or should not be deemed appropriate.
Offensive or indecent websites will be branded with cinema-style age certificates in a Government crackdown on dangerous online activity.

In a bid to limit the ease to which 'unacceptable' material is accessed, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, last night called for 'clearer standards' in cyber space.

He said it was his 'absolutely categorical' view that there was material on the web -including beheadings - which should not be available to anyone.

Plans are also underway to discuss new policing methods for English language websites with the President-elect Barack Obama.
I'm all for the government security services monitoring online jihad sites and those who foment terror. But standard website should not be rated or come under any government domain. There are sites that indeed show beheadings, but this is done as a means of demonstrating what animals the jihadists are, and every site I've come across that shows them carries a clear warning.

Self-policing of the Internet is fine. The last thing we need is Barack Obama's minions out there rating web content.
Mr Burnham confirmed one of the proposals being considered by ministers to protect children and vulnerables from harmful material was the introduction of age-ratings for websites.

'That would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus,' he said.

A separate option under consideration was imposing requirements on internet service providers to offer a service which would give access only to websites which are suitable for children.

Mr Burnham refuted the proposals were an attack on freedom of speech amid a stark warning that some material on the web has breached the boundaries of taste and decency.

'If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now,' he said.
Of course they're doing this under the guise of protecting the children, which again is the responsibility of parents, not the government. The next thing you know they'll be in the business of taxing websites that aren't government approved.

This is a can of worms best left sealed.

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