Sunday, January 30, 2011

Open Letter to Ed Vaizey

Dear Mr Vaizey,

I understand that you are meeting with internet service providers to discuss how the industry can better support parents and help them ensure that their children cannot access pornography.

I am the parent of a young child, and I would like to emphazize that I do not in any way support this initiative. The suggestion by Claire Perry MP, to switch the default setting for internet pornography in to our homes to off, and implement an opt-in system, is idiotic, and betrays a deep ignorance of both the technical workings of the internet, the dangers of censorship, and the psychology of sexual behaviour.

in detail:

1. It will not be possible to achieve. The use of proxy servers, ftp, file-sharing, texting and good old email will mean that any child except the terminally stupid who wants to access pornography will be able. This will be an embarrasing and public failure for your government. Do you really want to be less popular than you are at present?

The ban on child pornography is only effective because all parties, internationally, agree that child pornography is undesireable, and actively police it. There is no such agreement over adult pornography, inded the top 10 search terms on google each day have the word 'porn' in them. People like porn.

2. Who will decide which sites are pornographic? Automated technology works poorly, and the experience of those that have had the internet censored in their countries is that it is not long before dissenting political views and human rights violations are being hushed up too. Do you really want to put us on a par with China, the middle east and North Korea?

3. Contrary to the misinformation being offered up by people such as SaferMedia, wider availability of pornography actually reduces the number of sex crimes. Please actually take the time to look at real evidence, such as the studies from the Czech Republic, Japan and Denmark, rather than simplistic moralisation and political point scoring of SaferMedia. Tightening up on pornography on the internet will lead to more women being raped and sexually abused, not less.

I had hoped that this government would be less stupid and authoritarian than the last one. I voted for you on that basis. My hopes so far have not been realised.

Yours Sincerely,

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