Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 22nd Mar, 2006

Another Great Leap Forward for Stupidity and Ignorance

Kim Beazley is now proposing to censor all home internet connections unless one specifically opts out, apparently because there are stupid people on the internet that haven't the know-how to set up a firewall and teach their children about responsible internet usage. Because, let's face it: the internet is veritably awash with feelthy, feelthy stuff. You can't go to Wikipedia, Google or Yahoo these days without being bombarded with ads that make goatse look like a model of human interaction.

Yeah, right. The truth is that Beazley, in a desperate bid to find a platform that he can criticise Howard on, is beating the pornography drum good and hard (ooh, the double entendre!). The truth is that it's just as easy to find bad role models in our own homes as it is by being sent links to or whatever. Tackle the social, moral and ethical issues before you tackle the technology. Most internet filters don't work, most children know how to get around the ones that even pretend to work, and if you're just assuming that this filtering is going to replace a balanced and responsible view on how to treat other people, you're kidding yourself.

I'm not denying that there are people who don't know how to protect their children from internet problems. I set up a computer for a friend in Melbourne that, when I returned in three months, had been comprehensively rooted by her ten-year-old son trying to download all sorts of questionable software from dodgy sites. I installed ZoneAlarm. He found that he could just get what he wanted by clicking 'Allow' on every alert it popped up. I wasn't in a position to either teach him what to trust and what not to, or to just take it all away and say "you only use the internet with me to help you". And his mother, nice though she is, was never going to be able to keep up. So maybe I'm part of the problem and not the solution.

And I am definitely a Labour supporter. I just think they've gone off the rails. Labour in Australia are more Liberal than the Nationals, in Labour's misguided attempt to appeal to the majority of Australians who think that Labour is blue-collar and that they're white collar. To my shame, I know blue-collar people who vote Liberal because they think that Labour isn't offering what they want. Liberal isn't, but because they feel betrayed, they've changed sides. And Howard does have an excellent line in Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt coupled with We Offer What You Want that would make Microsoft proud. It's hard not to buy into the bullshit sometimes.

Enough ranting. On with the working.

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