[clug] OT: Protesting the proposed clean feed?

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Wed Oct 22 23:30:10 GMT 2008

On 23/10/2008, at 09:51 , Robert Edwards wrote:

> ... including
> free/open-source technical solutions, as well as social/active  
> parenting
> solutions (which don't really help the educator that has a  
> classroom of
> kids to supervise) and others.

I'll just refer you to the post from Steve Walsh: http:// 

There's the entire argument in a nutshell: a filter will have to  
cater to the lowest common denominator in terms of offensiveness.  
Most people will find this frustrating (no pictures of people  
kissing, or women's faces, or alcohol), and if it is implemented, the  
people responsible will get away scott free blaming the ISPs for  
messing up the implementation.

The only way to check that kids are safe from nasty pictures is to  
turn off the computer. The only other option is to teach your kids  
what you believe is wrong and right, and to trust that they can think  
for themselves.

Were you capable of thinking for yourself when you were your child's  

> As Dale Baldwin pointed out in his anti-socialist posting under  
> point 8:
> "Always give a viable alternative" (although I don't think his example
> alternative would gain much traction in this debate...).

The viable alternative is:
1) Turn off the computer
2) Treat the Internet just like you would any other book that is  
delivered anonymously in the mail
3) Teach your children how to think for themselves and evaluate  
"good" versus "bad" (it is "good" to organise meetings with your  
school friends over MSN, it is "bad" to organise meetings with  
strangers over MSN).
4) Be available in case your kids decide that you can be trusted with  
important questions such as why that woman is playing with the donkey  
like that.

Perhaps what we really need to suggest is a licencing scheme, similar  
to what we have for cars, SCUBA diving and other activities that  
involve significant risks. In order to be allowed to subscribe to an  
ISP, you must have an Internet Licence. To get an Internet Licence,  
you have to demonstrate the ability to:
  - block people you don't know on MSN
  - identify banner ads and explain why clicking on them is bad
  - turn on the ad filter in your web browser
  - set the default browser for your operating system
  - add user accounts with "good" passwords
  - set up the firewall on your system to allow outgoing connections  
and drop everything else
  - switch off your computer and the modem/router/wireless at the wall
  - remedy common problems such as loss of carrier

Then we could have a new industry of Internet Instructors, who will  
have a specific training syllabus available (ie: the contents of the  
Internet Licence exam), and be able to filter out the people who are  
not safe to let loose on the Internet!

Then when people continue to complain about safety on the Internet we  
can just start tightening up the regulations about who is or is not  
allowed to use the Internet (if you complain, you lose your licence -  
or is that too draconian?)

ISPs would then be required to check customer's licence before  
offering Internet access. The big benefit for ISPs here would be that  
they don't have to provide support to people who don't know how to  
restart an ADSL modem, because those people wouldn't have a licence!

We could even have different levels of licence, so ISPs can tailor  
their offerings based on the expected level of support. Grade A  
licencees wouldn't need much support, they're the ones the ISPs call  
for help. Grade F licencees are the ones who need someone to hold  
their hand for their daily transmission of pet dog photos to their  

There's my idea. Do the filtering in reverse - rather than filtering  
content to stop it reaching sensitive eyes, filter the eyes to stop  
them reaching harmful content.


PS: demanding that filtering be done at the ISP level would result in  
an automatic disqualification of your Internet licence. You could  
always shop around for an ISP that does it for their customer base of  

PPS: and perhaps we could start talking about parenting licences and  
pregnancy rights, that falls into the same category of ideas as this  
"clean feed". If you want to get pregnant, spend a year helping  
someone else raise a baby first! If you can't handle it, you get  
spayed. It's for the safety of the yet-to-be-conceived children, to  
protect them from abuse and neglect!

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