Let us take the issue of government-mandated, computer-controlled,
censorship (or "content filtering") point by point. Computer
software which filters publications based on some criteria of suitability
is called censorware.
- Computers cannot be offended, they are merely machines that follow
instructions. Therefore, it's not the censorware computer program
that is doing the filtering of offensive material.
- If it's not the censorware that does the filtering, then it must
be the proponents or designers of the censorware, that choose what
to hide from you. Further, organizations of people have biases in
their philosophies; it is that fact which makes people organize. What
political slant or prejudices are you entrusting with a filter? Do
you want that organization to control what you can and cannot see?
- An organization forms defensive strategies to ensure it survives.
The easiest way for a censor to remain a censor is to use that power
to quash the publication of criticism. What criticism are you unable
to see, because you trust your censorware products?
- Government-mandated filtering via a commercial product leads to
making the private censorware company a de facto government
bureaucracy. This is akin to forming a police force, a post office,
a defense contractor, or any other service provided by a local or
federal government. Think of the complexity of ensuring several million,
if not billions, of websites are blocked or allowed according to
- If a government sets the standards for what to filter, then the
government must offer the same transparency, due process, oversight
controls and accountability that any taxpayer demands of their government
services. If an 'appropriate' website is perhaps filtered unfairly,
it must be accurately and responsibly reviewed and considered and
the censorship stopped. If an 'inappropriate' website is not filtered, it must also
be accurately and responsibly reviewed and considered and the filtering
implemented. The world wide web, just accounting for http:-served
static pages alone, changes millions of pages every day.
- Citizens demand that their government services should be run with
high standards, high efficiency, lawful and just procedures, and all
this at a minimum cost. How can these be reconciled against the sheer
complexity of the task at hand? If you propose 'automation,' return
to the first point above.
- The Constitution of the United States of America
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the government for a redress of grievances.