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Vehemently opposed

  • To: cyber-safety-petition@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Vehemently opposed
  • From: Michael Tria <mbtria@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 12:14:24 -0400

A recent proposal to create a constituency for so called
"cyber-safety" is a violation of the spirit of a free Web, and is in
fact a vehicle to make the Net and the world a more dangerous place.

Children are already protected from abuse and exploitation by a
variety of criminal and civil laws. Such laws are more than adequate
for the capture and punishment of those who would molest children.
Purveyors of additional laws and control mechanisms are not trying to
shield children, but rather abuse them by using the concept of
childhood as a means to enforce a political ideology on the rest of
the world. Such ideas include the control of otherwise legal material.
This material is never limited to what is actually argued by the
censors, but expands to educational material, discussions of
censorship, and then on to completely unrelated topics in politics,
law and ethics.

In Australia there exists a censorship board which controls a
blacklist originally started out for the censorship of child porn. The
mission has expanded., There was even an attempt to turn over the
decision making role to the police rather than a court or committee.
Australia has now recently decided to fine individuals who provide
links to banned sites $11,000AU/day. This includes the now Australia
banned whistle-blowing site, Wikileaks. Other similar political and
information providing sites are also banned.

In Thailand, which has terrible issues of practically
institutionalized child molestation, a similar "noble mission" started
with the excuse of censoring child porn sites. Now a quarter of the
sites on the black list are censored because they mention the Thai
royal family in a critical light.

Censorship never stops at its proclaimed targets, but malignantly
expands. Censors can often find other parties who, though not agreeing
with the censorship itself, can often be persuaded to side with the
censors through convenience or for return support for their own
issues. Thus censorship grows.

ICANN's role is to assist in providing free and equitable access to
information. That purpose is not to lock up information because some
individuals think that their personal sensibilities deserve protection
from ideas or images that might chafe.

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