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Views on cyber-safety-petition

  • To: cyber-safety-petition@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Views on cyber-safety-petition
  • From: enquiries@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: 24 Mar 2009 18:03:04 -0000

As a company specialising in online communication, we strongly oppose this 
proposal, believing that attempts to censor the Internet will always have 
unintended consequences that interfere unacceptably and in completely unplanned 
ways with the business, leisure and cultural lives of those millions of people 
worldwide who use it.

We furthermore believe that seeking technological solutions to the problem of 
addressing 'unsuitable' content (whoever attempts to define this very slippery 
concept) always fail because there is no solution that actually works as 
intended - it always ends up limiting access to content that would be deemed 
perfectly acceptable even to those who aimed to impose the censorship in the 
first place. Examples are legion and would take up too much space to quote at 
length here.

The Internet works because it is unfiltered. Start filtering and it will cease 
to work.

We consider that a more appropriate solution would be for religious, political 
or cultural lobby groups to retreat into their own self-defined areas of online 
activity, perhaps through commercially commissioning some kind of portal 
system, which could then operate on an 'opt-in' model for any subscribers who 
wished to use it. And which would not be imposed on those who did not.

This seems to us much more effective and likely to achieve their stated aims 
than a heavy-handed and deeply inappropriate attempt to prioritise one set of 
values at the expense of many alternative viewpoints and to destroy the 
diversity, plurality and tendentiousness that makes the World Wide Web the 
extraordinary, wonderful creation that it is.

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