Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Filter stories

There are two more filtering stories I wanted to point to in the light of the Verizon decision to block email from selected parts of Europe including the UK.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission would like Aussie ISPs to block fraudulent websites because Aussies allegedly "tend to be quite susceptible" to them. The Australian trade association representing ISPs are not keen on the idea, not surprisingly. Firstly, I seriously doubt Australians are any more susceptible to online scams than any other nationality but continue to be amazed by the huge numbers of people who are taken in by things like phishing and the Nigerian 519 emails [which, amongst other things, is a function of greed and simultaneous trust in the output of technology, however skeptical these folk would be of a similar offer on a street corner].

Secondly it raises a whole host of questions, similar to those asked by folk like Cyber Rights in relation to things like high tech crime, hate speech and child pornography on the Internet and how organisations such as the Internet Watch Foundation are operated, overseen and regulated. Plus who pays for it?

Ultimately forcing ISPs to filter out suspected fraud sites is no substitute for spending money on well trained police officers, skilled in the prevention, detection and prosecution of high tech crimes.

The second filtering story was the report in Net Family News pointing to websites that evaluate filter software. Just remember that installing filter software can instil a false sense of security. It is easy to believe the problem of children getting access to inappropriate material is solved once the software is installed. Yet it has been demonstrated repeatedly that these filters do allow pornography, for example, to get through. In this case, there is no substitute for talking to and trusting your children (and they will probably be more skilled in disabling such software than you will be in installing it in any case).

Plus I remain irritated about filter software blocking this blog, presumably because it has xxx in the title. I've not been back to Harben House since I discovered they were censoring me, so I've no idea whether they did as promised and had a human being review the block. But I've emailed them again to ask, in the first instance, what the outcome of their promised investigation was.

No comments: