North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Network Level Content Blocking (UK) for people who cant be bothered to read the article..

  • From: Donald Stahl
  • Date: Fri Jun 08 11:59:31 2007

This was a very curious experience. What they want to achieve is protecting children from abuse. This is of course a laudable goal. But they think they can do that by ridding the internet of images depicting said abuse. There are pretty strong laws against that in the Netherlands*, but this woman thought that wasn't enough: she felt it would be good to also outlaw _text_ describing child abuse. This is really scary. If these well-intentioned but extremely dangerous people get their way, someone can end up in jail for simply writing some text.
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

-Judge Louis Brandeis

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

- C.S. Lewis

I'm not one to give up my civil liberties without a struggle, but protecting kids may be important enough to make it worth giving up a few. But is it too much to ask for something that actually works in return?
"They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

"Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent."

-Judge Louis Brandeis

I am not willing to give up any of my own liberties to protect children. We already have laws that do that and judging by the number of people arrested they seem to work. You reach a point of diminishing returns.

At some point you have to accept that the world is a dangerous place and that bad things happen. There is a balancing point and a greater good to think about. Making everyone elses life less free does not balance out with the prospect of maybe saving a few kids. As the laws become more invasive they will eventually breed resentment and hatred for the government and fellow citizens. The end result will be civil unrest and fighting and that helps noone. Sadly it's already happening. Americans hate each other more than at any almost any other time in our history- and the hatred is becoming vicious.