policing the Internet?

February 7, 2007

I posted this on my work blog yesterday but it’s not open to general IPs yet… so I’m thieving it to my blog…

Yesterday, three paedophiles were sentenced Southwark Crown Court for planning to rape two teenage girls and more than 50 other related charges between them. Then planned their crimes over the Internet. The three, who met via a website chatroom and never met in person, even intended to do a “Holly and Jess” – a reference to infamous Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The case is only the second set of prosecutions regarding the use of the Internet to conspire to rape.

It’s a story that’s been covered by the media a lot today so I don’t feel we need to relay all the details of the court case – the story can be read via the following links…

Times Online story Guardian Unlimited story Channel4.com story

However, it does bring up some interesting issues about the Internet and responsibility of those companies that host websites. An investigation into the website at the centre of the plot (which shall remain nameless due to its content) by Channel Four News yesterday found that the host was shared by huge multinational organisations and their different factions, including Disney and Fox.

As was relayed by an expert (who’s name escapes me, apologies) to Jon Snow in last night’s broadcast, he stated that due to an EU directive and legislation in this country, hosters cannot be held legally responsible for the content of their websites unless they have looked at them. It is the same in the US. Whilst legislation holds a host responsible, it only kicks in if they have seen the content. Understandably hosters avoid doing this as it leaves them open to legal action.

Is this really the way to police the Internet? Surely companies will continue to use this procedure and ‘unacceptable’ sites will never be subject to moderation?

But should the Internet even be policed at all? In theory, the Internet is a horizontal model of communication, unique to other media, as a user can communicate direct without the need of a ‘middleman’ or additional layers of communication. This is what defines the essence of the Internet. Would policing the Internet represent an infringement on freedom of speech? Is the Internet even a representation of freedom of speech? After all, there are still millions all over the world people who are yet to go online for the first time.

Without going into too much of my degree, the Internet can be argued to represent ‘the public sphere‘ – a concept that Jurgen Habermas, a German philosopher, tried to convey to the world. His idea – of a ‘place’ where public opinion is formed by the interaction of all society – can be discussed with a view to the Internet, surely unimaginable when he conceived his thesis.

This simple sentencing of the three offenders opens up a world of debate surrounding the Internet and how it can be managed – but who should decide how, what and of whom?

Would it be true to say that without testing boundaries, you’ll never find out what they are. Is it through public interaction that opinion is formed? How much should we restrict from general consumption? The things that we have already decided are wrong? And who decides what’s ‘moral’ in a society and what is not?

Either way, should the host of a website be forced to look at their customer’s content? After all, the responsibility must lie somewhere. I would lean towards a need for clarification- at least instead of keeping a legal loophole for companies to jump through…
J.

ding dong the witch is dead.

November 10, 2006

yes! Rumsfeld’s gone. cuntIt took me so long to report this news as I’ve been out celebrating his departure from the American Government.

AMERICA IS NO LONGER COMPLETELY BLIND, VOTERS HAVE FORCED BUSH TO AT LEAST DO ONE THING RIGHT FOR ONCE!

This man who has no scruples, conscience or anything. Pure and simple… the man is an absolute wanker who is responsible for Iraq. Shame W. Jnr. didn’t go with him. Arsehole.

two evil bastardson Abu Gharib: “These events occurred on my watch as secretary of defense. I am accountable for them.” Prosecute and put him in jail. This man is responsible for linking Saddam (who he visited and armed in the 1980s, suggesting Iraq went to war with Iran, which he believed would help America) to September 11, invading Afghanistan and the butchering of a country, currently taking place in Iraq. He should be stripped of all honours he has been awarded and condemned to rot in jail.

LINK: http://www.ceasefirecampaign.org

ignorance is bliss.

October 12, 2006

Sometimes I feel like I should be far more active than I should be. I definitely whinge and complain about a great number of things and maybe I don’t always put my money where my mouth is. One day I’ll fix this…

I did discover this (via work, admittedly) the other day and it’s stayed in my mind a bit. Green politics is making leaps and bounds at the moment, or is it?

Does anyone pay attention to Cameron and his band of xenophobes when they talk about green policies (of which, he is still to name any etc. etc.), or do we just nod, agree, and then do nothing? This is the problem with global warming, everyone seems to be in common agreement but there’s no effective party who can push this. The Tories? Never, but it’s nice posturing.

This Apple site is worth checking out – or is it an Apple site at all?apple.jpg
The problem is, no one wants to relate the issue anyway. Sometimes I feel our generation are about acceptance and looking out for number one. The idea of knowledge does not mean motivation or power – myself included. It’s so much easier to do nothing.

Aha! No, look closely, it’s not! Amazing! It’s a brilliant spoof from Greenpeace. I think the design is absolutely outstanding, but not just that, it has a major point too. Just need to get off my arse…

camera on cameron.

October 3, 2006

RE: http://www.webcameron.org.ukWebCameron - spin at his best
Did you know David Cameron is such a hip young guy that he runs a blog so he can communicate with the public and skip spin? Why not roll on over and check him out whilst he discusses politics and does the washing up? You’ll see how he skips spin and comes direct to you…
Bollocks. It’s spin perfected. No need for the media and staged press calls and pictures of him loving nature in Norway – no need at all. You can now spin direct with WebCameron. The new and improved Tories don’t do policies. Instead, why not film a blatantly staged scenario (domesticated Dave) to show just how normal he is. Why not outspin Blair, if that’s possible?
I’m afraid Dave, if you want this to wash (pun not intended) you’ve got to think.
Is anyone else concerned that as yet, Cameron is yet to advance any policies – only soundbites like the infamous ‘hug a hoodie’ routine? Maybe the problem is that I’m too cynical. Maybe the years of Blair’s bullshit has led me to think there’s always a hidden motivation, that there’s always spin.
Unfortunately, until a politician stands up, advances policies and really critiques how this country needs to improve in the next few years, I’m afraid I probably won’t take them seriously.
Are we seriously expected to see a prospective leader, pretending to do the washing up (note he’s holding E-cover to prove just how ‘green’ he is) and asking his kids to be quiet, whilst he tries to talk about how the country should be run – and not think this is spin?
Methinks good ol’ Dave will just be another soundbite PM, and one backed up by a Eurosceptic, xenophobic, selfish party who’s only concern is how much of their pay packet they’ll get to keep.