There is a tactic, well used in various regimes across the planet – that in order to censor and filter access to information that you first need to think of a reason. It’s not easy to run a free and democratic society, any government that does this is allowing it’s opposition full reign to criticise and attack themselves. It’s brave and idealistic to just let people see, hear, read and believe what they want obviously within reason and ensuring they don’t harm anyone else. But when you get worried, when the critics get you down the idea of having ’just a little control’ over the media or the internet gets very tempting.
And here, I’d like to introduce the government of Iceland – a country whose government has precided in one of the more monumental errors of judgement in the financial crisis. Did you invest or save with an Icelandic Bank, well I’m so sorry and I hope you got your money back! So they have critics and being a Western democracy, they are under a duty to let them speak both in in real life and the internet. But if your people are still suffering from your huge misjudgements then it’s best to switch focus to something else.
A common target is protecting people from some threat – perhaps crime, terrorism or paedophiles and of course the best way to stop them is via the internet. So this is Iceland’s plan – they will reduce all the nasty sex crimes against people by allowing the Government to censor pornography you can view from Iceland. It’s a stupid idea on many levels, the technical side is currently baffling the mighty wealth and resources of the People’s Republic of China – Iceland presumes it must be possible. Their rationale is that we have put people on the moon so it must be.
The fact they have no clue how to implement this badly thought out censorship is no real comfort though as a technical solution badly implemented just buggers up everyone’s internet access. Censorship is not a solution, all it does is takes away people’s right to choose themselves – just like Rosa did so many years ago. Does the state have the right to choose what you can or can’t see based on some vague premise it might be good for society? I think not, so people of Iceland I urge you to vote against if you can. Also make sure you are unaffected and get access to a proxy or VPN outside Iceland – just like this site illlustrates on using proxies to watch the BBC from abroad – here’s the link.
It’s a small step, but a significant one – censoring and filtering the internet is addictive to any government. When the infrastructure is in place the blocked sites and pages usually start to grow, first one page then the next. Do you want your government to decide what you can see, listen or do on the internet? Or would you just like it to go and arrest anyone guilty of a criminal act online or off. I know which I would prefer.