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And they say feminists are hysterical...

(174 Posts)
FloraFox Thu 28-Feb-13 19:38:27

So a group of activists from different countries (including Laurie Penny) have penned this gem of a letter to the Icelandic minister in charge of the pornography ban proposal. It includes such gems as:

"The current discussion of blocking pornographic content has offered no definition, no evidence and suggested no technology. This is an affront to the basic principles of the society..."

Eh? What basic principle of society would that be?

"Rather than silencing a voice, the result is depriving the population of material they can see and read. This is censorship, as it skews the way people see the world."

What? Through the filter of a woman's vagina?

"The right to see the world as it is, is critical to the very tenets and functions of a democracy and must be protected at all costs."

Just, fucking, wow.

"The prohibition of pornographic content may create demand for an underground porn industry, unregulated and most certainly affiliated with other illegal activities..."

So we must not regulate pornography on the internet because if we do, an unregulated porn industry might arise. OK, got it.

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 28-Feb-13 19:42:50

Because the world as it is is women being raped on screen, humiliated and sexually tortured?


Remind me never to accept an invitation to any of their bedrooms. hmm

And FFS, it's OK to skew the way people see the world if that skewing is in favour of ensuring they think women are mindless fuck-toys, but skewing it into thinking maybe we might be human - Outrage! Censorship! Freedom of Speech!

Bunch of wankers.

DameFanny Thu 28-Feb-13 19:46:03

Good lord. You mean there could be an unregulated porn industry? My word. hmm

AuntieStella Thu 28-Feb-13 19:49:43

They are right that the technology doesn't exist. And for as long as that is the case, you may as well ask for a unicorn.

And that's aside from the questions of how to define porn for this purpose.

FloraFox Thu 28-Feb-13 19:53:09

Actually, the writers of this letter are not saying the technology does not exist. In fact they say it does.

Pornography has been defined in law for years, in many different countries.

AuntieStella Thu 28-Feb-13 19:58:29

Read empusa's posts on the issue of porn blocking when it comes up in UK.

The technology doesn't exist.

And porn would need to be defined for is purpose, and a list maintained of banned sites. Which would need to be updated daily with the hundreds/thousands of new sites that spring up. And then what about the sites that aren't useful labelled "porn B here"?

FloraFox Thu 28-Feb-13 20:09:08

It's not correct to say that there would need to be a list of banned sites. How do you think search engines work? Most porn could be blocked quite easily so that, at the very least, children do not access images of women being raped using Google. You might not stop every IT geek but you could hugely reduce the prevalence and ease of access.

AuntieStella Thu 28-Feb-13 20:16:44

I recommend this thread , which has expert posts on why this doesn't work.

It's not attacking the aim, BTW. Or supporting the pulication of pornographic images in any way. The thread just pointing out that it won't work.

And to exclude a "found" item from a search engine results, you do need to tell the search engine to exclude it. Hence need for definition of what is banned.

You don't need to be an IT geek. Most yr8s can circumvent filters, or find content that the filter hasn't been told to block.

FloraFox Thu 28-Feb-13 20:35:02

I don't agree with that view but I know lots of people do.

The letter is about why internet pornography should not be banned, not that it could not be.

Trekkie Thu 28-Feb-13 21:12:13

You see, if they said they thought it was unworkable, then I could understand that.
But if they thought it was unworkable, why bother writing letters about it confused

Does this freedom of speech in porniness extend to their wanting all porn of whatever nature to be freely available? Judging from their arguments I would say yes, but I imagine if you asked them how keen they would be on genuine total freedom of people to watch whatever they like, their answer would be somewhat different.

So, essentially, they are utter hypocrites. They have a line, the same as the Icelandic people who have suggested this have a line, the line just falls in a different place. They are just too stupid/narrow-minded/what-have-you to even understand that.

WhentheRed Thu 28-Feb-13 22:09:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yournamio Fri 01-Mar-13 00:14:14

Give it another 5 years and Iceland will be a dictatorship like country like Iran.

FloraFox Fri 01-Mar-13 00:16:13

back again?

LineRunner Fri 01-Mar-13 00:17:47

Forget the technology.

The arguments in the Laurie Penny et al letter about the basic principles of society, free speech and what reality looks like are preposterous.

yournamio Fri 01-Mar-13 00:19:40

Once again, it can't and won't work.

scaevola Fri 01-Mar-13 07:15:28

It is cart before horse, though.

Whilst there is no adequate technology, it cannot happen. Those proposing non-existent blocks look a bit silly. And give space to those who point out the weakness of the position, as it asks for something that cannot be had.

The level of control required would give the enacting authority (Government) huge control over Internet content (for porn isn't tidily labelled as a cyber category). Without devising a way to control content identification globally (which would mean basically mean reinventing the entire Internet), it cannot be done.

Attitudes to porn need to be tackled elsewhere, not via the illusion of magic "porn be gone" non-existent technology. For that will inevitably bring the censorship issues to the fore. And the obvious answer that if you don't want it in your home, you use the existing technology for filters on devices under your control, and make your own judgements on content.

FloraFox Fri 01-Mar-13 07:32:38

There are no laws that can be enforced to ensure full compliance, whether it is murder, assault, illegal drugs, speeding or theft. If there were, we would not need the police, the criminal courts nor the jails. It is not a reason not to legislate. In general, making an activity illegal will have an effect on a great many people who consider themselves law abiding and do not want to risk breaking the law, particularly where it is quite easy to trace. In addition, a huge benefit can be obtained for relatively little effort (e.g. targetting the main search engines stops inadvertent access to porn).

The censorship issue is totally separate and that was the issue addressed in this letter. If anything, I think the writers of this letter look "a bit silly" as their arguments are preposterous and they are acting as the unpaid lackeys of the porn industry.

Sausageeggbacon Fri 01-Mar-13 09:39:28

Forgetting Iceland, the issue of porn in the UK wasn't about blocking porn but about should people opt out or have to opt in to see porn. At no point has it been said adults who want to look at porn will be stopped. So assuming at some point the technology can stop porn and proxy servers/redirected browsers/anonymous surfing tools are stopped the individual has to make a decision. The argument is should it be that you need to state you don't want porn (opt in scenario) and people as standard can access porn. Or the other way round where you have to say you want to be able to see porn.

DS1 has pointed out that we have one bit of software on the pc that would allow him to bypass controls and he can type in so straight away even if we opted in or didn't opt out he would be able to access porn if he wanted to. Both options avoid the ISP seeing directly what you are doing.

So technology wont do the job and all the government can do is talk big. But in the UK they are not talking about actually banning porn.

scaevola Fri 01-Mar-13 09:48:40

" So assuming at some point the technology can stop porn and proxy servers/redirected browsers/anonymous surfing tools are stopped"

When/if this comes to pass, the argument would change totally.

At present, it's nothing to do with being "lackeys of the porn industry" and everything to do with avoiding the silliness of attempting to legislate on the currently impossible.

curryeater Fri 01-Mar-13 11:11:41

This "unworkable" argument is such bollocks. You don't get this with other laws. "Oh it is so hard to stop drunk people hitting each other when they fall out of the pubs so let's just cancel ABH and GBH as crimes." "You hardly ever catch burglars so why not just say burglary is fine?"

Sausageeggbacon Fri 01-Mar-13 11:45:57

Curry how do you suggest people report the breaking of the law? The only way to catch people would be to have random spot checks by highly skilled computer forensic experts. And the tools that would hide traffic are freely available and legal. Besides the UK is not talking about making it a crime just how access is managed.

Iceland is talking it up to make themselves look good even though they know what they are talking about can't happen which is stupid in my mind. If you are going to talk about legislation you can only do it when you have the tools to back it up.

curryeater Fri 01-Mar-13 11:48:55

We currently have laws in this country against indecent pictures of minors.
I completely support this, but have not made it my business to know how they are enforced. Presumably they must be, if imperfectly, because you do hear of people being prosecuted for possession of bad images. This whole tangent is a complete stinking red herring.

Sausageeggbacon Fri 01-Mar-13 12:06:41

Discussed the issue of child porn with a member of the police about a year ago and in his words it is almost impossible to catch them. They will set up a server in a country that doesn't have the same laws as the UK and they will issue an IP address to a circle of people via sms. By the time the police have found and identified the IP address that server will close and it will start again on a different IP address. Even with highly skilled computer experts they cannot stop this as the constantly changing details are too frequent. People being caught is nearly always by them making a mistake when the computer breaks or they upgrade to a new computer. The fact is they store images/films and it is only if that fact is discovered the police stand a chance of catching them.

Curry I have a son that is a bit of a wiz with computers and he showed me two ways to hide access to sites in the last week. I am sure he knows more but the point is if a 13 y/o can do this with us sharing a computer just how do people think they can control access?

curryeater Fri 01-Mar-13 12:18:43

Sausage, with child porn, do you think we should have laws against it even if they hard to enforce?

EldritchCleavage Fri 01-Mar-13 13:20:11

Actually, you do get unworkability arguments in relation to other laws. Passing laws that cannot be enforced or can only be enforced by a draconian and disproportionate effort tends to bring the law into disrepute (which is where people in favour of drugs legalisation say we are with the Misuse of Drugs Act) . For starters, it can legitimise law-breaking (the law is an ass, so feel free to ignore it) that undermines the rule of law all around, and not just in the area affected by the bad law. So it does matter.

I wouldn't want to hand any government control over internet use, even for the broadly laudable aim of stopping pornography. Better to revise definitions of what is and is not obscene content and punish content providers.

And the American legal and cultural position of freedom of expression as a pre-eminent and absolute right does not apply to us and other ECHR-signatory countries. Other rights are in play here and the debate needs to be framed accordingly.

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