Net Jurisdiction and Censorship Revisited

by on August 17, 2004 · 6 comments

Eugene Volokh has an important post up on his excellent site about Australia’s new effort to crackdown on online porn by requiring nationwide filtering. As with so many other countries that have already been down this road, one has to wonder: Do they really think they can successfully block all offshore sites? If the history of human civilization has proven anything to us it is that human beings have a seemingly insatiable appetite for prurient material; people will find a way to get what they desire. So the real question in debates like this: Just how far are governments willing to go to enforce moral codes? In an age of seemless, borderless communications, it boggles the mind how ANY regulatory regime (even a “UN for the Net“) could ever shut down the free flow of information (including porn) no matter how hard they tried. Anyway, if you’re interested, these issues are explored in greater detail in a book I co-edited last year with Wayne Crews entitled “Who Rules the Net?”

  • John

    Speaking of filters – I just sent this note of Adam T’s to my office from my home, so I can read it in relation to some work. My Eudora program gave it several red chili peppers, the sign of offensive content, and popped up a little warning saying I might like to tone down my potentially offensive message before sending it. Maybe it used the word “porn” too often! This reminds me of spam filters that eliminate e-mail with “spam” in the subject line, as in “how to fight spam” or “does spam legislation do any good?”. Suggests that filter technology has a long way to come … aside altogether from the policy points that Adam T was making.

  • John

    Speaking of filters – I just sent this note of Adam T’s to my office from my home, so I can read it in relation to some work. My Eudora program gave it several red chili peppers, the sign of offensive content, and popped up a little warning saying I might like to tone down my potentially offensive message before sending it. Maybe it used the word “porn” too often! This reminds me of spam filters that eliminate e-mail with “spam” in the subject line, as in “how to fight spam” or “does spam legislation do any good?”. Suggests that filter technology has a long way to come … aside altogether from the policy points that Adam T was making.

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