Cafe chain pushes censorship body for Philippine Internet

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Please excuse me while I puke.

Netopia, according to this Inq7.net article, is “urging” the government to create a censorship body to monitor the local Internet infrastructure. An official of the Internet cafe chain says the body “will operate similarly to the Movies Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and provide guidelines for the compliance of Internet service providers.”

Netopia President Raymond Ricafort told Inq7.net: “The government can discourage users from visiting indecent web sites in the same manner that they discourage adult films.”

Mr. Ricafort, if the government will discourage us from visiting sites in the same manner that they have been labeling certain films as “for adults only” then we’re fucked. And how, in Torquemada’s name, can you impose “decency” in the local Web infrastructure? By playing Big Brother and monitoring the traffic? How will you “prevent pornographic materials from being distributed through local ISPs?”

If, for example, you bar access to domains that host “adult” content, will you be blocking access to Wikipedia just because it has pages tackling sexuality–sex positions, sexual practices and fetishes?

Curiously, Ricafort, according to the same report, “admitted that no strict policies are being implemented in Netopia branches to prevent anyone from accessing pornographic materials. Users can also invoke rights to privacy when using computers in Netopia.”

Let’s see Netopia clamp down on its users first so we can have a blueprint for steps to take to discourage visits to “indecent web sites.” I shudder to think what Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez would think after reading this article.

Pornography is a problem, especially for people like me who have kids. But censorship is not the answer. Educate people on how to surf safely, how to install filters and how to prevent spyware infection.

I visit sites that would make Cebu’s self-appointed moral guardian Rene Josef Bullecer go livid. And yet I am confident that my son would not be encountering pop-ups of naked girls with silicone boobs. This is because my computer is “frozen” and every time it restarts, it reverts to the state it was in on the day I finished installing all the applications I needed (sort of being a virgin again after a gangbang, what with the way I test programs and scripts). Every time I restart, all the cookies, viruses and registry edits that any site or application may have inserted into and done to my PC are obliterated.

Netopia can, for example, start a nationwide database of pornographic sites that it can share with other Internet cafes and even home users to help improve the capabilities of their Web filters. But to ask the government to create a body to impose “decency” in the local Internet is indecent.

Ricafort says: “the problem is who shall determine what is indecent?” And he’s asking the government to do that.

The Net, according to John Gilmore of EFF, interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. It will route around proposals such as this one.

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