Right of Reply: John Carr
The Internet consultant and DTI adviser replies to a leading article on censoring the Web
Monday 08 February 1999
The Internet started as an essentially chaotic medium. As its technical infrastructure has developed and become better understood, so the possibilities of exercising greater control have emerged.
Yet the self-proclaimed libertarians have resisted every attempt to regulate the Internet, even where the primary purpose of the proposed regulation or control has been to deal with plainly illegal activity. Every battle has been fought as if democracy and civilisation depended entirely on preserving the status quo.
Regrettably, in the United States, where most decisions about the Internet are taken, the courts seem largely to be on the side of the so-called libertarians. I say "regrettably" because what I see being labelled "libertarianism" is no more than nihilistic licence, laced with poisonous cynicism about the intentions behind any governmental move to introduce reforms.
I am utterly uninterested in preventing consenting adults from doing or looking at whatever they like. However, I am extremely anxious that, whether by accident or as a result of youthful curiosity, children, my own included, should not be precipitated into parts of the adult world and aspects of the human psyche that are entirely inappropriate for them in their tender years.
We already have laws which, for good reasons, ban or control such material and activities in the real world. Are we to be denied the opportunity of doing the same in the virtual world?
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
JK Rowling pens new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians