LETTER : Internet: the more on it, the merrier

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The Independent Online
From Mr Tim Minshall

Sir: I was most interested to read Paul Vallely's excellent article ("Sex on the Net: a very modern morality tale", 6 January) as it highlighted the need for informed debate if the Internet is to develop to the benefit of society as a whole. A couple of points would seem to be worth reinforcing.

First, despite the fact that the number of new users of the Internet is increasing at an exponential rate, more users from all walks of life are required to dilute the mystique that surrounds its use and gives fuel to ill-informed speakers, writers and other opinion-mongers.

Second, effective attempts tofilter out obscene material seem to result in cases almost as comical as one recently reported in the US. One Internet service provider decided to filter out groups that used the word "breast". The result was a ban on discussions that covered certain types of cancer, infant feeding and, presumably, body armour.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Minshall

Christ's College

Cambridge

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