It was only last week that I was musing, elsehere, on the subject of the censorship of child pornography. Not that I'm against such censorship but rather than the methods that David Cameron insisted on using were somewhat dangerous. For he was insisting that ISPs and search engines had to be the people who barred people from finding such images. Rather than the more freedom loving and liberal process of hunting down and punishing the little scrotes who create, distribute and consume such imagery. I worried, gently, that at some future time perhaps this same tactic would be extended to other subjects. Oooh, I dunno, political extremism perhaps, racism, depending upon who is in power perhaps feminism or, if the House goes the other way, anything deemed anti-feminist.
The government is to order broadband companies to block extremist websites and empower a specialist unit to identify and report content deemed too dangerous for online publication. The crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, said on Wednesday that measures for censoring extremist content would be announced shortly. The initiative is likely to be controversial, with broadband companies already warning that freedom of speech could be compromised.
Ministers are understood to want to follow the model used to crack down on online child abuse. The Internet Watch Foundation, which is partly industry-funded, investigates reports of illegal child abuse images online; it can then ask service providers to block or take down websites. The prime minister, David Cameron, is understood to favour a similar model for terrorist content. A government-funded body, possibly within the counter-terrorism referral unit, will order companies including BT, TalkTalk, BSkyB and Virgin Media to block websites, according to industry sources.
Could somebody please remind me why we don't rise up and slaughter them all? It's only taken them a week, a short 7 days, to go from finding a method to control something we all abhor, that child pornography, to applying that method it to an Englishman's birthright, that free speech that insists he's allowed to make a fool of himself by expressing his most deeply held prejudices. And yes, extremists do indeed have free speech just as us more moderate types have. Subject only to the usual two caveats, those of libel and of incitement to immediate violence.
And the reason we run the system this way is because there is no possibility of determining what is allowable extremism and not allowable extremism that is not just the outcome of personal prejudice on the part of that person doing the determining. Thus the only possible method of preservig any semblance of freedom and or liberty is to allow all speech, in all its glorious cacophony, and prosecute those who are either libellous or incite immediate violence.
And what really worries is that you'd expect Tories to understand this sort of point. But apparently not....