Add some members of the Australian government to the group of politicians who seem to think that secretive filters at the ISP level are the solution to porn. They're recommending that ISPs be responsible for blocking certain hardcore porn. The reason for the recommendation appears to be the realization that regulation isn't working. However, they seem to immediately assume that filtering will work, ignoring plenty of historical evidence that it doesn't. Even worse, filtering at the ISP level has often been shown to block perfectly legitimate sites. Since the details of what sites are being filtered are always kept secret, there's often no way for anyone to know if legitimate sites are included in the block. Those behind this plan claim this plan "is a proposal that has merit because it gets to the problem at the source and it would make it much harder for the industry to duck responsibility." There are plenty of problems with that statement. First, this plan is exactly the opposite of getting at "the source" of the problem. It's clearly focused on getting at the problem in the middle -- the ISP, who has nothing to do with the porn itself. If they really want to get "at the source" of the problem, they should go after those who are putting illegal porn online. Second, to suggest that it's the ISPs' "responsibility" is again backwards. The ISPs are simply a service, and requiring them to set up a system to filter all content through their service isn't a responsibility, it's a pointless burden that will add expense without doing much to stop the real problem. If the government wanted to go after the real source of the problem, they'd go after those truly responsible for the problem -- not the folks in the middle who are simply transporting bits.
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