Regulating online content

Kind of related to my previous post.

Recently we witnessed how Pakistani government was trying to block YouTube, and when that did not work they just took the entire country off the grid. What caused that decision was supposedly discovery by the authorities that YouTube has content critical towards Islam (HE).
But Pakistan is not alone in attempts of screening the internet. Europe is in the midst of heated debate about filtering online content too. There the authorities want to block child pornography and terrorism-related websites (very broad definition). And recently similar sentiments have been voiced in Australia.

Israel of course is not lagging behind. Together with the internet censorship law passing in first hearing another law proposal, calling to monitor talkbacks on news websites, has passed in the first hearing too. According to this latter proposal (HE of the original) individuals leaving talkbacks on news websites will be personally legally responsible for their content. In other words a typical reply like “shut the f@#k up, you have no f#@king clue what you are talking about” could lead to a legal suit. This is in fact a more liberal version of the previous iteration of the same proposal according to which all people leaving talkbacks were supposed to identify with their real name.

Are we witnessing a trend? I wonder what the internet will look like in 10 or 20 years… the efforts seem to push it more and more towards the television model. What do you think?


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