Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Right Idea - Wrong Execution?

In my opinion, the Aussie government have always had a robust public stance on on-line child protection issues.  However, it seems that they've wobbled a bit recently and dropped their own detailed Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) child abuse content lists for the rather flat-footed INTERPOL 'worst of' lists.  The Australian Financial Review has a detailed article on the politics behind the decision here - it makes for interesting reading especially as a foreigner with no axe to grind.

Better and more technically qualified people than I will tell you that the INTERPOL 'worst of' list is just that - it's also the slowest refreshed and the bluntest of tools.  Blocking entire domains and IP addresses at DNS level is a concept and technology that belongs in the bad old days. And more importantly, really doesn't provide adequate protection for anybody especially those who are affected by the abuse.

It is also surprising that the Aussies have taken this path as the technology, resources and the will exists all around the world to do battle with this global and persistent threat.  The guys at the Internet Watch Foundation and INHOPE (and their colleagues around the world) are delivering quantifiable results without adversely impacting on freedom of expression or access to legitimate content.

So - I applaud the Aussies for doing something - but I believe they (and we) can do better than implementing 'a just enough' policies on on-line child abuse content.

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