Monday, July 6, 2009

Net Censorship Organization

The internet can be a filthy, filthy place sometimes. Parents want to let their children go online, but are afraid of awkward conversations. Conversations like "Mommy what is that lady doing with that wrench?" So they would like a cleaner, safer version of the net. They buy software to censor the stream, only to have problems when the censor software's authors get into a fight with, say, the Encyclopedia Britanica and now little Johnny can't use it.
I propose we have a group of people classifying all parts of the internet. We can then use these classifications to allow parents to block things at their digression. Parents can block "porn," "extremism," or "violence." Or maybe "cursing" or "stupidity." As children age, the categories can be adjusted. Maybe a 16-year old is okay to look at, say, bikini-pictures and essays about adultier issues, which were previously denied to him or her at the age of 6.
This can also be used in reverse for adult perverts, who can have an all-dirty version of the web. All innocent sites are blocked. They can be allowed to see the list of sites, which they'll probably want.
Since sites are listed by classification, no longer will schoolchildren be blocked from information about cockfights because it contains the same word as used in naughty stories. Right wing people who want to pretend liberals don't exist can now use the same software as left wing people who want to pretend that everyone right of Michael Dukakis is a Nazi. (They would just use different settings.)
As much as I dislike censorship, it's probably okay if you choose your own, to your own standards, and are not beholden to anyone else for your standards. We could also pre-fab to existing organization standards for convenience (a "corporate" mode that blocks all NSFW, a "Catholic" mode that blocks everything disapproved by the Pope, and so on.) This way, people who are part of organizations can quickly stay within their organizational standards.
So we would need, to pull this off, an organization of volunteers who surf the web and classify things into a database, and a software program that reads the database, and blocks sites that meet disapproved categories. It would need to refresh this information very regularly: new sites appear every day, and many are the disapproved of type. We will need a handy manual to show people how to set it up. And we will need funding to keep the database server online, and the volunteers with continuing internet connections.
Anyone want to volunteer, or install it?

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