Iljitsch van Beijnum wrote:
In this case I would suggest that it is in ISPs best interests to get
involved with network content blocking, so that ISPs collectively become
deep experts on the subject. We are then in a position to modify these
activities in a way that is beneficial to ISPs and their customers (who
happen to be voters too).
Your assumption that blocking parts of the internet is a useful activity is flawed. The only positive effect that this has is that it protects users from accidentally running into stuff they'd rather not come into contact with. But this is much more effeciently and effictively done using commercially available filters.
I talked to some people from the Dutch equivalent to http://www.iwf.org.uk/
This was a very curious experience. What they want to achieve is protecting children from abuse. This is of course a laudable goal. But they think they can do that by ridding the internet of images depicting said abuse. There are pretty strong laws against that in the Netherlands*, but this woman thought that wasn't enough: she felt it would be good to also outlaw _text_ describing child abuse. This is really scary. If these well-intentioned but extremely dangerous people get their way, someone can end up in jail for simply writing some text.
All the while, children in known dangerous situations go on a waiting list before they can be removed from the dangerous (home) environment. So apparently, it's more important to go after the results of child abuse in the past, and maybe even go after people who only fantasize about this stuff, rather than help kids that are in danger NOW. But hey, removing kids from abusive homes costs money and results in angry parents on the news. Strongarming ISPs into taking "voluntary" action on the other hand, is free and only results in angry threads on NANOG.
I'm not one to give up my civil liberties without a struggle, but protecting kids may be important enough to make it worth giving up a few. But is it too much to ask for something that actually works in return?
* Not long ago, a man was convicted because he had 10 images of this kind on his computer. They were part of a 100000 image porn collection. His claim that the 10 images were downloaded accidentally wasn't accepted by the judge: he should have been more careful.
I agree that it will not protect children at all. Presumably there are already a large number of images (I hear figures of people having n * thousand images) so there is already enough material for there not to be a reason to generate more which would of course involve abuse.
So what then is the aim of the filtering?
Is it just the latest political bandwagon
It is quite odd really that governments want to implement something to prevent people from breaking a law. And some posts have been correct in asking what's next? Automatic copyright/patent infringing filtering?