Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Disappointment

A few weeks ago I contacted my MP about the proposed plans to introduce an opt in clause for internet usage in the UK. I'm pretty sure you can Google for more details of the legislation, but I read what was proposed and had some questions, specifically:

What does 'esoteric materials' mean in the context of this legislation?
Given that LGBTQQ information will almost certainly be caught under this legislation will there be a push to develop informative web content to provide information and support for people in those sectors of society to help avoid alienation and bullying?
Can the government offer assurances that this legislation will not cover politically sensitive items in the news (so for instance that if a riot police officer were filmed beating up a peace protester the footage would not be censored)?
Can they assure us that there will be no function creep?
Can they assure us that the information stored will not be used as a  'suss law' to create lists of suspects in situations of sexual assault, rape etc (i.e. the first thing the police do is check the internet records of the ISPs and start rounding people who have accessed similar web content)?
Will there be a shift in sexual education in the UK to actually cover the social and relationship aspects, since the vast majority of sex ed in this country deals with the mechanics, which leaves teens in a situation where they know very little and turn to the 'net for actual information?

Lastly could you please ask them to explain how it will work in practice, there seems to be an attitude that computers are 'magic' which is extremely unhelpful.

As an additional question I asked if it would affect my work as a writer - so much is online now that it's hard to see how it wouldn't.

I got a reply on Thursday and I'm sad to say it was pretty much a large amount of cant, which did nothing to address my questions and, I regret, convinced me that this move has very little to do with protecting people and everything to do with trying to 'tame' the internet.

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