TapThe lunatics are running the asylum

One is brought up with the assumption that those in charge are reasonably intelligent and to achieve government office you would need to be very bright indeed. I am sure that some of them are very smart, though don’t ask me to name one just at the moment.

So how did someone like the Rt. Hon Andy Burnham MP become Culture Secretary? I refer you to this interview in the Daily Telegraph late last year. Now, I don’t expect him to know everything, not even in his own portfolio, but the mark of intelligence is knowing when you don’t know and finding out by asking someone who does.

He clearly knows nothing about the internet; in fact, it looks doubtful if he has ever used it. So, just to help him out, here are some facts.

  • The government doesn’t control the internet. No government does, how ever much they would like to; it is amorphous. The ISPs don’t control it either, they just provide the end user connectivity. Even restricting it to English language sites doesn’t narrow the problem.
  • There is no reliable way to prove your age, especially online. Not even that you are an adult.
  • The computer or whatever is being used belongs to the user, not the ISP. The way they work also belongs to the user; it is a bit late to back track on that and try to implement some sort of DMCA controls on them now.
  • There are too many web sites out there to be content rated manually and any automatic method is unreliable, hence trying to control access to it that way doesn’t work. Any attempt to do so will certainly miss some very bad places, stop access to some very good ones and give people a sense of complacency. ISPs did try offering Child Safe services but they were not popular because parents found them limiting for all but the very youngest of children.

“It worries me – like anybody with children,” he says. “Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do.

Right! It is not something you should do either. Learn to spend some time with your children.

To further support my argument, note that Andy Burnham previously worked for David Blunkett and Ruth Kelly when they were drafting the ID card ideas.

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