The thin end of a stupid wedge
In the wake of my recent post on the dangers of search terms, comes this shrill but timely 'think-of-the-children' call to action. Certain politicos (probably the same types that think the intarweb is a tube) are now looking to:
'…prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism.' – EU Justice and Security Commissioner, Franco Frattini
Aside from the fact that pages discussing terrorism probably account for half the non-porn internet these days, keyword blocking is never going to hide information from those that are really determined to find it. Implementation would be next to impossible since anyone can set up [1.] a website or even better [b.] a search engine. The ridiculous slant of this argument should be apparent to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of how the worldwide web really works. Throttling of this sort could not be enforced even by the media giants who control internet access. It would only serve to further separate the casually informed masses from unsavoury societal truths.
Needless to say, the next step would be to stock a database with banned phrases and names which block us from finding out about government plans, war atrocities, secret business deals, court cases, activists, any revolutionary thoughts etc. And no one will be allowed to know who/what is on the list, for our own safety of course.
This idea is reminiscent of the childproof and claustrophobic AOL internet, a tiny little virtual frame through which you may only see (or mention!) approved sites. Sadly, for millions of U.S. users, AOL is the internet. Just as in Ireland, when asked 'what is the internet,' many Irish people will answer: 'Google?' Try it.
For your own sanity and independence of thought, please remember that there are quite a few other web crawlers left.
We are fast leaving the information age behind; it is now the Age of Redaction.