Lawrence Lessig has just posted a short presentation (in his coolio signature style) “a modest proposal for zoning immodesty”. The presentation is one of a number of calls for (US) government action on internet-related issues – this one focuses on the management of online content regarded as harmful to minors.
It’s worth viewing by anyone who is wrestling with safeguarding children and young people vs. censorship, and addresses head-on one of the major problems with blocking and filtering software.
Lessig argues that parents will look to protect their children from unwanted exposure to inappropriate content, and that the commercial software options available to them typically block more than this – in effect operating as a form of non-accountable censorship. He calls for legislation requiring machine readable (code rather than site or address based) labeling of harmful to minors content <h2m>, which would work in tandem with the development of browser based controls for separate children’s accounts.
His argument that the market alternative to government inaction is censorware is a pretty compelling one – check out the post comments for some fors and againsts. This is the kind of solution that will very much appeal to policy makers and would would be seen to make partnership working worthwhile to commercial companies.