9 December 2008

Censorship of the net

It is a statement of the obvious that free expression is under attack when a self-styled Internet Watch Foundation can censor the web at will.

Many things have been wrong in the past decade, but one positive aspect has been a very real expansion of individual freedom especially for those with specialised sexual tastes. The net has allowed the more-or-less free exchange of information and the semi-autonomous creation of virtual communities. (I am speaking here of the exchange of sexual fantasy and portrayal of consensual activities, not of crimes such as the abuse of children which I believe are rightly the object of the criminal law)

We now live in an era where those in power fuel moral panics and seek to demonise unorthodox sexual fantasy, including images even remotely resembling it. They seek to transfer the understandable revulsion at child abuse into areas which have nothing to do with paedophilia. Fear is a means of controlling a society in crisis.

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