Comb your hair and paint and powder. You act proud and I’ll act prouder… but not too proud to admit a mistake

I think I might have been incorrect regarding the net filter.

To recap the argument I made:

1. There are restrictions on what you can bring into Australia.

2. Restrictions should be consistent: if you can’t bring an item into Australia one way, you shouldn’t be able to bring it into Australia another way.

3. Therefore, the restrictions already applied when a person enters Australia should apply to material brought into Australia through the internet.

I argued that most of the criticisms of the filter were misdirections.  They were arguing against the restrictions already in place; not against new restrictions of material on the internet.

All of the above is correct.  Unless somebody has a good argument against those positions, I’m fairly certain I’ve got that right.

Where I’ve gone wrong is the end application: the state of affairs if you follow that line of argument isn’t the optimal state of affairs.

We don’t want to filter the exploitation of women and children, hate speech, or other criminal activity.  We want to stop them.

There are already laws regarding the downloading and distribution of the material.  Instead of putting vast resources into creating and maintaining an internet filter, we should redirect those resources into working with overseas partners to classify and combat the exploitation of women and children, hate speech, &c., as transnational crimes.

Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based PhD student, writer, and policy wonk who writes about law, conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

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