Buzzfeed has unearthed a couple of videos from Mittens 2007 Presidential race showing him promising a ‘pornography filter’ for computers.
The comments did not go unnoticed at the time. Said Internet Guru Jeff Jarvis:
“How he would make that magic clean-your-mouth-out-with-soap button work is beyond me.”
Politicians have been responding to fears about the Internet since there was an Internet. And what politicians have discovered is just what Jarvis says, you can’t technically block porn alone without consequence — such as letting in other sorts of censorship by governments, or blocking of benign LGBT content — or without most finding a way around any barrier, like Chinese people do.
That’s the lesson of Australia’s more than a decade-long failed effort to block porn nationally. British politicians are still at it, despite every single person who knows what they’re talking about telling them it’s not possible.
Given that the country that leads the world in online porn consumption is Pakistan — where they already have extensive internet censorship — you’d think this was obvious.
What is advised by all experts regarding children and online porn is that parents need to be far more involved in the kids’ internet use. And Romney, and other politicians should know, that 47 U.S.C. § 230 : US Code – Section 230 already mandates that:
“A provider of interactive computer service shall, at the time of entering an agreement with a customer for the provision of interactive computer service and in a manner deemed appropriate by the provider, notify such customer that parental control protections (such as computer hardware, software, or filtering services) are commercially available that may assist the customer in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors. Such notice shall identify, or provide the customer with access to information identifying, current providers of such protections.”
Another standard politician reaction on the InterTubes which Romney fell into in 2007 was to sound like grandpa from The Simpsons, Romney confusing MySpace and YouTube. But, at least he didn’t call himself “illiterate” on the Internet, as McCain shamelessly did.
Whether he will choose to revive this national Internet porn crackdown idea remains to be seen, however, when Santorum brought it up in the Presidential campaign, he got almost no media and none of the other candidates joined in. Perhaps America actually has moved on …
Watch Romney in 2007:
Photo by antonella.beccaria