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Geist vs Goldberg

Two of my favorite personalities on the Canadian web are Mark Goldberg and Michael Geist.  Often taking opposite positions on key issues, their commentary is always a worthwhile read.  So, this morning read Geist's cautionary piece on censorship and then read Goldberg's counter that reasonable societies should censor some elements of the web

I don't pretend to know the answers.  You'll have to make up your own minds.  But I have sympathy for both the argument that children need to be protected, and freedom of expression must be preserved.  As a society we need to preserve both of these values. 

Let's start by reframing the debate though.  Censorship is a dirty word.  It implies a restriction on the reasonable freedoms that citizens in a free society should have.  If we're going to have a conversation about preventing access to child porn, then let's frame the conversation in those terms, rather than talking about censorship. 

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Russell McOrmond March 20, 2008, 2:44 pm

    I thought I would reference my own contribution to this debate: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/node/4594

    Mark Goldberg is promoting the myth that the best way to deal with speech that our society has decided should be illegal is through large powerful intermediaries able to claim they are enforcing this policy. This is typical of the old-media “dumb terminals, smart network” thinking of the sector that he represents and consistently lobbies on behalf of. This is the type of thinking that new media “smart terminals, dumb network” end-to-end thinking replaces.

    It is laws that deal with the persons controlling the source terminal, and possibly the sicknesses that create demand at the destination terminal, not intermediaries, which is how we will ultimately solve these problems. Granting power to intermediaries that has been, is, and always will be abused is not a viable solution.

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