Friday, November 24, 2006

Seriously Odd

I've gone on about the guy before, but even more than his inability to create permalinks, this really does cement Warren Kinsella as the oddest blogger I've come across.

Yes, odder than Steven Den Beste, with his apocalyptic visions of cultural warfare. Read on.

This piece is about the CRTC- the Canadian Radio and Television Commission. Roughly similar to the FCC. It's on his National Post blog, instead of his regular one, so I can be reasonably sure the permalink will work. Here's what he said:

This writer, who still regards himself as a liberal if not a federal Liberal, intensely dislikes the CRTC. With the Internet awash in child pornography and hate propaganda – with the Internet facilitating the daily doings of stalkers, perverts, and the likes of al-Qaeda – this writer and other na├»ve liberals had clung to the primitive notion that the CRTC (which has the mandate to regulate Canadian telecommunications services) would have regulated, um, the Internet (a telecommunications service found here and there in Canada).

In May 1999, the CRTC declined to do so, claiming that “Canadian laws, industry self-regulation, content filtering software, and increased media awareness” would do the trick. Ask any Canadian parent, teacher or librarian how that one worked out.
The rest is a complaint about regulation of VoIP- I'll save you, and just get to the last bit.

For those of us with an historical antipathy to the CRTC, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys and gals. Could the private sector do better in limiting access to child pornography, hate propaganda and other such filth? It certainly could not do worse than the CRTC has done, in recent years.
Catch the problem? Yeah, me too. It can be summed up in one simple sentence:

How in the name of GOD is the CRTC supposed to regulate and police the INTERNET?

No, really, how? China can't do it, and they're a communist dictatorship. Is the CRTC supposed to erect some kind of firewall around all of Canada, and keep out all the nasty pornography and hate propaganda and Islamists and whatnot? Should they just run a "whitelist" of sites that Canadians are allowed to visit?

This is manifestly impossible and everybody knows it. Except Warren, for some bizarre reason, who missed all that folderol from the 1990s about how the Internet "interprets censorship as damage and reroutes around it." Sure, it never quite worked that way, but it's a good rule of thumb. Ought Implies Can, which is why anybody saying that the CRTC or FCC or whoever ought to censor the nasty stuff on the Internet is usually laughed out of the room.

(Maybe he was too busy being all punk to read an issue of Wired back in the day.)

Hell, I'll do you folks one better. Notice that Kinsella seemed to think that Al Qaeda being on the Internet is one of the reasons it should be censored. Yet the facilitation of the "daily doings of... the likes of Al-Qaeda" would happen even if Canada had some sort of Chinese-style "Golden Shield" surrounding it. They don't operate in Canada, or at least not solely in Canada. What, exactly, is the CRTC supposed to do about THAT? Are they supposed to reach out their mighty Canadian arm and swat Al Qaeda from the whole international Internet? Apparently so.

Admittedly, he could just believe that Canadians shouldn't be permitted to see and hear anything Al Qaeda says or writes. Honestly, I think I prefer the "long arm of the Mounties" theory, though. It's just bizarre, instead of terrifying.

Like I said, seriously odd.

(Then again, considering his ignorance of the tradition of pseudonymity on the Internet, maybe it's not surprising that he still doesn't understand the medium too well. I'd love to introduce him to a Cyperpunk sometime. After five minutes with someone who takes Internet privacy really seriously, I expect his head would explode.)

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