DAS BUNKER, The Culture Wars, Saturday (NNN) — The Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, has emphasised the necessity of new standards of decency need to be applied to the World Wide Web.
“We plan to apply film-style age ratings to all websites. There are only 186 million at the moment, so that shouldn’t be hard.” He points to the success of the 9pm television watershed at protecting children. “Children have become Victorian ideals one and all since its introduction. They never learn to swear, either.”
Protection of children is paramount. “The Internet is quite a dangerous place,” he says. “I was on Bebo just the other day and a gang of virtual cyber-hoodies mugged me for my mobile.” Internet service providers must offer parents “child-safe” web services. “There has been no market demand for them, but we know what’s good for you. I’m concerned as a parent myself! I need to be able to leave my child in front of the Internet unattended for eight hours a day, and it’s the rest of the Internet’s job to keep an eye on my kid for me.”
He dismissed the concerns of troublemaking digital activists, anarchist defenders of paedophiles one and all. “If you look back at the people who created the internet — the military researchers for ARPA who were building a network that would survive a nuclear war — they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldn’t reach. Obviously implausible as that sounds. So it’s our job to take it over.”
Mr Burnham also plans to negotiate with Barack Obama’s administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites. “It’s not like they have laws requiring freedom of offensive speech.”
Mr Burnham also plans to give BBC licence fee money to Channel Four, and also give the record industry a massive free copyright extension, three-strikes network cutoff laws and a pony.
“The Internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways, but it can be a very, very complex and quite dangerous world, particularly for politicians. I’ve had people claiming I don’t have the first clue about what I’m regulating, but we have our donors to help us there.”
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