You may have noticed this article in the TT last week, but perhaps the gist of the story didn’t register due to the usual lousy reporting and ignorant reporters and government officials: taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/ … 2003213132
So here’s the scoop:
Under the guise of protecting kiddies from harmful pornography, Taiwan’s government just created a non-profit foundation whose goal is to devise and oversee a mandatory system for rating Internet content and blocking or restricting access to objectionable sites. The move was required by Internet Content Rating Regulations passed by the Government Information Office (
that sounds about par for the TW govt. course… spend millions on yet another rediculous and completely ineffective branch of government that will achieve nothing… and then pat themselves on the back for a job well done…
god forbid that they actually encourage parents to monitor and control their offspring’s internet use…
“what!?.. take responsibility for my own kid!?, what are you somekind of mainland communist?!.. we’ll take that censorship thing instead…”
[quote=“david”]I think people are a bit premature ranting against the evils of censorship and complaining about the parents not doing anything.
This is a rating system - which means they’re not trying to ban stuff, they’re trying to help parents see what is and isn’t suitable for their children.[/quote]
Not true. You’ve been suckered in by the gungho government officials and news reporters. Even optional rating systems come under heavy fire by civil libertarians and Internet users in the West. But this won’t be optional. It’ll be mandatory. And if your Website bears a rating saying it’s safe for children up to age 12, but you allow content that only 13 year olds should view the authorities can order your site shut down and fine you a half million NT$. That’s bullshit.
I’m looking forward to seeing how they define the different ratings. Can you define what material is appropriate for 6 year-olds, but not 5 year-olds; or what is ok for 12 year-olds but not 11 year-olds; or ok for 18 year-olds but not 17 year-olds? That is what the government is preparing to do. It’s a ridiculously futile task. The definitions will be totally uncertain and ambiguous, which will lead to a chilling effect on speech, as people will be wary of getting punished.
Moreover, it’s a stupid idea. Even if everyone in Taiwan rates their Websites, BFD. Do you think the rest of the world will comply with Taiwan’s petty law? Not a chance. Will Taiwan’s kiddies only brouse .tw Websites for fear of encountering inappropriate materials? Ha. It’s a ridiculous idea that doesn’t stand a chance of protecting children from harmful materials and if anything will only serve to restrict legitimate speech by and for adults.
Plus, if I don’t have children using my computer, what right does the government have to install child-protection filtering on my access to the internet (which is what they’re doing if they require ratings, then block sites that don’t comply)? If parents want to protect their children from online porn, they can install filters on their own computers, and keep the computer in a public location in the house and supervise them.
Incidentally, this same government whose lawmakers may become the first on earth to enact a mandatory system for rating internet content (and blocking access based on those ratings) still has not enacted a law prohibiting spam (probably because they’re dumb enough to believe that spam is e-commerce). Wouldn’t that be a lot better use of their legislative powers, given that spam spreads viruses, fraudulent schemes and pornography, causes billions of US dollars in damages, Taiwan is the world’s 4th worst source of spam (spamhaus.org) and almost all developed nations on earth have already enacted anti-spam legislation and are now trying to enforce it?
Why not just prohibit children from accessing the internet alltogether? I think that’s the better and more responsible solution. But anyway, such rating system sound like loads of BS, and a possible forced filtering on the ISP level? Luckiy, it is Taiwan, so thing will probably end up like what Jlick had said, and if not, people can take it to the streets, so that’s not too bad.