John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, has vowed to clean the Internet by “blocking pornography, upgrading the search for chatroom sex predators and cutting off terror sites.” The PM plans to achieve this by giving all Australians a free content filter.
What is it about politicians and the Internet? We know that the politics of fear are usually quite popular with certain type of demagogues, but I’m always amused by the use of scare tactics to try to convey the idea that the Internet is filled with sexual predators. This is a serious problem of risk management. The Internet is indeed a dangerous place, but what we need to fear is phishing, viruses and malware (see some Internet crime statistics).