According to the BBC, A South African government official is proposing a complete ban on digitally distributed pornography. Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has approached the country’s Law Reform Commission to ask whether a change in the law is possible. He has also had talks with the Justice Alliance for South Africa (JASA), a respected group which has written its own draft bill on the issue.
Internet security experts have dismissed the idea as “madness”.
What is it with politicians who don’t understand basic concepts? Apparently, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, thinks that it’s actually possible to ban online porn. When people pointed out that it’s just not that easy, he responded thusly:
“Cars are already provided with brakes and seatbelts… There is no reason why the internet should be provided without the necessary restrictive mechanisms built into it….”
Well, actually, Mr. Gigaba, there are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons. Brakes and seatbelts have pretty easily defined tasks: slowing a car down and preventing you from flying forward in the event of a sudden stop. You can engineer that easily. What you can’t engineer is a definition of porn that works. What is pornography? To each person it might be entirely different. How do you build a system that knows? I don’t mean to confuse you with logic, but I’m not sure I follow your metaphor.
Furthermore, of course, there’s a question of why you would even want to do so. That’s not made at all clear in the article, but if you’re talking about consenting adults trying to find some porn online, what’s the problem with that? Nothing wrong with a man, a women, their neighbours and some livestock to spice things up online. Get with the times. Politicians are no fun.
Is the mass proliferation of pornography online a problem? Yes. Should there be better filters to block underage use? Yes. Is banning pornography the answer? No. Is asking yourself questions fun? Yes.
This morning on my drive to work I noticed a large sign outside A&W Burger that read: “2 Teens for $6!” Now, in Thailand this qualifies as porn, whereas here in Canada, it means two teen burgers for $6.