This story has a few interesting numbers in it. To me, the most surprising were that only 1 percent of the Internet is used for pornography, and that even the most effective filtering software only blocks 9 out of 10 sites.
The government study is an attempt to bring back the Child Online Protection Act, blocked by the Supreme Court two years ago in part on the assertion that filters would work better than laws would.
The first number isÂ fascinating because I swear I’ve seen higher statistics before, and because people make such a huge deal out of it. In the big scheme of the Internet, it seems pornography isn’t that much of an issue.
The second number is pretty troubling, though. Having been a teenager once, I assure you that 10 pornographic sites aren’t hard to find, and if on average one of them won’t be blocked that’s not an effective filter.
However, the article also makes the point that 50 percent or more of these sites are foreign, so I wonder if the filtering software is more effective for domestic sites. If so, it could block all the common sites kids might come across while still missing 1 in 10 total porn pages. If no one from the U.S. can realistically find a site anyway, it doesn’t really matter if it’s blocked or not.
Robert VerBruggen blogs at http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com.