Those who have known me for a long time have known of my long-time hatred of internet censorship - ever since 1998, in fact, I've researched and opposed internet censorship at every turn. Not based on performance or anything like that - based purely on the principle of freedoms of speech and information.
I've mellowed since then. There are things that should be censored. I fail to see any benefit in allowing, for example, child pornography and bestiality to be shown. I don't exactly think I'm alone in my revulsion.
In short, there is a definite line that should not be crossed. We may not know where that line is, but we can tell when something has unquestionably leapt over it.
As I make no attempts to hide, I'm an Orthodox Christian, and that does govern a lot of my own thoughts and actions; I also choose to live in a liberal democratic society, the upshot of this is that I do not believe that government should legislate for all morality and believe that everyone is accountable for their own actions (and, FWIW, I would be shocked if someone could come up with evidence that Orthodox theology says anything else).
So, there is one problem - where is the line to be drawn. I would draw it where over 90% of the Australian population agrees that a thing is wrong. Gonna be hard to achieve that kind of consensus? Damn right, and that's the way it should be. Our constitution, to function, necessitates our freedom of speech (termed 'implied rights'), and that's the way it should be, and that's the kind of freedom we need to have to gain knowledge to elect good leaders - never mind take part in the world and resurrect the economy.
That doesn't take care of the second problem: how is the line to be drawn. Well, there's really no good answers. But, no computer program can do it. None. All have false negatives and false positives at unacceptable levels (even taking aside the certainty of decreased performance).
Rather: employ someone to basically add sites to a filter. A moral philosopher, a trained ethicist - someone with a good head on their shoulders for that 90% consensus - whose job it is to manually go through and add sites to the blacklist.
These are sites constructed by humans, and - if they are to be blocked - they deserve to be blocked by humans.
The third problem of censorship is, of course, performance. Australian internet performance is currently sub-par, at best. We want to slow it down further? Sorry, that's just dumb.
(more travelblogging coming soon)