Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knesset okays Internet censorship bill, Shas Weanies Stay in Government


I can think of nothing more harmful than Shas remaining in the government as Olmert divides Jerusalem. There is nothing more pornographic than that.

Shame on them. This is like rearranging the deck chairs as the boat sinks.

----- » Israel » Article
Feb 27, 2008 15:26 | Updated Feb 27, 2008 15:58
Knesset okays Internet censorship bill

The Knesset on Wednesday passed the first reading of a bill that will restrict Israelis' access to the Internet. According to the bill, which passed by a majority of 46 to 20, Internet service providers would be asked to implement an apparatus that would filter out sites deemed "harmful".

MK Amnon Cohen's bill calls for the censorship of "violence, pornography and gambling" on the Internet.

The decision on the filtering of specific sites will ultimately be in the hands of the communications minister, who will be aided by an advisory committee.

The letter of the law, proposed by MK Amnon Cohen of Shas, calls for the erection of a "filtering service for minors of inappropriate content on the Internet." Specifically, the bill advocates the censorship of "violence, pornography and gambling" Websites.

Under the new law Internet service providers would be forced to offer a filtering program to their customers free of charge. Consumers would be given the chance to refuse to install the program, but it would be installed by default if a customer did not provide a response within a time frame that has yet to be finalized.

The law also states that as soon as the technology will be made available, providers will block content on their end, unlocking it only to customers over the age of 18 who explicitly request to receive the "harmful" content.

The communications minister will also be granted the power to decide on changes to the blocking program, the manner of communication between providers and their customers and even the way in which providers will verify the age of a customer requesting the unlocking of content.

While Cohen hailed the approval of his bill as "a victory for common sense," adding that, now "instead of parents having to actively block their children from viewing hard pornography and violence, pornography enthusiasts will have to be active and make only one phone call," other MKs voiced concern that the law would ultimately result in severe infringements of personal freedoms.

"Internet service providers, according to the worldwide norm, would be willing to distribute free of charge a family filtering program," MK Gilad Erdan said. "The law will transform us into a type of Iran by giving the minister the authority to decide that the Shas Council of Torah Sages will determine the sites to be rejected and blocked - without any supervision or monitoring of its considerations by the Knesset."

Erdan also slammed Labor MKs Danny Yaton, Yoram Marziano, Nadya Hilu and Ephraim Sneh for voting in favor of the law, claiming that the Labor party had become a "superfluous appendage" of Kadima.

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