The Blacklist Shortlist


Last night I took another online personality test in the hope of gleaning some insight into myself as I consider a possible new career direction in the midst of this economic mess… and partially because I was just curious as to what the results would tell me. In the end, the results revealed that I should be in the area that I’m currently in. I was a little disappointed but not really surprised since I could have seen the end of this tale coming after the first 10 or so statements.

One section that did make me pause to consider my response dealt with morality and how it applied to certain situations; specifically, one statement said, in effect, that what’s moral varies from person to person. I had to think for a moment: is there a uniform “standard” for what’s considered moral? if there is, who established it and what were the criteria? is something that’s considered “immoral” OK if someone else determines the same subject to be moral?

The definition being broad and my hesitation telling me something, I agreed that there were variations from person to person. Isn’t that the definition of individualism?

Which leads me to wonder how the Australian government has determined what is morally OK to be viewed by human eyes.

The federal government in Australia wants to force all ISPs to use the list to censor the internet for everyone. It’s allegedly the same list that vendors of filtering software get from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

I’d read about the proposed filter for “illegal” material a while ago and wondered which material — aside from the obvious universally agreed-upon illegal stuff — would be determined to be too objectionable to be legally viewed. More importantly — at least to me — is who would be making these kinds of moral judgments, presumably in the interest of anyone looking at a web page, and, in particular, children.

Coming back to the supposition that the large majority of members within most societies would reach some kind of consensus on the issue of objectionable material, the variable that might skew the equation on determining what’s “safe” and what’s not is that the degree of morality — that is, the spectrum upon which the principles of right and wrong apply to the dissemination and/or conveyance of information — would vary from individual to individual. With this in mind, the people who determine which sites will be added to a blacklist will also judge information by the place on that spectrum where their own ideas fall.

The big question is: where will the list end?

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