Internet Classification Proposal Attracts Controversial Comments On Fellow MP's Blog

Labour Party MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson called, back in December 2008, for internet users to comment on the idea of a "cinema-style age ratings" as proposed by his fellow MP, Andy Burnham.

There were two opinions that can quintessentially summarise the 160 or so comments that Mr Watson's call prompted: Internet Classification is either a bad idea "because censorship is not a good thing" or it is unworkable and will end up being unpopular, expensive and unreliable.

Some commentators like Claire White were proposing alternative methods like a mentoring system because "Many people are insecure about going on the web at all because of safety concerns that can be allayed by basic awareness and monitoring of what is going on with your computer. The mentoring model is the best way to respond to people’s individual needs and give them a gateway online from where they can develop their own knowledge and understanding."

However, others were not so PC with Mr Burnham's proposals. Graham Marsden says for example, "This is just another ludicrous law from a Big Brother, Nanny State Government which wants to control every aspect of our lives, even down to what we are permitted to see. Under the guise of “Won’t Someone Think of the Children?!”" while another commentator, Ben, goes as far as comparing Burnham to Adolph Hitler by quoting a line from "Mein Kampf"

One dissenting voice though, was that of Paul Robinson who claims to have worked for a major ISP and has "been responsible for liaising with police forces in paedophile cases", adding hat he understands the concerns of the government and offers what is possibly the most enlightening comment of the bunch, arguing that the scheme is unworkable before stating that the internet is only a reflection of a society's Zeitgeist.

You can read other comments on Tom Watson's Blog here. On a side note, Tom Watson has a rather strange page about teens where he tried to look cool which some say might be a hoax as it contains phrases like "WARNING: Getting involved in politics may cause premature ageing and a sudden loss of friends!"