Two reports worth reading:

1) ‘Filtering in Oz: Australia’s Foray Into Internet Censorship‘ by Derek Bambauer at the Brooklyn Law School in New York argues Australia represents a shift by Western democracies towards legitimating Internet filtering and away from robust consideration of the alternatives available to combat undesirable information.

Bambauer writes:

Australia’s decision to censor Internet content pre-emptively is likely further evidence that the debate over filtering has shifted, from whether it should occur to how it should work. Cyberlibertarianism is alive and well, as the discussions in Australia’s press and Parliament prove, but it is no longer ascendant. This shift disguises an important change in focus for regulating information. Filtering looks easy and cheap, and calls to block access to material that is almost universally condemned – such as child pornography, extreme violence, or incitements to terrorism – are hard to resist. But this focus confuses means with ends. The key question is what set of measures best achieve the end, or combat the evil, at issue – and how tolerable their countervailing drawbacks will be.

EFA has a review of the report here.

2) The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University: ‘Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies’.

New York Times writes:

A high-profile task force created by 49 state attorneys general to find a solution to the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem, despite years of parental anxieties and media hype.

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force was charged with examining the extent of the threats children face on social networks like MySpace and Facebook, amid widespread fears that older adults were using these popular sites to deceive and prey on children.

But the report compared such fears to a “moral panic” and concluded that the problem of child-on-child bullying, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.

Regular STotC updates will begin later this week when I arrive back in Australia.