What If A Religion Is Running The State-Sanctioned Internet Filter?

netnannyI stumbled upon this link in a Google search today. It’s from Net Nanny, a longtime provider of internet filtering software to concerned parents. I used to put links to Net Nanny and other filters on my free porn sites in an attempt to be a good internet citizen (now Google is happily hiding all of my content because somebody think of the children!).

What this article does is reveal the ideological stance of Net Nanny:  it believes porn is immoral and addictive and assumes that all pornographers are shady and evil. A few quotes:

Male and female brains are different; the Internet pornographer’s marketing approach must also be different.

The purveyors of porn have begun paying closer attention to their potential female audience. There are profits to be made, and Internet pornographers are all about profits.

In August of 1998 the World Conference on Pornography was held under the sponsorship of California State University at Northridge. For three days conference directors presented an unending stream of explicit pornography, all under the guise of academic analysis.

At the close of the conference, awards were given out to the producers of films, to the actors and actresses of same, and to the various exhibitors who have pioneered the introduction of hard-core pornography throughout the world. (Of course, the keynote address for the event was given by the president of the ACLU.)

Even with a romantic twist or feel, many women still are not interested in Internet porn. And so the pornographers have found a decoy to lure them into this dark world: Internet chatrooms.

The article talks about all the sneaky ways we pornographers appeal to women including showing female pleasure, mutual respect, obvious consent and a more holistic view of sex. According to the author, showing sex in the context of a relationship is just an evil lure to make women addicted to porn. Who knew?


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I have no problem with the idea of parents adding software to their computers to prevent kids from seeing porn. Porn is a very problematic form of media and I think it’s inappropriate for young people to see it, especially if they have no decent sex education or concept of the fantasy nature of porn.

But still, Net Nanny, why so judgmental? Are you seriously advocating a moral stance against porn? Are you really relying on the discredited concept of porn addiction to sell your wares? And are you also pushing a gender-essentialist line on how men and women think?

I did a bit of searching and found that ContentWatch, the company that runs Net Nanny, is based in Utah and used to have links to the Mormons. Indeed, one anti-Mormon blog found itself blocked by the software. It seems that some directors and board members have also held high positions in the LDS church.

But then I searched some more and found this: Focus on the Family and Net Nanny Join Forces.

Yep, Focus on the Family, the extreme right wing group that is anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-divorce, that promotes creationism in schools, corporal punishment and abstinence-only sex education, is in partnership with Net Nanny.

In light of the growing global threat of censorship and conservative government’s eagerness to install mandatory filtering software, perhaps we need to have a look at the ideology behind said software. Because if it’s filtering content based on its own definitions of “morality”, we have a big problem. If Focus on the Family and Net Nanny have “joined forces”, you can bet they’ll be automatically censoring content according to their own world view.

And if a government is going to give tax money to a filtering software company, shouldn’t we know if its religious or not?