by David O'Toole
A week may be long time in politics but three years is a VERY long time
in the realm of Internet censorship. Nevertheless Sex on the Net - Yaman
Akdeniz is still an excellent introduction to net censorship.
Akdeniz teaches Cyberlaw: Information Technology, Law
and Society at
the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds. He is a
writer on Internet-related issues and director of Cyber-Rights &
Sex on the Net's subject matter is the growth in moral panics over
sexual content and pornography surrounding the rise in popularity of the
as a communications medium. It puts these fears into the context with
some comparison with other media and gives useful and succinct histories
of censorship of previous decades.
The Internet is global in scope but much of the debate surrounding it,
like much on the Internet itself, has an American slant. Sex on the Net,
though, separately covers the US, Europe and the UK. The attitudes to
sex and porn, the climate in which it operates and the legislation of
these areas is markedly different and discrete treatment makes this
Later chapters cover the developments in censoring and rating schemes
such as PICS, Safesurf and RASCi, the introduction of and inherent
in filtering software, hotlines and self-regulatory solutions and the
growth of the debate surrounding child porn.
There is little here in the way of a passionate defence
of free speech
but this is not Sex on the NET's real value. It provides a dispassionate
documentation of the Internet / Porn Wars landscape in a slim and
inexpensive volume and as such is pure GOLD.