Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Internet Should Be Policed, To Prevent Fraud And Terrorism

I don't often agree with censorship in China, but when it comes to the Internet, the Chinese have the right idea. They don't permit destructive web sites. They filter them out without compunction.

Even the L.A. Times blocks its employees from access to certain websites, because the executives understandably don't want them wasting their work day looking at pornography or other junk.

The same thing should be done everywhere. I believe either the technology exists to do it, or it can be developed. Already, my Yahoo account diverts many fraudulent or menacing offers to the Bulk basket. If they can be filtered, they can surely be erased.

Hardly a day goes by when I don't receive a message from some criminal in Burkina Faso, Nigeria or a similar country offering me a good share of $15 million or so, if only I will send back a deposit to facilitate handling the money. These are frauds, which always prove injurious to the gullible. There is never any money.

The same thing is true with less frequent messages that you have won a worldwide lottery. It's all fake. A variation is calls from an official-sounding website advising you to send in your credit card numbers so as to protect their security. This is a means of facilitating identity theft. It's happened to me several times in the last three weeks.

For some time now, I've been receiving a message that a transaction in some foreign country seeking to use my Visa card number has been refused. I don't have a Visa card, and in any event the authentic big credit card companies never communicate with their cardholders in this way. They all advise to ignore such messages.

It is not usually feasible to send law enforcement to the places where these scoundrels operate to imprison them for life. So it seems plain to me their messages ought simply to be blocked.

Then, there are the sexual predators. We read all too often, as we did last week, about the 16-year-old girl who was enticed to Jordan to marry a Palestinian she had fallen in love with on the Internet without ever meeting. Quite aside from the fact that marrying an Arab in the Middle East is liable to subject the woman to a life of semi-slavery, these kinds of communications should also be blocked.

Then, there are the terrorist websites. Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and all the other sinister groups associated with fundamentalist Islam are using the Internet to send messages to their followers and to make propaganda. No sooner is some poor victim beheaded in Iraq or Pakistan, that a video is on the Internet showing the bloody carnage. The aim is to create fear in this country, and soft heads like Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts may be all too impressed.

All this should be cleared from the Internet. If the U.S. and Britain are indeed serious about the War on Terror, there is no reason to allow these modern day Nazis access to us electronically.

There are some households in this country which either have given up the Internet or never gotten it in the first place, because they are desirous of keeping all this trash out of their homes and away from their children.

A violation of freedom of speech? No. It was Oliver Wendel Holmes who once said that freedom of speech doesn't give one the right to yell fire in a crowded theatre, and that's what happening here. These terrorists, criminals, predators and low-lifers are taking advantage of us. They can't be permitted to do so.


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