Friday, March 07, 2008

At any price!

Lately there have been a lot of people saying that child pornography is the absolute evil and children should be protected at any price. Absolutely at any price.

I totally understand the feeling. There are a lot of things I'd like to do at any price, especially if the price is going to be paid by somebody else. I am always looking for volunteers for my "get Vera a free beer at any price" project.

Jokes aside, there have been already a lot of people trying to explain why the price (secret censorship) would be too high. I'd like to concentrate on what would be purchased.

Do any of the "save the children at any price"-people ever stop to think what exactly they would be getting at any price? I don't even mean all the ways in which the censorship doesn't work - I mean the hypothetical case in which it would, in fact work to block all the web pages in question from all the people who would like to see them from Finland.

Let's also assume that we are talking about the real clear-cut cases of child pornography, consisting of photos and videos of clearly underage children engaging in sexual acts.

By the time the Finnish viewer is seeing the child porn, the act of child abuse has obviously already happened. Somebody has for example had sex with a child and videotaped it. You can't protect this particular child from this particular event anymore. If the owner of the webpage puts child porn there with purely charitable intentions for the other pedophiles to see, the Finnish viewer is not really even contributing anything to the perpetuation of such crimes. However, if the child porn website is either charging the viewer for porn or lives by selling advertisement space, the Finnish viewer is bringing it some money and therefore encouraging creation of more child porn.

Now for the interesting question: how many users of child porn are there in Finland? Is there an estimate anywhere? Surely Suvi Linden must have at least some idea of the order of magnitude of this terrible problem. Somehow, I have never seen it mentioned anywhere. (I mean the actual users of child porn, not the people who just went through the police's list in order to count the child porn sites, and not the people who just generally jerk off to various legal pictures of children.) How many Finns use real child porn? How many of those contribute to it financially? How many of those do so on the web, as opposed to Usenet and mailing lists?

I'd like Linden to put an actual number to it, or at least an order of magnitude. As in, "we have created a secret censorship system in order to prevent the flow of N euros per year from Finland to the world's child porn industry". At least we'd know how much money we'd be diverting from child pornography at any price.

No comments: