ISP Claranet canvasses religious groups for web filter

It looks like Claranet’s parent filter is being built using the advice of religious groups.

According to Recombu, the ISP wanted to create a filter which would keep children safe, so rather than just using common sense to define what should be in a filter it turned to religious groups to decide.

True, it is also allowing schools and child safety experts to help. The problem is that it’s also consulting people who are fight for a worldviews which claim rubbish like “the world was created 6,000 years ago” or “women should be dressed like Satan’s pillar box”.

To make matters worse, Claranet wants to use volunteer guardians to decide the filters. This means that it will not even be recognised people from churches or religious groups, just those who want to have a go at censorship.

In religious groups, the sorts of people who volunteer for this kind of thing are a special breed who often think that their own religious leaders have got it wrong. These are the sort who think that Jesus tells them to censor all references to ankles, or that other religions are run by demons.

The company says it is recruiting volunteer guardians from a number of different organisations, although it will not identify them. A statement said that it had an “Islamic advisor” and child safety campaigner Sara Payne was among them. We guess members of Aleister Crowley’s “Do what you wilt be the whole of the law” Thelema cult are not.

The Claranet guardians will be asked to choose whether they think 140 different categories of internet content are appropriate for the kids of today.

The guardians can choose to add or remove individual websites from the blacklists. The blacklists are created by a third-party company that Claranet also refused to name.

A guardian may decide that Bebo has been blessed by God, or Jeff, or Xenu in the Social Networking category, but choose to block Facebook because its users are the spawn of satan and will burn in hell, Hades or Slough for all eternity.

Fortunately customers can choose to set up and customise their own filters, or accept a pre-selected list from one of the guardians and edit that themselves if they choose.

Of course, most people who want a religious filter are the types who want to be told about sex or relationships by someone who has sworn not to have done either.