Heath Gibson reminded me in a post this morning that we have a renewed opportunity to persuade the Labor party to drop its ridiculous bid to impose net censorship. As he notes, because of the change in leadership, the party can now back away from previous policies without losing so much face (as it has with the mining tax).
I’ve just been reading Robert Cialdini’s book Influence on the advice of Jacques Chester (thanks, Jacques, a great book). And the following paragraph leaped out at me.
…from a purely psychological point of view, those favoring strict censorship may wish to examine closely the results of a study done on Purdue University undergraduates. The students were shown some advertisements for a novel. For half the students, the advertising copy included the statement, “a book for adults only, restricted to those 21 years and over”; the other half of the students read about no such age restriction on the book. When researchers later asked the students to indicate their feelings toward the book, they discovered the same pair of reactions we have noted with the other bans: Those who learned of the age restriction (1) wanted to read the book more and (2) believed that they would like the book more than did those who thought their access to the book was unlimited.
(Robert B Cialdini, Influence (Collins Business, revised ed, 2007) pgs 252-3)
Please, Ms Gillard, consider the statement of Robert Cialdini above. The effect of attempting to censor young people from accessing certain material may have the paradoxical effect of turning it into an exciting “forbidden fruit”, because the evidence is that the filter can be bypassed reasonably easily anyway. Ditch this stupid law, and support freedom of speech instead.