“We don’t think the Government should give itself the power to filter web content,” Carter says. “We don’t think that’s consistent with having the free, open and secure internet described at the Paris summit.”
His issue isn’t with filters, it’s with the state mandating one. “People use filters all the time. Corporate networks, school networks, we have a filter we offer commercially to blocking phishing and malware.
“It’s problematic when you combine that technology with state power. At the most extreme end, you have countries that do whole internet shutdowns. Governments have just flicked off the switch.”
If it were voluntary, like the existing child exploitation filter, Carter would be more relaxed about it.
If future governments tried to increase the scope of the filter, internet providers could walk away, he says.
“If you want to offer the filter, go for your life, but don’t put it into law.”
This is the right approach. Have all the voluntary filters you want, but don’t have the state making them compulsory. If you do, then it will just grow and grow in scope.