Thanks to everyone who mailed me about the "Nigerian pupils browse porn" story:
Nigerian schoolchildren who received laptops from a U.S. aid organisation have used them to explore pornographic sites on the Internet, ... [snip]
A representative of the One Laptop Per Child aid group was quoted as saying that the computers, part of a pilot scheme, would now be fitted with filters.
I wasn't sure if there was any point in my saying anything about this story, since it looked like it was going to be extensively echoed, so what would be the point in my adding my marginal voice to the chorus?
I think the "One Laptop Per Child News" (an independent site) had the best commentary about the utterly mundane situation that sex draws interest: "To focus on it this much means that the reporter really wanted a headline grabbing story or is against the project on a personal level."
I could note that adding censorware to the machines seems problematic. If these are open-source, then removing the censorware will be trivial. And who is going to control what goes on the blacklist? Etc. But it's not like anyone is going to press those issues (oh, I could try playing "citizen journalist", but there's nothing I could do if my phone calls weren't returned, or I was routed to a flack who just kept repeating a PR line).
Frankly, the One Laptop Per Child idea has always struck me as very ill-considered, a bad combination of techno-utopianism and paternalistic colonialism. But I'll get in trouble if I say what I really feel.By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on July 21, 2007 04:45 PM (Infothought permalink)