Sometimes we wonder what the world’s moralist types think the Internet actually is. Recently, the European Union put forward the idea that every browser should have a “Flag This As Terrorism” button, because that wouldn’t backfire horribly. Now Egypt, in a move that’s almost endearing in how naive it is, is trying to crowdsource censorship.
To be fair, the Egyptian government seems largely to be hunting for links to Innocence of Muslims, the idiotic YouTube clip you might remember caused massive civil unrest across the Arab world. Still, it’s also in place for other “blasphemous” material, and you almost feel bad for the poor sucker stuck with this job:
Visitors to the National Telecommunications Registry page are instructed to leave the offending URL on a page with a CAPTCHA link; government bureaucrats then review the page and block it if it leads to blasphemous content. This service follows on the heels of a failed attempt to ban YouTube in Egypt because of numerous uploaded copies of The Innocence of Muslims.
So, there’s a mailbox, on the Internet, that people can stuff with any link they want to have the Egyptian government declare it blasphemous. Oh, man. Are we sure this isn’t just an attempt to punish one bureaucrat who really screwed up, because once the rest of the Internet gets ahold of this thing, it’s going to be nothing but Justin Bieber videos and the most disgusting imagery the Internet can produce.
At least use reCaptcha, guys, so we can get some good out of this.