Mitt Romney fights for Internet freedom, against porn, logic

The GOP’s is promising to leave the web alone AND to crack down on dirty content

Adrees Latif/Reuters

Pop quiz: which political party is promising the following?

“We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition” 

“We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international organizations”

“We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data”

If you guessed the Pirate Party, you’re wrong. The above is part of the just-announced Republican party platform. While Obama may hang out on Reddit and Hilary Clinton may grandstand on the need for digital rights in countries other than America, the GOP is the party that has definitively pledged support for Internet freedom. We have no specific policies yet, but their platform does suggest a strong stance against the U.N. seizing control of Internet regulation, and Hollywood and telecom interference with the open Internet ( this covers Net Neutrality) as well as incursions into personal privacy. It all sounds great!

One problem: the Republicans have also radically amped up language against Internet porn in their platform. In the past, they only specifically mentioned child porn as a target. They have since added bits calling for the “vigorous enforcement” of “current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity.” Sounds reasonable, right? They just want to enforce the laws we already have. Of course, doing so would effectively render just about all U.S. based pornography on the Internet illegal.

And the Republican candidate himself ? Here’s what Mitt Romney promised in 2007:

“I wanna make sure that every new computer sold in this country after I’m president has installed on it a filter to block all pornography and that parents can click that filter to make sure their kids don’t see that kinda stuff coming in on their computer.” 

Ignoring for a moment the fact that anti-porn filters are available for purchase to any parent who wants one, and ignoring also that these filters have never stood between a horny fourteen year old and Sasha Grey, let us instead consider the unsolvable puzzle of a party that is for Internet freedom but against Internet porn.

Just as Hilary preached that digital rights were a must for citizens of every country but hers, the Republican position that the Internet must be free and open for all things but smut represents a circle than just can’t be squared. The only way to police porn on the Internet is to filter the entire Internet. All packets will have to be inspected in order to find the ones with boobies in them. It’ll amount to a total loss of the privacy Republicans promise, and it won’t work anyhow. The Internet, after all, is for porn.

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Mitt Romney fights for Internet freedom, against porn, logic

  1. “Just as Hilary preached that digital rights were a must for citizens of
    every country but hers, the Republican position that the Internet must
    be free and open for all things but smut represents a circle than just
    can’t be squared.”

    I think you are mis-reading Romney’s position. I’ve read the platform and it’s more of a Libertarian point of view. He’s not saying it must be open for all things but smut, he’s saying that Government shouldn’t control the internet in your house, parents should. Whether they have the capability or not is a different question.

    • Finally someone gets it!

    • Except it’ll be pretend freedom, just like the other Republican promises. Even on guns, they only support freedom for those who support them. When we ask for freedom to carry our guns in defiance of corporations that ban employees carrying them, so that we can’t be fired with cause–we get nothing. Because corporate money is King, and corporations don’t want their employees to have their own guns even if you work in a dangerous area all by yourself.

      Wikileaks has already shown us the US diplomats blackmailing Spain into passing the corporate money-led regulations on the internet. Most of congress supported those regulations before the massive protests that ‘blacked out’ many internet sites. Do you think that a party prone to never saying no to corporate lobbies will stand up to them when they say “make laws to prevent the internet from interfering with my business”?

      You will see the same thing that’s going on already–the Republicans will talk Freedom, but cry how Fairness and Saving The Children meant they had to control the internet.

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