Self-regulation of the internet

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In the Western world, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are encouraged by governments to self-regulate, to stay in accordance with assumed public morality and child protection standards.

The presumed benefits of this strategy to governments are reduced policing costs and less opposition from civil liberties groups, as the undoubted control exerted is subtler in nature and therefore harder to critique. For ISPs, the self-regulation system provides a degree of autonomy in exchange for what governments see as cheaper, less overt moderation of the internet.

Censorship borne of self regulation efforts often consists of a mandatory legal compliance filter (usually billed as an "anti child pornography filter, such as that operated by the Internet Watch Foundation) and optional filters (i.e. censorware) aimed at parents for individually tailored "family" and "child" protection. While the former system has historically tended to eliminate more legal material from the on-line experience, and the latter is very easy to circumvent, ISPs are given numerous opportunities to "convince" both the government and the public as to the benefits of self-regulation, as it is in the interests of both the state and the service providers themselves.

Compulsory Blacklist

These can be distinguished from state blacklists in that they are operated by officially independent bodies, but are still used to filter material from the services of ISPs who are members of the body. They often work alongside an Internet tipline type operation.

See also