|Another government beat-off|
Your ABC 2002-12-26
reports on a Japanese government initiative to
closely monitor Internet dating.
Short of cutting access to selected overseas sites (as the Chinese and Vietnamese have
chosen to do), there really isn't much that can be done against Internet sites which ignore
the wishes of a particular country. Recent court cases in Australia suggest
that people can be made responsible for material on their sites, but this
assumes that the people involved can a) be identified, and b) brought into the
jurisdiction of the government in question.
And of course the harder a particular government pushes the issue, the more
businesses will choose to operate from an overseas base, and the less taxes it can collect for
But the Japanese seem to realize this, so the primary focus seems to be on
punishing individuals who use the site - particularly underage prostitutes. [A note for
the intellectuals: a few
well selected keywords on the Google search engine provides excellent insight
into the extra-curriculum activities of many "Japanese schoolgirls"].
Presumably the laws against underage prostitution are there to protect the
underage prostitutes - which they intend to do by punishing them. Talk about
blaming the victim! Maybe government officials are just angry because Japanese
schoolgirls can't see the point of paying taxes to government officials who
want to regulate their extra-curriculum activities.
Governments have to look like they are doing something - even if it is
detrimental. It's a pity though, that they they can't even keep their hands off