Livewire - June 22, 2011

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By Geoff Adams, of Over Wyre

I don’t like speed cameras, because, unlike the sensible bobbies we used to have who took circumstances into consideration, until their numbers, and their stations, started dwindling faster than you can shout halt, they are machines, and do what they are programmed to do.

Drive at 31mph to prevent some less experienced driver from causing a fatal RTA because he’s itching to overtake you, and it’s three points on your licence and a fine, unless you take a remedial driving course at 8am, 70 miles away, at which you will be taught how to drive so as to help prevent some less experienced driver causing a fatal RTA.

Our roads are policed by machines, in which the judicial system places far too much trust, and it’s a system in which traffic police, or their budget-balancing bosses, are complicit.

Far more seriously, should we take the policing of the internet, which is also done by machines with an IQ equivalent to that of a speed camera, to wit zero.

In submitting my last contribution to Live Wire, I was unwise enough to mention Head Dyke Lane, a packet of fags, and other stuff, which was promptly bounced back by the high tech email scanning vice squad for “use of language likely to offend”.

It is outrageous that innocent use of language should be garnered as evidence of evil intent by a machine programmed to have a filthy mind, presumably by some spotty nerd who giggled as he wrote his list of suggestive words.

Not that it stops there.

My wife is a member of WATCH – women clergy and their supporters in the Church of England – yet all her e-mails from WATCH go straight into her junk folder, presumably because some filter adds WATCH to WOMEN (or CLERGY)) and draws the same conclusion as the nerd with a dirty mind.

The internet is arguably the greatest technological innovation human societies have ever known.

And, of course, perverts use it, just as they used the telephone to pester lone women and breathe heavily, and probably used papyrus to send anonymous letters to Nefertiti.

But no systems of communication are inherently evil – the evil is in the minds of those who abuse them.

We need to reclaim our right to use our language.

To be ticked off by a machine that couldn’t boil an egg is unacceptable to the law-abiding.