Channel 4 news was just reporting on the conviction of three men for conspiracy to rape children. The details are horrific, obviously. I'm not trying to get into the details of that.
However I was amazed that Channel 4 proceeded from details of the crime to an absolute rinsing of the hosting company that was hosting their website. It was introduced by some woman from the NSPCC who was demanding that web communications be restricted in some non-specific but utopian way.
There followed a confused explanation of the DNS system that sounded accusatory but didn't really serve to illustrate anything even if viewers had understood it. Were they claiming that the company hosting the DNS should be policing websites?
Then they started talking about the hosting company - and by this point I assumed it was the web host and perhaps the DNS guff had simply been a red herring - and how the hosting company, while not bound by law to police its websites, should be doing so anyway. And then they actually contacted the hosting company's other clients to badger them on the issue.
The web is being policed. It is being policed by... the police. The police are ideally placed to locate and identify sex offenders online due to access to a wide variety of data from a range of sources. The police received public funds to do this. The police have powers to demand that members of the public turn over encryption keys. The police can obtain warrants, confiscate computers, detain people, and if they have a case, they can prosecute.
And the story, if you actually remember what the story was and haven't just been sold on the idea that hosting companies are to blame for child abuse, was that this exact strategy has just put three potential sex offenders behind bars.