Is Blocking RapeLay the Solution?
Controversy is brewing over a Japanese video game called RapeLay which, according to Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, allows users to "earn points for acts of sexual violence, including following girls on commuter trains, raping virgins and their mothers, and then forcing them to have abortions."
In a piece for Business Insider today, Nicholas Carlson asks the question, "Hate Web censorship? So this rape simulator is OK with you?"
Although Carlson does not express his own opinion beyond that point, he states that Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy wishes for a law that would "force Google to censor links to places where the game could be downloaded."
While such content is despicable and perhaps illegal, filtering is not the best--nor the only--option. When you censor something online, be it by ISP-level blocking or removal from search results, you block it from mass view, but anyone with even rudimentary awareness of circumvention technology can still access it. The same holds true for child pornography; blocking it may making it harder for some to find, however, it does not cease its production (see this excellent Guardian opinion piece from earlier this week on that very matter)
If content is actually illegal, then the better solution than filtering is to track down those who produce and/or consume the content, and deal with them within the law.