Answering questions from the floor at the Royal Television Society conference in London last month, Minister for Truth Andy Burnham said:
“The time has come for perhaps a different approach to the internet. I want to even up that see-saw, even up the regulation [imbalance] between the old and the new.”
The idea that the internet was “beyond legal reach” and a “space where governments can’t go” was no longer the case.
According to Andy Burnham, the introduction of a ratings system for internet content would not be “over-burdensome”. We have asked the Ministry of Truth (aka Department for Culture, Media and Sport) on several occasions how such a system might work and how its Minister’s view that such regulation would be easy to implement could be squared with general consensus that it would be unworkable. Or, as one expert put it: “bonkers”. We asked again last week.
The Ministry did not feel they could elucidate further. A spokesperson explained that as the UK Council for Child Safety on the Internet had only just been set up, and would be making recommendations about regulating the internet in due course, “it wouldn’t be helpful or appropriate for us to speculate about what those recommendations might be”.
In other words, Ministerial speculation is okay, but speculating about speculation is not. The Reg took up the challenge and with the help of a pencil and the back of an envelope came to some startling conclusions.
Youtube puts up approximately 10 hours – or 600 minutes – of new content every minute. Classifying that material would take 600 people watching 24 hours a day. Assuming that individuals could function productively for six hours, YouTube has just gained an additional 2,400 employees.