In the midst of the current hysteria surrounding the internet and children, and given the tragic murder of Ashleigh Hall; the Mail obviously thought it would be a good time to tap into the fear of thousands of ‘predators’ posing online. Facebook in particular has come under attack as unfortunately it was the site where Ashleigh Hall first met her killer. Her death has predictably been used by various people to promote what are really little more than ‘mickey mouse’ gestures, the idea that a ‘paedophile panic button’, would be of any practical use is frankly absurd.
Anyone who thinks they’re in danger is able to contact the police by phone or via email and the button doesn’t do much – beyond providing politicians the appearance of ‘doing something’. The death of Ashleigh Hall in particular wouldn’t have been prevented by the magical panic button as she, tragically, had no idea her killer wasn’t whom he appeared to be.
Far be it for me to suggest that Chris Huhne in advocating such a measure, especially in the light of circumstances where it wouldn’t have helped, is being a self-serving prat with one eye on the Mail’s readers and one on the up-coming election.
So as i said in the midst of all this ‘apparent fear’ the Mail decided it would publish a sensationalist account of what happened when an ex-policeman, now a ‘leading child protection expert’, posed as a 14 year old girl. Whats amusing is the internet is dealt with in a manner that evokes the mid to late 90s; its a big scary place with rapists on every metaphorical corner. The story didn’t make any sense especially as it dealt with Facebook as a ‘chat site’ rather than a method of social networking.
The Mail now appears to be doing some rapid backtracking.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Culture,Moral police,Net Campaigns