Fear and Doubt and Cyber Patrol Charades

Yet another Example of the Abuse of Statistics

netcraft.com The chart is an estimate from Netcraft of the growth in the number of web pages world-wide.

This figure is extremely hard to quantify, so is a best guess.

The news;

European ‘cyber patrols’ to fight crime

..is a great headline that disguises much fear, doubt and untruths among it’s few simple words.

Point 1:

The inflamatory paragraph: “It is also hoping to clamp down on the growth child pornography on the net, acknowledging that images of sexually abused children online have quadrupled in the last five years. It claims that half of all internet crime involves the production, distribution and sale of child pornography…” – sounds really bad.  But compare the words to the chart above….

Over the last five years, the number of websites and named hosts has more than quadrupled. – ten fold over 8 years actually!

What this means is that the incidence of child pornography as a percentage of the whole is falling! And thus what seems at first glance to be a shocking statistic is actually an improvement, given the wide availability of internet access.

Point 2:

The EU plans to give £250k over five years to these “cyber patrols”.

This is £50k per annum or about 1.5 policemen and their equipment.

Is it really necessary to waste:

  • the money?
  • time in committee agreeing on the waste?
  • meaningless commentary (like this) on the futility of the scheme?

I suggest that a better plan would be to properly enforce police contracts.   Say to all coppers (as a policeman is always on duty),

Hey ladies and gentlemen, while your’re at home on the internet, shopping, can you keep your eyes open for perves and other crimes please? – and every time you spot one, you get a bonus in your pay packet just like the ones you get for parking offences!

I think it would be a more effective use of resources.

Because as it stands, the plan, and the whole point of the “initiative”, is to increase the FUD (Fear ‘n Doubt) factor in people and at the same time, make it appear that something is being done.

The motives of people thinking and promoting this FUD crap should be seriously questioned, because this plan is all fluff with no substance.  So why is it going ahead?

By Strangely

Founding member of the gifted & talented band, "The Crawling Chaos" from the North-East of England.

One comment

  1. I think all of the good, honest people on the internet should moderate the world around them. Unlike real-life there's no potential consequence to reporting inappropriate, abusive behaviour. One group I heard about recently is "Cyber Angels" – a online group of (mainly female) internet users who agree to spot potential perverts etc. and kick/report/moderate them. This is the future, not over-bearing "cyber patrols".

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