Yet, there is a dark and deeply troubling side to the web. The very unshackled freedom of expression and communication ”“ the revolutionary, even noble, principles on which it was founded ”“ has allowed a despicable underworld of sickening pornography and violent depravity to grow up virtually unregulated.
Those who take an extreme libertarian view would say that this downside of the web, while unpleasant, is a price worth paying for the enormous freedoms the internet brings all of us. However, such an argument cannot be sustained when viewed in the light of heinous murder cases, including, most recently, that of schoolgirl April Jones. Police officers found that Mark Bridger, who murdered five-year-old April, had numerous indecent images on his computer He had also views violent sexual scenes. There is a pattern here. Stuart Hazell, who killed 12-year-old Tia Sharp, regularly downloaded child abuse images on his mobile phone. And such cases do not only involve children. Jane Longhurst was 31 when she was murdered by extreme-pornography obsessive Graham Coutts.