I can't remember when the last time there were many stories about access to a particular website being blocked as there have been about YouTube in the last week. Never mind that the bans are unlikely to be particularly effective, as pointed out by Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, putting any sort of a ban on YouTube or any other website is treating a symptom while ignoring the cause of any problem.
Let's start in Australia where YouTube is now officially blocked on all computers in all government schools. The reason behind this is most often given as an attempt to curb "cyber-bullying" with the most notorious case cited being an appalling crime that occurred last year.
In this incident, a group of teenage boys (the creatures facing charges for this abomination are currently 17-18 years old) sexually assaulted a girl, set her hair on fire and urinated on her. The girl in question has been described (depending on the media source) as either having a learning disability or being mildly retarded. In any case, she was more vulnerable than average.
So where does this qualify as cyber-bullying? Well, the little psychopaths in question videoed the attack and uploaded it to YouTube. Think about that for a minute: you'd have to be a sick fuck to perpetrate this sort of degrading sexual attack in any case but what sort of detachment from reality does it take to make you think distributing a video showing your face while doing it is a good idea?
And they didn't stop at uploading it to YouTube - they made DVDs and sold them at school. And the DVDs featured their REAL NAMES in the "credits". So these soulless creatures are not only capable of perpetrating an horrific attack, they think they deserve to profit from it and actively seek recognition for it.
And blocking YouTube will fix this sort of sickness how exactly?
On another front, Turkey has instituted a blanket ban on YouTube because of videos that insulted "Turkishness" in general and the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, specifically. National pride is a big issue in this part of the world and tensions between Greece and Turkey in particular run pretty high but this is essentially national governments buying into stupid internet dweebs slinging "fag" insults at each other. If this ban stays in place, my Turkish YouTube pal Conmech/Efe will be really pissed off when he finishes his term of National Service in the Turkish army and can't go back to youTube.
And while this one isn't specifically about YouTube, French authorities are introducing a law that makes it illegal to video violent acts and upload these videos to the internet. Yet again, stupid actions by morons translates into a government putting ridiculous restrictions on everybody. This is supposedly to counter a growing trend of deliberately provoking or instigating violent attacks for the sole purpose of videoing them. Hey, here's a crazy idea - prosecute people for committing the already illegal assaults. Don't introduce fucked up laws to restrict freedom of expression.
And don't even get me started on China. Actually, I might cut loose on the bullshit being spread by Chinese authorities on another day.