27 February 2009

Small ISPs Refuse to Censor

I was delighted to read in The Register that a number of small ISPs have refused to block websites which appear on the IWF's blocklist1. I'm particularly pleased because they have gone beyond the issue of cost to attack the IWF's approach on the basis that it is ineffective and politically motivated, which has forced some of the scheme's strongest supporters to admit that the scheme will do nothing to stop those determined to obtain child porn. That should be obvious to anybody with a modicum of technical knowledge, as there are numerous ways around filtering, proxies being the most obvious.

The real danger with filtering is the very fact that it only prevents those who aren't particularly determined from accessing sites. In terms of blocking child porn, that makes the system pretty much useless, but as a system of political censorship, it makes it very effective, because debate, dissent, campaigning and whistle-blowing are seriously hampered if people aren’t able to share information freely and openly. This touches on issues I raised previously when a Wikipedia page was included in the IWF blocklist 2.

1. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/25/iwf_small_isps/

2. http://plockett.blogspot.com/2008/12/iwf-and-wikipedia.html

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