Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Your Rights Online

Finnish Censorship Expanding 196

Posted by kdawson
from the as-it-always-does dept.
Thomas Nybergh lets us know about the secret list maintained by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation, containing an estimated 1,700 foreign "child pornography'" sites. These are mostly in the US and the EU, and certainly not all of them contain child porn or even links to it. Finnish ISPs are required by law to block access to sites on the list, according to The Register. Finland's EFF has information about the block list, which reportedly includes a musical instrument store, a doll store, and a site of Windows tips in Thai. Recently added to the list — which by law should contain only child pornography sites — is the text-only site of a Finnish free-speech advocate who criticizes the censorship law. Evading the ISPs' block is trivial, of course.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Finnish Censorship Expanding

Comments Filter:
  • by calebt3 (1098475) on Monday February 18, 2008 @10:59PM (#22470734)

    Windows tips in Thai
    That may or may not be a bad thing depending on whether the tip was get rid of it.
  • by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:01PM (#22470752) Journal

    This was on Wikipedia's front page the other [wikipedia.org] day [wikipedia.org].

  • Foriegners (Score:4, Informative)

    by milsoRgen (1016505) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:01PM (#22470754) Homepage
    Well Finnish culture is pretty alien to me, but digging into the article a bit, it ends up making a little more sense...

    "Without knowing any details, a good guess is that the police suspect that having a clickable link to a web site allegedly containing child pornographic images is equivalent to aiding the distribution of such images," the EFFI surmised in this blog post on the censoring of Nikki's site.
    Here is Nikki's list. [lapsiporno.info]
    • by esocid (946821)

      Of the 700 or sites that have been tested, only two are known to contain inappropriate images of children, said Tapani Tarvainen chairman of the Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI). The remainder tend to be sites with adult-oriented themes, such as those offering legal porn, and forums for gay sex. In some cases, the sites - which include an online doll store, a Thai Windows advice forum and a computer repair service - have no visible link to porn or sex at all.

      So instead of actually investigating themselve

      • Re:Foriegners (Score:5, Interesting)

        by muzzy (164903) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:05AM (#22471206) Homepage Journal
        Actually, Someone's been checking through the whole list I've published and it now appears perhaps ~15 out of 1000 might be child porn. I haven't verified this yet and I'll have to go sleep soon too so I'll do it later. Still, that's a fairly small portion. I might have to back down my claims that 99% appear legit and say that 98.5% seem legit :)
    • Re:Foriegners (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:16AM (#22471284) Journal

      That is, of course, a mind-bogglingly fallacious argument, though I'm sure you're well aware of that.

      Based on what I've seen from phishing sites and other similarly illegal activity, I would suspect that most child porn sites (assuming they are not hosted in a country with lax laws on the subject) are either A. being hosted by somebody on a commercial server that hosts a truckload of sites and the person hosting them is hoping nobody will notice or B. being hosted on a cracked server.

      In the case of A., if you try to do an IP match, you'd get truckloads of "false positives"---sites that appear to link to a child porn site, but in fact link to Ned's Used Cars and Auto Emporium's website. If you don't do an IP match, though, you miss the case where somebody creates their own DNS record for a child porn site that doesn't support virtual hosts to get around the blocking lists, so you get lots of false negatives. Either way, you lose.

      In the case of B., it is probably safe to assume that 99.9% of those links existed prior to the site being hijacked to distribute child porn, and thus the owners of the site doing the linking would have no idea that the site was being used in that way, and thus should not be treated as though they were intentionally contributing to child porn.

      Further, in such cases, the main page of the compromised site almost certainly wouldn't have links to the offensive content, as this would tip off the owners of the compromised site. Thus, linking to the compromised site, with the exception of links to some specific part of the directory hierarchy, wouldn't be contributing to the spread of child porn at all....

      Even if a website intentionally links to porn-oriented sites that contain child porn, it is still not automatically reasonable to say that the linking site is promoting child porn unless either A. the website is linking directly to a child porn section or page on the site, or B. the primary focus of the destination website is child porn. If somebody uploaded a piece of child porn to Wikipedia, would everyone linking to Wikipedia be considered "contributing to the spread of child porn"? Why should any other website be treated differently even if it is a porn site? For that matter, if someone adds a link to a child porn site from a Wikipedia page, should Wikipedia be blocked? If the Finnish lawmakers don't have a damn good answer for these question, they need to seriously rethink this policy.

      And then, there's the question about the sites hosting the porn being listed themselves. Those IP numbers on the list might contain dozens of other unrelated websites. If the server was compromised, it might not even be appropriate to block the host by its domain name, as you might be blocking a legitimate business. The correct course of action is always to notify first, allow reasonable time for response (whether in the form of removal, photo ID proof of age, etc.), then block if circumstances warrant it. The same goes for suspected copyright violations, suspected phishing sites, etc.

      • IMO the correct course of action for the police would be to get a court order. Right now the law makes the police into judges.
    • Re:Foriegners (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TapioNuut (615924) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:24AM (#22472474) Homepage

      I would like to point out that the censorship law says nothing about links, or listing sites with links. And in the law itself its purpose is said to be to promote measures which can be used to prevent access to foreign child porn sites. Lapsiporno.info is neither foreign nor contains any child porn.

      Also let it be known that Matti Nikki (muzzy) himself has actively reported actual child porn sites before, and some of them have been closed. Some was active even a year after reporting it. Of course, these sites are not Finnish.

      The EFFI statement linked in the article is very thorough. In this case there really can be only one bias: the law is bad and the way of enforcing it is even worse.

  • by Mr. Roadkill (731328) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:01PM (#22470760)
    I work for a University, and we have a commercial web-filter to try to keep objectionable and time-wasting material off people's machines and out of labs.

    $WEB_FILTER_VENDOR has decided that http://www.littlebigshots.com.au/ [littlebigshots.com.au] belongs under "Adult/Sexually Explicit" - whereas it is, in fact, about a childrens' film festival. I've filed a report, and locally whitelisted it until they get around to doing something about it, but still... can you imagine what kind of damage could be done by a secret ISP-level list required by government, and the embarrassment associated with challenging such listings? Who would admit to saying they tried to view a site listed by the government as a child-porn site? Well, I would - if I knew for a fact that the listing was wrong - but most people aren't like me. I wonder what else, perhaps of a political nature, might make its way onto such lists?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by calebt3 (1098475)
      Problems occur when we start automating the identification process. Bots just aren't accurate enough, and humans just aren't fast enough.
      • Bots are a fine place to start, they should just include a notice sent to the site owner that let's them know they have been flagged and provides them an opportunity to object to explain their content's legality. That's where you bring in the humans to investigate further. A site blocked for a day or two isn't oppressive censorship, but when a reasonable, verifiable explanation is made and the site is still blocked then you have oppression.
        • I'd use bots to find possible sites and then get them reviewed by humans.
          Never block and ask questions later.
        • by lgw (121541)
          No one should ever have to explain the legality of their actions just because some bot flagged them as questionable. If it's not worth a human's time to investigate whather the law is beign broken, it's not worth having the system in the first place.
    • Gay sites (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phorm (591458) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:16PM (#22470846) Journal
      I notice also that a lot of the sites appear to be gay-oriented, and as least as far as the names go, don't indicate child content. I'm not going to click on them (who knows what *my* ISP is logging), but I do wonder if they're just in there because of somebody's dislike of that particular content.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by corbettw (214229)

        I do wonder if they're just in there because of somebody's dislike of that particular content.
        Strictly speaking, even if the site does contain child porn, it's still on the list because of someone's dislike for that content. Whether that dislike is well founded or not, and whether it serves a greater good to society to block it or not, are different questions entirely.
        • Re:Gay sites (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Capsaicin (412918) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:56AM (#22472138)

          Strictly speaking, even if the site does contain child porn, it's still on the list because of someone's dislike for that content. Whether that dislike is well founded or not, and whether it serves a greater good to society to block it or not, are different questions entirely.

          A world of difference exists between the scenarios where something is banned on the basis of someone's arbitrary dislike of content and whether it is banned on the basis of duly enacted laws governing non-acceptable content. In a society governed by the rule of law the question of "[w]hether that dislike is well founded or not, and whether it serves a greater good to society" is not one properly left to nameless government bureaucrats. "Strictly speaking", the relevant question is whether the compilers of the list are giving proper expression to the legislative framework under which they labour.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sys_mast (452486)
      How do you KNOW to complain if you are unable to view the site to confirm that it does not contain objectionable material? I know if I'm blocked by work/library/etc that I can go home, check, and complain if they block something OK. But here they are talking about the whole country.(ignoring workarounds)
      • How do you KNOW to complain if you are unable to view the site to confirm that it does not contain objectionable material? I know if I'm blocked by work/library/etc that I can go home, check, and complain if they block something OK. But here they are talking about the whole country.(ignoring workarounds)

        A very good point. You don't know - unless you have work-arounds like an alternate DNS server or maybe something like TOR or one of those free-but-dodgy proxying websites that also try to rape your Windows

    • by BeeBeard (999187) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:05AM (#22471204)
      While I'm sure we all applaud your efforts at whitelisting an innocuous site, it begs the question of how much demand there really was to visit "http://www.littlebigshots.com.au" in the first place?*

      I raise this question not to criticize this particular site for not being more popular or well-known, but strictly to point out that it really is the "littlebigshots.com"s of the world that are most likely to be hurt by filters in a practically irreparable way that is also difficult to quantify: How many people, worldwide, tried to access the site before it will be whitelisted by this particular filter provider?

      Picture this: Somebody Google searches "children's festival," clicks on the aforementioned site, but it appears to be down. Or even worse, a warning message appears warning the user that they've just attempted to access sexually explicit material. "Well!" our hapless Google searcher says to themselves, "This is certainly not the family-friendly activity I had in mind!" and the search continues.

      The site has lost potential revenue because of the spam filter, sure. But even worse, now "littlebigshots" resonates in the mind of our Google searcher as just another porn site. It is nothing short of libel by proxy.

      So you can restore access to the site all you want (and again, it's a kind and responsible thing for you to do), but it doesn't fix the residual image problem that a miscategorized site may still have to cope with. This is a relatively new issue, and what I've been waiting for is the first case that's exactly on-point with this type of situation, to help sort out what kinds of rights and remedies a miscategorized plaintiff may have. So far, no good. I guess we'll just have to keep waiting.

      *(I'm not linking to it again because I'm sure they don't enjoy the unsolicited ./ web traffic.)
      • by huckamania (533052) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:16AM (#22471666) Journal
        This whole situation reminds me of Duty Call formations when I was in the Marines. Before putting into a port, they get all of the enlisted together and tell us what places not to visit. Sometimes we would take notes so we could get to these places faster.

        Having a list of child pornography sites would seem to be a bad idea simply because now those sites are getting free advertising. Maybe they should think about encrypting the list or something.
    • by nguy (1207026) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:54AM (#22471502)
      I work for a University, and we have a commercial web-filter to try to keep [...] time-wasting material off people's machines and out of labs.

      It can't be working very well if you manage to connect to Slashdot :-)
      • It can't be working very well if you manage to connect to Slashdot :-)
        Oh, it generally works very well, thank you very much. Who do you think implements the filtering rules? ;-)

        Besides, I recognise the subtle distinction between "time-wasting material" and "theraputic measures which prevent people climbing the clock tower".
    • by shermozle (126249)
      Yep, had a similar experience at my work. One morning, I was using the OpenCMS wiki site. That afternoon, it was blocked. WTF? So I couldn't do my job. Brilliant piece of software, that!
    • I wonder what else, perhaps of a political nature, might make its way onto such lists?

      And that's the thing right there. Societies stay more or less free as long as the inhabitants understand why fundamental rights such as freedom of speech are important to their personal safety. That does not seem to be the case these days, a lot of people are willing to sell their freedom for perceived security, or just because they see no use for it. So right now a lot of groundwork is being laid for the new coming of totalitarianism in western countries, with laws just like this one.

      A lot of the mor

  • Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Compuser (14899) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:10PM (#22470824)
    Is there an open blacklist like this. Those of us who do use net porn are often afraid of accidentally clicking a link to something illegal like this. Once it is in your cache, you go prove you are innocent. So it'd be nice to have a blacklist of sites for personal use. It would be even better if it were like a custom DNS service which would not resolve bad sites and I were free to choose to use it.
    • You've had a great idea, but the Finnish government haven't. The Finnish list is an arguably erroneous list (it contains many sites that are seem to be perfectly legal), foisted on ISPs who are supposed to "voluntarily" ensure their paying customers can't access the sites on the list.
      • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @04:05AM (#22472408)

        You've had a great idea, but the Finnish government haven't.

        The Finnish government is a sad parody of what it once was. Once it dealt with both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia and came up on top and turned the country from an economically abused agricultural colony (located at the arctic circle, as an icing on the cake) suffering from a civil war into a peaceful, democratic, industrial first-world country. The current version, on the other hand, falls all over itself trying to bow down to Russia, EU and the USA simultaneously while passing one bad, freedom-removing law after another. The new finnish copyright law, the so-called "Lex Karpela", is a perfect example: even the government which passed it itself admitted it doesn't know what it actually forbids or allows, but passed it anyway.

        The Finnish list is an arguably erroneous list (it contains many sites that are seem to be perfectly legal), foisted on ISPs who are supposed to "voluntarily" ensure their paying customers can't access the sites on the list.

        I assure you, the list contains exactly the entries it's supposed to: specifically, it already contains sites which merely criticize censorship. It was perfectly obvious from the beginning that this was the true purpose of the list. If these creeps actually thought of children, they wouldn't be constantly cutting funds from education to finance rising their own pay.

        Is it just me, or does every country have at its helm the most disgusting subhuman slimemolds it manages to produce ? I'm starting to wonder if those medieval theories about incubi and succubi producing demonic half-human children actually have some merit; it is kinda hard to explain the origin of our Great Leaders otherwise.

    • Please visit http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com] for your needs. They have exactly what your hunting for!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by asuffield (111848)

      Is there an open blacklist like this.

      No. There's a classic catch-22 in here designed to funnel money to certain interests at the exclusion of all others. Here's the trick: it's illegal to access this data. You cannot create an accurate blacklist without accessing this data, since you would have to review the content. Hence, creating an accurate blacklist is illegal. Anybody who wants to create a blacklist will therefore need political cover to avoid prosecution (this doesn't mean it's legal, it just means t

      • by badfish99 (826052)
        The person with political "cover" to create the blacklist is forced to spend all his time looking at web sites that have been reported as child porn, and is immune to prosecution for this. That's a pretty good job to have if you're a pervert.
  • by klmth (451037) <mkoivi3@unix.saunalahti.fi> on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:15PM (#22470844) Homepage Journal
    Simply put, this entire list is a disgrace to the nation. The entire list was lobbied through by appealing to simple-minder think-of-the-children rhetoric without any thought given to the implication of this list. Anyone even remotely knowledgeable about technology in gneeral knew that this idea could not possibly work and would end up being abused in no time flat.

    The mere existence of this kind of censorship disgusts me.
    • by Skreech (131543)

      lobbied through by appealing to simple-minder think-of-the-children rhetoric
      Appealing to the simple-minded seems to be the popular thing to do these days! Or actually forever.
    • by 10Ghz (453478) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:59AM (#22472392)
      Tell me about it. I'm fucking PISSED OFF at the legislators! How in the fuck did they manage to pass a bill that is so blatantly against the constitution? And not only that, the law is already being misused, since the blacklist contains tons of websites that have nothing to do with pedophilia! And it's supposed to only deal with foreign websites, but now they are using it to silence a Finnish website as well! So that's already three ways this law has failed! And the goddamned recording-industry is already salivating by the idea of using this technology to block access to websites that "infringe on their IP". Fuck this shit!

      What I want to know is the names of each and every MP who voted for this travesty of a law! I will swear to FSM that during the next elections, I will go talk to them during their campaign and grill them about "supporting censorship". If those fucking fascists want censorship, maybe they should move to China or North Korea? Why in the hell we have such a bunch of fucking retards deciding things for us?

      Speaking as a Finn, I'm deeply ashamed and fucking pissed off!

      What Finland needs right about now is MASSIVE amount of bad publicity! We have this thing that we are always concerned what others might be thinking about us. And if Finland starts to be compared to China and North Korea in the international media, that just might be the trick to get this law overturned.
      • Mod parent up (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Please mod the parent up. Despite the crude language, the poster is right: considering how concerned Finns are of what the foreigners think about us, one of the best strategies is to get the Times of London compare Finland to North Korea or another stereotype of an oppressive regime.
      • by ravenlock (693538)
        Any ideas on what we (Finnish geeks) should do? I've already educated my friends and family about the issue, but that's a total of two people out of six million. The word is out in the geek circles, but I'm afraid that just like Lex Karpela, this one will remain an issue only geeks care about. How do we make others care?
        • by 10Ghz (453478) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:51AM (#22473050)
          Well, what I did is that I went to Parliaments website, looked for the people who presented this legislation and supported it in the relevant comission. I then wrote a polite yet very stern email to each of them, explaining the flaws of the law and the error of their ways.

          BTW. the MP's I wrote to are: Markku Laukkanen, Raimo Vistbacka, Saara Karhu, Erkki Pulliainen and Mikko Alatalo. here [eduskunta.fi] you can read the comments those people made during the first hearing on the new legislation. Another person to write to could be Sari Essayah, who supported the legislation here [eduskunta.fi] (what else can you expect from a fundie?). It should also be noted that Jyrki Kasvi strongly opposed the legislation.

          Make your voice heard. And know who to vote.
          • by ravenlock (693538)
            Indeed, that's why I voted for Kasvi in the last elections. Thanks for the list, I think I will both write to those people and pass the list on to others who are interested.
            • by 10Ghz (453478)
              Note: there are probably other people as well who should be emailed as well, but those were the people I found with 10 minutes of searching.

              And I can happily report that I voted for Kasvi as well.
          • by ravenlock (693538)
            On a side note, I don't suppose you would know of any ISP that would have pledged to *not* use the secret block lists? My ISP (Saunalahti) seems to be basing its blocking on DNS entries, so OpenDNS is enough to circumvent the blockage; however I'd rather pay my monthly fees to an ISP that would refuse to do the blocking to begin with.
            • by 10Ghz (453478)
              Well, the thing is that the legislators (including some of those who I mentioned) have said that while the blacklist is voluntary, if ISP's don't start using it, they will make it mandatory...

              That said, to my knowledge Sonera (the old state telecom-monopoly! Oh the irony!) is not using the list at the moment, although they haven't made any sort of pledge on the issue. I haven't been able to verify that, since Sonera is not my ISP. I haven't checked with my ISP (Nebula).
              • by ravenlock (693538)
                This is unverified, but the latest rumor is that Sonera is going to do it too in the very near future. Also, I'm never ever going to be a paying customer of Sonera ever again (long story).

                I'm not surprised about Saunalahti, ever since Elisa bought them it feels like the quality of their service been going steadily downhill. Been considering Nebula too, but since there's no definitive word out yet, I'm yet undecided.
              • ISP Filtering status (Score:2, Informative)

                by hurtta (659055)
                There is list on http://sensuuri.wikidot.com/operaattorit

                Also see http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/artikkeli/+/1135234066254
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by skulgnome (1114401)
            I should point out that Jyrki Kasvi the finnish MP had a convenient case of the flu on the day of the vote. It appears that even to the green geek hero in the parliament, the child porn excuse is far too toxic to appear as sole dissenter in.
            • by 10Ghz (453478)
              I don't think he was the "sole dissenter", or that he didn't want to vote on the issue. I mean, he had publicly spoken against the legislation quite forcefully, and his critique is available in his blog (where he even has a link to the now-blacklisted website). If he was afraid of being labeled as "supporter of pedophiles" or something like that, the damage was already done. What do I think happened? I believe he was sick on the day of the vote, and that his vote wouldn't have changed anything in any case.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Daimanta (1140543)

        Tell me about it. I'm fucking PISSED OFF at the legislators! How in the fuck did they manage to pass a bill that is so blatantly against the constitution?
        I know more about that fragment of law than you apparently.
        The Netherlands and Finland are the only two countries in the world where judges aren't able to rule on the constitutionality of laws(strict trias politica). So yes, they can pass a bill that violates your constitution.
        • by 10Ghz (453478)
          I wasn't talking about legalities of creating laws that are unconstitutional, I was more referring to the morality (or lack of thereof) of people who create those laws, and the MP's who either had no idea what was being done, or simply didn't care. In either case, they screwed up.
          • by Daimanta (1140543)
            Never, ever depend on morality as a safeguard. Count on the fact that 'they' don't have it and you'll be more carefull.
  • by superash (1045796) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:27PM (#22470918)
    Well, nobody in finland will protest as there is an old joke about extrovert Finns - "How do you identify an extrovert Finn? -- When he looks at your feet when talking to you instead of looking at his own" :)
  • by muzzy (164903) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:33PM (#22470952) Homepage Journal

    "Finnish ISPs are required by law to block access to sites on the list, according to The Register"

    Actually, The Register doesn't say this. There exists a law specifically crafted due to this child porn censorship program, but it technically doesn't mandate ISPs into participating to the censorship. Well, except for the fact that the people behind the law have made public statements that if voluntary "self-regulation" isn't enough, then there will be such a law. So, it's not exactly voluntary when the ISPs are being threatened, but technically they can claim it's not required by the law...

    Anyway, regarding the free speech advocate who has gotten his site censored, that's me. I've written a little bit of text in English about my page and the situation [lapsiporno.info].

    • by phorm (591458)
      Personally, I'd like to learn more about the procedure for getting a site on the block list. Who can do so, and what oversight is there?
    • by nyri (132206)
      Muzzy wrote:

      I've written a little bit of text in English about my page and the situation [lapsiporno.info].


      Could someone paste the content of the document. I am from Finland, hence I am unable to read it.

      --
      Jari Mustonen

      PS. I feel like living in some kind of totalitarian state. Well, this is what we get for electing this jackass for our prime minister.
      • by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:04AM (#22471578) Journal

        About the site
        Lapsiporno.info is run by Matti Nikki to participate in the discussion of Internet censorship, child porn on the internet and the problems related to these things. Nearly everything is written in Finnish with a few pages in English when I've wanted to target it to a larger audience. My primary purpose has been to provide information and knowledge about the subject matter from my own point of view. It was my concern that all the factual information available was from childs' rights organizations and this information tended to be biased and overly supportive towards censorship.

        I started the site back in december 2005 with only one article online, outlining what I knew about Internet censorship and it would and wouldn't apply to child porn distribution. It has been my belief that censorship isn't any kind of solution to child porn, and I actually believe it'll only worsen the situation as it'll give a reason for the people involved to tighten their security and anonymity.

        Over the years I've covered a bunch of issues around the subject matter, and lately I've been writing almost daily about the Internet censorship since it unfortunately was finally implemented in Finland. One of the first things I did was to publish a list of a few hundred censored sites.

        Update 2008-02-17: I said above "one of the first things", I meant after the censorship was activated. Before this, I've written my opinions about why the censorship doesn't work and what should be done instead of it to fight the distribution of child porn online. Now, since I've seen some people thinking I published a list of child porn sites, I'd like to mention that nearly none of the sites on the child porn list seem to contain child porn. I certainly would not have published the full list had I considered it accurate!
        About the censorship

        The Internet censorship was being planned for years, and apparently three successive Ministers of Communications have been supportive to the Internet Censorship until it was finally implemented. When the ministry asked for statements about the planned censorship law from various parties, they were told by the Faculty of Law of the University of Turku that the censorship would be against The Constitution of Finland. Despite this, the ministry insisted there were no legal problems and that the censorship would be implemented.

        The Ministry of Telecommunications has ordered and published some investigations about the legal possibility of censorship, and made its own interpretations of what these investigations say. For example a document that goes by the name "Railaksen Selvitys" and dated 2005-12-16 lists several critical problems and unanswered questions regarding the censorship. These problems are listed in the very beginning of the document and include things like effectiveness of the filtering solutions, the problem of collateral damage when censorship affects more material than it should, freedom of speech, what kind of crimes the censorship should exactly target, etc. Most of these went unanswered and the problems are seen with the current implementation of the censorship. Some of the issues were only addressed partially, for example the freedom of speech regarding reception of illegal material was touched but the police has now been found censoring even sites that do not contain illegal material themselves. What is being practiced now isn't what was planned.

        Apparently the censorship had already been decided to be implemented even before the legality of the censorship had been touched at all. In the beginning of the resulting paper from the above mentioned investigation it's stated that "A decision of principle has been made to take action against distribution of child porn over telecommunication networks". Apparently the ministry had told the law firm that they will implement the censorship no matter what, and requested a paper to support it and to interpret the law in a way to make it look legal. Where this wasn't possible, the paper suggested w

    • by weicco (645927) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:47AM (#22472352)

      I've tried to discuss this with many others at Helsingin Sanomat message board. But it is hard because when ever you try to convince someone that this isn't the right kind of tool to prevent child porn you get labeled as a child porn consumer or even a pedofile. Those who understands this issue can't do much and those who don't are closing their eyes and ears and shouting I CAN'T HEAR YOU, YOU SICK BASTARD.

      I'll think I write nice letter to minister Katainen about this. I have Kokoomus membership card in my pocket and I live in Pohjois-Savo, as does Katainen, so hopefully he reads my mail. But I'm not sure how to phrase the mail so that it is polite and informative at the same time :) I'll have to think about this a little ...

      • I would personally emphasize the long-term effects of laws such as this. How it is deeply troubling that the lawmakers are willing to ditch fundamental liberties like freedom of speech for no actual, demonstrable gain, except maybe the political points they themselves get. How those liberties are in place to ensure the health of the society in the long run, to prevent a slide into totalitarianism. How freedom is retained by fighting for it at all times, and lost by becoming complacent.
        • by weicco (645927)

          Ah. Very good point. But to be exact it is not lawmakers who are in control (well, at least not anymore) but the police. What I understood was that someone at police organization updates this list based totally on his/her whim. So whoever is in control can use this list to drive his/her own political, religional etc. agenda. Maybe I should make a point about liberties and that there's absolutely zero oversight on what is put on that list?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            What you should do depends on what you find acceptable. If there was oversight, would you approve of this kind of censorship? If you would, then by all means, demand oversight.

            For me, the lack of oversight is a minor issue compared to the fact this system exists at all. I would be against it even if they got a court order for each and every site blocked. It would still be an extremely dangerous system. What happens if the government becomes corrupt? What happens if the nation destabilizes. Finland had a
            • by weicco (645927)

              Well I personally don't like this censorship at all. I just thought to use lack of oversight as one argument against this.

              You rise more very good points which I haven't considered at all. I thank you for that. I'll think I wait a couple of days if more comments come in and then we'll see what happens :)

              • we'll see what happens

                Indeed we shall... Just to clarify, the reason I take a dim view of criticizing lack of oversight is that while proper oversight certainly plays an important element in keeping government in check, here concentrating your critique on the technical deficiencies of the law may overshadow the more important questions of principle at play. Similarly I wouldn't concentrate on criticizing the technical unfeasibility of the filtering, except maybe to make a point about how stupidly the lawmakers have acted - cr

              • by jsiren (886858)

                In my opinion there are two very strong arguments against this whole censorship ordeal: first, it's against the Constitution (see the statement made by the University of Turku Faculty of Law in this PDF [mintc.fi]). Second, it does nothing to serve the victims, i.e. those children who get abused. It has been stated outright that the only purpose of the law is to protect web surfers against accidental exposure to child porn. This amounts to nothing more than pulling a curtain in front of an unpleasant sight; burying ou

  • by Coopjust (872796) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:33PM (#22470956)
    For those of you who do not want to RTFA, this blocklist is within the ISP DNS server, so switching to a non-Finnish DNS server or running your own is all that is necessary to bypass it and access the numerous falsely blocked sites.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:41PM (#22470998)

    Finland's EFF has information about the block list, which reportedly includes a musical instrument store, a doll store, and a site of Windows tips in Thai.

    Right, because someone hosting child porn would be stupid enough to link to it on their legitimate business site.

    Child porn could have very well been there- maybe the site owner has a /kiddieporn/ directory, or maybe someone put porn on the server without them knowing- either someone who just needed a server to distribute said porn, or someone who wanted to exact revenge.

    A server I helped run was hacked and it had an IRC bot on it providing sample clips of a group's movie rip (incidentally, Rizon IRC admins refused to do anything about it, claiming "you could have faked logs". I suppose then, that it's normal to have a channel with 10,000+ members all sitting idle, eh? With a group name that's easily googleable to see that they do pirate movie releases? Make no mistake: Rizon is 100% about supporting movie and software piracy.)

    • by muzzy (164903) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:00AM (#22471162) Homepage Journal
      The references to and instrument store and doll store both relate to same blocked domain. Specifically, it's a whole Japanese ISP's web server. One of the users probably has something the Finnish Police doesn't like, and that's all it takes to block the entire server.

      The reference to "Windows tips in Thai" is to a whole ISP's server blocked in Thailand. They provide free web boards, so it's fairly reasonable to assume that those free boards are used to post child porn links. Child porn groups tend to communicate over forgotten guestbooks, forums, they use freesites to publish stuff, etc.

      The whole point is that these legit sites are collateral damage, and the police doesn't care the slightest about it. As a matter of fact, the police has released a FAQ which quite directly suggests that since there are so many sites on the internet it doesn't matter if a few of them are blocked.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      if you ran a private IRC channel would YOU want people to have access to private information about members because they claimed they were hacked?

      that's exactly why we love rizon.

      you did more to help piracy by failing to properly configure your server than rizon did by ignoring your requests that they go snooping into their users business without a court order.
  • Wasn't the web supposed to be this great fun free place of personal self expression?

    Well it seems to have turned into yet another tool for the police state. Yeah - kiddie porn is evil - no doubt, but the bloom is off - it's not a wide open frontier. It's dead and calcifying as we speak.

    RS

    • by Dunbal (464142)
      It's dead and calcifying as we speak.

      No it's not. Evolution is just leaving you behind. But the people will always be one step ahead of the government in this. That's what happens when you allow cheap, instant communication between people all over the world. The only way to prevent people finding different ways to share information is to prevent that means communication and take everyone off the net.

      I don't justify child pornography, after all children under the a
  • by urbanriot (924981) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:16AM (#22471280)
    In the US waivers MUST be signed by performing actresses that they're 18 years or older. I perused the list and every US based server I looked at had known porn actresses that are 20+, let alone 19 or even 18. Guaranteed that some old guy, completely out of touch with his youth (ie. over 50), and probably unable to meet young attractive women banned anything that remotely looked under 30. This is religious conservatism at its worst and the Finnish people shouldn't stand for this repression!
    • younggirls.org I started from the bottom and this page CLEARLY has naked girls UNDER the age of 18. Legal images as they are photographs by David Hamilton. They fall under art but are absolutly 100% of girls under the age limit you mention.

      I am not going to do the whole bloody list, but a sampling shows me that a LOT of it is from porn sites with quite a bit of questionable content.

      The entire defence of the Hamilton work depends on the fact that the images have artistic merit and are not just there to aro

      • by urbanriot (924981)
        I'm not sure what you saw, but the page is a redirect to a 'save the kids' style page. It's quite possible the european sites have 'child porn', but I only went through the US site, which are the bulk majority on that list, to prove a point. In fact, it would be more helpful to children if whoever created this list contacted US authorities, as child porn sites are illegal... however, clearly that's not possible as the sites aren't child porn, so no one would care.

        younggirls.org I started from the bottom and this page CLEARLY has naked girls UNDER the age of 18. Legal images as they are photographs by David Hamilton. They fall under art but are absolutly 100% of girls under the age limit you mention.

  • Yes, I wish they would.

  • Searching lapsiporno.info [google.fi] from Google produces:

    In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request [chillingeffects.org] at ChillingEffects.org.

    ChillingEffects.org:

    Google has received notice of a list of web sites from the Internet Watch Foundation (web site URL) that contain child pornography. Google has removed the related web sites from its search results.

  • by ymgve (457563) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:56AM (#22472378) Homepage
    Norway has the same kind of list. [aftenposten.no]

    It seems to be more lenient, though. Lapsiporno isn't blocked, and out of a sampling of the least offensive sounding sites, "only" three out of eight were blocked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by muzzy (164903)
      Norway has a different list, with different kind of sites blocked.

      Here's a partial list for Norway: http://lapsiporno.info/blocked.nextgentel [lapsiporno.info]
      Heck, here's one for Sweden, too: http://lapsiporno.info/blocked.glocalnet [lapsiporno.info]
      And now that I'm at it, Denmark: http://lapsiporno.info/blocked.cybercity [lapsiporno.info]

      Also, it might be just a matter of time until Finnish Police tries to push my site into lists of other countries too.
      • by Daimanta (1140543)
        How is this usefull? This is a public list. If this list is correct you only need to check this one if you're looking for child porn. Simply use tor and OpenDNS. Censorship is useless if you indicate what you censor. And at the same time it's abusable if you don't indicate what you censor. Sounds like a lose/lose situation to me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Sweden also has the same kind of child porn filter. But it contains some rather puzzling sites, among others http://www.koreabonsai.com/ [koreabonsai.com] which to me appears to be a site about growing bonsai trees. The last time I used my ISPs DNS servers I found another site on the list that when I examined it did have some pictures I would have called inappropriate (a young girl in non-sexual poses but still a sexual undertone to the pictures), but not child pornography. I chose not to fully examine the site, since it wou
  • Not true! (Score:2, Informative)

    by dropadrop (1057046)

    Finnish ISPs are required by law to block access to sites on the list, according to The Register.

    This is not true, rather quite the opposite. There is no requirement for the ISP's to add the block list, but for some strange reason most of them still do.

  • Number of legit websites censored: 1
    Number of abused children saved: 0

    Score one for the child abusers!

    Everyone here knows the cracking of software is not driven by supply and demand, games would be cracked even if no one played them. So how many of you think that child pornography is driven by supply and demand? Do you think less children will be abused if spreading pictures of it is harder? I doubt it.

    Someone has forgotten to think of the children when they were shouting "Think of the children!"

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

Working...