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France Votes Tuesday On Net Censorship 134

Posted by timothy
from the to-go-with-ebay-censorship dept.
angry tapir writes "French lawmakers will vote next Tuesday on a proposal to filter Internet traffic. Part of a new security bill, the measure is intended to catch child pornographers. However, once the filtering system is in place it will allow the government to censor other material too. Slashdot has previously discussed Australia's proposed ISP-level filter."
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France Votes Tuesday On Net Censorship

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, 2010 @04:48AM (#31110608)

    As an Australian, dare I say I'm waiting with bated breath. The French dumping that section wouldn't help our cause, but passing it would hurt it - the Aus govt is already looking for rationalisation and "me too!" works for voters here.

    The whole bureaucracy we have to put up with in these times is far worse when they attempt this bullshit to lead attention away from false promises and actual governmental improvement. Fuck the system basically, especially when there's no history of revolution over here.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      one of the things which I do is manage some web sites which take several thousand hits per second. We don't even notice the slashdot effect for example.

      Anyway. In China we have a problem with 'clipping'. The traffic looks like a square wave rather than a sine wave. It indicated a performance limitation or choke point. So we opened up a second datacenter and balanced the connections between them. entirely different network, everything.
      So the square wave remains, but now half the connections to each site. I

    • The reason the leaders of France and Australia want to censor/monitor the internet is the same reason President Obama wants to track/monitor our cellphones.

      Control.

      They want the power to run our lives, as if they were lords of the manor, and we were mere serfs.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      The French pirate party is here: http://www.partipirate.org/ [partipirate.org] - I hope some of the French Slashdotters will consider voting for them or joining them. Having their membership rise sharply would be a nice signal for the other French parties.
  • by saibot834 (1061528) on Friday February 12, 2010 @04:53AM (#31110644) Homepage

    In Germany, a law was passed called Zugangserschwerungsgesetz [wikipedia.org]. It said the Federal Criminal Police Office [wikipedia.org] delivers secret list of blocked domains to the ISPs. After the elections in 2009 the government changed and even though the law has come into effect, the new coalition prevented the feds to give out the list. So de facto, Zugangserschwerungsgesetz has been rejected now.

    This is partially the success of the German Pirate Party, which both thrived because of this law proposal (membership decupled [piratenpartei.de] in a few months) and forced a public discussion about this law (otherwise it'd just be rubber-stamped: "oh, this law is against kiddie porn. Good!"). It astonished me that the PP actually succeeded to bring common sense into the debate, because politicians often tend to turn of their brain when they hear "kiddie porn". Partially the success was also due to an online petition which had 134,000 signatures (which made it by far the most successful petition in German history).

    It is also doubtful that the Zugangserschwerungsgesetz will pass German's highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court [wikipedia.org], which in the past has proven to value human rights (such as article 5 [btg-bestellservice.de] of Germany's constitution) very highly.

    • by RobVB (1566105)

      Excellent post. Regarding your last statement, it does indeed seem that such a law is against the German constitution. From your link [btg-bestellservice.de] (I added the bold):

      Article 5
      [Freedom of expression, arts and sciences]
      (1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his
      opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance
      from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom
      of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed.
      There shall be no censorship.

      • There shall be no censorship.

        Wouldn't the new European Constitution (Lissabon treaty) overrule the German Constitution here?

        In the same spot, the European Constitution has "Intellectual Property is protected" instead.

      • by richlv (778496)

        erm. what about nazi symbols ? i think germany has more censorship than some of its neighbours...

    • by jeti (105266)

      More interestingly, the German law would not only have blocked sites featuring CP, but also sites linking or referring to CP. This would have included pages like Wikileaks that provide leaked blocking lists of other countries. These lists are interesting because only a miniscule minority of the blocked sites feature actual CP.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      It's actually not quite so clear whether the law has come into effect. The German president (whose job it is to sign the law) has requested some clarifying information - so far the parliament has not answered the request and the president has not signed. The legal situation in Germany is a little murky in that respect - the constitution doesn't give the president a veto on signing laws, he is supposed to be nothing but a rubber stamp. Then again - the constitution does require that laws don't violate the co
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      If it's one thing that has always amazed me about Germany, it's the drive that Germans have towards reducing even the most complex of concepts to a single word--however many syllables it involves. There are single words in German that require entire paragraphs in English to translate.
  • by BestNicksRTaken (582194) on Friday February 12, 2010 @04:55AM (#31110652)

    I thought Sarkoszy was essentially a dictator when it comes to all things MAFIAA.

    he pushes in laws that have been voted against all the way up to the european parliament.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If they didn't make possession illegal then ordinary citizens with spare time would be able to help track down those who actually make the material.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Just what we need, groups of gang-stalking self-righeous zealots violating privacy with the blessing of the feds. Great, more dickheads to flag people as "suspicious" or "pedophiles" because they downloaded pics of hentai or Simpsons family fucking or of-age women whose boobs are too small. Last I checked, hanging out in chat rooms pretending to be 12 year-old girls was legal anyway.

      Child porn is bad, but it happens and it's gonna continue happen and you're not going to stop those scum from exploiting ch
  • Ah, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:02AM (#31110678)

    Child porn, the European root password to society. In America, it's "terrorism". I'm sure the politicians rejoice that the people let themselves be programmed to respond in such a simple way to these root passwords...

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:03AM (#31110682)

    Appearantly the terrrrrists don't cut it anymore, so we pulled another one out of the hat. Or maybe just that terrrrrists don't work in this context because, well, there's really little harm done by webpages that tell us how we infidels will all go to hell, so someone else had to fill the void.

    So let's imagine how this works for a moment. Someone sets up a webpage with kiddy porn in a country where such a thing is legal and the only way to fight that would be that ISPs in France are required to block it.

    Anyone here able to point out the three problems with this approach?

    First, there is NO country on this planet where child porn is legal. Not a single one. Instead of blocking such a server, go there and raid it. It's illegal where it's hosted. Shut it down. Simple solution.

    Second, blocking does jack in a world where international proxy servers exist. So unless such a law is installed worldwide, the blocking means jack.

    Oh, one might argue that they're pushing for it, to get it internationally installed. That leads to the third problem:

    It's not distributed through webpages. It's not on webpages you could filter. It's working along the same channels that most illegal content travels. Hacked FTP servers, P2P and usenet.

    So there's now two possibilities. Either our politicians don't know what they're doing and they're trying to appear like they're "doing something". Or the whole thing is just a strawman for something you could not push through because of public resistance. Personally, I think it's a combination of the two.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      In the case of France right now, I think that it is a lot of the first option, i.e. they want to appear like they are doing something. Regional elections are coming soon (March) and discontent is growing in the population plus most of the moderate people who once voted for NS are disillusioned since he failed to implement anything serious but minor reforms. Finally his personal behavior is getting on the nerves of many. I think that the government is afraid of losing votes on the far right so they are pushi
      • I think that the government is afraid of losing votes on the far right so they are pushing some sort of a security agenda.

        You mean, this isn't already a far right government?

      • In recent months they already talked of banning the veil for women in public spaces and tried to have some national debate on the "French identity".

        Because trying to fight "terrorists" by doing something that doesn't at all hinder terrorist activity but is guaranteed to piss off "terrorists" is a great improvement in security.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First, there is NO country on this planet where child porn is legal. Not a single one. Instead of blocking such a server, go there and raid it. It's illegal where it's hosted. Shut it down. Simple solution.

      (replying as AC because I just moderated some folk. hoping this doesn't revert it..)

      Wikipedia says that Child Pornography is illegal in 'most' countries. Of course, I know Wikipedia is no guarantee of truth and no citation is provided there, so I wonder if you have one..?

      Another issue is that this 'child'

      • If there are laws in the country that make some depictions illegal that are legal in other countries (I don't want to get into the argument whether a drawing of a child should be illegal)? In this case there is a very good reason to NOT block access to such sites. At least if you really want to prosecute those that try to access this content.

        Why? Because the strongest drive of a human being is the sex drive. He (or she) WILL get his fix, one way or another. If you block access to such pages, the very first

        • The difference is that now you are dealing with encrypted traffic that you can't even use to prosecute this person. He can simply access that page without you, the law enforcement agency, having any chance to actually catch him doing it.

          • The far right might just make all encrypted traffic illegal
          • If you slip up just once and go to a dodgy site directly rather than via tor, your IP will show up in the site's log, and police will haul off your computer if ever they get a hand on the server logs. And then they'll find loads of evidence of your other (encrypted) traffic as well.
          • If the tor exit node (or other proxy) that you happen to use isn't actually in a country where kiddie porn is legal, you just got some unsuspecting chap into serious tro
          • 1) Who's gonna tell all the corporations that all their VPN connections and their Blackberries are now illegal?

            2) Where's the difference to not blocking and those people going there with their plain IP address? I mean, besides them not having to slip up to show up on the logs?

            3) Do you think these people care?

            • > Who's gonna tell all the corporations that all their VPN connections and
              > their Blackberries are now illegal?

              Simple. While the "far right" will have made all encryption illegal the "far left" will have made all corporations illegal so they won't be there to complain.

    • by Mornedhel (961946)

      It's working along the same channels that most illegal content travels. Hacked FTP servers, P2P and usenet.

      In other news, French lawmakers intend to make all FTP, P2P and usenet traffic, as well as non-sanctioned HTTP traffic, illegal.

      The Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés' only comment on the matter was "TIMEOUT REACHED".

      Seriously, don't give them any ideas.

      • Now, let's be sensible and try to find out how such a law could be implemented.

        Goal: Blocking not-allowed traffic. Ok. How? Blocking port 21 or $torrent_standard_port? Ok, people will set up their FTP servers on other ports (like, say, it's NOW already). Blocking everything but a selected few ports that are deemed allowed? Ok, then the FTP server will listen on 23, 80, 445 or 3306, depending on what's allowed and not in use on that machine. Deep packet inspection? The whole deal gets a valid HTTP header. Fo

        • by Mornedhel (961946)

          My post was supposed to be a joke, but I keep forgetting communications on the Internet tend to lose the subtle inflections that indicate that kind of things. Sorry.

          Do you really think, though, that implementation problems are of any concern when they come up with these ideas? Take HADOPI for instance. They're supposed to send 10 000 emails per day, but they don't even have a reliable way of obtaining a valid email address since ISPs do not necessarily have them.

          Then there's the official HADOPI spyware, whi

    • by Aceticon (140883)

      Any law which is trully meant to protect people from unwanted/illegal content would pass the following check list:

      1. Is the list of sites that are blocked openly available for examination?
      2. Is it a voluntary (for the consumer) mechanism working on the basis of opt-in (for example users would be able to go to their control page on their ISP and enable/disable the filter)?
      3. Is there a working mechanism for independent reviewing of complaints about sites which were incorrectly added to the list and, if the complaint
      • 1. Probably not. And that alone was a big enough can of worms for the German government to can that idea.

        If you make it public, you will get a lot of heat for giving out a "kiddy porn shopping list". So it will remain closed. And it will eventually leak out. Security through obscurity isn't, as anyone here knows, and everything that's "secret" but not under 100% control of the party that wants it to remain secret (because every ISP would have to get a list, encrypted or not), this will get out. Which will i

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Indeed. Here in the UK, the IWF's blocking system isn't even capable of blocking the images on the web, anyway! The Wikipedia fiasco showed us that. They blocked a page - containing perfectly legal text - that happened to inline the image, but the image was still available via the URL of the image, as well as via other HTML pages that inlined it.

    • there is NO country on this planet where child porn is legal. Not a single one. Instead of blocking such a server, go there and raid it. It's illegal where it's hosted. Shut it down. Simple solution.

      Would that it was simple. Many things are 'illegal' in many places, yet still carry on. If the US & EU can't/won't stop Iran & N. Korea from getting/having the bomb, (and increasingly, the means to deliver it via ICBM), then what's the chance they'll go to the mat with Russia, China et al over attack sites / spammer / kiddie porn / whatever?

    • > First, there is NO country on this planet where child porn is legal.

      Different governments define it differently. In the USA drawings are never child pornography (though they may be obscenity). In Sweden and several other countries they can be. Thus your tenacle porn hentai may be legal in New York but get you busted in Stockholm.

      • As long as it is legal in one country, there is a "roast a snowball" chance that you can block it. All it takes is that some like-minded individual sets up a proxy in a country where the content is allowed and have it on a dynamic IP address.

        • My point is that "it's illegal everywhere: just have the pornographers prosecuted by their local jurisdiction" doesn't work because all jurisdictions don't agree on what it is.

          • Duh, it's a porn law. I'd be surprised if there was any two countries that agree on them completely.

            Porn laws never have any roots in reality and are by their very nature purely artificial. You will never get two countries, heck, two people, to agree on them comletely.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First, there is NO country on this planet where child porn is legal. Not a single one. Instead of blocking such a server, go there and raid it. It's illegal where it's hosted. Shut it down. Simple solution.

      That's expensive, and when you're just fishing for votes rather than actually caring about abuse of children, "out of sight, out of mind" works just as well.

  • This will lead to one thing only; those savvy enough or caring about privacy and freedom will jump off in darknets, shadownets, unionrings and dissapear from the "radar" and jump through proxies or VPNs.

    It'll create these "underground movements" with a club-like and elitist sense of self, as annonymous, with secret handshakes and what have you.

    Those using the internet to chat up girls, share their pictures on facebook or what have you, will continue to use their computers as glorified TV-sets.

    And why would

    • Your representative, doesn't represent you. The sooner you stop eating the turds they're feedin you the better off things will be.
      Your representative (sic) doesn't know or understand tcpip, which means he's more than likely just rubber stamping legislation which was prepared by the law enforcement and security industry who comprise his real corporate masters.
      France ain't the only country they're trying to screw right now.
      It's the treasonous GLOBAL control and takeover of information, all under a plethora of

  • by Xenkar (580240) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:20AM (#31110758)

    The pedophiles will just use Tor or come up with some stenographic technique to hide their stuff. Meanwhile everyone else will suffer from burdening the costs of implementing and maintaining such a system.

    Child porn occasionally gets posted to fetish image boards by Russian spammers. So France, say good bye to 4chan.

    Your children won't be any safer if some random pervert can't get his jollies from images anymore. Without an outlet, these pervertss will bottle it up until they can no longer hold back. Innocent children will most likely suffer due to such legislation.

    Pedophiles aren't something new. They have existed in humanity for at least as long as recorded history. Putting our fingers in our ears and going lalalala will do nothing to protect our children or get pedophiles the treatment that will enable them to participate in our society.

    I would like to see the creation of programs where pedophiles can go in and receive counseling without getting a life long stigma. Perhaps we could create child-less towns out in the middle of nowhere so they can live their lives without temptation. We could do more research on the brains of pedophiles and develop drugs to re-orientate pedophiles to a more healthy age range, preferably in a delivery mechanism like the Norplant birth control so the pedophile just needs to get it replaced every few years.

    My cousin was molested as a child by her father's boss. He fled to France to avoid prosecution. It did significant trauma to my extended family. I want to prevent such things from happening to other families and to do that we have to work with the pedophiles so they get help and don't hide in the woodwork, being consumed by their desires yet secluded due to fears of being expelled from society.

    Locking up people who have thumbnails of child porn in their browser's caches does nothing to solve the problem either and creates a new class of victims, those who went to an image board for a legal fetish that is far removed from child porn but got spammed by the Russian child porn spammers. It is a crime in some places to delete it from your cache, leaving many people in a no-win situation caused by ignorant and useless politicians.

    Please think before wasting tax dollars and giving people a false sense of security. Every wasted dollar could be better spent feeding, clothing, and educating children, or perhaps fix up a nation's crumbling transportation infrastructure or installing optical fiber to every house.

    • by Pecisk (688001)

      You are trying to propose emotionally balanced and practical approach to problem. Nice, but it won't work, because it won't bring profit to anyone - nor politics, nor media. Hysteria sells. It gives politician's populism a base and possibility to be taken serious and voted in where you want to be. For media, it sells newspapers. And more or less, people don't want to think, they want to react and act. That's how we are built, to response to *stereotypical* threat. And if you point out that they can hurt lot

    • Homosexuals aren't something new. They have existed in humanity for at least as long as recorded history. Putting our fingers in our ears and going lalalala will do nothing to protect our children or get homosexuals the treatment that will enable them to participate in our society.

      I would like to see the creation of programs where homosexuals can go in and receive counseling without getting a life long stigma. Perhaps we could create colony towns (or more like prisons) out in the middle of nowhere so they c

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xenkar (580240)

        Two or more men engaging in consensual sex does not bother me or affect me at all. Well I guess it does bother me a little when the gay couple down the street hold loud parties but I'm pretty sure that it would still bother me if they were straight.

        A man or woman molesting a child bothers me and affects me. I had to deal with my aunt during my teen years who saw every male regardless of age as a molester. I was falsely accused by her back before I hear even before I hit puberty. I was traumatized by that ex

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ElusiveJoe (1716808)

          So it doesn't bother you... So what? I thinks, there are lot of people, who are bothered by it. Should we listen to them? Or should we not?

          My post was ironic in that all your ideas were once offered to "cure" homosexuals. Yeah-yeah, psychology, colonies, medications, hypnosis, chemical castration, religion. Should I remind, how many of these worked? Now, if you offer to apply these "techniques" to homosexuals, rather than pedophiles (boo! boo!), you're modded troll on /. and punched in face or sued offline.

      • For all the mods without brains, this isn't a troll post, if you read the GP you'd see he's using the GP's words and essentially replacing every mention of 'pedo' with 'homo' to expose the faultiness of the reasoning.
    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      Your children won't be any safer if some random pervert can't get his jollies from images anymore. Without an outlet, these pervertss will bottle it up until they can no longer hold back. Innocent children will most likely suffer due to such legislation.

      I think this is their goal. Once the filter doesn't work and makes things worse (even only if it's media hype) they will be able to pass more restrictive laws. It's a means to an end and that end is perfect control of the masses and information in general with no oversight by anyone.

    • by VShael (62735)

      There are several humane ways to deal with paedophiles. But none are realistic.

      Here's one, for example. The government has a large-ish database of realistic (and unrealistic) computer images of CP. To get access to the legal images, you register as a paedophile. This makes the possession of these government created images legal. But any other CP image, or derivative of the legal ones, is illegal.

      You can live your live relatively normal, with access to legal CP for your own gratification, and without harassm

      • Could help, but the appetite for new porn inexhaustible. And who knows if will accomplish anything? Porn viewers are unlikely to abuse children, and porn producers will not stop.
    • The point of passing these laws is not to take care of child porn, only to have more control over the internet. In fact, one could say, child porn is not relevant here.
      It's just an argument used to pass the law in, as the other reasons would cause people to refuse the law.

      If you refuse a law that is "against child porn", they will ask you, "so you are for child porn"? and start spamming you about how their law will protect childrens, so that your arguments are left unheard, at best you'll be remembered as a

  • Well, again the discussion who should do what. Should these sites be blocked or should action be taken against the people who are responsible. My personal opinion is, that blocking traffic does not work, as it is hard to block IP addresses, as one IP Address can hold several websites, which normally are legitemate. So only blocking through the DNS server of the provider would be an option, which can be fooled so easily.So that kind of blocks have no impact or use. In my opinion, the governments should make
  • by ebonum (830686)

    China holds that their internet censorship follows international norms. Sadly, France is proving them correct.

  • What is it with all these internet filtering attempts all over the globe? There's the classic one, China, there is a project in Belgium (and it's actually in use, the purpose is to stop pedophiles, but ironically, the only site on the list so far was a site that outed pedophiles, it's blocked because it violated those 'people's' rights, but only on DNS level (*)), the Dutch also have a similar approach, and Australia wants to follow suit.

    The good thing here in Belgium is that a judge has to order the site
  • I love when governments use Child Porn and Terrorism to control its people through fear and lies. Here's to hoping that France doesnt fall victim to this pathetic tactic.

    The reality is, Child porn is a tiny fraction of everything on the Net, and It can be masked in encrypted files etc... So lets just fucking stop using these boogieman tactics to try and control the people, and their freedoms.

  • Has anyone here ever found "by accident" a kiddie porn website ? I bet no, because there is no such thing. They use other channels and are very secretive about their business. A public website would be like a stand selling kiddie porn DVDs on the streets.

    This law is a pretext to censor more sites in the future. Sarkozy said himself that once the mechanism is in place they will see how it can be applied to intellectual property "issues".

  • The excuse of "We are trying to rid the Internet of Child Pornography" is a lie. Whenever someone claims that they are censoring or filtering the Internet, it is generally for one of the following reasons.
    1. Stifle Dissent. - If the government had any interest in censoring or filtering the Internet to remove child pornography in the first place, they would have arrested several members of the Recording Industry Association of America for uploading the illegal content on torrent sites and the Usenet. Posses
  • Liberté, égal........

    La connexion réseau a été interrompue.

  • Whoa, France and censorship? No more "French postcards", French Films, French ticklers, French kissing, anything that was termed "French" having to do with sex???????

    France censorship is ponderous man, ponderous.

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