Dec 08 2008

Extreme Child Pornography Prevention Measures

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 2:23 pm

There are two articles in the news today regarding child pornography prevention measures that are being applied at national level. These articles caught my attention because I think that they are great example of how not to apply censorship!

The first article describes how six ISPs in the UK are blocking access to a Wikipedia web page that contains a photo of a naked girl in her early teens. Initially this sounds reasonable, but the block is being applied to the whole page rather than simply the photo. Furthermore, the photo is of a well known album from 1976 by a well known band. So clearly the intention of publishing this web page is not to promote child pornography.

The ISPs are implementing the block using a transparent proxy that is not forwarding the original client IP address to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, this means that Wikipedia cannot identify individual clients within these ISPs, so all users of these ISPs are now blocked from updating Wikipedia!

To add to the stupidity of this situation, the photo is widely available on the Internet already, and a simple search for “virgin killer” on Google Images finds it. Apparently many UK bloggers are now posting the image in protest.

For more details about this see Brit ISPs censor Wikipedia over ‘child porn’ album cover.

I am delighted to report that my ISP (Eircom) is not blocking access to this web page! I hope it stays this way. If you want to test your ISP then simply try viewing Virgin Killer.

The second article describes how an Australian judge recently found a man guilty of possessing child pornography. The child pornography was a fake Simpsons cartoon that depicted some of the characters have sex. For more details about this see Fake Simpsons cartoon ‘is porn’.

Again, this seems like excessive policing to me.

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