Jan 23 2015

Notepad++ Message

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 6:44 pm

Wow – it has been a long time since I blogged!!!

I updated my favourite text editor recently – Notepad++. I was very impressed when the following message appeared slowly on my screen as if somebody was typing it:

Notepad++ Message

Notepad++ Message

And just because I too believe in free speech (and equally the right not to agree with the speech being expressed):

Charlie Hebdo Covers

Charlie Hebdo Covers

#JeSuisCharlie

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May 08 2012

Pirate Bay Blocked in the UK

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 5:30 pm

Last week I read that the UK’s courts have declared that access to The Pirate Bay must be blocked in Pirate Bay must be blocked in UK, High Court rules.

It is disappointing that the UK is becoming the most censored country in the EU in terms of Internet access :|

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Mar 27 2012

UK Stupidity – Student Jailed Over Tweets

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 8:53 pm

Liam Stacey, a 21 year old student, has been jailed for comments he made on Twitter, according to Student jailed over Muamba comments.

I have not seen the exact comments that Liam made, so I cannot comment on whither or not they were racist. However, regardless of their content, I firmly believe that Liam has the right to say whatever he wants (online or otherwise).

It is also a sad day for the UK! I am amazed that its judicial system has been reduced to this level of stupidity by policing teenagers’ comments on social networks.

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Mar 04 2012

Politicians and the Internet

Category: eGovernment,InternetTeknovis @ 5:12 am

I recently read an article about Irish politicians wanting to censor the Internet – Senators want online abuse images blocked.

They are calling for Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to introduce systems to block access to websites containing child abuse material.

It always amuses me to hear politicians pontificating on subject matter that they do not understand :)

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Nov 12 2010

Amazon Refuses To Censor

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 6:46 pm

I hate censorship – of all types. So I was delighted to read that Amazon has refused to censor the rather controversially titled book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure. For more information see Amazon row over paedophile book.

Well done Amazon!

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Apr 23 2009

Internet Censorship by Belgian Government

Category: eGovernment,InternetTeknovis @ 4:43 pm

I just read that the Belgian Government has ordered 17 ISPs to block access to four websites. According to the largest ISP, this is the first time that this has occurred. The censored websites in this case contain details of convicted paedophiles. For more details about this see Belgium govt blocks access to website.

In general, I am in favour of making information public. However, I am also a strong supporter of privacy. So I do not know yet if publishing this information is good or bad.

However, I do think that trying to block access to these websites by forcing ISPs to police network traffic is both stupid and ineffective. In my opinion, this type of action only raises the profile of the censored websites! I suppose that it is typical of pushing a political solution into a technical arena.

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Mar 26 2009

Irish Government Censorship – The Other Painting

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 10:05 pm

Yesterday’s story about the Government’s attempts to censor the paintings of the Irish Prime Minister posing naked continued to gain momentum today. This is thanks to the Irish media that is not state owned, the Irish Internet community, and the international media.

I am including the other painting here for the sake of completeness :)

Painting of Brian Cowen on Toilet (From The Irish Times)

Painting of Brian Cowen on Toilet (From The Irish Times)

According to Gardai question artist under caution, the charges being considered against the artist are:

The detective said the artist was being investigated in connection with three charges: incitement to hatred, indecency, and criminal damage for hammering a nail into a wall of the National Gallery.

Yes, really!

For more about the effect of this on the Irish Prime Minister see Cowen not consulted before complaint to RTE and No losing sight of the big picture as Portraitgate rumbles on.

It is also interesting to note that the opposition political parties tried to raise the issue in the parliament today, but the Government prevented this successfully. For more information about this see Opposition slams Govt over portrait pressure.

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Mar 25 2009

Irish Government Censorship

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 10:49 pm

A very interesting story about Government censorship has been unfolding in Ireland over the last two days. Indeed, if not for the Internet then the story would have been successfully squashed by now!

It all started with a practical joke in which paintings of the Irish Prime Minister, who was naked, were hung in two popular art galleries in Dublin. The national broadcaster RTE provided coverage of the story.

Here is a screenshot of one of the paintings in case the video gets removed:

Painting of Brian Cowen (From RTE News)

Painting of Brian Cowen (From RTE News)

Initially this was just an example of Irish humour, but it quickly took a sinister tone. First RTE was pressurised into removing the video from its web site, and it was subsequently forced to issue the following apology:

The Government then continued to flex its muscles today by sending the police into a radio station that covered the story. The police were demanding the name of the artist. More information about this can be read in Gardaí visit radio station in Cowen painting inquiry.

The police identified the artist in one of the fastest investigations ever undertaken, and they are currently preparing a prosecution. The police also seized five other similar paintings. More details of this are described in Teacher questioned over Cowen paintings.

My opinion on all of this is that it is outrageous that the Government is putting so many resources into trying to bury this story. I am also delighted with the responses of the online community, and I hope to play my part also :o

I am also really surprised that the Governemnt, or even the Prime Minister, did not seize the opportunity to turn it into good publicity.

For more coverage of this story from the Irish blogging community take a look at the recent posts by Maman Poulet, Damien Mulley, and Caricatures Ireland. This last web site has a very good caricature in The Taoiseach has no clothes and RTE has no balls: the Brian Cowen Nude Caricature.

Brian Cowen Caricature (Copyright Caricatures Ireland)

Brian Cowen Caricature (Copyright Caricatures Ireland)

The t-shirt version of it looks great in Get your b*ll*ck-naked T*oiseach t-sh*rt.

I also think that this is yet another example of how a small story becomes a huge story when somebody tries to censor it! A perfect example of this is all of the other caricatures that are now appearing on the Internet, such as the caricatures in Photoshop Cowen extravaganza. I think that some of these are very funny, while others are not. However, I think it is vital in a democracy that they are all available to the public!

I have been following this story, and the associated outrage, all day on Twitter. I must admit that I really liked the real-time nature of this, although it was a distraction :o

It is also very interesting to see how the global media is covering this story. The story is covered in the UK in Naked taoiseach paintings removed, Cowen artist ‘could be charged’, and Guerrilla artist hangs nude paintings of taoiseach Brian Cowen. France is reading about the story in A poil, par Robert Sol√©, and the US is reading about it in Ireland: Nude Premier Paintings Appear. Perhaps the most ironic, or even worrying, coverage is by the Chinese in Naked Irish PM portraits removed. I am sure that it is also being covered by many other news agencies of which I am not aware!

The story has also made it into Wikipedia, where it is known as Picturegate. Perhaps the Irish Government will try to remove this next!

I wonder how this story will continue in the following days!

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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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Nov 22 2008

Internet Censorship in the EU

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 5:19 pm

I am a big fan of free speech, and I really dislike censorship, especially at state level. I feel this way about both the Internet and the traditional media.

I think that freedom of speech in relation to the Internet is quite good in Ireland at the moment. Everybody here can legally view any websites that they want. At least I am not aware of any blocking of illegal sites. As far as I know, it is even legal to view child pornography in Ireland! (However, it is illegal to intentionally store it, and that is what people get charged with in court. Yes, this does create a great technical argument!)

Unfortunately, many other EU states do impose blocks on certain sites in order to censor them. For example, I think that most EU states have bans on web sites relating to, or glorifying, Nazism. Of course it is fairly easy for me to have this view in Ireland, since we never experienced the atrocities that most of the EU experienced within the last 100 years.

I have two main problems with Internet censorship:

  • It is often technically infeasible or pointless
  • It often creates a huge artificial interest in the censored subject

TechCrunch has an article called German Politician Blocks Local Wikipedia which demonstrates both of these points perfectly!

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