Jun 11 2012

Prison Sentence for Virtual Photos

Category: Digital Imaging,eGovernment,InternetTeknovis @ 7:17 pm

There was an interesting story in the news today about a man who was sentenced to a two year jail term for possession of child pornography images. See Father jailed over child pornography for further details.

In particular, the article states:

Defence counsel said the case was unusual as 24 of the 27 images were virtual images – no actual children were used to create the images.

I wonder if all 27 images had been “virtual images”, would he still have received a prison sentence? Indeed, would it even be a crime to posses such images?

I am going to be controversial here, but in my opinion the possession of virtual images definitely should not be a crime.

I must admit that I am also uncomfortable with the idea that the possession (or distribution) of any types of images is a crime. It seems illogical to me to say that if you arrange your 1s and 0s in this order it is a crime, but it is perfectly legal to rearrange them in a different order (to produce a different image).

For the sake of clarity, I believe that it definitely should be illegal to produce such images.

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Aug 10 2009

Mobile Pornography

Category: Mobile ComputingTeknovis @ 10:07 pm

I was searching for something today relating to .mobi domains, and I saw an interesting list on a side panel of the page I was reading. The heading stated something like New .mobi Sites, and it then listed about 10 sites. The one that caught my attention was mobilporn.mobi (This is NOT suitable for viewing in work)!

I do not know if there is already a huge number of pornography web sites that are specially designed for mobile devices. It would not surprise me if there were!

Pornography is always associated with the seedy side of the Internet. However, it is worth remembering that pornography web sites were making money on the Internet long before any other web sites! So, to a certain extent, they are trend setters!

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Dec 12 2008

Google Zeitgeist 2008

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 7:33 pm

Google published the Zeitgeist 2008 earlier this week. This shows the most popular searches on Google during 2008.

The results are broken down into separate results for each country, which is probably more useful than the overall results. One of the interesting things that I noticed is that the term Google is in the top 10 in many countries! I do not know why people search for this using Google, but my guess is that these people are not searching directly on the Google webpage. For example, I have Firefox configured so that I can type my Google search terms directly into the address bar.

It is also very interesting to see that certain terms that are directly related to well known websites, such as YouTube, appear in all of the EU results. Yet nearly all of the EU results have terms that are specific to the country or language. I do not recognise a lot of these ones!

The most popular search terms in Ireland were:

  1. Bebo
  2. Youtube
  3. Hotmail
  4. Yahoo
  5. Google
  6. Games
  7. You tube
  8. News
  9. Map
  10. gmail

Unfortunately, none of these search terms relate to Irish websites :(

The fastest rising search terms in Ireland were:

  1. Facebook
  2. utube
  3. google maps
  4. Youtube
  5. Nasza klasa
  6. Wiki
  7. RTE
  8. Maps
  9. Irish Times
  10. Yahoo! mail

Perhaps the most interesting search term on this list is for the Polish social networking website Nasza-Klasa. (This is the most popular search term in Poland.)

There is also an interesting observation about the list of most popular politicians in Ireland in Politician Declan Ganley more popular than Bertie says Google.

More details about the popular search terms in Ireland can be read in “Sarah Palin” the most searched query on Google. Unfortunately, Ireland is not included in the Google Zeitgeist page, and I am unable to find the official source!

The results presented by Google have been filtered to remove terms related to adult searches. I recall hearing that pornography related searches are by far the most popular. However, it seems that Google did not get the filtering totally right this time for the UK results. The original list (see Palin beats Obama in Google’s ‘zeitgeist’ rankings or 2008 Year-End Zeitgeist Around the World until the mistake is noticed) contained the term cam4 under the Fastest Rising category. Let me say that cam4 is certainly not suitable for viewing in work :o For more about this see Ooops, Google Zeitgeist lists a porn site.

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Dec 11 2008

Google Trends

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 11:16 pm

I spent some time playing with Google Trends today. This is a really intriguing website that lets you see how popular specific search terms are with Google. Additionally, it can be queried to show multiple search terms, and it can be restricted by specific geographic region. However, I am not convinced that the subregions within Ireland are accurate! I really like the way that Google matches the peaks to the related news articles from the same period. It certainly helps to explain the results!

I was playing with this because I read a very interesting article today that claims that the number of searches by Irish users for porn mirrors the number of searches by Irish users for property. Furthermore, one of these terms is increasing in search popularity, and the other is decreasing. Can you guess which?

The full article is Property pron an interesting trend, and the live graph is much easier to read. I really doubt that Kildare is the subregion that searches for the most porn! Also, it is fascinating that the number of searches for porn spikes every year at Christmas. I am not sure how to interpret how Christmas is spent in Kildare!

Last week there was a meat scare in Ireland due to high levels of dioxins (see Recall notice for Irish pork products for more details). It is already possible to see the increased number of searches for “dioxin” in Ireland!

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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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