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Law, Order and Freedom Online

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docodine 14th May 2009, 09:54 Quote
Quote:
While what the IWF does is, technically a form of censorship, you would have to be extremely committed to the idea of freedom of expression to have a problem with a group whose role includes blocking images of child pornography.

It's not the IWF's job to keep child pornography at bay, they are "not a law enforcement organisation", their job is simply to censor whatever they think should be kept from the entirety of Europe. Virgin Killer is probably available at the Virgin store, yet Virgin allowed the IWF to block the its Wikipedia page? What garbage.
Natima 14th May 2009, 10:02 Quote
And to be fair... Virgin Killer isnt technically child pornography anyway... although it may offend some.
See: Porn.
- "creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire"
Hugo 14th May 2009, 10:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil
If you can still get access to /b/, how censored can the Internet be, right?

What, no link? ;)
gnutonian 14th May 2009, 10:10 Quote
The internet should be free, and users should take personal responsibility. Having said that: during a short e-mail exchange on free software last night with someone who works at the same place I do I realised I've been looking at IT stuff in a "geeky" way: from my point of view, disregarding the majority who sit in front of a box and a screen, who click and type and think they're really the one millionth visitor to a website. And having such a user take responsibility for his actions or clickings is.... difficult. It would require a huge re-education of millions of people.

Still, I think the internet is fine the way it is (or for France, right now, the way it was). To me it's just like going outside: to the shop, to the local tourist hotspot, to work, ... I am always vigilant and attentive to my surroundings. I am aware of what should happen and what should not. I am aware that the hot girl winking at me could be a prostitute, I am aware that the man trying to sell me a watch probably stole it.
Now, outside is one thing. The internet is experienced inside one's home, without much thought. But there are so many different facets and corporate/business interests to it (e.g. Internet Explorer doesn't block all pop-ups, because some of those pop-ups are from Microsoft or Microsoft's allies) that it goes way beyond the strange girl or the strange man approaching you.

But to let governments, of which the individuals have their own interests/friends (I again refer to president Sarkozy and his good friend who owns Bouygues Telecom, which owns a lot of the major media in France), control this international exchange of 1s and 0s: no. The security we can gain is simply not worth the cost in liberty.

It's like Bruce Schneier (rightly) keeps repeating: security is a trade-off. Whether it's physical security (stores, places of employment, ...) or online security, you always lose something (money, convenience, freedom, ...) to gain the added security. The trade-off has to be acceptable on both counts to be good. Internet surveillance adds the fear of what you do is watched, and may be misconstrued, and may get you in trouble; for very, very little added security. To me that's not a good trade-off.
(And if you think we're not already under surveillance, whether it's online, or on the phone, or in some places in person; you're 'misguided' to say the least.)

But online security goes a lot further: if you make Microsoft take responsibility (financial and bad PR) for its OS's security flaws, they will fix them before the OS is released rather than please the plebs with a timely release and deal with the issues later (once the damage has been done). Make these companies financially responsible for the flaws they sell you and I can personally promise you that the OS you bought (well, bought a licence to use it) may arrive later than planned, but it'll be a lot more safe. Companies only have one interest: profit. Profit comes from timely releases and a lot of features; not security.

It goes further than I can describe it, unfortunately I am not a very eloquent (or coherent) writer.

It's about user trade-offs, economics and business, psychology, ... So many things are involved it's very difficult to add them all up in one opinion; because all of them are "if... and if... would..." instead of "is... will be...".

However, to me, the most important thing should always be the users' freedom. Any user's. From scientific researchers to operating system programmers to the clueless surfers looking for pictures of naked women touching eachother.

As I said in another topic, systems and procedures to investigate online crime are already in place. In my opinion, we don't need more (maybe the current systems, people or training could be improved). These systems have been proven to work and have for example sent a lot of international child pornographers (in internationally co-ordinated investigations and arrests) to prison. We don't need new systems or surveillance added onto that, as the majority of internet users are perfectly normal, non-criminal people.

[edit: apologies for the rant, but I like my (online) liberty.]
Jamie 14th May 2009, 10:13 Quote
So the Home office think it's highly unlikely there wont be a terrorist attack? Maybe they are just hoping to say 'I told you so' when something eventually does happen.
Sifter3000 14th May 2009, 10:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HugoB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex
If you can still get access to /b/, how censored can the Internet be, right?

What, no link? ;)

Get back to work Hugo :p
Sifter3000 14th May 2009, 10:20 Quote
Sorry, just noticed this went out with my name (Alex) on it - I edited it, but it was written by Phil Hartup. Now corrected.
dogknees 14th May 2009, 11:06 Quote
[QUOTE=docodine]
Quote:
While what the IWF does is, technically a form of censorship, you would have to be extremely committed to the idea of freedom of expression to have a problem with a group whose role includes blocking images of child pornography.

This attitude is part of the problem. I most certainly can have a problem with them. If along with blocking child porn, they distribute viruses, I'd have a very big problem with them.

The fact that a person or organisation does something good doesn't excuse them if they're also doing something bad. The bad always trumps the good. One bad act makes anything good you've done irrelevant in my opinion.

The accusation that if I object to a law designed to protect children I'm supporting child porn is just ridiculous. The law has first to be effective in protecting kids, AND not cause undue interference to people who are doing nothing wrong. There are other, better ways of attacking the problem.
Cupboard 14th May 2009, 11:25 Quote
There must be a better way than censorship.
As most normal people agree that child pornography and exploitation is wrong, then couldn't we spend millions talking the causes and sources of CP rather than trying to block an ever moving and changing target?

Blocking peoples' access to content like CP will never work completely reliably and accurately and still does not remove the problem that someone, somewhere is abusing children, and stopping that is far more important than preventing people looking at it. I do believe both are despicable however.
Dreaming 14th May 2009, 11:26 Quote
I think as the internet and online media increasingly become part of our lives and the way we interact with each other then it is inevitable that some form of policing will be neccesary. The question is how much? As it stands there are gangs of cyber-criminals who are not proactively hunted down, they effectively get a free pass. Even when I worked for the bank they don't even bother reporting fraud to the police unless it's a significant amount because there is simply so much going on - instead they keep a record and then reimburse the customer after a small investigation.

I think maybe in 10, 20 years where our online presences will be much larger than they are now then we will have to sanction some kind of protective force to stop 'the bad guys' so to speak. I don't think this should be done with large scale censorship or anything like that though, instead I would be hapy to have specialised police forces with the power the subpoena websites internationally and so on. So the activities would have to be of a strictly criminal nature and I think downloading copyrighted material would be beyond their remit as that is a civil infringement (although distributing it I believe is criminal?).
Psytek 14th May 2009, 11:42 Quote
If you block a port, we'll use a different one. If you block a protocol, we'll write a new one. If you snoop our traffic, we'll encrypt it.
IP's can be spoofed, VPN's, private servers, no international boundaries. You can't stop the internet from being free... that's like trying to stop a dog licking it's crotch.
evanbraakensiek 14th May 2009, 11:48 Quote
I think the scope of this article was too broad. Instead of providing a meticulously close critical overview of a particular area with regards to 'Law, Order and Freedom Online' you provide four poorly argued pages with no apparent connection. The article was clear on first impression but after re-reading I have found evidence of poor logic, research and style. Take for instance your opening paragraph:

“It wasn’t long ago that the first brave pioneers set out to make their fortunes on the unspoiled wilderness that was the Internet at the end of the 20th century. Back when Wikipedia was all fields and Google was just a noise that babies made, the Internet saw the start of a gold rush. It wasn’t as violent as the gold rush of the American west, but it yielded a lot more riches.”

The allusion to the gold rush is appropriate but you do not justify this allusion until the last sentence of the article - almost four pages later: “The freedom of the Internet was not won by protests like votes for women or the end of slavery – it began as a free space – whether it stays that way or not is up to us.” But that is not the only problem. You do vaguely justify your opening but inadvertently undermine your own conclusion by using the four previous pages to show that the internet is not free.

The only reason the article was readable is because you pander towards popular opinion. I will use your own opening to justify my argument. “He [European colonist in America] must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe” (Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, page four). Jackson's description of America is more logical than your own. The wilderness would be the internet itself, the Indian is Google (and advanced users) and the European is the people (and government). It is obvious then that the European's laws cannot control this wild America, but the Australian, British, Chinese and French governments attempt to rewrite their laws is the first step to taming the internet. You do not have to be an expert of Rousseau to see that morality is guided by law. If the internet does not regulate itself then it will have to be regulated externally in the same way the Europeans took control of the land from the Indians.

However hard the enthusiast argues over issues of DRM, freedom and rights they will succumb because regulation and enforcement of laws protects proportionally more users than it disadvantages. Jacqui Smith's methods are effective for punishment (i.e. evidence) but the actual laws themselves are more important. If it is illegal to download copyrighted material and people are shown to be punished then less people will download. It is as simple as that. Prevention is always better than protection.
impar 14th May 2009, 12:38 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by evanbraakensiek
I think the scope of this article was too broad.
Yep.

Basically, Interned provided its users with lots of uses and some of those users started abusing their online freedom to circumvent real world legislations, now the real world will monitorize the Internet users.

What else did anyone expected?
Tris 14th May 2009, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psytek
If you block a port, we'll use a different one. If you block a protocol, we'll write a new one. If you snoop our traffic, we'll encrypt it.
IP's can be spoofed, VPN's, private servers, no international boundaries. You can't stop the internet from being free... that's like trying to stop a dog licking it's crotch.

now i have an image of the whole populace being fitted with those cone things that they put on dogs.
Htr-Labs 14th May 2009, 14:56 Quote
I think most people are failing to see the reality here.....the strong control the weak. Maybe that is to Totalitarian or Authoritarian...or maybe to vigilant or just plain outlaw for some people to accept. When you've experienced certain things on the net, not just your local nets filled with trolls, spammers, script-kiddies, buggers, trackers, coppers and the like, you get accustomed to defending yourself. I would even go as far as comparing internet use these days as a global war. Heavy filtering where you are accessing the net? Hack it. As I said, the strong control the weak even if that means the so called "law" are the weak ones. Try and impose you're laws on someone who can easily by-pass, breach, destroy and completely annihilate your entire infrastructure in a matter of minutes. You won't be likely to go poking and prodding that entity again now would you? These days users are becoming more cautious because they are scared, and the ones who are imposing their will on the weak are becoming more powerful. Yet we have seen within the past year more outlaw acts than in previous years, and more successful events to boot. And we aren't just talking local success here. Attacks on a global scale are taking place virtually all the time, without rest or haste.

All I'm saying is....you control what you are allowed to do, no one else. If they say it is their right to govern you for the sake of the safety of the other members, what gives them the authority other than the collective will of those amassing this great so-called "authority"? When push comes to shove, you do what it takes to make it out there, whether your actions be legal, illegal, or just down-right malicious. Whether it be 1 vs. 1 Billion or just a fight amongst the very few elite, it's a war.....and it's never going to end.

Peace
Spaceraver 14th May 2009, 15:05 Quote
"Remember remember, the 5th of November.

Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot... "

I'm in for a V-style takedown
Sir Digby 14th May 2009, 16:24 Quote
Honestly, if they start monitoring actions of users on the internet I'd strongly consider the idea of sending out many choice words to the right websites - enough to alert the government systems but not enough for any actions to be taken, effectively wasting their time.

That said I think that actions such as blacklisting sites that are providing child pornography would be good IF the decision to block the website is made by someone who really understands the situation - blocking 4chan, however tasteless it is, would be disproportionate even though it does provide child pornography - it is self regulated and offending images/links are removed with the offending users being banned from the site.

In the end the idea of innocent until proven guilty should still apply - and that's where most of these proposals fall down.
perplekks45 14th May 2009, 20:51 Quote
Ban/censor the internet and we might as well start burning witches again.

This is most definitely a case of "If you can't beat them join them", the people controlling the internet just haven't seen that yet. Same goes for companies, no matter what they're trying to sell, they mainly don't know how to use the internet to their advantage, are too old or too stubborn to even try to understand it so they just fight it and blame it for everything. Look at Apple for example, they knew how to use it and now they make more money than ever before.

Learn from your and others' mistakes... please? Anyone?
ryall 15th May 2009, 02:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natima

See: Porn.
- "creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire"

To (mis)quote Bill Hicks: That sounds like every advertisement ever made, ever.
Sh00ter 15th May 2009, 09:18 Quote
when an article states that "at least we aint china" that kind of says a lot, if we are saying that we are bad but at least we are not as bad as a communist dictatorship and people are happy with that then its too late - this country is burned already.
SinxarKnights 15th May 2009, 18:13 Quote
Everyone get your credit cards warmed up! Next in line is pay to view webpages! then its $70 per GB downloaded. So who is first in line?

oh wait.... i ALREADY pay $100 a month for DSL that cant even hit 512KB. So i pretty much pay a ultra high price to view anything on the web anyway (sorry offtopic).

Oh please Mr. Government. Block me from all my favorite sites and watch every bit I download.

My opinion? Block/filter what i can view and they can shove the internet up their asses.

Child porn is not a real arguement IMHO. Where are the people who are supposed to be stopping it from happening to begin with? So I guess it turned into: Let childern continue to get raped/exploited and just block it, probem solved.
liratheal 15th May 2009, 18:39 Quote
The internet should not, ever, be filtered in the same way China does.

Yes, the internet is access all over the globe, in almost every jursdiction imaginable, but that does not mean that the content should be filtered to suit that jurisdictions laws, to a very certain degree.

There needs to be a better implementation of the IWF, one that isn't haphazard, badly regulated, and very capable of making some very bad judgements (See the Virgin Killer album cover fiasco, the wikipedia editing fiasco etc, for evidence of this). I am not, by any means, arguing for allowing child pornography, or anything else equally illegal (Snuff films etc). What I am saying is, things should be regulated by a watchdog of equal standing and capability as (UK reference) OFCOM.

However, the internet should not be a chargable/pay-perview affair. By that I mean, yes we should pay monthly connection fees to our service provider. No, we absolutely should not be charged extra for breaking the 'fair usage' limit. There should be no such thing - Our telecommunications network should be more than capable of handling the amount of data consumption required by users, rather than the current system of charging 'per gb', as it is.

Tiered packages should exist - And I don't mean tiered in terms of what content you can access based on what tier you pay for. I mean tiered in terms of connection speeds and tweakability of the connection. As they currently do.

The current situation of companies, such as ESPN, approaching ISP's and trying to negotiate a situation where the subscribers pay an extra charge per month and get unlimited access to supposed 'high quality' streaming videos for sports events etc.

This should happen, however it should be a very much opt-in, not an opt-out system. It should operate the same way mobile phone contracts do for businesses. Everyone on the same tier of service should get the same service, however, each individual customer can modify the contract with any number of "bolt-on" options for extra cost per month, if they choose to.

A lot of this stinks to high heaven of content controllers trying to weed out piracy. All the more power to them. Piracy is a terrible thing. However, it does not affect them in the volumes they claim (Most, if not all of you, seem to agree that if they want the money they're trying to charge for things, the content should be longer, sans adverts, and a damnsight better than it currently is). Stopping internet based piracy is not going to happen. It just isn't, it's been going for too long and has picked up too great a following to stop. They can only hope to discourage it through being decent human beings, and charging for their content appropriate to the quality - And right now, it should damn well be near free.

The internet is not a governable 'place' or thing. It was designed as, and should stay as, a method of quick transmission of information and data - A place where you can learn or see what you want to - Within reason. Each jurisdiction should filter ONLY what is considered illegal consistent with that jurisdictions laws. Everything else should remain fair game.

</rambling>
rhuitron 15th May 2009, 19:29 Quote
"The more successful approach as pioneered by iTunes, Steam and other online stores which provide content with relatively light or non-existent DRM is to beat the pirates on the only playing field where they have an even shot – the convenience of operating a fully legal service, and customer service."


Yeah......Except that Apple Customer service is Crap!
gnutonian 15th May 2009, 20:22 Quote
Quote:
The internet should not, ever, be filtered in the same way China does.

Yes, the internet is access all over the globe, in almost every jursdiction imaginable, but that does not mean that the content should be filtered to suit that jurisdictions laws, to a very certain degree.

There needs to be a better implementation of the IWF, one that isn't haphazard, badly regulated, and very capable of making some very bad judgements (See the Virgin Killer album cover fiasco, the wikipedia editing fiasco etc, for evidence of this). I am not, by any means, arguing for allowing child pornography, or anything else equally illegal (Snuff films etc). What I am saying is, things should be regulated by a watchdog of equal standing and capability as (UK reference) OFCOM.

However, the internet should not be a chargable/pay-perview affair. By that I mean, yes we should pay monthly connection fees to our service provider. No, we absolutely should not be charged extra for breaking the 'fair usage' limit. There should be no such thing - Our telecommunications network should be more than capable of handling the amount of data consumption required by users, rather than the current system of charging 'per gb', as it is.

Tiered packages should exist - And I don't mean tiered in terms of what content you can access based on what tier you pay for. I mean tiered in terms of connection speeds and tweakability of the connection. As they currently do.

The current situation of companies, such as ESPN, approaching ISP's and trying to negotiate a situation where the subscribers pay an extra charge per month and get unlimited access to supposed 'high quality' streaming videos for sports events etc.

This should happen, however it should be a very much opt-in, not an opt-out system. It should operate the same way mobile phone contracts do for businesses. Everyone on the same tier of service should get the same service, however, each individual customer can modify the contract with any number of "bolt-on" options for extra cost per month, if they choose to.

A lot of this stinks to high heaven of content controllers trying to weed out piracy. All the more power to them. Piracy is a terrible thing. However, it does not affect them in the volumes they claim (Most, if not all of you, seem to agree that if they want the money they're trying to charge for things, the content should be longer, sans adverts, and a damnsight better than it currently is). Stopping internet based piracy is not going to happen. It just isn't, it's been going for too long and has picked up too great a following to stop. They can only hope to discourage it through being decent human beings, and charging for their content appropriate to the quality - And right now, it should damn well be near free.

The internet is not a governable 'place' or thing. It was designed as, and should stay as, a method of quick transmission of information and data - A place where you can learn or see what you want to - Within reason. Each jurisdiction should filter ONLY what is considered illegal consistent with that jurisdictions laws. Everything else should remain fair game.
Amen!
Quote:
with relatively light or non-existent DRM
A very important point. I don't think the bad DRM in legal copies is solely responsible for "piracy" (though I do believe some people think "f--- it, I'm not paying for that").
I think the problem with DRM is that it restricts you in using what essentially is your property (using it in a legal way). In most, if not all, continental European countries, we pay a VAT on blank recording media to cover the "cost" of making a personal back-up of the CD or other medium you purchased. This back-up is to be used the way you please (back-up to your PC, another disc you play all the time instead of the original, etc) as long as you don't infringe the copyright by distributing your own copies. When I buy a CD, it's my property. I have every right to make a copy of it for my own use: CDs are fallible (and so am I when handling them), so having a back-up copy to listen to is only fair. All the CDs I ever bought have turned immediately into OGG files on my main PC.
Restricting legitimate consumers, and rather often block their legitimate purchase from legitimate use because of an error, is simply not acceptable.

If current laws or legal methods of accusation cannot cover the information-age copyright infringement, then either we need new laws or methods - without resorting to full-blown surveillance of everyone on the internet - or a new copyright system.
For the freedom of internet users, I'm voting for a new copyright system. Partly because I hold in high regard the thought that it is very much flawed anyway.
Quote:
Child porn is not a real arguement IMHO. Where are the people who are supposed to be stopping it from happening to begin with? So I guess it turned into: Let childern continue to get raped/exploited and just block it, probem solved.
I agree that it is not an argument. I (slightly) disagree with "continue ... block it".
Systems and laws of tracking and investigating suspected child pornographers and those who watch the content are already in place (including, of course, their conviction if found guilty). In general, these systems and laws work and the different nations co-ordinating their efforts on this is a very good example of international police work. Every year, there's at least a few big "rings" broken up, content removed and people sent to prison.

The police work, well, works. The politicians, however, don't want any kind of crime at all (especially not such a heinous one) just because it serves them well, not necessarily because it serves it. Therefore, in their eyes, disregarding our freedom (to be clear: NOT the "freedom" to look at child porn! - that should always be a crime) by just blocking or censoring everything is good because it lowers the statistics of people arrested watching it - because there's nothing to watch.
I am sure the advent of the internet has led a lot more people to this sick way of "pleasure", but before the internet I am sure they traded as well, though on a smaller scale, in smaller groups (and not through JPEGs).
With the internet I think it's actually easier to catch them. They've grown from small, enclosed groups to international communities of perverts. I hardly doubt a lot of them are network security experts, or know any more about computers than my mother, so catching them may just have become easier by "simply" following the audit trails.

The only change to that I would propose would be to better train computer crime unit people, or to add more people to the teams that are already fighting this battle. I will never stand for total censorship just because of a minority who are so insecure that they cannot jerk off to anyone older than 18.

Apologies for the rant, but I was trying to illustrate that the current systems, laws and methods that are in place are working; and there is no need for more control or surveillance of all, mostly innocent, internet users just because of a few pervs.
Htr-Labs 15th May 2009, 21:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperium

The only change to that I would propose would be to better train computer crime unit people, or to add more people to the teams that are already fighting this battle.


What.....do you think we sit there all day and twiddle our thumbs? Not quite their kiddo. I'd like to see you attempt to do our job for even an hour and see how you feel about it then.

As I said in my previous post.....this is a war and you must protect yourself and your interests no matter what action is required be it legal, illegal, or just down-right malicious....you do what needs to be done to survive.


Peace
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