Christian Engström, Pirat

3 juli 2011

The net blocking slope starts to get slippery

Filed under: Censilia,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 21:06

EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström's directive on Internet blocking may prove a slippery slope very quickly

EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström wants to introduce blocking on the Internet, to hide sites alleged to contain child pornography. Critics, like the Pirate Party, have warned about the slippery slope, and that once you have introduced blocking for one purpose, demands for blocking other types of sites, such as file sharing portals, will quickly follow. Commissioner Malmström has replied that this is about pictures of sexual child abuse only, and that she would ”personally very strongly oppose” any attempt to extend the blocking to other areas.

Two months ago
we got an opportunity to see what Commissioner Malmström’s will mean in practice. An EU working party for law enforcement presented its idea to create a ”virtual Schengen border” on the basis of an EU black-list of sites to be blocked.

I put a question to the Commission about what Malmström had personally done to ”very strongly oppose” this idea. Now the answer has come (same blog post). So, what did she do? Absolutely nothing, it turns out.

”The Commission will not react to a presentation made by a national expert,” is Malmström’s answer now.

From the earlier promise to strongly oppose any ideas about extending the child abuse filter to other areas, all the Commission now says is that there are no current plans to do so. This makes me worried.

The European Parliament, the Commission, and the Council of Ministers have just reached a compromise on blocking of child abuse sites. It says that the member states ”may” (as opposed to ”shall”) block sites containing child pornography, and it introduces legal safeguards such as the right to legal appeal for anyone who has his site blocked, so the compromise as such is not altogether bad.

But before the European Parliament has even formally adopted the directive (which is expected to happen in September), those who want to block other things than child abuse pictures have already gone to work.

At a seminar
I attended this week I heard two representatives from music collecting societies and rights holders’ organizations explain how file sharing sites ought to be blocked as well, in the same way as with child abuse sites. In the UK, the Motion Picture Association MPA has gone to court to force British Telecom to apply the child abuse filter to file-sharing sites, in order to block them.

This comes as no surprise. ”Start with child porn, then get the politicians to extend the blocking” has been IFPI’s child porn strategy all along. There will be many more suggestions to extend the blocking to other areas, once it is in place for child abuse pictures.

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6 kommentarer

  1. Sorry, Christian, no offence, but politics is *mostly* moral prostitution and here we probably see just one more example. Just remember the events when the corporations were trying to push through the European patent law. And the politicians involved were hardly defending the European majority, but rather the financial majority and even not European.

    I see that in our ”democracy” projects like Tor, Peek-a-Booty, Gnunet and hopefully others which will emerge, are going to be the only means assuring free flow of information. Till now the Internet is the only media where censorship wasn’t really applied yet. How long still?

    Kommentar av Jarda — 3 juli 2011 @ 23:52

  2. ”The Commission will not react to a presentation made by a national expert,” is Malmström’s answer now.

    So she chose strategy 1.

    Kommentar av Björn Persson — 4 juli 2011 @ 20:16

  3. Stop file-sharing of copyrighted files – no blocking, problem solved!

    Pirates will never understand that it’s their own behavior that leads to the Internet that will be closed, blocked, supervised etc. Just like when the child that steals from the cooky jar is upset when the pantry is locked.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 5 juli 2011 @ 17:56

  4. @Pelle/Urban/nejtillpirater — 5 juli 2011 @ 17:56

    > ”Stop file-sharing of copyrighted files – no blocking..”

    File-sharing of copyrighted files is not illegal? Copyright infringement is illegal, but the fact that some users in some countries, of their own free will, possibly performs copyright infringement, is no reason why fully legal sites like bitlockers, Piratebay2 and other filesharing portals should be censored? Almost everyone understands that fully legal sites shouldn’t be censored, just because some confused people has a personal subjective distaste for those sites?

    > ”..problem solved!”

    What problem? There doesn’t exist any proven problem with filesharing, filesharing portals, bitlockers, or non-profit copyright infringement, regarding the concept of copyright?

    > ”Pirates will never understand that it’s their own behavior that leads to the Internet that will be closed, blocked, supervised etc.”

    Pirates behaviour has nothing to do with why politicians of their own free will passes illegitimate laws to uphold an illegitimate monopoly? The responsibility for that falls alone on the politicians, and no others.

    The pirates themselves are doing nothing wrong? It’s completely ok to non-profit fileshare copyrighted material for whatever reason you see fit? Accessing and making copyrighted material available on a non-profit basis and a commercial scale, without creators or copyright holders being privileged with any control over it, or right to any compensation from it, is the norm in society since over 150 years back, and that fact is something that hundreds of millions of filesharer’s all over the world understand perfectly fine.

    I’ve explained that to you several times, and as we remember from the other day you couldn’t come up with any sustainable arguments that proved otherwise, before you again quietly left that argumentative thread. The only thing you proved was that you didn’t understand how passing legislation works, how libraries work, or what biblioteksersättningen was all about, a non-copyright related political cultural support program, that only a few countries in the world use.

    The fact that non-profit filesharing in some countries possibly constitutes a copyright infringement into an illegitimate monopoly, is not the file-sharers problem or responsibility, it’s again the politicians responsibility alone, which unfortunately seems to have forgotten what rules legislation must uphold to, to be considered legitimate.

    > ”Just like when the child that steals from the cooky jar is upset when the pantry is locked.”

    Children stealing cookies has obviously nothing to do with the subject of politicians passing illegitimate censorship legislation, trying to solve a non-existing problem, by censoring fully legal sites, or citizens performing an intrusion into a non-functioning illegitimate monopoly over production and distribution of luxury items, a monopoly that only exists through performing an intrusion into peoples own property?

    As it became painfully obvious the other day, please stay away from coming up with parables, since you in no way master them or understand how to properly use them.

    Kommentar av Fredrika — 5 juli 2011 @ 22:44

  5. @nejtillpirater

    Stop file-sharing of copyrighted files – no blocking, problem solved!

    The ongoing crusade to block people out of from (for the government) sensitive information, to censor the people, did not start with file-sharing and will, if let to be continued, not likely stop there either. Had you actually been reading what other people say, and had been the slightest interested in an objective discussion, you wouldn’t have came up with this nonsense answer for this problematic issue.

    Pirates will never understand that it’s their own behavior that leads to the Internet that will be closed, blocked, supervised etc.

    Because it’s convenient for the politicians to blame their own actions on the pirates?

    To summarize the essence of what you wrote:
    Politician #1: – The people doesn’t behave as we wish them to.
    Politician #2: – That’s unacceptable, let’s show them who the boss is around here.
    Politician #1: – How do you propose we do that?
    Politician #2: – Knowledge is power, therefore let’s throttle their access to it.
    Politician #1: – What do you propose we tell them then?
    Politician #2: – Tell them it’s their own fault!

    Just like when the child that steals from the cooky jar is upset when the pantry is locked.

    Funny thing that you so openly admit that you don’t believe in an open democratic society. The government isn’t there to tell the people what to do, the people are there to tell the government what to do. The power should come from the people, not the other way around like you far too often imply.

    Either way your parable is once again based on fallacy and has no relevance to the discussion whatsoever. If you want to discuss theft, take it somewhere where we actually are discussion theft. A lie doesn’t become any more true the more times you are repeating it.

    @Pelle/Urban/nejtillpirater (…) As it became painfully obvious the other day, please stay away from coming up with parables, since you in no way master them or understand how to properly use them.

    Second that.

    Kommentar av professor — 6 juli 2011 @ 12:44

  6. @nejtillpirater

    ”Stop file-sharing of copyrighted files – no blocking, problem solved!”

    And because murder exists we can’t afford civil rights or ordinary jurisprudence? This may come as news to you but the existence of any crime what so ever, in any scale you might imagine, does not constitute a valid reason for abolishing either civil rights or normal judicial process.

    In fact the only escape clause found under some (and by no means all, even then) national constitutions to suspend civil rights or basic rule of law is in case of war or natural disaster. File sharing, even if 90% of the populace indulged in it, does not constitute such a disaster.

    That said ”net blocking” is a non sequitor. There is no blocking or filter, at any level which works. You could remove internet access for everyone and achieve a measure of success but you won’t with any less drastic methods ever manage to even touch filesharing.
    Let alone the CP distribution ”industry” whose ordinary darknets are already from the start circumventing every measure Censilia Malmström would like to see implemented. Anyone even interested in CP in the first place will easily find a way to access it. As we have already seen ample evidence of, such a filter does end up blocking numerous fully legal web sites which someone for reasons of their own found offensive – sites regarding political views, ordinary porn, and at least in one case, bonsai tree growing.

    I’d even go so far as to claim that every euro spent on internet blocking is one euro which in this case won’t be spent on efforts to track down perpetrators of child rape in order to put them in jail. Internet blocking for that reason simply does far more harm than it does good.

    @Christian

    ”…it introduces legal safeguards such as the right to legal appeal for anyone who has his site blocked, so the compromise as such is not altogether bad.”

    What is really needed is a way to discourage false claims. As we’ve seen quite often in the past as soon as a blocking list is sanctioned, everyone with an axe to grind starts trying to put whatever offends them on that list and there has so far been very little or no validation on whether those sites contained child pornography or not. Witness the swedish version when the leaked list revealed that 95% of the listed sites definitely weren’t even related to child pornography, for instance.

    In my opinion, making a false claim should render you liable in law in the same manner a false charge delivered at the local constabulary would. Having the ”right to appeal” simply means if you mistakenly get placed on the list then for several weeks the only people able to access your site would be the people already running from darknets or redirect clients. Which will have disastrous results if you are running a legitimate online service, for instance, or are getting yuor revenues from blogging (to say nothing of the defamation issues when your customers see a big fat sign saying ”Warning! Child Porn!” attached to your ”front door”). One false accusation could break a small business easily.

    Kommentar av Scary devil Monastery — 12 juli 2011 @ 19:53


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