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Cleanfeed Canada - What Would It Accomplish? 211

Posted by Zonk
from the they-thought-of-the-children dept.
Bennett Haselton has another article on offer for us today, this time looking at the implications of a Canadian initiative to protect children online. Bennet writes: "Cybertip.ca, a Canadian clearinghouse for providing information to law enforcement about online child luring and child pornography, has announced that a group of major ISPs will begin blocking access to URLs on Cybertip's list of known child pornography sites. A Cybertip spokesperson says that the list fluctuates between 500 and 800 sites at any given time." Read on for the rest of his analysis.
The system is named after a similar filtering system used by service provider BT in the UK. It is also reminiscent of a law passed in Pennsylvania in 2002 requiring ISPs to block URLs on a list of known child pornography sites; the law was struck down in 2004 on First Amendment grounds. Although child pornography is of course not protected by the First Amendment, the law was struck down partly because the ISPs were blocking entire servers and IP address ranges, hundreds of thousands of non-child-pornography sites were also being blocked.

Under the implementation of the Cleanfeed system, representatives from Sasktel, Bell Canada, and Telus claim that only exact URLs will be filtered, not sites hosted at the same IP address. (Although conventional Internet filtering programs sold to parents and schools have also made the same claims, only to turn out to be filtering sites by IP address after all, so we'll have to wait until the filtering is implemented before we know for sure.) The other difference of course is that the Cleanfeed system is not the law, so there's nothing to "strike down" in court. Cybertip did acknowledge that this means customers can get around the filtering for now by switching to a non-participating service provider, although they are encouraging more providers to sign up. Cybertip declined to say whether any providers had simply refused to participate. But of course it's much easier than that to get around the filter, since filter circumvention sites like Anonymouse and StupidCensorship will not be blocked.

So, if it's that easy to circumvent, does it do any good? Even respected Canadian academic and columnist Michael Geist, hardly a friend of censorship in other forms, has spoken out in favor of the plan. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it doesn't accomplish anything meaningful, and may set a horrible precedent that could make it much easier to block other content in the future.

First of all, it seems that it obviously won't stop anyone who is deliberately looking for child porn. Empirically there's no way to tell -- we don't whether systems like Cleanfeed in the UK have prevented people from accessing child pornography on purpose. Even if the providers are counting the number of blocked accesses to known child porn sites, nobody knows what people have been looking at instead through proxy sites like Anonymouse. All we can do is ask, logically, whether it is likely to work. I think purely logical arguments are frustrating when there is no empirical data to act as a referee, but let's face it, users are not going to self-report on their success at finding child pornography, and there's no way to see what users are accessing through encrypted circumvention sites. Logic is all we have.

So, consider people who are deliberately looking for child pornography. Such people are likely to be resourceful to begin with (since real child porn -- remember, non-sexual pictures of naked children do not count -- is vastly less common than regular porn; Cybertip claims after all that they "only" have about 800 sites on their list, compared to millions of regular porn sites). Virtually all such people would be aware of circumvention sites like Anonymouse, or of peer-to-peer networks, which Cybertip says they have no plans to block. So nothing is blocked from people who want to get around the filter.

The only scenario where the filters could make a difference is the case where someone accidentally accesses a child porn site. Now when I first read the Cybertip press release announcing that the filter would aim to stop "accidental" exposure to child porn, I thought that was just a tactfully sarcastic way of referring to the people who get caught accessing child porn and claim it was just a mistake. But Cybertip.ca claims they've received over 10,000 reports since January 2005 from people who accessed child porn by accident. Even though that only works out to about 15 per day, I have to concede in those cases it almost certainly was a bona fide mistake, for the simple reason that nobody would voluntarily report accessing a child pornography URL that they visited on purpose. But even so, there's the question: What have you accomplished by blocking accidental exposure?

I would argue that the harm done by child pornography is to the minors coerced into the production of it, not to the people who view it. (This, by the way, corresponds with current U.S. jurisprudence; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that a law banning fake child porn was unconstitutional, even when the viewer can't tell the difference.) Obviously you prevent the most damage by stopping child porn at the production stage, but if it's too late for that, you can try to stop people from obtaining it willfully. This lowers the demand and decreases the incentive for people to produce more in the future.

But how would it lower demand if you block people from accessing it accidentally? If those people weren't going to proceed to buy or download more pictures anyway, then they're not fueling the demand. You can block them from accessing the pictures, but the pictures are still out there, and the people who really are fueling the demand can still access them.

So it seems that by blocking someone from accidentally viewing child porn, all you've really accomplished is to avoid offending their sensibilities. Now I don't mean that mockingly, I'm certainly not disagreeing with anyone whose sensibilities are offended by child porn. But there are lots of graphic pictures on the Internet that could offend someone's sensibilities, which are outside of Cleanfeed's mandate. Consider a photo of a 16-year-old having sex, versus a photo of an adult woman fellating a horse; even though the former is illegal to possess and the latter isn't, I think most people would be more grossed out by the second one. (I would even argue that there was more harm to the participants in the making of the second one, and in this case the law's priorities are a bit screwed up. Poor horse!)

So, why block 1% of the content that would offend someone's sensibilities, when 99% of the content that would still offend that person would still be out there? The fact that the 1% is illegal doesn't answer the question; even if it's illegal, you don't have to block it, so what have you accomplished if you do?

Possibly law enforcement is sick of people using the "I accidentally clicked on it" excuse when they get caught accessing child pornography, and wants to remove that as a defense. But couldn't someone just as easily claim that they "accidentally" accessed child pornography through a circumvention site like Anonymouse? They could claim that they thought they were accessing a regular porn site, they were using a circumventor to protect their privacy, and they didn't know that the site carried child porn and didn't find out until they'd already accessed it. So it doesn't seem like the filtering would remove the "accidental" defense.

So, I don't think the filtering accomplishes much at all, but it could set a very bad precedent once the filters are in place. Once Internet users have accepted the precedent that ISPs should block content that is "probably" illegal, what's to stop organizations and lawmakers from demanding that ISPs block access to overseas sites that violate copyright, for example, as the RIAA did in 2002? The technical means will already be in place, and more importantly, people will have gotten used to the idea that legally "questionable" content should be blocked. And with lobbyists claiming that 90% of content on peer-to-peer networks violates copyright laws, wouldn't it follow logically to block peer-to-peer traffic as well?

In a legislative climate where lawmakers have proposed everything from jail time for p2p developers to letting the RIAA hack people's PCs for distributing copyrighted files, we should resist any kind of content-based blocking that would let them get their foot in the door. That includes even well-intentioned efforts like Cleanfeed.

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Cleanfeed Canada - What Would It Accomplish?

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  • In Canada, ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In Canada, the internet comes without 4chan.
  • Lame. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FatSean (18753)
    Another attempt to get adults to give up some freedoms in the name of the precious children who must be free of sex predators so they can grow up to live in a society that gives up freedoms in order to protect the precious children...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Another attempt to get adults to give up some freedoms in the name of the precious children

      What freedoms are those, again? If I don't want to see you internet access to a given site, well, that's my right under free market principles. If you don't like it, find another provider. If I want to simultaneously limit my corporate liability and improve my public relations by actively preventing people from committing a crime (deliberately accessing illegal content), well, that's my right.

      If you want to set up yo
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SevenHands (984677)
        The ISPs apparently incorporating these filters are the large ones. May not qualify as Monopolies, but in some areas, are the only service providers the customer can choose. If the choice comes down to broadband from a censoring ISP or dialup, which one would you go with?
      • by Nos. (179609) <andrew@ t h ekerrs.ca> on Friday December 15, 2006 @03:03PM (#17259280) Homepage

        If you want to set up your own ISP in Canada without those restrictions, go ahead. If you want to set up an ISP that only shows web-pages about cats, or muffins, or religion, or science, or whatever, go ahead... it's not illegal.

        Actually, it might be. Check section 36 of the Telecommunications Act (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/LEGAL/TELECOM.HTM [crtc.gc.ca]). Here it is: 36. Except where the Commission approves otherwise, a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of telecommunications carried by it for the public.

        Personally, I don't like the project. I admire the goals, but as the article suggests, there are issues. Is is really going to put a stop to browsing child porn on the internet, no way. I don't think anyone believes that. Will it stop those who want to view child porn... probably not most, if any. There are too many ways around the whole idea to make it worthwhile. Also, under Canadian law, possession of this list of sites is also illegal, though its unlikely that Cybertip or any of the ISPs would every be prosecuted for having the list.

        Finally, comes the issue of privacy. I've been told that the system does not track which IPs are attempting to access which sites, but I have to wonder if it really does, and if not, how long before this "feature" is added in.

        • by flibuste (523578)
          I definitely agree with you. I don't like this idea. I find it dangerously anti-freedom.
          Then, I also do not like this 21th century moral trend to overprotect the children of any single thing, dismissing parental authority completely in the process, and goes against the wrong targets. As the post suggested, as long as you do not prevent production of child pornography, laws like that will have no effect than tempting the curious, as the curious kind is always attracted to things that are forbidden.
          It was t
      • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Friday December 15, 2006 @03:41PM (#17259902)
        If I don't want to see you internet access to a given site, well, that's my right under free market principles. If you don't like it, find another provider.

        The goal being de facto censorship by pressuring all ISPs to filter. If an ISP won't filter, you organize a boycott coupled with a shame campaign so that not only do they lose the people who actively boycott, but also people who don't want to be labeled as a pervert for staying. That leaves just the perverts. And then once you have all the perverts using one ISP, you hit it with a raid, seize the user records, and bust all their users, wiping out that ISP.

        "The Rangers say that many refugee ships fleeing the war have been heading toward this area of space because so far, it hasn't been attacked!"

        "That's interesting. What if they wanted to drive the refugees into one area, corral them? Make it easier to hit them all at once?"

        "Could be. The effect would be devastating, demoralizing!"

        "That could be their intent. Maybe this is as much about terror as it is about territory! When we've had wars back home, sometimes one side would leave a, a few areas of enemy territory undamaged. That way you'd get maximum results when you finally hit them with something big! Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, San Diego!"

        "They could be doing the same thing here! Drawing in thousands of ships, escorts, and refugees from a dozen worlds in preparation for a major offensive!"

        "It makes sense! It - it's what I'd do!"
      • by msobkow (48369)

        The one flaw with ISP blocking is that the block lists are pretty course-grained sometimes. It's not uncommon for crackers to stash files on a box that aren't referenced by the primary page content, then pass around the undocumented URL's in a "dark net" to share the content. Providers need to have a chance to clean up their infestations and security to get off the block lists in a timely fashion, and the site owners should ALWAYS be notified if their site is accused of illegal content or UCE/SPAM.

        Of c

    • Yes but... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gripen40k (957933)
      I would gladly give up my own personal freedom and well being to make sure my children grow up safe. That's just what being a parent is, protecting your children, even if it is costly. Now you may say that I'm just perpetuating the cycle, and eventually we will all give up our rights and freedoms, but I say that there is no 'right' to abuse my children, and no 'freedom' to watch them being abused on some child porn website. I can't imagine that you wouldn't want to give up your ability to look at child porn
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The answer to your question is contained in this statement:

        I would gladly give up my own personal freedom and well being to make sure my children grow up safe.

        You'll be giving up your children's freedom, too. Is that the choice you want to make? Do you want your children growing up in a world where the government is what teaches them good from bad, instead of you? Once we acknowledge that it is appropriate for the government to tell us what is OK to look at and what isn't, we've given away the very rig

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by gripen40k (957933)
          OK, lets step back from this for a sec. We aren't talking about a freedom or a right, we are talking about people's perversions online and child porn. Both of which are neither rights nor freedoms (well you are allowed to be a perv, but not one involving children). The rights and freedoms of the children involved are being trampled upon. What I'm saying is that I would gladly do what it takes to make sure my children are never in such a situation. Now, there is pretty much no chance of that happening to chi
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            OK, lets step back from this for a sec. We aren't talking about a freedom or a right, we are talking about people's perversions online and child porn

            No, YOU'RE talking about that. Nobody would support what you're talking about, which is precisely why you must belabor the point - it's indefensible and so you feel it makes you right. But, I think you're the one who needs to step back and realize this:

            What I am talking about is that bills like this one are the sort that grant permission to the government

          • Is it TOO hard to realize that, ONCE you give a mechanism that can control the public to powers-that-be, they use it to their ends.

            This has ALWAYS happened to be so during the course of world history. And it certainly did not change a year ago.

            The excuse for erecting up a control mechanism is child porn today, which is chosen because it is something that public will not be able to resist and object. Not something else.

            Once the mechanism is in place, it is in place. Can be used to meet whatever end.
      • by vertinox (846076)
        I would gladly give up my own personal freedom and well being to make sure my children grow up safe.

        I'm sure the same was said in 1936 by many parents in a land we shall not mention when laws were being passed to make their nation safe. Ironically, in 1945 many of their children had died in due to the war that was waged to "protect" them.

        Yes, it is a natural instinct to give something up for you children, but freedom should not be one of them. In fact, the most altruistic behavior would be to give up your p
      • by PingSpike (947548)
        As the author at top correctly points out, none of your goals are accomplished by this blocking list. Read the authors synopsis, its really pretty good. Demand for this stuff isn't removed. The supply isn't removed. And the way to get it isn't removed. About the only semi useful feature it provides is that it can stop you from accidentally viewing this stuff. The list doesn't even block by IP, it blocks by URL. Its a pretty trivial matter to either use proxy or do a reverse DNS lookup in order to around thi
      • I would gladly give up my own personal freedom and well being to make sure my children grow up safe.

        "We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this."

      • by freeweed (309734)
        I would gladly give up my own personal freedom and well being to make sure my children grow up safe.

        No you wouldn't. That is a complete and utter lie.

        The overwhelming majority of child abuse is committed by a parent. If you are actually willing to give up your personal freedom to keep your child safe, you should be perfectly willing to give up your child and/or incarcerate yourself, as it's far more likely that they'll suffer abuse from YOU than anyone else in the world.

        Unless you've already given up your c
      • You have the right to give up your things to protect your kids. Don't sign up for internet. Move to Manitoba (or Montana).

        what you DO NOT have the right to do is give up MY rights... or HIS rights to protect you children.

        Big difference.

        Stew
      • I would gladly give up my own personal freedom and well being to make sure my children grow up safe.

        Then give up your OWN freedom. Don't mess with everyone else's freedom.

        And oh, by the way, this isn't about the "freedom" to look at child porn. 'Coz you know good and well that it won't stop there.

      • "And what's so wrong about a world free of sex predators!?!"

        And here is unfortunately the exact problem. Banning online child porn and stopping access by whatever misguided and impossible methods is not going to stop sex predators. Ever. It's nothing but a boondoggle provided by shortsighted politicians who can't come up with anything better to make things safer. Because that would actually require work, insight and study.
      • That is a most clueless point of view you have.

        censorship is a trigger happy thing.

        it means preventing acccess to some information. what information ? who to decide ? a few 'non-profit' organisations and government agencies. based on what ? public opinion. how long ? not too long.

        censorship always starts out to satisfy public sentiment so that public can accept it. step by step it turns to a controlling mechanism for those who can use it to their ends.

        you are not giving up YOUR personal freedo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rs79 (71822)
      Am I the only one that's nervous that there exists someplace a list of hundreds of kiddie porn sites updated in near real time?

      Who here doesn't know of somebody underpaid and easily corruptable that works at a big ISP?

      This thing sounds like a godsend to people who want to get access to this kind of stuff.

      Am I missing something here?

      • by Kadin2048 (468275)
        Well if they have a brain, they won't distribute the cleartext list to ISPs, they'll distribute a table of hashed URLs, or something, and then the ISP can run each requested URL against the table to see if it turns up a hit, and then block it. (Over time, that might allow someone at an ISP to recover all the addresses on the list, but it wouldn't give them the "Kiddie Porn Top 800" on request.)

        Of course, I think this whole plan is not-very-well thought out, so I suspect that every ISP will get a copy of the
  • Good maybe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by otacon (445694)
    ok. so this will make it harder for people to access child porn...and that's a good thing, but not impossible...only an inconveience really. Why not spend money and develop a systems that accuratley tracks CP traders and frequent CP site visitors. or maybe a better system to track sex predators on social networking sites, which is an even scarier problem. The blocking is a good step, but not a very big one, a lot more ground needs to be gained but you have to start somewhere I guess.
    • by gmack (197796)
      This is one step of many taken here in Canada. I know they have a victims database and better international cooperation between poilice departments in order to track down child rapists.

      As it was explained to me this cleenfeed system is mainly for dealing with countries that don't really care to do anything about the problem.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <`pig.hogger' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:12PM (#17258524) Journal
    Experience has shown that the police does not give a rat's ass when it comes to civil liberties.

    It is only a matter of time before the police will block sites they disagree with that has nothing to do with child pr0n...

    • And the beauty of the censorship is that the very act of checking to see if they're blocking unrelated sites is in itself a violation of the law.

  • Do you remember the goatse links that trolls and pranksters used to put in their posts? We learned to check links before we clicked, and then the slashcode was altered to show the url; all this, to reduce the chance of accidentally seeing the goatse guy, just to protect our sensibilities.

    As the summary says, the blocking will be trivial to circumvent. So, why not make the blocking available? It sounds like a value-added feature that will be great marketing fodder. You can either advertise ``safer surf

    • So, why not make the blocking available? It sounds like a value-added feature that will be great marketing fodder. You can either advertise ``safer surfing'' or ``no blocking,'' depending on whether you implement it.

      And watch the safer-surfing ISPs decline to renew peering arrangements with no-blocking ISPs, forcing no-blocking ISPs to pay extra for transit to customers of safer-surfing ISPs. And watch the safer-surfing ISPs route mail from the no-blocking ISPs to junk mail folders. And watch both the local cable ISP and the local DSL ISP in a given town become safer-surfing ISPs.

    • by freeweed (309734)
      No, it's nothing like what Slashdot does.

      Slashdot has never blocked URLs based on content. There have been a couple of posts removed due to legal pressure, but every single goatse post in the history of this site is available for your viewing pleasure.
  • Suggesting there is a slippery slope here is a bit of a stretch. Depending on how the filtering is done (and I think we can all agree that is the critically important part here) this could be very good. It means I cannot accidentally end up at a site providing illegal material. Child porn is a bit odd under canadian law (as it is everywhere) because what counts as porn, what counts as a child, what counts as art, what about virtual actors or drawings blah blah blah, meaning that production of child porn
    • by tomjen (839882)
      The same was said in Denmark when they rolled the CP filter out - then the courts banned www.allofmp3.com too.

      Yes there is a slippery slope, and it starts the day they institute censorship.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:23PM (#17258662) Homepage Journal

    Maybe the real intent of this campaign is to keep Canadian citizens distracted from the real issues facing their country. Or perhaps to see just many rights people are willing to surrender in the name of fighting _____________.

    I still don't understand the concept behind making images illegal. Granted, someone who wants to look at this kind of stuff might have a really messed up sense of morality, and probably reality as well, but I don't see how this is a legal issue before there is an actual victim. I would think that the kind of depravity which would cause someone to seek out such images would be better handled by the Church than the law, as it seems to me that this is more of a spiritual and emotional problem than a legal one. I just don't see how the threat of jail time is going to fix someone's dirty obsession.

    OTOH, this probably does not have anything to do with the question at hand, and is instead a proxy for those who want to control the population by making certain thoughts criminal. This issue would be merely the test bed for effective means of thought control, a legal means of establishing the validity of thought crime. If, by using an emotionally charged subject, they can establish a legal equivalence of the crime, and merely thinking about it, then it paves the way to the extension of making political crimes subject to the same kind of enforcement as well.

    • Defendant: But, I didn't actually do the crime!
    • Prosecutor: But you thought about it, didn't you? If you weren't thinking about doing it, why did you visit these websites? Why do you have these images on your computer?

    If you think about it, the above dialog applies equally well to both child pornography and terrorism.

    • by Otter (3800)
      I still don't understand the concept behind making images illegal...I don't see how this is a legal issue before there is an actual victim.

      That's a legitimate question when talking about simulated images (I don't know what Canadian law is regarding those), but regarding images of real children, surely you can think of whom an "actual victim" might be?

      • by Alsee (515537)
        regarding images of real children, surely you can think of whom an "actual victim" might be?

        Yes, I'm sure we all can. Just as I'm sure we can all identify the "actual victims" in video footage of the 9/11 attacks.

        The issue here is that some people seem unable to correctly identify the "actual criminals" preforming an "actual criminal act" in one of the two above examples. Hint: it's not the person stitting motionless gazing at an image.

        -
    • by Phishcast (673016) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:53PM (#17259122)
      I still don't understand the concept behind making images illegal. Granted, someone who wants to look at this kind of stuff might have a really messed up sense of morality, and probably reality as well, but I don't see how this is a legal issue before there is an actual victim.

      If you (or your wife, or your child) are forced to be photographed nude or engaged in sexual activity to which you have not consented, are you not victimized every time those photographs are seen or distributed? Are you really arguing that there's no victim here?

      • If you (or your wife, or your child) are forced to be photographed nude or engaged in sexual activity to which you have not consented, are you not victimized every time those photographs are seen or distributed?

        If a tree falls in the woods, do you care?
      • by vertinox (846076)
        If you (or your wife, or your child) are forced to be photographed nude or engaged in sexual activity to which you have not consented, are you not victimized every time those photographs are seen or distributed? Are you really arguing that there's no victim here?

        Every time you buy a diamond (ring, necklace, or what have you) you are supporting slave labor and the drawing blood of African children in mines.

        If not directly then indirectly by increasing the demand for such items.

        Why aren't diamonds illegal? Th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billosaur (927319) *

      I still don't understand the concept behind making images illegal. Granted, someone who wants to look at this kind of stuff might have a really messed up sense of morality, and probably reality as well, but I don't see how this is a legal issue before there is an actual victim.

      Well, the State (insert your favorite government here) is in the business of trying to tell people what to think. Despite the protections on speech and expression in the United States, the government (and certain religious persuasions) would prefer it if you didn't think about these things at all and don't wish to be subjected to the actualizations of the thoughts of others.

      Now, I see child porn as morally reprehensible. Frankly, I think you have to somewhat depraved to enjoy thought of sexual contact w

      • by roman_mir (125474)
        Now, I see child porn as morally reprehensible. Frankly, I think you have to somewhat depraved to enjoy thought of sexual contact with pre-teens (not to mention [though I will] the dead or animals). But as long as the thought is in your head, and does not lead to overt acts that can be said to be contrary to the social welfare and the welfare of individuals, what you do in your own head is your own business. - I can understand how actual act of forcing children to perform sexual acts violates those children
        • by Billosaur (927319) *

          But still I don't see how CP, zoofilia and necrofilia can be set equal in the eyes of the criminal law.

          But I wasn't talking about law. I was talking about what I find morally reprehensible. I don't condone these acts -- that's my personal belief. I don't expect my personal belief to be made into law. Why should my opinion count any more or any less than that of anyone else? The idea is to find a common ground that can apply to all citizens in the United States (or anywhere for that matter). Maybe there are those that enjoy the "idea" of sexual contact with minors and while I may find that troubling, they d

          • by roman_mir (125474)
            Again, I agree with you that younge children are hurt by people exploiting them sexually to make images/videos whatever, but I still argue, just like in case of copyright - it is not the final user but the distributor who must be held responsible (or someone who made the order of-course.)

            I understand that you may find various behaviours morally reprehensible, but your definition of what is moral and what is not is different from other people's definitions and it is different from mine.
    • I would think that the kind of depravity which would cause someone to seek out such images would be better handled by the Church than the law,

      <<Insert Catholic Priest Joke Here>>
    • Maybe the real intent of this campaign is to keep Canadian citizens distracted from the real issues facing their country. Or perhaps to see just many rights people are willing to surrender in the name of fighting _____________.

      What real issues are facing Canadians that this is attempting to distract us from? As for rights, sorry but no one has a right to child porn. If you think it is your right to view child porn please do the world a favour and take a long walk off the roof of the nearest 40 floor build
    • First of all, child pornography depicting real victims creates problems. One, it can in a sense justify the crime, so those viewing it are in a sense justifying what happened. Two, it harms the minors after the fact by people still viewing what has happened to them.

      As I said in another post, the issue is due process.

      If these sites contain child pornography, wouldn't that be a crime in and of themselves? Shouldn'these sites be taken down?

      Okay, what if the sites are out of country you ask? Isn't it still a cr
    • by westlake (615356)
      I still don't understand the concept behind making images illegal. Granted, someone who wants to look at this kind of stuff might have a really messed up sense of morality, and probably reality as well, but I don't see how this is a legal issue before there is an actual victim.

      Child pornography is the rape of a child for the sexual entertainment of an adult.

      To claim that there is no victim is sophistry.

      How do you even begin to bring peace to a child whose violation was recorded for distribution world-w

    • by mapkinase (958129)
      Consumption of images stimulates the production. Production involves child abuse (here is legal reference for you, legal boy). By prohibiting the images, we are striking at the production. If you think that this would not be enough to limit production, propose something convincingly better for that purpose. For now, we will stick to that.

      Disclaimer. I do not care about the rights of consumers of child pornography. Period. They have one right: to get a medical treatment that will prohibit any kind of sexual
  • It won't work! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:23PM (#17258664)
    You know why? Folks with deranged brains and those who simply want to get around the system can and will use Canada's own tool for the job.

    Here is more about it: http://www.pkblogs.com/thegallopingbeaver/2006/03/ canadian-software-will-breakdown-great.html [pkblogs.com]

    Best of all, that very tool is now open source!

  • Simple answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <.gro.daetsriek. .ta. .todhsals.> on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:23PM (#17258666) Homepage

    But even so, there's the question: What have you accomplished by blocking accidental exposure?

    Well for one, you're potentially protecting yourself from false accusations of accessing child porn, when you legitimately accessed it by accident by clicking on some link where you didn't know what would come up.

    That is assuming of course that the agencies won't be using this proxy and filter list to charge people who are blocked with *attempting* to access the material.

  • Am I the only one who read the tag and thought, "how am I supposed to think of the children if I can't look at their nekkid pictures?"
  • Ban children from accessing the internet!

    End of conversation. You're welcome.
  • Infrastructure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RexRhino (769423) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:47PM (#17259028)
    The most important thing about this program is that it is building a censorship infrastructure in Canada. Once all ISPs have implemented a national blacklist (supposedly only of child porn sites), it is simple enough to expand it to include other sites.

    Child Porn is just a MacGuffin, a universally despised act that is easy enough to strike up paranoia about. Unlike Terrorism, or Drugs, or Global Warming, or other issues, it has universal political support for legislation dealing with the problem.

    Here is how the system is going to be expanded in Canada:

    1. Block Child Porn Sites (after all, only a filthy disgusting pedophile would be against blocking child porn sites).
    2. Block "Hate" Sites (after all, only a filthy digusting Nazi would be against blocking hate sites).
    3. Block Political "Advertising" (After all, we don't want people with lots of money advertising on the internet, and corrupting our democracy!)
    4. Block Dangerous Information (after all, why does someone really need to know how to build a gun, or a bomb, or manufacture drugs)
    5. Block Sites that Compete Unfairly (after all, Google has a monopoly on search engines! Canadians shouldn't use an American monopoly, they should use a Canadian search engine, run by the CBC!)
    6. Block Sites that Exploit Women (after all, we don't want women to be exploited... that is why we need to ban the Miss Universe pagent website!)
    7. Block 'Bad' News Sites (after all, Fox News or Al Jazeera are highly biased news channels... they could confuse the minds of Canadians with their one-sided programs).

    And so on, and so forth. Once the infrastructure is in place, it costs NOTHING to expand the list of blocked sites - and it is always easy enough to come up with some sort of reasonable arguement why certain sites should be blocked. Once this system is in place and works well, every political party will be screaming to have something they don't like banned - and without any real Libertarian minority in Canada, the only arguement will be over what things should be banned.
    • by MadEE (784327)

      And so on, and so forth. Once the infrastructure is in place, it costs NOTHING to expand the list of blocked sites - and it is always easy enough to come up with some sort of reasonable arguement why certain sites should be blocked. Once this system is in place and works well, every political party will be screaming to have something they don't like banned - and without any real Libertarian minority in Canada, the only arguement will be over what things should be banned.

      This infrastructure has always been

      • by TilJ (7607)

        The only reason this works is because that the cybertip site is generally trusted in the community and they are offering a feature that many customers want.
        Ok, so those customers that don't want it (for, say, civil rights reasons) can easily opt out (and without being demonized), right?

    • I've been wondering how they'd approach this technically, given that they've got a relatively small list of targets and they're talking about filtering 80% of the country's web traffic to block it. Unlike the US, it might be possible to do that in Canada without a huge expense, since a small number of ISPs handle most of the traffic, and most of it's concentrated through a few border crossings, and probably fewer than 20 million users. But it's still a really unbalanced scaling problem.

      Bennett's article r

      • Don't get me wrong, the left here is certainly guilty of censorship, but censorship exists on the right just as well. Let's just face it; freedom of expression in Canada isn't very protected, regardless of your political orientation. Telus v. Voices for Change, and David Orchard v. Mulruney's RCMP goons, are the first things that comes to my mind . [jabberwocky.ca]
      • I've been wondering how they'd approach this technically
        Ditto. A very simple approach would be to do it using DNS. The ISPs just have to create false DNS records for the banned domains and that would prevent most users from accessing them. There are ways around it, but I can't say that they're a lot easier than using one of the already-mentioned proxy or anonymizing services.
        • Duh.. Wasn't even thinking about that one :-) Scales pretty well, and while it's easy to avoid (because people can use any DNS server they want), most people use their ISP's DNS server. That's more likely to be what they did. It avoids the IP overkill problem, and avoids the DNS round-robin problem, and if you're only trying to filter out some URLs on the targeted servers, you can do that at a proxy filter.
    • 3. Block Hacking sites (possibly a subclass of dangerous information)

      HackCanada [hackcanada.com], Nettwerked [nettwerked.net] and RantRadio [rantradio.com] would be some of the first to go. Way too much politically incorrect information :(

      (libertarian? [libertarian.ca])
  • What have you accomplished by blocking accidental exposure?

    Unfortunately the law has very little leeway for accidental exposure, in may places (including Canada) even having these images in your browser's cache could land you in jail for a long time or at least make your life a living hell. Couple with it the fact there are a hell of a lot of people whom child pornography disgusts. We are after-all talking about one of the most extreme abuses of a child, that is enough to turn many people's stomach. I t

  • I'm trying hard to understand the purpose of this, to no avail...

    First, I think it's ridiculous to block Child Porn from people who might accidentally stumble upon it. If you come across a CP site your free to easily close the window or to register the address and take appropriate measures (report the IP address to authorities or something). I can't think of any other illegal activity where the state is concerned from people accidentally witnessing it while they don't do anything about it.

    Second, I assume w
  • If you disagree with this law or feel it isn't necessary then you are giving gas to the car that is the exploitation of children. Might as well support child furry-porn, or furries in general, or zoophiles, and child labor. There are a lot of sick people out there and there are steps needed to be taken in order to stop such retardation from spreading!

    As long as this law doesn't breach the rights of law-abiding citizens, then I'm all for it. I believe the canadian government fully reviewed this law so that i
  • Cybertip claims after all that they "only" have about 800 sites on their list, compared to millions of regular porn sites).

    And of those 800 sites (the FBI, by contrast, say there's hundreds of thousands!), 'll bet that 99.9% of them contain, at best, questionable content. That is, they offer content that may offend some, may or may not be considered illegal (in any number of jurisdictions), and most definitely do not contain of anyone having sex. The other 0.1% I'll leave aside.

    The truth of the matte

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Friday December 15, 2006 @03:35PM (#17259810)

    The human race is fascinating... here we are in the midst of the following events:

    - An ongoing, unjustified war in Iraq which has killed between 100,000 and 750,000 people,
    - The ongoing occupation of Palestine which has, just in the past 6 months, resulted in hundreds of assassinations and "collateral" deaths
    - The recent war in Lebanon which killed over 300 children under 12 (you are concerned about the children, right?)
    - The use of cluster bombs in southern Lebanon, leaving hundreds of thousands of minelets on school grounds, in forests, and in back yards,
    - The ongoing massacres in Darfur,
    - The ongoing war between the Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers,
    - The potential threat of a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel,
    - The growing national debt and deficit of the United States,
    - Global climate change,
    - Governmental interference with scientific studies, and non-scientific policy decisions
    - The return of so-called "morality" (read: christian morality, highly offensive to an atheist like me) into the US legal system
    - The depletion of our world's natural resources at an alarming rate
    - The erosion of the public domain and privatization of all information
    - Continual attacks on the US electoral system

    And what are we talking about? Sex. Children are dying and being horribly maimed from the bombs we build, sell, and drop. And we're concerned with sex. The US has 1/4 of the world's prison population, and we're concerned with Sex. Be it gay marriage, under-18 porn, or buying sex toys in Texas. We're on the verge of running out of oil - a mainstay of our global economy. Our environment is heating more quickly than ever witnessed by humans. We have leader-fueled rhetoric causing the destruction of entire neighborhoods. And we talk about Sex.

  • by jon3k (691256)
    Well hello slippery slope. Look I hate the exploitation of children as much as anyone, especially sexual exploitation, it makes my blood boil. But, the fact of the matter is this sets a dangerous precedent. The question is obvious - what will they block "for" you to "protect" you next?
  • Whatever happened to due process?

    If these sites contain child pornography, wouldn't that be a crime in and of themselves? Shouldn'these sites be taken down?

    Okay, what if the sites are out of country you ask? Isn't it still a crime to view them? Instead of blocking them, shouldn't the government be trying to go after people viewing them?

    I do not like the idea of an ISP censoring, regardless of how noble it might be.
  • by merreborn (853723) on Friday December 15, 2006 @04:45PM (#17260962) Journal
    to all of their Canadian users.
  • What fun are international relations if we can't corrupt our neighbors to the north?
  • Wouldn't it be more productive to let access to these sites go unrestricted, but log every request that goes to them? Maybe insert some sort of warning page (via the ISP's web proxy) to tell the end user that they're being watched?

    After a certain threshold of accesses for a single account, pass the particulars to the authorities to take a closer look.

    I'm sure that there are legal issues with this idea... but there are also legal issues with trying to censor access, as suggested in the article. At least my
  • So, consider people who are deliberately looking for child pornography. Such people are likely to be resourceful to begin with (since real child porn -- remember, non-sexual pictures of naked children do not count -- is vastly less common than regular porn; Cybertip claims after all that they "only" have about 800 sites on their list, compared to millions of regular porn sites). Virtually all such people would be aware of circumvention sites like Anonymouse, or of peer-to-peer networks, which Cybertip says

  • It is in the nature of human sexuality that it is not very targeted. Naturally, it is very simple cycle of arousing and gratification. So whatever leads to arousing might lead to gratification and after one cycle is completed, next cycle will go much smoother. That is how deep mutual attraction between husband and wife is formed, but also all kind of sexual addictions and perversions are formed as well.

    So, yes, the danger is that one might look accidentally at the child pornography and get aroused accidenta

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