Feeds

Belgium wants in on European web blocklist

When in Bruges, do as the [censored] do

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The secrecy is also seen as problematic. While acknowledging that making block lists public would be to provide a goldmine of potentially illegal material to sex offenders and the inquisitive alike, the current situation offends against natural justice. In the case of our own IWF, not only is the list secret, but website owners will not be told officially when their sites are added to the list.

For the sake of natural justice, the argument continues, some mechanism for independent review of the list needs to be put in place without compromising the overall objective of blocking access to illegal material. The other problem with "secret" lists is that they tend to be leaked – and when they are, any mistakes quickly become ammunition against the entire process.

As far as we are aware, the only major blocklist that has not yet been leaked in full or in part, is the one belonging to our very own IWF.

El Reg has already reported on oddities found in the (leaked) Danish and Romanian blocklists. Although it is outside the EU’s jurisdiction, the Thailand block list is understood to include hundreds of YouTube videos (including Hillary Clinton's campaign videos) as well as blogs, cartoons, Charlie Chaplin videos and an article in the Economist magazine banned for criticising the Thai king.

In the last six months, Vodafone put in place a new filtering service for its Czech customers, which was publicised as blocking access to dangerous content such as "Child pornography and promotion of racism". Unfortunately, the blocklist also appeared to have included links that included a Facebook group dedicated to opposing internet censorship, a business directory and a transportation site.

The blame for this own goal has been laid at the doors of the IWF, who were alleged to have provided the URLs for the blocklist. Still, a spokeswoman for the IWF was adamant in denying any IWF involvement. She said that "the claim that the list in question comes from the IWF is simply not true".

Undoubtedly, 2009 is going to be the year of the internet filter. It is likely that many more governments will go down the route now being proposed in Belgium - and much argument will be needed before a compromise is achieved that succeeds in protecting both vulnerable individuals and internet freedom. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.