Ok, this time the topic of my post is going to be completely different. And I’m warning you, some this is not going to be a nice and fluffy post. On the contrary. This is a post about censorship, child porn and the relationship between these two in Finland. If you like, you can read this first. It’s just plain text, so there are no disturbing images or anything.
I do not think you can find anyone in their right mind who thinks that child pornography is a good thing. I personally think that anyone who does that to children or knowingly accesses that kind of material in the net (or otherwise) is sick. Seriously sick. So this is not about if it is right to restrict people’s access to this kind of material, it’s a question on how.
Internet, it’s such a lovely place. Actually I’m really glad now that it was not around when I was growing up. It is so easy to stumble onto all kinds of sick material over there. Raise your hand if you are reading this now and have never, ever opened a page/picture/whatever and regretted it immediately because of what you saw there. No hands? I guessed that much. The worst place for me seems to have been IRC. Now that I have been hanging around there the amount of shit (literally) and other repulsing stuff I’ve seen has been more than I have ever seen. And people seem to think it’s funny to post vomit inducing links without any warning.
And I think most of you would agree that it is really not possible to make a filter that lets you see all the material you should be able to see but flawlessly blocks all the bad stuff. We have all heard examples, one that I can remember is that one filter refused to open the page of a high school because high is also used to mean that you’re on drugs. Yes, computers are just that stupid. If you just give them a list – well, basically any list – it blocks everything mentioned on it. It will not check what the content of the page really is.
So now we have this fine law here in Finland that allows ISPs to block access to “known” child pornography sites. The list of the sites is maintained by the police. Sounds just fine, right? But something has gone wrong in the process. The list itself is a big secret, so nobody knows for sure what sites are on it. I’ve seen claims that the amount of actual child porn sites is really, really low.
I’m not saying that gay porn or all the sites that advertise “teen” porn are something I love about internet. It’s not that I’d be visiting these sites anyway. But if the subjects are all over 18, then it’s not child porn. And should not be blocked. As far as I know, porn itself is not illegal in this country.
I can not say that I would have visited any of those child modeling sites either. By the sound of it I would find it disturbing, so I’m not going there. Hell, I find the child beauty pageants highly questionable, too. But are they illegal? Where is the limit on what is porn and what is not?
To me it seems that the people trying to implement this thing do not really understand what they are doing. Or that they think that it does not matter if hundreds of legal sites are blocked if even one or two real ones happen to be caught, too. It worries me quite a lot that those who get to decide these things are so absolutely clueless. They do not seem to understand how things work in the net. If you want something, you will find ways to get it. Blocking random sites is not the answer to the problem. I do not know what is, but this will never work!
Edit: Ok, now it seems they have really done it :p I do hope that someone gets that 15 years in prison for this!