When The IT Manager Determines If You're A Sick Pervert Who Should Go To Jail

from the an-example dept

We've written before about how mandatory anti-porn filters don't work -- even bringing up the specific example of Vodafone. Last year, the mobile operator decided it needed to implement some sort of porn filter. To deal with people who wanted access to blocked content, they required people to go ask for permission to view porn -- even if they only wanted to view pages that were incorrectly blocked. In fact, it turned out that an awful lot of sites were incorrectly blocked, including news sites and even some Blackberry email accounts. That was over a year ago, and apparently Vodafone hasn't worked out the kinks. In fact, it gets worse. Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain is in the UK for a conference and using a wireless data card from Vodafone. In doing some research, he was trying to find some info about a specific US court case (Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition) concerning the legality of "virtual" child porn. He did a search on "virtual child pornography case," and not only was it blocked (even after he got his "porn license" from Vodafone), but he was told that an IT manager from Vodafone would be reviewing his search to see if he tried to access anything illegal. He was trying to do research on a court case for a conference he's attending, and suddenly he's discovering that a random IT manager at Vodafone will now be determining if he broke some sort of child porn laws in the UK. It seems a bit extreme.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bob3000, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 4:32am

    No Subject Given

    What a great way to lose customers.

     

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  2.  
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    Seth Finkelstein, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 5:27am

    Not QUITE so bad - boilerplace

    It's not *quite* so bad - that's a boilerplate message. But it definitely shows censorware follies.

     

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  3.  
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    Jimmy Newsom, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 5:29am

    Voda-Manager

    I can picture a monkey in a room with two buttons trying to decide which one to push, the "drop customer" button, or "get banana" button.

    Censorship sucks and monitoring is pathetic.

     

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  4.  
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    Bob3000, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 5:33am

    Re: Not QUITE so bad - boilerplace

    Yea but it gives the user the impression that your internet cache file is being monitored. No one wants that.

     

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  5.  
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    CloakedMirror, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 5:57am

    Great example of why xxx TLD should be mandatory

    If the xxx (triple X) TLD was made mandatory for those that provide porn, then searches like that made by the professor wouldn't have to be filtered to the extent that they are.
    Then companies like VodaFone would be able to allow all the access you like to any site you wanted. If any porn provider broke the TLD requirement, you simply cut them off.

     

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  6.  
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    Whosawhat?, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 6:32am

    so what?

    Jonathan Zittrain has nothing to worry about. Who cares what some random IT manager has to say about the legality of what he is doing. As long as he is careful about how he is investigating this he should be fine.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 6:35am

    Who's really to blame?

    The bad guys always mess things up for everyone else. If there were no porn sites, there would be no need for blocking software. If there were no sexual perverts, there would be no need for porn. If there were no pedophiles, there would no child porn sites. Lets place the blame where it really belongs.

     

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  8.  
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    DV Henkel-Wallace, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:23am

    Re: Great example of why xxx TLD should be mandato

    the .XXX TLD might sound like a good idea, but in practice it won't make any difference for a couple of reasons. On is of course the equivalent of the whitehouse.com issue. The other is that the definition of "porn" varies from place to place. In some jurisdictions a breast cancer information site that included pictures of healthy breasts would be considered racy and to be controlled. Which should be in XXX and how would "Mandatory" be be defined, much less enforced?

    These are just practical examples, ignoring philosophical issues.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:26am

    Re: Who's really to blame?

    And if there were no children, there would be no pedophiles, so let's get rid of the children. It's the only sane thing to do.

    :-.

     

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  10.  
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    Just Me, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:41am

    Re: Great example of why xxx TLD should be mandato

    Let me say right away that I don't think people should be allowed to view the Big 3 types of bad pr0n (kids, animals, necro).

    Also, filtering is bad for many reasons.

    Even having the XXX TLD, which I agree is a good idea that should have been implemented back in '95, I don't think it would help in this example. He looked up a bad phrase. If you have a filter, it should be looking for bad phrases.

     

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  11.  
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    malhombre, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:51am

    Re: Who's really to blame?

    Well put.

     

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  12.  
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    G_Man, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:59am

    Perver

    I guess it does sound extreme until you have a child who has been molested or realize that child molesters feed on this rubish and actively pursue residence near schools.

     

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  13.  
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    Brice, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 8:21am

    Re: Who's really to blame?

    Pedophiles can control their actions as to whether or not they chase after children. Children cannot control whether or not they were born. Therefore, the only logical conlcusion is that we need to rid the world of dumb anonymous cowards like you and the pedophiles you support.

     

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  14.  
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    thom, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 8:21am

    problem solved

    Only sell these devices to adults.
    Problem solved?

    Seriously, I hate babysitters. Any filtering system needs a quick, easy and complete opt-out for me. I'll filter my own content. I'll avoid the child porn. I don't need corporate momma's help. I've been doing just fine, so far.

     

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  15.  
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    DGK12, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 10:07am

    Victims

    Filtering only leads to more victims. If they spent as much energy hunting down illegal content they might actually get somewhere. By going this rout they end up victimizing innocent people.

    The guy used a bad phrase to look up legitimate content. If the search service were good it would not have to block the phrase, only the bad content. Even if it did not work perfectly, it would be a great step in the right direction.

     

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  16.  
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    Pete Austin, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 10:40am

    Background Information

    Vodafone is not the first UK ISP to censor links - "if you are a BT broadband customer and you follow a link to a website that is suspected of hosting images of child sexual abuse - what is often sloppily called "child porn" - then you will get a "page not found" error." BBC. But the United Kingdom has not enacted censorship legislation specific to the Internet - EFA.

    Who assaults children? "In 70-90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person who commits the abuse ... Those who sexually abuse children - the ones we know about and the ones we don't -- can be anyone in our lives. They are fathers, mothers, stepparents, grandparents, and other family members (uncles, aunts, cousins). They're neighbors, babysitters, religious leaders, teachers, coaches, or anyone else who has close contact with our children." The Campaign to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. "In 2002, one or both parents were involved in 79 percent of child abuse or neglect fatalities ... Frequently the perpetrator is a young adult in his or her mid-20s without a high school diploma ... Most fatalities from physical abuse are caused by fathers and other male caretakers." US Department of Health & Human Services

    Fortunately my ISP is not worried about the queries I made to research this post, including child sex abuse percent family member (Google). At least I hope they're not!

     

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  17.  
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    Daniel (profile), Sep 12th, 2005 @ 11:12am

    Re: Background Information

    Actually I wrote a website specifically for mobile phones [gx20.com if its still working - looks different when viewed on phone though] about the time they implemented this porn feature, i used to test the site regularly after making changes, after which they decided to block the whole site.

    eventualy got to speak to someone and they listed about 3 url's on the site that contained adult images, a couple were simple topless women [phone backgrounds], so you have to be over 18 to see a topless woman??? most of the images people wanted were women in skimpy clothing, and if you cant give people what they want [within reason] whats the point?

    so that pissed me right off, i then moved to 3, now i can't even see my own site at all as 3 wont let you browse anything other than their own stupid content - grr!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 3:17pm

    Serves him right

    People shouldn't be allowed to even think about such things, much less talk about or research them.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Background Information

    "In 70-90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person who commits the abuse[...]"

    So what you're saying is that we should protect children from any adults that they know. I wonder if Skinner boxes would work.

     

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  20.  
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    Daniel (profile), Sep 13th, 2005 @ 9:40am

    Re: Background Information

    or you should put all children into boxes, leave theme there with enough stimulation and tools to learn stuff and leave them till they are fully grown.

     

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  21.  
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    Bladesman, Nov 1st, 2005 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Background Information

    one point to remember in this is that ANY intentional access/viewing of child sexual abuse/'child porn', whatever the media, is, de facto, a criminal offence in the UK; unless prior clearence has been obtained. E.G. specific Police Officers tracking down abusers, etc.

    This is one of the few black & white areas. I expect that 'the IT manager' is not determining whether or not someone should 'go to jail', rather whether an offence has not taken place is unclear enough to bring in the police to take it further.

    And if you think your on-line activity is not being monitored at several levels, you should be ashamed of your naivete.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    bored keeping re-posting this correction, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 9:33am

    Re: Background Information

    Whats the matter? Do you not want to let calm reflection and consideration get in the way of a nice solacious story? (I note as well that the previously posted link to the proffs site is now missing too) http://www.isen.com/blog/2005/09/content-blocking-in-uk.html - that makes it pretty clear to me that the 'threat' comes from Network Manager, Said Business School Network manager NOT 'Vodaphone'
    . Read the 'prose grab' for yourself!

    Bad Blogging and bad journalism

     

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  23.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 6:19am

    Re: Voda-Manager

    i do not need sensorship, nor do i want it, if i need to have it on my pc i will cancel,any and all programs. if i am told i am a sex nut ,so what,i am over 50

     

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  24.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 6:30am

    Re: Who's really to blame?

    i like porn, and their providers,sex shows are not bad, your evil minds are,i am my own administrater,kid shows ,adult shows, whatever leave them alone,stop being dramatic,blowing things out of control is what is the problem,then the kids want to know what,s the matter or going on

     

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  25.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Who's really to blame?

    thats sick,i have 16 yes i said 16 kids,11 grand kids,4great grand kids,i have never had a problem with any of them, i,m a great grand daddy and none of them have ever given me worry,why,because talk to them, be their when they need you, they don,t bite, explain with out threats,don,t expect churchs,schools and administraters to do it for you, and keep your hands to yourself,no loss of temper.

     

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  26.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 6:54am

    Re: problem solved

    i agree ,i,ve seen it all, do your own screening,but honestly, don,t lie to yourself and its very easy to do,if your kids see something, explain it and don,t be dramatic,they will accept it,if you don,t get red,studder, and upset, i,m telling you true

     

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  27.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 6:54am

    Re: problem solved

    i agree ,i,ve seen it all, do your own screening,but honestly, don,t lie to yourself and its very easy to do,if your kids see something, explain it and don,t be dramatic,they will accept it,if you don,t get red,studder, and upset, i,m telling you true

     

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  28.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Who's really to blame?

    you all are,you don,t talk to the kids, explain anything no wonder the kids are in trouble,you bring them into a world that you screwed up, then say its the kids fault or they were born bad, there is no such thing as a bad child, only bad parents,bad example, then you cry

     

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  29.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Great example of why xxx TLD should be man

    filters are good, but they should be adjusted and set by the person running the computer not by some jackass who is on a power trip or dictator

     

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  30.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Background Information

    i watch everything i can,every kind of porn from the usa, and foreign countries, i still believe, talk to your kids, understand, stop making a mystry out of nothing, my kids are not perfect but they they know right from wrong,they want to know something they are not afraid to ask about it,when a child is assaulted its bad,but don,t make it worse by not talking to your kids about it

     

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  31.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 7:34am

    Re: Perver

    yes it does happen,i,m not being cold,i had it happen to me so i know what i,m saying, but what are you going to do, kill everyone,9 chances out of 10 these guys were deprived of what you are depriving your kids of,UNDERSTANDING, AND LOVE, AND THE KNOWLEDGE YOU SHOULD BE TEACHING YOUR KIDS and i do not mean teach hate,teach understanding

     

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  32.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 7:40am

    Re: Serves him right

    people like you that think this are the sickest and most perverted,also,your are the ones that create dictators,a man that cannot speak his mind,or watch what he wants is a dead man, and this has nothing to do with religon or god, just common sense

     

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  33.  
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    robert lesieur, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Background Information

    i do not care if i am being monitored,i have nothing to hide, i have a clear brain,and i enjoy my bill of rights in congress to watch anything i want,doing no harm to anyone,do you believe in god, if so ,ask him if he thinks you should be his self appointed assistant

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:26pm

    Re: Who's really to blame?

    if there was no internet and no computers, there wouldnt be web sites. lets put the blame on whose fault it really is, it is obviously the computer engineers fault for giving us technology that we need to block.

     

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