Inside The UK's Web Blacklist Keeper

from the sounds-like-a-fun-job dept

The BBC's Rory Clellan-Jones (the same guy whose YouTube vid of a soccer match he filmed got yanked) has taken an interesting look inside the Internet Watch Foundation, the organization that runs the UK's child-porn blacklist. The piece does little to counter the negative press the IWF has received in light of its misguided blocks on Wikipedia and the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, with the group's CEO appearing to gloss over the failures because he doesn't "want to dwell" on them, instead trying to hide behind the moral cover of stopping child porn. But the group's efforts on that front don't appear to be particularly fruitful, either: one of its "analysts" who looks into complaints the group receives about images online says that few of the images it finds are in the UK, so it just reports them to sister groups in the countries where they are hosted, if such groups exist. The aim of the IWF -- to stop child porn -- is laudable, but its techniques, and their collateral damage, leave much to be desired.


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  1.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    The aim of the IWF -- to stop child porn -- is laudable, but its techniques, and their collateral damage, leave much to be desired.

    No one has explained yet how blocking websites will "stop child porn". It doesn't, won't, can't. Producers will simply find another way to reach out to their audience, or more likely, the audience will find other ways to reach out to producers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    "Producers will simply find another way to reach out to their audience, or more likely, the audience will find other ways to reach out to producers."

    There's a joke in there somewhere, I just don't have the energy on a Monday to find it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Ric, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 9:41am

    Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    But if they manage to do it right, I.E. block only sites involved with cp, it's hard to argue not doing it.

    Once again, that hinges on the IWF actually doing their job correctly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    TheStuipdOne, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Distribution Methods

    It really can't be that difficult to produce, distribute, and consume child porn or any other type of controlled file.

    Producing CP is easy, force or pay kids to be on film. (or kids make it themselves)

    Distribution can be trickier, but a VPN to an invitation only torrent community that shares heavily encrypted files should just about do the trick.

    Consumption of the content requires a password that you might have to pay for.


    So really blocking access to websites serves two intended purposes:
    1) create the illusion of stopping child porn in its tracks
    2) prevent people from accidentially finding it

    Unintended consequences ...
    1) blacklisted books and videos are much more desirable because of the blacklist
    2) child abusers continue to do what they want and fewer people are made aware of it

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re:

    it's hard to argue not doing it.

    Sure it is...it is an inefficient and ultimately ineffective approach. It has been tried time and again, and continues to fail.

    It simply cannot work. Proxies and encryption can easily circumvent the blocks. And the blocks, for the most part, are blocking THE WRONG THINGS. Child porn is not distributed via the Web. It is circulated in dark corners of the 'net, chat forums, IM, etc.

    If anything, it is behind paywalls on the web.

    All that said, those who want it need to work to get it.

    So the blocks are hurting everyone else. It is intrusive and blocking valuable content, sometimes silently, always unverifiably.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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