Norway Looking To Force ISPs To Censor The Internet

from the great-firewall-moves-north dept

There aren’t many details here, but it sounds like Norway is thinking about putting in place an internet censorship plan that’s similar to what’s in China. ISPs would be responsible for blocking various sites that the government didn’t like — including foreign gambling sites (government monopoly on gambling would be protected), any sites that offer unauthorized downloads, sites that are seen as “desecrating the Flag or Coat of Arms of a foreign nation,” sites “promoting hatred towards public authorities, racism and hate speech” and “Sites offering pornography that may cause offence.” While it sounds like this is still a long way away from becoming law, there are obviously a ton of problems with this. Beyond the first point, which is clearly just to preserve a lucrative government monopoly, the rest are pretty subjective and open to wide interpretation. Promoting hatred towards public authorities could be seen as just about any political blog. Hell, perhaps this post could be seen as qualifying to be blocked. Also, trying to ban pornography sites is impossible, because there is no definition of pornography that covers everything. There are a ton of sites out there that “may offend” some people — but won’t offend most people. It’s not clear what good such a proposal would actually do — but it’s pretty clear that it would probably piss off a lot of perfectly reasonable Norwegian residents who want the freedom to use the internet as they please. Update: In the comments, it’s pointed out that this proposal is not supported by the majority, and probably won’t go anywhere.

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Comments on “Norway Looking To Force ISPs To Censor The Internet”

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Kjell Andorsen says:

Not too worried.

As a Norwegian I’ve been following this for the last few days in Norwegian newspapers. I think it’s pretty blown out of proportion. This is a proposal submitted to the Norwegian DOJ by a small minority of the comittee set to evaluate various Internet legislation issues. The Majority proposal was strongly against such censorship, rightly finding that in addition to being overtly broad and restrictive, the minority proposal also placed an undue burden on ISPs and was likely to be grossly ineffective.

By Norwegian Law, the minority proposal has to be considered by the DOJ

Emil Snorre (user link) says:

Expanding on what Kjell Andorsen said: According to newspapers, the committee was made up of six members, of which only two wanted to put forward the proposal. So that’s really a very small minority. 🙂

As for “offensive pornography”, as far as I know that’s what the current law on pornography bans–and last year, the supreme court decided that the state couldn’t decide what would cause offence. Thus hardcore porn became legal, and it’s no longer necessary for people to set their decoders to Swedish to circumvent the infamous black bars covering naughty bits. 😛

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