Clarity, Accountability and Openness
"Web hosts must not wait for an image to be declared unlawful by a court when they receive a complaint, albeit only a court can declare an image unlawful. If they wait, there is every chance that the declaration will come at their own trial."
There lies the crux of the problem, there exists no means for a prompt and legally binding decision from a court about the legality of an image combined with the complete absence of any definite rules to allow a hosting company to decide if an image is unlawful or not.
This means web hosts will err far too far on the side of caution and pull any content you complain about that isnt pictures of fluffy cats, and they will probably pull those if you invoke the magic words copyright violation.
I dont doubt the need for censorship but if you are going to impliment censorship it needs to be done properly, openly, legally and to the same standards as other media, not in the half assed way its being done now.
The IWF have no legal basis for there existence and much as their intentions are good they are basically vigilantes, society doesnt tolerate people taking the law into their own hands in other matters, why should it in this case?
The IWF should probably be brought under state control as a part of the legal system with proper accountability so that a ruling can be made on the legality of an image before it is banned and that ruling can be applied to all media so you dont end up in the odd situation where an image as part of a photography book or an actual album cover is ok but the same picture on a computer is unlawful which seems to be the direction this case is heading in, and if their remit is only to censor images then their blocking system should do just that, block images, not pages containing images. If you are going to censor at least do it well.
And the thing that truly annoyed me, Once a decision has been made to block a page/image/site the ISP's should do as demon does and substitute a page/image/site notifiying the user of the censorship and why, not fake a 404.
If the critera for censorship are well defined and understood by everybody there is no need to hide the fact something is being censored as people will in general understand and accept it.
Unlike the current system of ill defined or non existant criteria and secretive blocking where it can all become a media circus in a matter of days.
This state of affairs is only going to get worse with the introduction of the extreme porn ban and the complete absence of any rules about what is and isnt allowed.