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back to article Irish ISPs urged to fit child porn filters

Irish senators have put forward a motion in the Seanad (Senate) urging the justice minister to force ISPs to block child abuse material online. Ireland's ISPs already delete reported offensive content off servers in the country, but the motion seeks legislation to force them to block material hosted overseas. "The legislation …

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Jop
Devil

While i'm surprised they didn't just comply, what the Irish ISP is saying does make some sense.

Making drugs illegal does not stop people buying and selling drugs. The drugs are still there. Blocking child porn will not stop some viewing it through other means, but removing the content at an ISP/hosting level actually decreases the amount available.

As for the implementation of blocking using the IWF list, Virgin Media customers often get blocked from whole sites once a single url on the site is added to the list. This happens a lot with web lockers and is made worse by the intercepting proxy which filters the url requests for domains on the list making all users appear to come from the same IP address. Why VM have never added the originating IP in the VIA section of the http header will remain a mystery.

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Silver badge

Probably a waste of money

Unless you believe in the slippery slope argument (I find it hard to believe personally) these filters do very little to protect children. In fact, they sweep the problem under the carpet so probably make things worse in some ways.

Those who want to see that kind of thing invariably find a way around the filters. Meanwhile, everyone else gets to put up with pages getting blocked on a whim (leading to the UK getting blacklisted for edits by Wikipedia for example) and gets to pay some of the cost of running a largely ineffective system.

And then the copyright lot come knocking asking if they can add a few URLs to the system!

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Silver badge

"they counted all URLs relating to an IP address, some of which might not have any illegal content"

Which implies that for instance that one photo on Wikipedia that got the entire site blocked would mean them counting every single request to Wikipedia.

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Anonymous Coward

Same problem with file locker site

Since file locker sites (Rapidshare, etc) generally seem to be semi permanent additions to the IWF list, evidenced by messages saying you are already downloading from sites, when you are not or modem download speeds through the overloaded IWF proxy. Then I assume anyone downloading from these sites, even if not trying to get to the file / link marked as bad by the IWF, will be contributing to those 10's of thousands of requests blocked each day. Talk about FUD spread by dodgy stats.

The spin: We are stopping up to 40,000 requests each day by paedo's trying to get their fix.

The reality: Up to 40,000 people are collateral damage of the blocking system. People who have no interest in child porn, but are trying to access file lockers. They are being hampered from doing so by, all being stuck behind one IP address or pathetic speeds. A minority are looking for child porn and are being blocked, until they get a clue of how to get around the IWF blocks (a simple Google search).

Of course I am in no way against measures to try and stop people with an interest child porn, from acquiring it. I just say to Ireland and it's politician's, don't use our system or measures of success, as a way to do this. Our system has way too much collateral damage in comparison to the small benefits it brings and our stats on it's success are bogus.....

It does make me kind of mad, that these potentially bogus stats will now be used as a reason for urgent 'knee jerk' action being needed. The 'think of the children crowd' will push for this, as it is 'obviously' such a big problem,. What people really need to do, is take a chill pill and try to think of a system that does not do more harm than good.

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Flame

Lead the priests not into temptation

The biggest problem in Ireland is not sick individuals getting their kicks over kiddie porn, it's religion-sanctioned sick individuals actually molesting kiddies. Until they shut down the Catholic Church in Ireland and imprison all the senior clergy as accessories to rape, consider me unimpressed with Irish politicians' self-righteousness.

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Anonymous Coward

*All* the senior clergy?

The same way *all* bank managers steal from our pensions, and *all* GPs who own their surgery poison the elderly? If you did collective punishment in a warzone you'd end up in The Hague.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lead the priests not into temptation

I'm pretty sure Christianity does not sanction sex outside an arrangement where one man and one woman are committed exclusively to each other for life.

As a general rule most Christians think messing with God's design is bad, so pushing sex to pre-adolescents who are not naturally interested in it, would be frowned upon. I'm not sure what the Atheist argument against CP is.

The cover-ups have nothing to do with religion. Its a large corporation protecting its image.

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Silver badge

Re: Re: Lead the priests not into temptation

"I'm not sure what the Atheist argument against CP is."

Leaving aside the idea that there could be an 'atheist argument' for anything (what could that even mean) I'd still give you the obvious answer:

"Because the making of it is incredibly damaging to the children involved."

Not to mention the possibility of normalising the act so that viewers may be more inclined to enact for real (although I'm not aware that it's been proved.)

Didn't need to drop a deity in there? Nope.

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Anonymous Coward

"...ISPs for being more concerned with copyright violations than they are about child abuse images"

ISPs don't care about copyright violation or child abuse images. They care about providing an internet service.

Big industry cares about copyright violations and pays government to make it everybody's problem - thus it lands on the ISPs.

Politicians trying to make a name for themselves care about child abuse images. But not enough to do anything about the cause of crimes, no they'd much rather "cure" the end result. Preferably by making it somebody else's problem. Thus it lands on the ISPs.

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Bronze badge

To filter child porn, you first have to identify child porn.

Who's going to volunteer to do that and have their entire future employment prospects destroyed?

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FAIL

This will do nothing

They'll just use TOR.

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Silver badge

Re: This will do nothing

One word: Freenet.

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Anonymous Coward

"Norway has a population similar to ours. They block 10,000 to 12,000 requests a day,”

Since when is censorship we aspire to?

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Jop

Thinking about it

They probably figured it will need a lot of man hours to deal with eventually, as if/when ACTA and other agreements come into play, they will have to use the same technology to block a zillion urls that the RIAA and MPAA submit.

When they originally sold us the idea of blocking at an isp level, it was only going to be used for CP. Already it is used for blocking other sites such as newsbinz etc.

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Contradictions - Journalisum mode engage?

“In the UK, BT alone blocks 35,000 to 40,000 requests a day. That’s 58 million requests a year, just from one ISP.”

"An email sent out to members by the ISPAI and seen by The Register claimed that the given figures for material blocked in other countries was misleading, because they counted all URLs relating to an IP address, some of which might not have any illegal content."

The second quoted paragraph seems to put the BT stats into question. If only we knew some tech journalists, who could try to get BT to comment on this. I.E how they have came to these figures.....

If a file on a file locker site, like Rapidshare, is on the list. Does that mean that every file download request to Rapidshare, even if innocent, gets counted as a 'blocked' request? If so then these stats are completely useless, think how many files are downloaded from Rapidshare and other file lockers every day.

This is an important thing to find out as these potentially very exaggerated stats will be used to sow FUD and to push through a knee jerk blocking system. A blocking system which causes as much collateral damage as the IWF system does. Could really do with some journalistic investigation here, but maybe I am asking too much

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Anonymous Coward

Kill the source (message) not the distribution channel (messenger)

The initial action will help curb the outcome.

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Megaphone

Call Australia

Call Australia and ask them how their implementation went, or didnt.

This topic was debated furiousley, and after a couple of revisions was eventually scrapped, or shelved at least.

There were fears about performance, scope creep, and the fact that a filter doesnt actually prevent anything.

Once you filter it off the web, if you can get all of it, you force the content underground. It becomes available only via secure and encrypted means, making it impossible to find without knowing where to look - a filter cant look inside an encrypted data stream without being able to decrypt it. Therefore, and with minimal effort, anyone can still continue to access the same content without fear of being watched. All you need is a VPN to another country.

Scope creep is a particularly worrying one. Once the filter is in place, various groups will all push to have content they dont like added in to it. Australias filter suffered this problem during development. Originally it was purely about blocking access to child porn etc - "protect the children from the big bad Internet." Then it also included protecting copyright material (i.e. blocking pirate p2p etc.) And finally it included enforcing content classification - that is, blocking access to content that has been banned, not classified, or simply refused classification by the Govt.

And then at least for some, performance is another issue. Australia trialled several filtering units before selecting one. Worringly, the boxes were only tested to support 12mbit/sec per user, when numerous ISPs were already offering speed from twice that all the way up to 100mbit - and the Govts own plans to introduce FTTH with speeds ranging up to 100mbit/sec. There was also debate about who was going to bear the cost of purchasing all this gear...

So while the intentions are good, the reality is that its a highly controversial move and very difficult to implement.

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FAIL

High number of Blocks

Firstly, ICBS on the massive number of sites blocked. I refuse to believe that child abuse material is THAT widespread.

Secondly, if the numbers of sites blocked are so high and remain consistently high year on year then clearly blocking does absolutely nothing or we would see a decrease.

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