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The Great Firewall of Canada 399

Posted by Zonk
from the didn't-know-they-could-build-things-up-north dept.
engtech writes "Canadian carriers Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, MTS Allstream, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, TELUS, and Videotron have all opted in to a blacklist, dubbed Project Cleanfeed Canada, provided by Cybertip.ca, the Canadian tip-line against child exploitation. The idea of having a national blacklist sends shivers down my spine. I'm a pessimist, I believe that any form of censorship will eventually be abused despite it's good intentions." Besides engtech's post on the subject, Dr. Michael Geist has some considered comments about this issue. From that post: "Critics are quick to draw parallels to Internet censorship in countries such as China. However, those countries involve state-based content blocking, with no transparency or legal recourse. In fact, several democracies — most notably Australia — have established limited blocking rules, while British Telecom, the UK's largest ISP, voluntarily blocks child pornography as part of its CleanFeed program. Even with various legal safeguards, many Canadians would undoubtedly find the blocking of any content distasteful. Yet to do nothing is to leave in place an equally unpalatable outcome that silences those would speak out against unlawful hate speech for fear of personal harm."
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The Great Firewall of Canada

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:44AM (#16970890)
    Who is going to take the trip down the road of legal recourse when they're going to be branded a child-exploiter?

    Sorry, sir, our records indicate that PEDOS4PEDALS has had several complaints lodged against it and has been blacklisted in accordance with current regulations. If you wish to pursue this further, please see our webpage www.complainhereyousickpervert.ca for more information on how to remove your domain from the blacklist.
    • Re:Chilling effect (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cloricus (691063) on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:20AM (#16971098)
      Which is painful because the only people who will challenge this will be legitimate users...
       
      As any SysAdmin knows firewalls are a waste of time against those inside the system that are desperate to move data. Even those not smart enough to break through will just use sneakernet and unless you want to lock down every pc in the country this isn't going to be stopped.
       
      Some one should do some thing about outright wastes of money like this even above the out cries that 1984 is here.
      • What boggles me is why they need a blacklist? Surely it would be far more effective to simply shut down the site and put the operator(s) in jail?

        I mean, why would you allow a site with child pornography (which is illegal almost everywhere) to remain up when you could contact the relevant authorities. Well, unless you really wanted a blacklist for unrelated things that aren't illegal... :-/
    • by tenchiken (22661)
      Just as a question, (because frankly I have not seen the community come to grips with the fact that there is still child pornography available easily on the interest), how do you want to handle this problem?

      Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gilgongo (57446)
        "...there is still child pornography available easily on the interest), how do you want to handle this problem?"

        I don't want to "handle" it because the availability of child pornography on the net is *not* a problem.

        Paedophiles are a problem, but that's a matter for traditional policing and law enforcement that is being handled perfectly well in most cases. Whether you can or cannot download child pornography is effectively irrelevant to the problem of paedophilia itself since a) paedophilia has existed for
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        How about "Quit worrying if anyone looks at it, and start worrying about those who actually abuse actual children?" Seems simple enough to me. I've no interest in looking at the stuff myself, but I'm not concerned if anyone else does-I am concerned if someone causes actual harm. Unfortunately, that can't be solved with silly censorship measures, but it sure would do a lot more good.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ced_Ex (789138)
          Don't you think that Supply and Demand works here? I mean, if you want it to be ok to look at, obviously at some point someone had to produce those images.

          Also, what consent did those children give for their photos to be used like that? Don't you think they ought to have a say?

  • Um, come again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by freeweed (309734) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:46AM (#16970900)
    many Canadians would undoubtedly find the blocking of any content distasteful. Yet to do nothing is to leave in place an equally unpalatable outcome that silences those would speak out against unlawful hate speech for fear of personal harm

    No, to do nothing is to allow free speech on both sides. Blacklists, or lack thereof aren't going to help OR stop people from speaking out against hate speech. All they'll do is prevent speech of some sort.

    This Canadian doesn't follow the logic here at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mks113 (208282)
      I find it pretty hard to get worked up about. It doesn't sound like it is one person in a basement deciding what Canadians can and can't look at, but rather an attempt to keep world-wide recognized child exploitation off the net.

      The submitters reaction sounds very American. We Canadians don't tend to get so worked up about individual freedoms when the common good is at stake.

      I run a filter at the school I work at. I can understand the need to block content for the kids who are our responsibility. Legal
      • Cases in point: drug laws and copyright laws.
      • by Rakishi (759894)
        I run a filter at the school I work at.

        My school did that at one point, rather nice of them. Meant the librarians didn't pay as much attention as we all surfed to "not-allowed" websites than they would have otherwise (since of course what we were doing wasn't "possible."). I think they started paying attention when every computer was running Quake 2 and half the kids were skipping classes to play.

        Then again we were all creative kids. The master linux password file got stolen constantly, half of it got crack
      • by Jerf (17166)

        We Canadians don't tend to get so worked up about individual freedoms when the common good is at stake.

        Without intending to debate the point directly, the "American" point of view is that the highest calling of government is to protect individual freedoms, and as a government by the people, for the people, that is the common good. Those who would claim to use the common good as an argument to curtail freedom need to be scrutinized very carefully.

        That said, it is an immature interpretation of that idea to co

        • Caveat: When I referred to the "stated goals", I mean with regard to blocking "child porn".

          Hate speech is another topic entirely and one I find too scarily fuzzy and subjective for a government to be enforcing. Hate speech in many places is damn near "speech I disagree with".

          True incitement to violence I can see continuing to enforce, but expanding that to "hate speech" is just asking for censorship. I try to read a wide range of sources on both the "left" and the "right", and I've seen on both sides the ac
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        I run a filter at the school I work at. I can understand the need to block content for the kids who are our responsibility. Legal issues fall under the government. Why not allow them to block obviously illegal material?

        1) Schools, companies, etc, blocking for their users is fine

        2) Govt, or monoploy ISPs, blocking for EVERYONE is not. Becasue they'll err on the side of blocking anything that might offend anyone. 3) Trying to "block" objectionable sites from knowledgeable users is impossible, even if you

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760)
        "We Canadians don't tend to get so worked up about individual freedoms when the common good is at stake."

        We Aussies have a similar attitude, but I contend that the "common good" is served by a "free speech" as idealised in the US constitution and elwehere. I have no objections to blacklists for adults, provided the adult has a transparent choice. As for the wide availability of child porn and other "evils" on the net, if you find it report it to the cops (or your MP) as evidence of a possible crime.

        I
      • Re:Um, come again? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Friday November 24, 2006 @07:22AM (#16972778)
        When I'm surfing through a school/company I'm using their systems, and their machines for free. If they want to block something, I have no right to complain.

        When I'm surfing at home, on my computer, through my telephone line, I'm paying for everything. If anyone thinks they're censoring that connection they can fuck right off.

        If they want to go after the purveyors of questionable websites using the existing laws, then fair play to them.

        If they want to set up a general, overly-broad, excessively-powerful system designed to block out literally "anything objectionable" automatically and on a massive scale, then they can either:

        1. Hold a national referendum every day or two to define precisely what is "objectionable", and set the filter accordingly,
        2. Allow everyone to register their own "objectionable" criteria and only block those sites on a per-person basis, or
        3. Fuck right off.

        Censorship is bad, even when it's necessary. Centralised, automated censorship is really, really bad, and has never been shown to be necessary. End of story.

        Even if you trust the present administration 100% on every subject (and who really, honestly trusts politicians, especially these days?), once you set up a system so powerful you aren't just trusting them, you're also implicitly trusting every single administration that ever comes after them.

        Skirting Godwin's Law for a minute, even if you trusted the German government of 1900, would you trust the german administration of 1939?

        Transferring this kind of power to governments is a one-way street - no government ever sat back, looked about and said "Y'know, we've got far too much information on people, and too much damn power. Let's shred some files, drop some database tables and uninstall a few cameras, eh? Just for shits and giggles".

        Transferring this kind of power to a government is handing them a loaded pistol pointed at your head. Sure, you might trust the guy you handed it to, but it's going to get passed on every four years, so in four years time you have no idea whose finger is going to be on the trigger, and it only gets worse as time goes on.

        Transferring this kind of power to governments should not be equated with handing a gun to a good and trusted friend. It's more like handing a gun to a complete stranger - why would you do it unless it was absolutely, clearly essential for your immediate survival?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Shelled (81123)
        "We Canadians don't tend to get so worked up about individual freedoms when the common good is at stake."

        What? Since you're so in favour of it, please exercise a little self-censorship here or at the very least make it clear you speak only for yourself and not Canada. I know no other Canadians who are pro-corporate run censorship. The irony is I found this a particularly American approach, using outside government entities to apply remedies outside the government's powers. Make no mistake, the major ISPs li
    • by geobeck (924637)

      This Canadian doesn't follow the logic here at all.

      The logic is that the ISPs are Doing Something(TM). It looks good in their press releases, and probably ups their stock value a bit. Aside from that, there's nothing to see here.

  • by dsanfte (443781) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:46AM (#16970902) Journal
    The idea of having a national blacklist sends shivers down my spine. I'm a pessimist, I believe that any form of censorship will eventually be abused despite it's good intentions.


    I'm sure the outrage has you foaming at the mouth, and is palpably dripping from your chin as we speak. But hold your horses.

    We are not talking about silencing political speech here. Canada is not China, period. We have had laws against hate crimes and child porn for quite awhile now, and there are specific exceptions allowed in our constitution such that there can be no hiding behind the banner of free speech for these things. They are, unequivocably, criminal acts.

    If any sites of note are wrongly blocked, you will hear about it very quickly. Again, we are not China, and news travels fast. The potential for abuse here is small.
    • by Cheapy (809643)
      I hear this new fangled thing...this...Google...can be used to find child porn. Whaddya say, allow pedos to jerk it to children or block the whole site? Eh eh?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by strider44 (650833)
      The main problem is people are seeing this as an "in" for people who just want to block anything they disagree with. First you block illegal material, then since people are totally fine with blocking illegal material why wouldn't they also want to block "hateful" material? Finally, all you then need to do is expand the definition of the word "hateful" ever so slightly.

      One of the most insightful slashdot comments I've ever seen, though I've lost the source, said something along the lines of "if a legisl
      • It is also considered a logical fallacy.
        Blocking some sites doesn't have to be a bad thing. In the US and Canada and other countries child porn is illegal. If you publish a magazine full of 12 year old children having sex you will go to jail. Do you feel this is also wrong? I know of people that worry that even that is a violation of freedom of speech.
        If the list is.
        1. Made public.
        2. That the methods required to add a site to the list require a court order.
        I am sure that as long as it is done publicly that
    • by jonwil (467024) on Friday November 24, 2006 @05:14AM (#16972046)
      Its all well and good to say "its ok to block this very limited set of sites" (child porn, hate speech etc). But what happens when the copyright cartels (MPAA/RIAA/etc) say to the ISPs (and government) "if you can block child porn, you should be able to block other illegal content such as illegally copied music and movies" and then use their lobbying power to force such blocks?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)
        This is Canada. The power of the lobbyists is *greatly* reduced, thanks to laws which limit things like campaign financing (in fact, all financing for parties comes from a central pool, calculated using some formula based on the size of the membership (IIRC)). Thus, the danger of copyright cartels manipulating the system is significantly less than what you'd see in the United States.

        Further, the ISPs have already fought back against the copyright cartels (ie, they refuse to release customer information to
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:47AM (#16970906)
    "despite it's good intentions."

    Are they already blacklisting grammar sites?

  • Slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:48AM (#16970912) Journal
    I remember when the Telus (which is both an ISP and a telco) strike was on, a big issue was raised because they blocked the webpages of their workers' union from those using their internet services. I'm not sure if Canada has the same common-carrier laws as the US, but it seems to me that with or without them, these steps towards having a third party able to decide what is "acceptable" speech or not is a dangerous one.

    Apparent age of females, intent of speech or hatred therein, and many other things are open to wide interpretation. So who gets to decide what is standard vs hate speech, what is pornographic, what girls/boys appear underage? The same companies that block a disagreeable union webpage... that isn't a good sign to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gatesvp (957062)

      Fortunately, Telus doesn't maintain the list, we do, these guys are federally funded [childfind.mb.ca].

      If problems come up we (the public) file complaints and the issue gets handled. Sure, we can insert comments about poor response times, red tape, etc. But that's neither here or nor there.

      Point is, this is a government-sponsored list from a group with a good track record. If you don't like it, write to your local government reps and tell them about it.

    • by geobeck (924637)

      ...who gets to decide what is standard vs hate speech, what is pornographic, what girls/boys appear underage? The same companies that block a disagreeable union webpage[?]

      ...a blacklist...provided by Cybertip.ca, the Canadian tip-line against child exploitation.

      So, no, it won't be Telus. Or Shaw, or Rogers, etc. Cybertip.ca has a pretty well-focused mission, so they're only likely to block sites that (maybe) can't produce standard model release forms (including proof of age) that all legitimate adul

  • by thedarknite (1031380) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:48AM (#16970914) Homepage
    From the description of what the ISPs have opted into, I don't see too many problems with it. However, there should be some way of being able to review who is on the blacklist and why, so there is some recourse for sites that are listed without actually violating any laws.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:49AM (#16970916)
    How does a process tell the difference between two images, nonetheless two nude people, one 16 and the other 18?
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      I believe they would build a robot to do that job. Just give them time.
    • by westlake (615356)
      How does a process tell the difference between two images, nonetheless two nude people, one 16 and the other 18?

      there is a reason why they call it kiddie porn.

      we are not talking about mature teens. we are not talking about artistic nude photographs. we are not talking about the age of consent.

      we are talking about the rape of a child for the sexual entertainment of an adult. we are talking about infants and toddlers. we are talking about boys and girls age twelve and younger.

    • by tenchiken (22661)
      Law enforcement has a large database from convictions of people who this kind of crap. Part of that database is a fairly complex hash. If that has can be made significantly difficult to fool, you have a easy way to build a 90% tool...

      And frankly, someone needs to do this. The rule of the internet is being forgotten, which is that it is far better to regulate yourself, then to let your government do it for you.

      Of course, the usual suspects started this article with the same age-old trick of comparing Canada
  • australia (Score:5, Informative)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:50AM (#16970922)
    "several democracies - most notably Australia - have established limited blocking rules" completely untrue. the family first party of australia, a right wing christian fundamentalist group who unfortunately got a senator into our government was pushing a proposal, but nothing has been put into law or implemented to my knowledge.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by thedarknite (1031380)
      It hasn't only been Family First. Blocking legislation has been pushed by various politians from all the parties.
    • by fabs64 (657132)
      Australia has always had provisions for blocking specific servers from access across the international
      links.
      Apparently the things that are blocked are bad enough that noone has complained
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Brian Harradine got such proposals passed and implemented in the late 1990s.
    • by deek (22697)
      Agree with you here.

      I _work_ for a mid-sized ISP in Australia, and we have our own international link. We have no blocking at all. There is no law that I know of, which requires us to block access to anything. I guess it's just one of those slashdot urban legends that catches the imagination of slashdotters everywhere.
  • by alshithead (981606) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:52AM (#16970930)
    Here's the obvious problem first. What about sites that are blacklisted where it may not be justified? As an example how about a site that describes and depicts physical differences in human anatomy for educational purposes. I've seen pictures in medical texts that could be considered child pornography just because they showed full frontal nudity of subjects at different ages to compare physical development as humans age.

    The other issue I see is that an ISP can block whatever they want. It is their choice as business. If the customer is not happy with their policies or practices then they can choose not to be a customer any longer.

    Here in the US the government does censor at times despite the first amendment to the Constitution. But, I think the Supreme Court has historically done a decent job of ruling in favor of free speech.
  • Obligitory (Score:2, Funny)

    by LackThereof (916566)
    In Canada, milk comes in bags.
    • by crossmr (957846)
      Except it doesn't really anymore.
      • by The Hobo (783784)
        Sure it does

        I was going to go take pictures of it myself (I drink one of those pouches a day, almost), but it's easier to find it on the internets

        This [archive.org] is exactly what it looks like, I have 2 of those bags downstairs (and a few empty ones I haven't taken out of the fridge yet)

        The little thing on the bag is to cut open the milk, most pitchers have little holes specially made to fit the little clip on top

        I also found this [img73.exs.cx] image. Tee hee. (Again, that's exactly as you find it in stores today). I thi
    • by Shados (741919)
      (I'm canadian) I know its just meant to be funny, but the most ironic thing of this , is that the only place I've seen milk in bags in the last 20 years is during my countless trip to New York City!
  • by nickos (91443) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:53AM (#16970942)
    A Danish court recently ruled against a Danish ISP and ordered it to block all access to the site Allofmp3.com. According to the ruling, the ISP is willingly infringing copyright if it's customers use AllofMP3 to download music.

    The verdict could have very strong implications for the future. It clearly states that an ISP can be held liable for temporarily (milliseconds) storing infringing data on their routers. This means that ISPs can be forced to block websites, if the court decides that these sites are mainly used to spread "illegal" content.

    Read more here [torrentfreak.com] and here [slyck.com]...
  • Personal Freedom? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by C0R1D4N (970153)
    What happened to personal freedom? There's nanny-bots for people who want it, do we really need the ISPs/Governments deciding what's best for everyone? The really bad stuff will find ways around it and all that will be truly blocked is that which probably shouldn't be.
    • by repvik (96666)
      "The really bad stuff will find ways around it and all that will be truly blocked is that which probably shouldn't be."

      Yeah, one example: Norway blocks child porn. What they do is that all DNS-requests are checked, and those servers that hosts "bad stuff" are blocked, leading to a different page. Neat. So all one has to do to circumvent it is use a DNS-server not in Norway.

      The manner *ips* are blocked is as far as I can tell unknown. Whether any sites are wrongly blocked is extremely hard to tell.
    • by Soko (17987)
      What happened to personal freedom? There's nanny-bots for people who want it, do we really need the ISPs/Governments deciding what's best for everyone? The really bad stuff will find ways around it and all that will be truly blocked is that which probably shouldn't be.

      Hang on a second. You're talking about child pornography here. The sexual abuse of innocents for the profit or pleasure of people who (IMO) are sick, dangerous, sociopathic amd should be isolated from the rest of society. This is not a "Nanny"
  • Hate Speech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:01AM (#16970984)
    What the hell is this "Hate Speech" thing? In a free country, you should be allowed to say whatever the hell you wish besides inciting a riot or yelling fire in a crowded theater, or something like "I will murder so-and-so." Even for the last example, they should not be prosecuted for "Illegal Speech", but for planning a murder.

    It is ridiculous, immature and naïve to think that someone could actually be HARMED by ideas or words. Has no one else ever been taught that Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me ?

    Face it, outlawing "Hate Speech" is pretty much enacting Thought-Crime legislation. If you disagree with someone's obviously wrong ideas, such as something as senseless as racism, combat it with logic, common sense and better ideas. Don't make thinking or saying certain things illegal.

    And even if it was possible to come up with a defense of anti-Hate Speech laws, the boundaries between what is and isn't hateful is arbitrary and would inevitably be abused.
    • by fabs64 (657132)
      Hate Speech is generally what you just said, things such as inciting riot.
      To encourage people to persecute/harm a specific group would be considered hate speech.
    • by LordEd (840443)
      What about slander? I believe that you can be sued for that in the states.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      What the hell is this "Hate Speech" thing? In a free country, you should be allowed to say whatever the hell you wish besides inciting a riot or yelling fire in a crowded theater, or something like "I will murder so-and-so." Even for the last example, they should not be prosecuted for "Illegal Speech", but for planning a murder.

      I've never understood why planning something is illegal, when you don't do it. No-one gets harmed by a mental exercise, and where, exactly, is the limit between fantasy and intent?
      P

  • Just in case anyone thought that this issue would remain just one of child pornography, it's worth reading the second linked article, which reveals that much of the current rulemaking was sparked by Ottawa's Richard Warman [wikipedia.org], a sort of Canadian answer to Jack Thompson, whose pro-censorship stance is centered mostly around "hate speech." His original petition to the CHRC was for censorship of U.S.-based sites that apparently threatened him, under the argument that by threatening someone in Canada, they came under the jurisdiction of the Canadian courts (think about that for a moment, particularly about how the U.S. could use it to grab 'jurisdiction,' and tell me that it's not a really dangerous idea).

    The excuse for national censorship systems is undoubtedly going to be child porn, but it's absolutely naive to think that it won't be extended to other things. It's going to go from child porn, to "hate speech," to gambling and financial transactions ('when you gamble, you're financing terrorism!'), to downloading and copyright infringement. When you look at the motives of the people driving these programs, they are not going to be satisfied simply with ineffectually blocking some porn.
  • by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:10AM (#16971052)

    I don't think it's such a big deal if sites with child porn are censored. I don't think that it is a big deal if the sites are nearly child porn. Ok, you can't masturbate to the images of adult women who are dressed up to look like children. Big loss.

    I am much more concerned about who gets to decide what "hate speech" is. This is pre-emptive screening, before you get to a court battle. Who gets to decide what sites are hateful? Are activist groups able to get their people into the committees? What about sites that are critical of illegal immigration? Websites that claim to cure homosexuality? What about those critical of Islamic extremism? Israel? Scientology? What about a site that condemns the Catholic Church for being soft on priest pedophiles?

    The evolution of society depends on ideas that are initially unpopular. Freedom is the ability to act without the permission of others. A society needs to show that your activities harm others before they should ban it. Oppression comes from the banning of political free speech, not from allowing it.

    If a hateful person harms an innocent person, that criminal should be charged with a criminal offence regardless of their political ideology. If you are attempting to sow fear throughout a community, you should be charged with a terrorism offence. If a member of the Klu Klux Klan burns a cross on a black family's lawn, it's the same thing as someone calling in a bomb threat. I believe in the death penalty and I have no problem with the execution of neo-Nazis for killing blacks, Jews, etc.. I just don't believe they should be punished for what they believe.

    • I completely agree with your comments on so-called "hate speech," but I think you're writing off the pornography argument too quickly.

      I don't think that it is a big deal if the sites are nearly child porn. Ok, you can't masturbate to the images of adult women who are dressed up to look like children. Big loss.

      Look at this issue from the other side; if you restrict "apparent porn," then you are saying that some women are criminals, just by putting on a particular set of clothes. Or perhaps not even that. Wha

      • by blincoln (592401)
        I would argue that the problem with restricting "apparent" child porn is more basic than that.

        Kurt Wimmer said it well in the commentary for Equilibrium - that the very concept of making a distinction for "hate" crimes is flawed because they punish people for their thoughts, not their actions. How can you prove what someone was thinking? "Apparent" child porn is the same way - it involves believing that you can know that the people who consumed it did so thinking that it involved the exploitation of childre
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Hate speech is carefully defined in Canada. It's already illegal to do it in print, on radio or TV or on the soap box in the park. It's also currently illegal to do it online. Who decides? There are specific laws that cover that decision. Changes to those laws are ultimately decided by the people, as Canada is a democracy. It's kind of like every OTHER law.
  • If society at large, not just the govt. or a powerful few, finds someone's speech to be hateful, it shouldn't be necessary to block it. Society will take care of it without "official" help.

    Just ask Mel Gibson or Michael Richards.

  • What's with that name? Is he a super hero?
  • by Man in Spandex (775950) <prsn DOT kev AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:28AM (#16971132)
    When will they understand that just because you blacklist a website doesn't mean it fixes the problem. It's still there! Viewable by millions of other people. And what do they mean by hate speech? Isn't this fucking land where I'm allowed to say fuck you politicians and know that I won't have two men dressed in black with an ear-piece asking me to follow them?

    Maybe I should build a giant reinforced concrete fence/wall because my neighbor 2 blocks away engages in gay butt sex and that may offend the squirrels in my backyard.

    The slippery slope will happen, Murphy's Law will strike.
  • How do they plan on blocking any particular content? How can anyone who doesn't have an account on my machine know what is hosted and perhaps available to thousands of other people (who do have accounts) over ssh? How can anyone tell the origin of a IP packet sent over tor? How can an ISP block offending anonymous remailers or freenet sites? THEY CAN'T. Censoring the Internet is not possible without destroying the Internet.

    Perhaps they want to censor the web, but most of the Internet would still be fre
    • by tomjen (839882)
      In Denmark they just have a lying DNS server (a blocked site will result in an ip to a "this site is blocked" message) - so OpenDNS can break it very easy.
    • by repvik (96666)
      "On a different note, what is so wrong about sharing "child" porn? People sexually mature several years before the legal age of consent, and during that "gap" they tend to have sex. Often they take pictures of these activities. Why should we throw innocent teenagers in jail just because they want to practice free love and share images of themselves doing thing that they enjoy? What if they want to share some of these images with a legal adult, what is wrong with that?"

      IMHO, some young teenager sharing pics
  • A slippery cliff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JymmyZ (655273) on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:31AM (#16971150)
    "Won't somebody think of the children!?!" It's of course a noble goal, but as a Canadian I've always taken a little pride in the fairly open and uncensored access to the world we seem to get(of course I don't know if this is the case since I don't know how much more or less the rest of the world gets) and to see any sort of infringement on this irks me. There's also the issue of what counts as child-porn; I understand we've categorized http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolicon [wikipedia.org]Lolicon as being under this category. I didn't even know about the existence of Lolicon until last week but they could throw all sorts of silly things under that blanket. And of course they can use this as precedent to blacklist other objectionable subjects to those in power, a very slippery cliff indeed.
  • by malsdavis (542216) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:36AM (#16971176)
    while British Telecom, the UK's largest ISP, voluntarily blocks child pornography as part of its CleanFeed program

    Actually, NTL/Telewest is the UK's largest ISP.

    from a recent BBC article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6039740.stm [bbc.co.uk]:
    "The UK's largest residential internet provider is currently NTL, which has 2.9 million home customers, followed by BT on 2.2 million."

  • That's the difference between a country founded on the meanderings of John Stewart Mill, and one founded by a bunch of hippies.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday November 24, 2006 @04:28AM (#16971786) Journal
    There's a national blacklist here as well, and I've inadvertely ended up on it and got some harsh message from a police website about pedophilia or whatever it was. :-S

    Which brings me to my point -- I hope they never log whoever are ending up on these blacklisted sites to somehow use the information, because with spam messages, scam sites, and the general reality of the web, one can easily end up on blocked sites without even intending to. In my case, it was about some misleading link on a regular legit webpage, or maybe the domain had expired and been bought up by some shady business. :-p

    Personally I'd rather be without these blocks, and can't say the world have become a better place with them. It seems to in no way shatter e.g. pedophile groups with the continued problem. Someone who're really looking for this can also just head over to Freenet for example. I think the downsides of risking false positives aren't really worth it.
  • by leereyno (32197) on Friday November 24, 2006 @08:02PM (#16979438) Homepage Journal
    Hate speech is a scam. Outlawing the expression of unpopular ideas strikes at the very core of the freedom to speak one's mind freely. Nazi's and KKK racists and islamofacist jihadis etc etc etc are all very distasteful people who believe things that are even more distasteful. But to forbid and criminalize the expression of their beliefs does nothing to refute or change those beliefs. The only thing this creates is a world where unpopular ideas are suppressed and their expression is subject to official sanction.

    There are many people in this world who have bought into all sorts of destructive ideologies. The only way to keep these dangerous dogmas in check is by addressing them and discussing them and refuting them. Mainstream society is the culimination and the product of open dialogue where all ideas come together to vie and compete for an audience and followers. This process is the reason why mainstream western society is NOT under the influence of dangerous and/or extremist ideologies. Mainstream society in a culture of open discussion and dialogue converges upon concusions which, while not always the absolute best, are generally among the better conclusions and almost never among the worst. When mistakes are made they are quickly corrected.

    But whenever this system of open discussion of all ideas is cast aside in an attempt to avoid the worst ideas, the result is that those ideas are never examined, and therefore not held in check. The irony is that this creates the very conditions under which those ideas can come to the forefront.

    The best way to fight lies is not with a gag order, but with the truth. A gag order can give the appearance of victory over lies, but at the cost of sacrificing the very process by which the truth is discovered and preseved. If you shut your eyes to lies, they won't be open to see the truth.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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