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Gardai seeking to block websites without legislation or oversight

  • 29-03-2011 2:48pm
    Registered Users Posts: 40,038 ✭✭✭✭

    From Digital Rights Ireland:
    Last year we revealed that the Department of Justice was working on secret plans to introduce internet filtering in Ireland. Now, despite a complete lack of any legislation, public consultation or democratic discussion, these plans have moved to the implementation stage.

    In a letter which was leaked to us, Gardai have asked Irish ISPs to block sites designated by them, and for information about the browsing habits of users who are alleged to have visited these blocked sites. Here’s the full text of the letter:

    This blocking – part of wider attempts to stop access to child pornography – is certainly well intentioned. But good intentions aren’t enough.

    Experience elsewhere has shown that blocking is largely futile – easily evaded and stopping only a very small proportion of material (it wouldn’t cover, for example, peer to peer filesharing or newsgroups). Earlier this month, for example, it was revealed that Dutch ISPs have, for exactly this reason, abandoned what they concluded was “ineffective” web blocking.

    Blocking is also a distraction from what should be the main focus of policing – removing material at source and identifying those responsible. Work in Germany has shown that blocking leaves material available indefinitely, when it could easily be taken down by contacting the hosting providers.
    The full article goes on to point out how Danish police were blocking almost 170 websites in 2008, but pornographic material was found on only three of these; those three were also blocked in Sweden, Norway and Finland and had been for several years… and yet nobody ever tried to shut down the websites, they just blocked them and left the websites up as someone else’s problem. The people running the survey, out of a sense of decency you'd hope, sent three emails to the ISPs who hosted those websites. Two of the three websites were shut down within 30 minutes and the third in three hours (the delay being most likely related to the different timezone the ISP was in). Had the police written those emails, the material would have been off the web two years previously and criminal prosecutions could have followed and more children would have been safeguarded.

    Seems we learn our lessons from the institutional child abuse carried out by the church and the subsequent scandals in various sports organisations and state bodies - in case of child abuse, See No Evil.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6 SheikhSteve

    Blocking websites starts with Child Pornography and ends with any site that the government sees as unfit for us to view. The point here is that the people that make and distribute Child Pornography will only find other ways to distrubute their filth. In the meantime everyone else's human rights are being violated by censorship. To me, the An Garda Siochana are acting illegally by requesting website blocking by ISPs. They are part of the Judiciary (people that enforce the law) and not the Legislative (people that make the law). As soon as you mix the two, democracy is in peril.

    In essence, the An Garda Siochana are admitting that they cannot find and prosecute these offenders!

    The An Garda Siochana should be spending their time trying to find the source of Child Pornography and who is creating it and publishing it. They should not act outside of their powers and go direct to ISPs and ask them to breach OUR human rights.

    Its like saying alcohol is bad for you, so we are going to go around all the pubs in Ireland, and if we see someone drinking we are going to arrest them. Of course we won't touch the breweries making the alcohol, or the pubs selling the alcohol, or the bartender serving the alcohol!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,030 ✭✭✭Lockstep

    Don't bump a 9 month old thread. Start a new one if needed.

This discussion has been closed.