Finnish internet censorship critic blacklisted

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Screenshot showing DNS-server is updated to point one domain to the police censorship page, but another domain is not treated the same.

The Finnish police have added Finnish hacker Matti Nikki's website lapsiporno.info criticizing Internet censorship to Finland’s new national child porn filter. The blacklisting was noticed when Finland's second largest Internet service provider Elisa started blocking the page today. More of the ISP's are expected to join the filtering when their blacklists are updated from the police's master list.

The banned site has been a harsh critic of Internet censorship over the last three years. It contains information and news about how censorship has been discussed and developing in Finland. Although the site's provocative name is lapsiporno.info ("childporn.info") there is no child porn on the site - the content is mainly text.

Tekniikka & Talous magazine asked Commissioner Lars Henriksson of Finland's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) why the page was censored. His answer was that he cannot discuss individual sites, but said that sites which are linking to child porn pages are also within the scope of the law. This interpretation, however, seems to conflict with the actual laws, the scope of which was supposed to be only sites with illegal pictures in foreign countries.

On Wednesday, NBI confirmed that site was censored because it published and maintained an incomplete version of the Finnish child porn blacklist. Nikki's list contained roughly two-thirds of the 1500 blacklist entries, and it was created by scanning a large amount of sites and logging the censored pages.

The scan also found that the top three results of a Google search for "gay porn" are blacklisted, and that most of the blocked sites are actually physically located in the United States or the European Union.

Leena Romppainen of Electronic Frontier Finland commented that "The local authorities have taken no action on these sites. Therefore, either the sites do not contain child pornography or the NBI has not informed the local authorities. Both of the alternatives are equally scary."

Matti Nikki's opinion is that the majority of the censored sites are legal adult sites and that the police are not doing that much research when they are deciding which sites to block.

Internet censorship has been a hot topic in Finland as of late. There have been proposals of extending Internet filtering to Internet gambling sites, sites related to terrorism and violence, and torrent-tracker The Pirate Bay.

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