Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Danish censorship list leaked

Another internet censorship story which didn't get the attention it deserved over Christmas was the revelation that the blacklist operated by the Danish child pornography filtering system - all 3863 blocked URLs - was leaked on December 23 and is available in full online.

If nothing else, this (in conjunction with the Thai leak) vividly illustrates one key criticism of any internet filtering system - that the list of blocked content will inevitably leak and so facilitate access to the supposedly blocked content.

A note of caution for bloggers - the Danish list is reported to contain links to child pornography sites, meaning that linking to the list might itself be an offence under section 5 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998. That section makes it a criminal offence to "knowingly [publish] or [distribute] any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that ... any other person produces, distributes, prints, publishes, imports, exports, sells or shows any child pornography". Legal opinion in the UK (in relation to their similar Protection of Children Act 1978) has been that domain names and URLs might themselves constitute such illegal advertisements.

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