Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quote of the day

Beware the Four Horsemen of the Information Apocalypse: terrorists, drug dealers, kidnappers, and child pornographers. Seems like you can scare any public into allowing the government to do anything with those four.
- Bruce Schneier


  1. Anonymous02 July, 2009

    Hi TJ.
    The first three horsemen are big and bold enough to defend themselves.

    The last one is not a horseman at all. It is a withering and inconvenient donkey that cannot defend itself. It is a non profit making overhead and drain on resources of which no one wants to know. I've spoken with Bruce and respect him greatly but I have to say that if you consider what it took to produce the Ryan Report after so many years, and the complete domination of the OIS advisory board by industry stakeholders, then how can you say that child abuse in the real or cyber realms motivates government in Ireland?

    The issue with restricting the availability of child abuse material on the net has nothing to do with digital rights. If you and I sat in a room and were made to watch the physical sexual abuse of a child three feet in front of us, we would be appalled and very angry, and motivated to act to stop it.

    Is the suffering of the child any different if we watch the event through a computer?

    Is the crime any less?

    Anyway - great blog - one of my regular daily reads. Keep up the good work.

    Pat McKenna

  2. Hi Pat

    As regards restricting availability of child abuse material online, I think Bruce's point is that governments are generally (Ireland may be a special case) pushing for ineffective "solutions" - notably ISP level web filtering - which lend themselves to function creep. Alternatives - such as more effective takedown - are possible. Have you seen Richard Clayton's study on how long various forms of illegal material remains available online? He has some interesting things to say about slow removal of child abuse images and what to do about it.

    All the best


  3. Anonymous02 July, 2009

    TJ. I agree with Richards point. There are some very serious questions to be asked and answered about who registers, hosts, runs, uploads, from where and how: the content that appears on these sites.

    I don't see that content filtering is a positive or negative for the speed with which sites are taken down.

    Sites are there because there is a market for them. One fifth of all porn depicts children, and 75% +/- is commercial, with 25% of the material showing kids from infant to 6 years of age being abused.

    Norway which uses NTD and has a population similar to Ireland gets 12,000 hits to its block page each day. That's a lot of hits from a population that knows that NTD exists.

    Its about the market and the profiteers, and the mechanisms that allows each to exist. The ISP just happens to be an unwilling aspect of that mechanism.

    EuroISPA don't pull their punches on NTD - they say that "Accurate hybrid blocking is complex, expensive and impacts on the network". They also say in the same presentation that "Operating blocking systems is a diversion of scarce resources".

    Call it straight: both the criminals and ISP's are focussed on a single issue - economics, and children are not an economically viable force.

    And in conclusion I did notice from a different post from you recently that you are aware of some stuff coming down the line from the EU on content filtering. What surprises me is the limited reaction that it is receiving.

    Any thoughts?