Blog for hpHosts, and whatever else I feel like writing about ....

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Internet Censorship

This may sound a bit strange coming from the person that runs the hpHosts blacklist, but I've never been a fan of either government controlled or ISP controlled, blacklists. Mainly because the user has no choice whether or not to follow such.

Yes we've got the IWF, and yes, I DO actually appreciate and support the work they do, but recent revelations have shown that even they aren't immune from stupid decisions that result in innocent sites being blacklisted, and I dare say, not even I am immune. Occasionally even I make a stupid mistake that results in an innocent site being blacklisted.

The difference is, with hpHosts, the user has a choice. They can just edit the file and disable the block, and/or get in touch with me and it'll usually be removed within 48 hours (depending on where I am at the time).

The government controlled blacklist that is in force in Australia, is absolutely useless, draconian and unworkable (and I dare say, is worse than the Chinese government filter). The only choice the user has here, is to use a proxy system such as Tor, to bypass the filter, which then leaves them with the decision of whether or not to break the law and risk being arrested.

Speaking of wilful acts of abject stupidity.

A six-month trial of Australia’s government-mandated Internet filters is to begin on Christmas Eve (while everyone’s attention is elsewhere?). And if you think this story is relevant only to Australia, think again.

If there’s one thing that assorted politicians, bureaucrats, dictators, warlords and mandarins from every corner of the planet have always lusted after, it’s the ability to control access to information. So if your localitiy isn’t already subject to a similar impost it soon could be.

Read the full story

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