Filtering and Censorship in Europe
The panel covers the recent moves in Europe to limit the access to different materials in Internet that are deemed to be unsuitable for the citizens. So far there has been e.g. attempts to block child pornography and gambling sites. In addition, ISPs are under increased pressure to prevent their customers' access to different file sharing resources. The panellists describe legislative approaches and their technical implementations in Finland, Italy and the UK.
The panel covers the recent moves in Europe to limit the access to different materials in Internet that are deemed to be unsuitable for the citizens. So far there has been e.g. attempts to block child pornography and gambling sites.
Ville Oksanen (researcher, Helsinki University of Technology) will focus his presentation on the controversy over Finnish child pornography scheme. The Finnish ISPs started to filter their customersâ access in last January based on a secret list, which is being prepared by the Finnish police. . The stated goal of the list was to prevent the access to those sites, which operate in jurisdictions that do not prevent the distribution of child pornography. Most of content of the list was soon discovered and published by the anti-censorship activist Matti âMuzzy Nikki. Strikingly, out of 1013 censured sites, 758 were located in United States and 127 in Holland. Considering that both of these countries have very strong legislation against the distribution, it was clear that something was wrong. Instead of admitting mistakes, the police reacted by adding Nikkiâs site to the censorship list. The presentation will describe what happened next and why âthink of the childrenâ-argument did not work well in this case for the police and politicians.
The second presentation will cover the situation in the UK and is given by Dr. Ian Brown. The country is planning to follow the French example and force the ISPs to take active measures to prevent their customers from using different file sharing resources. For example, the proposed plan includes a three step procedure for violators i.e. first-time offenders would be e-mailed a warning, for second violation their accounts would be suspended and cut off completely on the third. The politics and technical problems related to the proposal are discussed. Presentation available at Image:Ianbrown cfp08slides.pdf.
The third presentation by Giovanni Battista Gallus will deal with the introduction (and enforcement) of a new fundamental right: the right to integrity and confidentiality of information technology systems, as recently stated in a landmark sentence by the German Constitutional Court. It seems, however, that this newborn personality right is threatened all over Europe, by various national legislations which, on the contrary, tend to curb users' privacy and confidentiality. The presentation will therefore analyze the threats posed to âdigital freedomâ by European (and Italian) Legislation.
The panel is chaired by Mr. Eddan Katz