Why child porn filters are nonsense

We are all against child pornography, right? So if a politician does something against child pornography, that is good, right? And there’s nothing you can say against that, right?

True, unless it is Ursula von der Leyen and her party trying to filter the web.

Now what exactly is wrong with that?

Before I get into that, lets see what she proposes to do: She wants to have a blacklist of pages that will be filtered by the internet access providers. If you try to go to one of the pages on that blacklist, you will get a red STOPP-sign (yes, with double P, and it has german text on it) instead. Technically this will be done by manipulating the DNS-servers of your internet access provider.

So far, so hoopy. If I accidentally click on such a link, I won’t be bothered to see the dirt. This is how far people (and our minister) think. And this is exactly the only positive thing that it will do: keeping people who do not want child porn away from it.

Now the alleged purpose is not to keep your grandma away from that dirt, so for those who wanted to get to child porn, how hard would it be to overcome that filter?

Surpassing that filter is trivial.

All you need to do is use a DNS-server that is not located in Germany. Since neither german legislation nor the blacklist apply there, it will let you get to the page. Changing your DNS server is a matter of 5 minutes, no computer expert needed. Once you changed that setting in your computer, the child pornography will be accessible to you just like nothing ever happened.

Okay. So the filter protects me and your grandma from seeing stuff, but not the consumers of child porn. Thats not a lot, but there still is some good in it, right?

No. Putting on sunglasses was never a solution to a real problem, and it sure ain’t this time around.

Here’s a list of problems caused by this:

Problem #1: The Blacklist

The blacklist has to remain secret, mainly because it is so easy to circumvent the filter. It is important for that blacklist not to be published. So the minister decided it would be best to keep courts out of the process, and that the law enforcement agencies manage it.

That means the jurisdiction is not involved. There is no judge banning a site, there is no way to find out if your site is on the list, and there is no way of filing a case to have your website to be removed from that list, if should it ever be included accidentally. And don’t think that hasn’t all happened yet! There was a dutch forwarding company on the norwegian blacklist and a dentist on the australian, neither one had anything to do with child pornography. Imagine your business site on that blacklist! BAD, mkay?

The examples of other countries (most recently: Australian Blacklist leak) shows, that such hardly ever is kept secret, and is the perfect users manual for pedophile. Since they are not affected by the filters, they can easily use that blacklist to get what they want: child porn. This was certainly not intended, but is the ultimate outcome. BAD, mkay?

Problem #2: Creating censorship infrastructure

Once the blacklist is in place, there will be a number of other interest groups who want stuff blocked from access. The communists want the nazi-stuff removed, the nazis want the communist stuff removed. Copyright holders want illegal copys made inaccessible, and on and on and on ….

Youre opening pandora’s box here. BAD, mkay?

Problem #3: Logging

I already explained how easy it is to surpass the filter, and that child porn consumers will not see the STOPP-sign, but there is the (albeit very slight)chance of YOU accidentally visiting such a page. Now the minister wants to log access to that STOPP-sign, and pass the data on for further investigation.

This means: Police will stand in front of your door with a search warrant, while the child porn consumer remains unmolested. BAD, mkay?

Problem #4: Distraction from the effective measures

To make things worse, somebody took one of the leaked blacklists from other countries and checked where the sites where hosted. 90% of those sites were hosted in Europe or North-America, but seemingly no effort had been made to shut those sites down. They just put it on the blacklist, and thats it. Trying to take the sites down or finding out who is behind it would actually help fighting child porn, but once its on the blacklist, why bother?

Now what again was that blacklist supposed to be doing? Ah, yer, fight child pornography. Cool. Totally cool. Lets put sunglasses on, so that we dont see it. Sure helps… NOT! Its BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD, DO YOU HEAR ME?

Conclusion

Child porn internet filters are complete nonsense. Whoever comes up with that is a complete moron, has no idea how the net works, and certainly doesn’t care to listen to the experts.

In short: Ursula von der Leyen, you are as thick as two short planks.

If you are searching for a country with intelligent politicians, look elsewhere. Ours certainly ain’t.

The Binary Grunt.

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One Response to Why child porn filters are nonsense

  1. […] doing it again! Internet censorship I wrote a rant about internet censorship infrastructure last year, and I probably should give you a follow-up on the subject. Mrs von der Leyen […]

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