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Bits Law, Order and Freedom Online

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 14 May 2009.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    http://www.bit-tech.net/bits/2009/05/14/law-order-freedom-online/1

    The Internet was born free, but recently governments have shown increasing interest in regulating the web. Should web users be nervous or, in the face of rampant piracy and threats from criminals and terrorists, is a little law and order just what the web needs?

    :worried:
     
  2. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    It's not the IWF's job to keep child pornography at bay, they are "not a law enforcement organisation", their job is simply to censor whatever they think should be kept from the entirety of Europe. Virgin Killer is probably available at the Virgin store, yet Virgin allowed the IWF to block the its Wikipedia page? What garbage.
     
  3. Natima

    Natima New Member

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    And to be fair... Virgin Killer isnt technically child pornography anyway... although it may offend some.
    See: Porn.
    - "creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire"
     
  4. Hugo

    Hugo Ex-TrustedReviews Staff

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    What, no link? ;)
     
    Last edited: 14 May 2009
  5. gnutonian

    gnutonian New Member

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    The internet should be free, and users should take personal responsibility. Having said that: during a short e-mail exchange on free software last night with someone who works at the same place I do I realised I've been looking at IT stuff in a "geeky" way: from my point of view, disregarding the majority who sit in front of a box and a screen, who click and type and think they're really the one millionth visitor to a website. And having such a user take responsibility for his actions or clickings is.... difficult. It would require a huge re-education of millions of people.

    Still, I think the internet is fine the way it is (or for France, right now, the way it was). To me it's just like going outside: to the shop, to the local tourist hotspot, to work, ... I am always vigilant and attentive to my surroundings. I am aware of what should happen and what should not. I am aware that the hot girl winking at me could be a prostitute, I am aware that the man trying to sell me a watch probably stole it.
    Now, outside is one thing. The internet is experienced inside one's home, without much thought. But there are so many different facets and corporate/business interests to it (e.g. Internet Explorer doesn't block all pop-ups, because some of those pop-ups are from Microsoft or Microsoft's allies) that it goes way beyond the strange girl or the strange man approaching you.

    But to let governments, of which the individuals have their own interests/friends (I again refer to president Sarkozy and his good friend who owns Bouygues Telecom, which owns a lot of the major media in France), control this international exchange of 1s and 0s: no. The security we can gain is simply not worth the cost in liberty.

    It's like Bruce Schneier (rightly) keeps repeating: security is a trade-off. Whether it's physical security (stores, places of employment, ...) or online security, you always lose something (money, convenience, freedom, ...) to gain the added security. The trade-off has to be acceptable on both counts to be good. Internet surveillance adds the fear of what you do is watched, and may be misconstrued, and may get you in trouble; for very, very little added security. To me that's not a good trade-off.
    (And if you think we're not already under surveillance, whether it's online, or on the phone, or in some places in person; you're 'misguided' to say the least.)

    But online security goes a lot further: if you make Microsoft take responsibility (financial and bad PR) for its OS's security flaws, they will fix them before the OS is released rather than please the plebs with a timely release and deal with the issues later (once the damage has been done). Make these companies financially responsible for the flaws they sell you and I can personally promise you that the OS you bought (well, bought a licence to use it) may arrive later than planned, but it'll be a lot more safe. Companies only have one interest: profit. Profit comes from timely releases and a lot of features; not security.

    It goes further than I can describe it, unfortunately I am not a very eloquent (or coherent) writer.

    It's about user trade-offs, economics and business, psychology, ... So many things are involved it's very difficult to add them all up in one opinion; because all of them are "if... and if... would..." instead of "is... will be...".

    However, to me, the most important thing should always be the users' freedom. Any user's. From scientific researchers to operating system programmers to the clueless surfers looking for pictures of naked women touching eachother.

    As I said in another topic, systems and procedures to investigate online crime are already in place. In my opinion, we don't need more (maybe the current systems, people or training could be improved). These systems have been proven to work and have for example sent a lot of international child pornographers (in internationally co-ordinated investigations and arrests) to prison. We don't need new systems or surveillance added onto that, as the majority of internet users are perfectly normal, non-criminal people.

    [edit: apologies for the rant, but I like my (online) liberty.]
     
  6. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    So the Home office think it's highly unlikely there wont be a terrorist attack? Maybe they are just hoping to say 'I told you so' when something eventually does happen.
     
  7. Sifter3000

    Sifter3000 I used to be somebody

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    Get back to work Hugo :p
     
  8. Sifter3000

    Sifter3000 I used to be somebody

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    Sorry, just noticed this went out with my name (Alex) on it - I edited it, but it was written by Phil Hartup. Now corrected.
     
  9. dogknees

    dogknees New Member

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  10. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

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    There must be a better way than censorship.
    As most normal people agree that child pornography and exploitation is wrong, then couldn't we spend millions talking the causes and sources of CP rather than trying to block an ever moving and changing target?

    Blocking peoples' access to content like CP will never work completely reliably and accurately and still does not remove the problem that someone, somewhere is abusing children, and stopping that is far more important than preventing people looking at it. I do believe both are despicable however.
     
  11. Dreaming

    Dreaming New Member

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    I think as the internet and online media increasingly become part of our lives and the way we interact with each other then it is inevitable that some form of policing will be neccesary. The question is how much? As it stands there are gangs of cyber-criminals who are not proactively hunted down, they effectively get a free pass. Even when I worked for the bank they don't even bother reporting fraud to the police unless it's a significant amount because there is simply so much going on - instead they keep a record and then reimburse the customer after a small investigation.

    I think maybe in 10, 20 years where our online presences will be much larger than they are now then we will have to sanction some kind of protective force to stop 'the bad guys' so to speak. I don't think this should be done with large scale censorship or anything like that though, instead I would be hapy to have specialised police forces with the power the subpoena websites internationally and so on. So the activities would have to be of a strictly criminal nature and I think downloading copyrighted material would be beyond their remit as that is a civil infringement (although distributing it I believe is criminal?).
     
  12. Psytek

    Psytek New Member

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    If you block a port, we'll use a different one. If you block a protocol, we'll write a new one. If you snoop our traffic, we'll encrypt it.
    IP's can be spoofed, VPN's, private servers, no international boundaries. You can't stop the internet from being free... that's like trying to stop a dog licking it's crotch.
     
  13. evanbraakensiek

    evanbraakensiek New Member

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    I think the scope of this article was too broad. Instead of providing a meticulously close critical overview of a particular area with regards to 'Law, Order and Freedom Online' you provide four poorly argued pages with no apparent connection. The article was clear on first impression but after re-reading I have found evidence of poor logic, research and style. Take for instance your opening paragraph:

    “It wasn’t long ago that the first brave pioneers set out to make their fortunes on the unspoiled wilderness that was the Internet at the end of the 20th century. Back when Wikipedia was all fields and Google was just a noise that babies made, the Internet saw the start of a gold rush. It wasn’t as violent as the gold rush of the American west, but it yielded a lot more riches.”

    The allusion to the gold rush is appropriate but you do not justify this allusion until the last sentence of the article - almost four pages later: “The freedom of the Internet was not won by protests like votes for women or the end of slavery – it began as a free space – whether it stays that way or not is up to us.” But that is not the only problem. You do vaguely justify your opening but inadvertently undermine your own conclusion by using the four previous pages to show that the internet is not free.

    The only reason the article was readable is because you pander towards popular opinion. I will use your own opening to justify my argument. “He [European colonist in America] must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe” (Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, page four). Jackson's description of America is more logical than your own. The wilderness would be the internet itself, the Indian is Google (and advanced users) and the European is the people (and government). It is obvious then that the European's laws cannot control this wild America, but the Australian, British, Chinese and French governments attempt to rewrite their laws is the first step to taming the internet. You do not have to be an expert of Rousseau to see that morality is guided by law. If the internet does not regulate itself then it will have to be regulated externally in the same way the Europeans took control of the land from the Indians.

    However hard the enthusiast argues over issues of DRM, freedom and rights they will succumb because regulation and enforcement of laws protects proportionally more users than it disadvantages. Jacqui Smith's methods are effective for punishment (i.e. evidence) but the actual laws themselves are more important. If it is illegal to download copyrighted material and people are shown to be punished then less people will download. It is as simple as that. Prevention is always better than protection.
     
  14. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!
    Yep.

    Basically, Interned provided its users with lots of uses and some of those users started abusing their online freedom to circumvent real world legislations, now the real world will monitorize the Internet users.

    What else did anyone expected?
     
  15. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    now i have an image of the whole populace being fitted with those cone things that they put on dogs.
     
  16. Htr-Labs

    Htr-Labs New Member

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    -
     
    Last edited: 8 May 2015
  17. Spaceraver

    Spaceraver Ultralurker

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    "Remember remember, the 5th of November.

    Gunpowder, treason and plot.
    I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
    Should ever be forgot... "

    I'm in for a V-style takedown
     
  18. Sir Digby

    Sir Digby The Supprising Adventures

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    Honestly, if they start monitoring actions of users on the internet I'd strongly consider the idea of sending out many choice words to the right websites - enough to alert the government systems but not enough for any actions to be taken, effectively wasting their time.

    That said I think that actions such as blacklisting sites that are providing child pornography would be good IF the decision to block the website is made by someone who really understands the situation - blocking 4chan, however tasteless it is, would be disproportionate even though it does provide child pornography - it is self regulated and offending images/links are removed with the offending users being banned from the site.

    In the end the idea of innocent until proven guilty should still apply - and that's where most of these proposals fall down.
     
  19. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Ban/censor the internet and we might as well start burning witches again.

    This is most definitely a case of "If you can't beat them join them", the people controlling the internet just haven't seen that yet. Same goes for companies, no matter what they're trying to sell, they mainly don't know how to use the internet to their advantage, are too old or too stubborn to even try to understand it so they just fight it and blame it for everything. Look at Apple for example, they knew how to use it and now they make more money than ever before.

    Learn from your and others' mistakes... please? Anyone?
     
  20. ryall

    ryall New Member

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    To (mis)quote Bill Hicks: That sounds like every advertisement ever made, ever.
     
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