CyberLaw Blog

A news resource for CyberLaw and Cyber-Rights issues from around the globe

Archive for December 25th, 2008

Editorial: China and the internet – the great firewall

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Editorial: China and the internet – the great firewall: “Editorial: After a thaw during the Olympics, China’s reimposition of censorship on websites run is a matter of international concern”.

(Via guardian.co.uk Comment is free.)

Wikileaks tells Wikinews why they published Danish child porn censorship list

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Wikileaks tells Wikinews why they published Danish child porn censorship list – Wikinews, the free news source

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wikileaks has obtained and released a list of all 3,863 websites that are being censored by Danish Internet Service Providers as of February 2008. The system is used to filter out child pornography, although Wikileaks points out it “can be used to censor anything” and claims “most sites on the list are still censored (i.e must be on the current list), even though many have clearly changed owners or were possibly even wrongly placed on the list.”

Wikinews was able to contact Wikileaks. We discussed the unusual leak with them, and the results are published here.

We asked if Wikileaks was worried about the criminal implications of linking to so much illegal content, but they were not. They said that it was “politically untenable” to prosecute them, pointing out that Wikileaks is hosted in many different countries across the globe.

We asked them if they were “concerned about the possibility of censorship in the UK, Denmark, Finland etc.?” “No,” Wikileaks told us “We welcome it.” Wikinews wondered if this was because of the Streisand effect, but Wikileaks said it was “because it will demonstrate how censorship systems are abused.”

Wikinews asked Wikileaks why they didn’t simply post a list of the sites which they felt were legal and add that all the others contained child porn, but Wikileaks felt “that would not be a fair representation of the material we obtained.” After seeking clarification, Wikinews was told “the question is not what we need to be told. The question is what we need not to be told and who decides. Secret censorship systems are unaccountable and dangerous.”

Wikinews then asked why they didn’t leave the full list available, but mark which sites they felt should not be censored. “We have better things to do,” was the response given. So how would Wikileaks suggest dealing with child porn?

“Block financial transactions after due process. It’s easy to set up servers. It is not so easy to set up merchant accounts.” And what would due process be? “Due process would involve sending a letter to the owner of the merchant account with the accusation and giving them a right to be heard and an appeal process. The banks are politically a lot more powerful than the internet industry so this hasn’t happened.”

And should funds in these accounts be seized straight away, or simply frozen until a judge or similar clears their release? “If the accounts are in-jurisdiction, they should be frozen and released or not at the end of the process. There are plenty of existing mechanisms to do this for drug trafficking, for example.”

Wikileaks then added “As an analogy, one might argue that everyone should have a loaded gun in the house to protect themselves against home invasions. This seems perfectly reasonable; however experience has shown that once the gun is in the house, it will find other targets.

Australian Internet Service Provider (ISP) filtering

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Internet Service Provider (ISP) filtering | Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy: “Internet Service Provider (ISP) filtering.

Part of the Australian Government’s Cyber-safety plan is the introduction of Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering. The policy reflects the view that ISPs should take some responsibility for enabling the blocking of ‘prohibited’ material on the internet, as they do in a number of western, developed countries.

The Government’s election commitment was that filtering would block content using a blacklist of prohibited sites maintained by the This link sends you off DBCDE’s websiteAustralian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in accordance with legislation. The ACMA blacklist is a list of internet web sites, predominantly comprising images of the sexual abuse of children, which are defined as ‘prohibited’ under Australian legislation which has been in place since 2000.

Consideration is also being given to more sophisticated filtering techniques for those individual families who wish to exclude additional online content in their own homes.

The Government’s approach will be informed by the filtering technologies adopted in countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Canada where ISP filtering, predominantly of child pornography, has been successfully introduced without affecting internet performance to a noticeable level.

The Government’s ISP filtering policy is being developed through an informed and considered approach, including industry consultation and close examination of overseas models to assess their suitability for Australia.
Internet Industry Association Feasibility Study – ISP Level Content Filtering

The former Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts contracted the Internet Industry Association to undertake a feasibility study into internet service provider (ISP) level filtering.

The report is available here.

* Main Report – Final (File format: PDF, File size: 1.6Mb)
* Part 2 – Attachments Final (File format: PDF, File size: 1.1Mb)
* Part 3 – International Survey Final (File format: PDF, File size: 141Kb)

Note: Currently the report is only available in PDF format. The Department is seeking to have the report available in RTF format shortly.”

(Via .)

China Unblocks The Times’s Web Site

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

China Unblocks The Times’s Web Site: “The government allowed Internet users in mainland China to view the Web site of The New York Times after access had been stopped for more than three days.

(Via NYT > Technology.)

Top 10 Most Pirated TV-Shows of 2008

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

(Via TorrentFreak.)

Top 10 Most Pirated TV-Shows of 2008

lostTV-shows are getting increasingly more popular on BitTorrent. Most TV-broadcasters won’t be happy to hear this, but one could argue that BitTorrent has actually helped TV-shows to build a stronger, broader, and more involved fanbase.

Perhaps even more importantly, the rise of unauthorized downloading of TV-shows is a signal that customers want something that is not available through other channels. Availability seems to be the key issue why people turn to BitTorrent.

This also becomes clear when we look at the geographical location of the downloaders. The vast majority of the downloads come from overseas, over 90% on average. Outside the US, fans sometimes have to wait for weeks or even months before the show airs on TV in their country. Many of them are simply not that patient or willing to torture themselves, and turn to BitTorrent in desperation.

Legal online streaming services are only available in the US, and change very little in the overall download figures. Until the availability problem is addressed, we’re not likely to see a decrease in TV-show downloads from BitTorrent. Indeed, compared to last year, the download figures have grown a little, especially for the top three TV-shows in the list.

Below we have compiled a list of the most downloaded TV-shows, together with the viewer average for TV in the US, based on data from Nielsen. Note that the download count for each show is per episode, the most downloaded in this case. The Olympics Opening Ceremony was one of the most wanted broadcasts of the year with 4,620,000 downloads, but we decided only to include TV-series.

The data for the top 10 is collected by TorrentFreak from several sources, including reports from all the large BitTorrent trackers. The download number is the sum of all torrent downloads for the most popular episode. Based on previous experience a correction is made for smaller .torrent releases that we might have missed.

Most downloaded TV-shows on BitTorrent, 2008
rank show downloads est. US TV viewers
torrentfreak.com
1 Lost 5,730,000 13,400,000
2 Heroes 4,400,000 8,200,000
3 Prison Break 3,840,000 6,100,000
4 Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2,240,000 5,500,000
5 Desperate Housewives 1,990,000 16,200,000
6 Stargate Atlantis 1,810,000 1,700,000
7 Dexter 1,660,000 7,200,000
8 House 1,520,000 15,700,000
9 Grey’s Anatomy 1,380,000 16,000,000
10 Smallville 1,150,000 4,100,000

Thailand official MICT censorship list, 20 Dec 2008 – Wikileaks

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Thailand official MICT censorship list, 20 Dec 2008 – Wikileaks: “Thailand official MICT censorship list, 20 Dec 2008″

Analysis
1,203 new websites censored by Thailand

Summary

Wikileaks has released the secret internet censorship lists of Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). The list was obtained by advisory board member CJ Hinke, director of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand.

The 1,203 newly blocked websites are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam.

Every blocked site has the internally noted reason of “lese majeste” — criticizing the King — however, it is obvious that many sites were blocked for quite different reasons. It would appear, in fact, that the judiciary did not examine most sites before issuing orders but instead rubber-stamped government requests.

A total of 860 YouTube videos have been blocked, far in excess of the blocking conducted by The Official Censor of the Military Coup; a further 200 pages mirroring those videos are also blocked. Curiously, Hillary Clinton’s campaign videos, and 24 Charlie Chaplin videos are also on the censorship lists.

Although we have not yet found the opportunity to examine each website censored, an eclectic mix of censorship has been revealed resulting in overblocking of many benign webpages.

Along with the obligatory YouTube videos and their mirror sites alleged to be lese majeste in Thailand, numerous blocks to Thai webboard pages, particularly at popular discussion sites including Prachatai (45 separate pages) and Same Sky (56 separate pages). Of course, all webboards in Thailand, including those just mentioned, moderate discussions and self-censor to avoid closure. It is interesting that Thai bureaucrats still find reasons to censor.

Also blocked are weblogs referencing Paul Handley’s unauthorised Biography of Thailand’s King Bhumibhol, The King Never Smiles, and its translation into Thai along with Thai Wikipedia entries.

The webpages of respected Thai Buddhist social critic, Sulak Sivaraksa who is currently on bail for his fourth accusation of lese majeste, and Matthew Hunt, respected Thai journalist, anticensorship activist and FACT signer, are also blocked as are pages of the respected international newsmagazine, The Economist.

Typically, web censorship in Thailand is conducted in secret. We think there is a right to know inherent in a free society. We call for transparency and accountability in government and freedom of expression, freedom of communication and freedom of association as fundamental human rights.

On December 21, a new ICT minister was appointed to Cabinet, Ranongruk Suwanchawee. She must be held accountable for censorship. [edit]

See Internet Censorship in Thailand for information about previous censorship lists released by Wikileaks.

1,203 new websites censored by Thailand – Wikileaks

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

1,203 new websites censored by Thailand – Wikileaks: “1,203 new websites censored by Thailand”

December 21, 2008

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE (Wikileaks)

Thailand official MICT censorship list, 20 Dec 2008

Wikileaks has released the secret internet censorship lists of Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). The list was obtained by advisory board member CJ Hinke, director of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand.

The 1,203 newly blocked websites are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam.

Every blocked site has the internally noted reason of “lese majeste” — criticizing the King — however, it is obvious that many sites were blocked for quite different reasons. It would appear, in fact, that the judiciary did not examine most sites before issuing orders but instead rubber-stamped government requests.

A total of 860 YouTube videos have been blocked, far in excess of the blocking conducted by The Official Censor of the Military Coup; a further 200 pages mirroring those videos are also blocked. Curiously, Hillary Clinton’s campaign videos, and 24 Charlie Chaplin videos are also on the censorship lists.

Although we have not yet found the opportunity to examine each website censored, an eclectic mix of censorship has been revealed resulting in overblocking of many benign webpages.

Along with the obligatory YouTube videos and their mirror sites alleged to be lese majeste in Thailand, numerous blocks to Thai webboard pages, particularly at popular discussion sites including Prachatai (45 separate pages) and Same Sky (56 separate pages). Of course, all webboards in Thailand, including those just mentioned, moderate discussions and self-censor to avoid closure. It is interesting that Thai bureaucrats still find reasons to censor.

Also blocked are weblogs referencing Paul Handley’s unauthorised Biography of Thailand’s King Bhumibhol, The King Never Smiles, and its translation into Thai along with Thai Wikipedia entries.

The webpages of respected Thai Buddhist social critic, Sulak Sivaraksa who is currently on bail for his fourth accusation of lese majeste, and Matthew Hunt, respected Thai journalist, anticensorship activist and FACT signer, are also blocked as are pages of the respected international newsmagazine, The Economist.

Typically, web censorship in Thailand is conducted in secret. We think there is a right to know inherent in a free society. We call for transparency and accountability in government and freedom of expression, freedom of communication and freedom of association as fundamental human rights.

On December 21, a new ICT minister was appointed to Cabinet, Ranongruk Suwanchawee. She must be held accountable for censorship.

Denmark: 3863 sites on censorship list, Feb 2008 – Wikileaks

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Denmark: 3863 sites on censorship list, Feb 2008 – Wikileaks: “Denmark: 3863 sites on censorship list, Feb 2008″

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE Tue Dec 23 01:15:59 GMT 2008

“Denmark: 3863 sites on secret censorship list”

Wikileaks has released the secret Internet censorship list for Denmark. The list contains 3863 sites blocked by Danish ISPs participating in Denmark’s censorship scheme as of February 2008. Danish ISPs “volunteer” to censor their users rather than face legislation and the top three ISPs are particpants.

The system can be used to censor anything, but is meant to be for child pornography sites found by the Danish police and the Danish “Save the Children” group.

The list is generated without judicial or public oversight and is kept secret by the ISPs using it. Unaccountability is intrinsic to such a secret censorship system.

Most sites on the list are still censored (i.e must be on the current list), even though many have clearly changed owners or were possibly even wrongly placed on the list.

The list has been leaked because cases such as Thailand and Finland demonstrate that once a secret censorship system is established for pornographic content the same system can rapidly expand to cover other material, including political material, at the worst possible moment — when government needs reform.

Two days ago Wikileaks released the secret Internet censorship list for Thailand. Of the 1,203 sites censored this year, all have the internally noted reason of “lese majeste” — criticizing the Royal family. Like Denmark, the Thai censorship system was originally promoted as a mechanism to prevent the flow of child pornography.

The Danish filter is maintained by the National High Tech Crime Center of the Danish National Police and Save the Children Denmark. The police department is led by Peter Carpentier, and can be reached by phone: +45 33 14 88 88. The Save the Children-project is led by Kuno Soerensen, +45 25 14 00 69.

The list can be independently tested by any customer of a participating Danish ISP by visiting the URLs of the sites listed. If the customer is presented with a “STOP!” page, the site is still listed in the filter.

Vietnam tightens rules on blogs

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

VN – Vietnam tightens rules on blogs: “(BBC)
Vietnam has tightened restrictions on internet blogs, banning bloggers from raising subjects the government deems inappropriate. Blogs should follow Vietnamese law, and be written in ‘clean and wholesome’ language, according to a government document seen by local media. Internet service providers will be held accountable for the content of blogs they host.”

(Via QuickLinks Update.)