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Archive for the ‘Child Protection’ Category

British Government to consult on automatic porn censorship proposals

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Government to consult on automatic porn censorship proposals: “The Government is to consult on proposals that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to offer to block customers’ access to pornographic material by default.”

(Via OUT-LAW News.)

Milliyet: “There is no Internet Censorship; however one-million websites are banned”

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

“There is no Internet Censorship; however one-million websites are banned”

By Serhat Ayhan, Milliyet – 23. 05.11

Original article in Turkish, translated below:

In order to make the internet a safer place, the authorities have introduced a ‘catalogue of crimes’, the websites that this filtering shall apply to will be monitored by the TIB. In the scope of Law 5651, TIB has the authority to block all websites that relate to prostitution, child pornography, gambling, and promoting suicide. Furthermore, the TIB has already blocked access to more than one-million websites in internet cafes, without even any administrative (warnings) procedures.

It was discovered that many blocked websites have not even breached any of the crimes in the scope of the “crime catalogue”. For instance, a large number of associations, swimwear companies, shipping companies, model agencies, radio stations, automotive companies, websites of designers, and even some online dictionary/translation websites…

The list of banned websites does not end there. A list of websites that have previously been blocked and re-opened includes some of the world’s most accessed websites such as Google, BBC News, Dailymotion, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, FHM, ‘Superonline’, Human Rights Association, ‘Bilyoner’ gaming website etc.

There are also cases where, instead of blocking an entire website, certain sections of web-pages have been censored, i.e. some people’s Facebook profiles, image galleries of some online newspapers… Moreover, in accordance with the established law, same-sex associations and websites (without any explicit content) have also been blocked. Also sections in other languages have been blocked i.e. the Wikipedia link on “Kurdish people” among others is currently blocked.

The decision of February 22, by the BTK, has led to much concern in Turkey, leading to protests in many cities across the nation. Following this, it was also discovered that words such as ‘Haydar’, ‘Hikaye’ (story), and ‘Etek’ (skirt) were to be banned within domain names, and that Eksi Sozluk (very popular website in Turkey, see link for description: is also to be banned. Authorities have stated that these decisions are a result of incorrect readings and interpretations; former Transport Minister Binali Yildirim pointed out that he would personally stand in the way of (self-)censorship.

Dr. Yaman Akdeniz: TIB abused its authority

In expressing his views on the filtering in internet cafes, Akdeniz explains that TIB has the authority to bar any given website within the scope of the law (for instance displaying child-pornography and/or obscenity etc) without needing a court order; however, he identifies that TIB is abusing such authority. “To filter many websites without them having broken the law is beyond the scope of Law 5651 and the TIB’s authority. As such, it can only be recognised as arbitrary administrative measures and censorship”.

Attorney Gokhan Ahi: Will we be able to trust BTK on August 22?

Internet cafes are one of the most popular sources for accessing the net in the country, and preventing access to more than one-million websites is a clear indication of censorship in Turkey’s internet cafes. “According to the law, internet filters have to be used by all internet cafes”. TIB decides on the filtered websites and adds them to a central database. We have discovered that there are many commercial (business) and political sites that can also not be accessed at the internet cafes. This is nothing more than de facto censorship. How can we be sure that the filtering programme to be introduced on August 22 will not be the same? This internet café filtering gives us an important insight into the filtering that will take place after August 22. Maybe by that time another one-million websites will get caught in the filter. I wonder if there are still people who will dare to point the finger at the protestors of filtering and censorship and call them “pornocu” (perverts).

Who has been caught by the filter? Swimwear promotion website car sales website house to house transportation service website Klas FM radio website Modelling agency Promotional site for beauty products Polyclinic website Hotel website Tent and tarpaulin products, promotional site Textiles website Beverages sales website ‘Şanlı Urfalılar’ (people from Urfa, city in South-Eastern Turkey) Association’s website ‘Ankara ÇokSesli’ music association website Kaos GL LGBT News portal Lambda İstanbul (LGBT rights group) association website

Reason for banning the word ‘Haydar’

The word Haydar was discovered on the list of words to be banned from the internet in internet cafes. The word ‘Gaydar’ in English is a slang term used for ‘gay people tryiong to find a partner’. It is suspected that the reason for the ban is that the letters ‘G’ and ‘H’ are very close to each other on the keyboard.

Adrianne has been exposed

The word is assumed to be banned because of a popular female model aged 29 called Adrianne Curry. She has 212.000 followers on Twitter, and the pictures she has online could be qualified as obscene according to the Turkish Criminal Code art. 226 on ‘obscenity’.

50.000 walked in Istanbul to protest Internet censorship

Monday, May 16th, 2011


Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Cannot Be Obstructed

1. Freedom of expression and right to access information of Internet users cannot be obstructed.

“Safe Internet” Filtering Regulations Must Be Repealed

2. The BTK (IT and Communications Institute) decision dated 02/22/2011 with number 2011/DK-10/91 lacks legal basis. The unjust decision gives BTK a right which is not prescribed by law. The legal decision also limits basic rights and freedoms protected by the constitution and international treaties directly. While open and unfiltered Internet access is being regarded as a basic human right by international institutions, in Turkey filtered Internet is about to become “the standard”.

3. The comments made by the BTK president claiming the “standard profile” is the current standard and anybody who opts-out will be left out of the filtering system are not correct. Neither there is a notion called “the standard profile” nor an established filter mechanism currently. With the forthcoming mechanism it will not be possible to stay out of the filtering system. If the government officials are really sincere they have to provide an “unfiltered” alternative to Internet users in Turkey.

4. The comments claiming that there will be no surveillance done with the new filtering system are hardly assuring. Clearly it’s not claimed that each and every user will be watched and monitored individually. However since every user will be part of the filtering system, it will open the door to allow the government to track any Internet user at any time at will. As the state does not have the right to monitor it’s citizens’ homes, they should not have the right to watch their Internet either.

5. The BTK filtering system which will take effect on August 22nd, 2011 is unpredictable by the users, arbitrary, and essentially a control and censorship mechanism structurally. The criteria for filtering websites through the different profiles under the BTK system is not disclosed to Internet users. The full authority to build and maintain the filtering lists are handed to BTK by BTK itself. Now BTK will render hundreds of thousands of websites unreachable arbitrarily which is far beyond the current disproportional blocking caused by Law No. 5651. Illegitimate, disproportional and arbitrary administrative operations are unacceptable in a democratic country.

6. Neither The European Union which Turkey is trying to be a member of, nor the Council of Europe which Turkey is currently a member of and none of the OSCE member states embrace any similar mandatory filtering systems. The Committee of Ministers for the Council of Europe strongly emphasized that public authorities must not obstruct access to public information or apply general blocking measures, and explicitly stated that such applications relying on state’s supervision shall be condemned.

7. Similar to previous blocking decisions, state officials are trying to use irrelevant countries as examples to legitimize their unjustified decisions. They are intentionally perversing the description of various state policies in their justifications. It is impossible to accept the state officials’ appeal to negative examples from across the globe to interfere with everybody’s lives in Turkey.

The Provided State Policies to Protect Children From Harmful Content Must Not Affect Adults

8. Both the European Union, and the Council of Europe of which Turkey is a member state advocates self-control mechanisms instead of legal precautions to protect vulnerable groups such as children. In this context, both organizations emphasize the importance of preventive measures to protect children which do not interfere with adult’s access to legitimate content. For that reason member states must encourage the use of filtering software in houses, school computers and Internet cafes but must avoid employing mandatory nationwide filtering policies. If filter use is found appropriate by families, that should be usedon their own personal computers.

Open, Transparent and Participatory Policies Must Be Implemented

9. Despite the repetitive and pressive requests, TIB’s (Telecommunications Directorate) avoidance from providing the official statistics regarding banned web sites belies the institutio’’s choice of using non-transparent and arbitrary decisions as the main method to outline and develop its policy. The government must implement a new policy to protect the children from harmful Internet content in a participatory way by getting broad public support (NGOs, Academy, and Private Sector). However that reform must not be another initiative to impose the majority’s moral values. In this perspective the statement “We just cannot ignore the complaints from religious people from remote parts of Turkey” stated the by BTK president to justify the new process is unacceptable. The administration does not have the right or the authority to impose conservative values upon whole Turkey. The new policy on Internet regulation must be developed with respect to freedom of speech and adult citizen’s right to consume and access any kind of legal Internet content. The new policy containing these principles should be materialized with a transparent, open and participatory method.


VoA: Critics Challenge New Internet Controls in Turkey

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Critics Challenge New Internet Controls in Turkey

Dorian Jones | Instanbul April 25, 2011

Turkey already bans more websites than any other European country. Now the government is set to introduce new controls that officials say are needed to protect children. Critics fear they represent an effort control the web.

The Turkish government calls its new Internet controls Safe Use of the Internet. They are scheduled to take effect in August and will require all Internet users to choose from one of four filter profiles operated by their server provider. Law Professor Yaman Akdeniz at Bilgi University in Istanbul says the measures open the door to government censorship of the Internet.

‘We are concerned that the government [will] enforce and develop a censorship infrastructure,’ said Akdeniz. ‘Even the standard profile is a filter system and the problem is government mandated, government controlled and there are no other countries within the EU or Council of Europe that has a similar system. And the decision also states if anyone who tries to circumvent the system, further action may be taken.’

Government officials say the new regulations are needed to protect families, particularly children, from pornography. But critics say it is unclear which websites can be banned and for what reasons, and the regulations can also be used to silence political websites. Nadire Mater is the head of the Turkish human-rights web page Bianet.

‘Depending on the government, depending on the ministers, one can be put on the blacklist,’ said Mater. ‘This is not a democracy. We’ve experienced this before, because police, from time to time, they distributed these blacklists, and in some Internet cafes or companies we were getting the complaints from the visitors they were saying that we don’t have any access [to] Bianet.’

Bianet criticizes the government for establishing the new measures by decree, rather than by a vote in parliament and is challenging the new controls in court. Web freedom is a concern within the European Union, which Turkey is seeking to join. EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule stressed those concerns before the EU parliament earlier this year.

‘Freedom of press means guaranteeing a public space for free debate, including on the Internet,’ said Fule. ‘The European Parliament’s draft resolution rightly underlines these issues.’

That concern centers on Turkey’s record of courts banning more websites than any other European country. In 2009, the state stopped releasing figures, but the latest number is believed to be in excess of 12,000. Again, Professor Akdeniz.

‘Several thousands web sites have been blocked,’ said Akdeniz. ‘And although the government claims that they predominantly block access to pornographic websites, several hundred alternative-media websites, especially websites dealing with the Kurdish debate, are blocked access to for political reasons.’

Internet Watch Foundation: Abuse images takedown speeds up

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Internet Watch Foundation: Abuse images takedown speeds up: “

But scale of problem remains the same

The number of URLs hosting child abuse content has risen significantly over the last year – but the scale of the problem has not changed, and take-down time has improved dramatically.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

BBC News: ‘World’s largest paedophile ring’ uncovered

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

BBC News: ‘World’s largest paedophile ring’ uncovered

16 March 2011 Last updated at 15:27 GMT

‘World’s largest paedophile ring’ uncovered
By Dominic Casciani BBC News home affairs correspondent

The website The international network operated out of the Netherlands

International police led by a UK team say they shut down the largest internet paedophile ring yet discovered.

The global forum had 70,000 followers at its height, leading to 4,000 intelligence reports being sent to police across 30 countries.

The operation has so far identified 670 suspects and 230 abused children.

Detectives say 184 people have been arrested – 121 of them were in the UK. Some 60 children have been protected in the UK.

The three-year investigation, Operation Rescue, was led by investigators from the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

Speaking at a news conference at The Hague in the Netherlands, investigators said the network hid behind a legal online forum which operated out of the country – but its members came from around the world.

Europol Director Rob Wainright on ’spectacular international police success’

Along with the Netherlands and the UK, suspects have been identified in Australia, Italy, Canada, New Zealand and Thailand.

The members of the network went into a private channel,, and then used its secret systems to share films and images of abused children, said Rob Wainwright, director of European police agency Europol.

However, child abuse investigators, including a team from Ceop, had already infiltrated the network and were posing as paedophiles to gather intelligence.

In the UK, the 240 suspects include police officers, teachers and a karate teacher. One of the suspects in the UK is a woman.

The latest arrest was in Northamptonshire.

To date, 33 have been convicted, including John McMurdo, a scout leader from Plymouth. Another forum user was Stephen Palmer, 54, of Birkenhead, who shared abuse images with contacts in the US. A third man, 46-year-old Colin Hoey Brown of Bromsgrove, was jailed for making and distributing almost 1,000 images.

‘New ground broken’

Peter Davies, head of Ceop, said: ‘The scale and success of Operation Rescue has broken new ground.

image of Danny Shaw Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

The internet has proved to be fertile territory for people with a sexual interest in children.

Those wishing to explore their feelings or satisfy their urges can spend hours doing so without having to leave their room. Taking advantage of the anonymity modern computer technology provides, paedophiles download and exchange vile images of abuse unaware of the reality of the suffering.

For some years, however, child protection agencies have been on their case. By pretending to be online sex offenders and by using sophisticated computer techniques, they’ve managed to identify offenders and locate suspect websites. So it was with Operation Rescue.

What marks it out is its global scale. But in UK terms, it still lags behind Operation Ore – an investigation into 7,000 people from Britain whose credit cards were used to access child abuse images on a US website.

‘Not only is it one of the largest operations of its kind to date – and the biggest operation we have led – it also demonstrates the impact of international law enforcement agencies working together with one single objective, to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice.

‘While these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them.

‘Everything they did online, everyone they talked to or anything they shared could and was tracked by following the digital footprint.’

Operation Rescue began when Ceop and colleagues in the Australian Federal Police separately identified the site as a key online meeting place for abusers.

The two forces deployed officers to infiltrate the site and to identify the members who were posing the most risk to children.

One of the early breakthroughs in the investigation was the arrest of four suspects in Thailand in 2008. Two of the men were British.

In March of the same year, Ceop identified the owner of the site and the location of its server in the Netherlands. The owner of the server is now co-operating with Dutch police.

CEOP Chief Peter Davies: ‘The case was very demanding’

Rob Wainwright of Europol said the man running the server had used ‘advanced security techniques’ which took months to break down.

‘If you think you can use the internet to abuse children you are wrong,’ he said.

‘We will not allow these offenders to carry on committing these awful crimes against young children. We will not rest until we have identified every offender that has been active in this network and others that might be operating on the internet.’

New Turkish Internet Censorship Infrastructure on its way

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Don’t even try to understand – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review: “Don’t even try to understand
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In his speech this week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that he doesn’t understand why foreigners are all talking about the lack of freedom of speech in Turkey.

Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Vice President Hüseyin Çelik said Turkey was years ahead in its legislation and many times more free in terms of press freedom than the United States. All this happens in a time when journalists are being arrested and jailed for various reasons but mainly after being accused of being a member of Ergenekon, an illegal organization allegedly working to organize a military coup against the AKP. I am sure that you have read the detailed news about these journalist arrests and what they were asked about by authorities when they were taken into custody.

The indescribable nature of Ergenekon lets prosecutors blame everyone. If you know someone who is already arrested, there is a good chance that they will come for you, too, one morning. According to the six degrees theory, anyone can be linked to the Ergenoken case in the world, even the pope himself. This is exactly why many journalists began protesting the morning arrests.

However, I understand that this vagueness will go on and will spread to the government’s Internet regulations. After Aug. 22 we will have a totally different system. The government is so kind and father-like that it wants us to be fully protected from any kind of harm that the Internet can bring about. This is why they have decided to provide Internet services to us filtered from the source. It is too much hassle to ban websites one by one, therefore they will have bundles and lists. According to the current plans there will be four types of bundles available.

These will be called Standart Profile (Standart Profil), Children’s Profile (Çocuk Profili), Family Profile (Aile Profili) and Domestic Internet Profile (Yurtiçi İnternet Profili). All of these profiles will be censored to various degrees so that we will be protected just as our profile needs to be, because our government knows best.

Each profile will have two lists assigned; A black one and a white one. In the black list there will be websites that will be banned and in the white one there will be websites that are allowed to be surfed.

The government says that they ban websites at the source so that our children will be fully protected. There will be no room for the human error of parents. Banning websites will be fully automatic. However, the people who will be in charge of these practices and the standardization of establishing these lists are very vague. The government will be able to censor any website at will. You won’t even notice it.

I would also kindly like to warn any foreigners against deigning to think that the new system to be introduced on Aug. 22 violates freedoms. And please don’t voice your concerns. Our prime minister can get angry at you. In fact, don’t even try to understand it because our government is way ahead of you.”

(Via .)

German law on Internet blocking challenged in Constitutional Court | EDRI

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

German law on Internet blocking challenged in Constitutional Court | EDRI

23 February, 2011

On 22 February 2011 the German Working Group against Internet Blocking and Censorship (AK Zensur) submitted their complaint against the German law on Internet blocking to Germany’s Constitutional Court. The law is directed against online child abuse material and had come into force on 23 February 2010, setting a one-year deadline for the complaint.

AK Zensur and many others had fiercely opposed the law and announced that a complaint would be filed when the law was enacted by Parliament in June 2009. An online petition against the law collected 134 000 signatures in May and June, the highest number ever achieved at the German Parliament’s online petitions system. A curious situation emerged when the government changed after the elections in September 2009, taking the liberal party FDP into power in a coalition with the conservative CDU/CSU. The FDP had opposed the blocking law in their election campaign, and before the law came into force, it was agreed that it would not be fully implemented. In a legally dubious move, a ‘non-application directive’ by the Interior minister stipulated that initially, only take-down was to be attempted, and the governing parties agreed that a review would be held about a year later.

This created something of a legal absurdity as the consequences of the law are not fully felt at the moment when the deadline to complain is expiring. But AK Zensur and its lawyers are confident that even now, many aspects of the law are in clear violation of the German Constitution, and several experts had voiced similar concerns at a parliamentary hearing before the law was enacted. While political support for the ill-fated law has widely diminished, the governing parties have not found the will to abolish it in a new Parliamentary act. AK Zensur is hopeful that with its complaint, it will be able to do the politicians’ homework for them. A website collecting signatures to support the complaint in the political debate will be started soon.

German press release: German Free Speech Working Party issues constitutional complaint against censorship law (only in German, 23.02.2011)

German Free Speech Working Party issues constitutional complaint against censorship law (23.02.2011)

EDRi-gram: Germany’s President signs an Internet bill against his own government (24.02.2010)…

(Contribution by Sebastian Lisken)

Delete child pornography web pages across the EU, says Civil Liberties Committee

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Delete child pornography web pages across the EU, says Civil Liberties Committee

Justice and home affairs – 14-02-2011 – 22:22

Committee : Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Child pornography or child abuse material on the web must be removed at source in all EU countries, said the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday, in amendments to proposed new EU rules to prevent abuse, stiffen penalties, and protect victims. Where removal is impossible, e.g. because pages are hosted outside the EU, Member States may still ‘prevent access’ to this material, in line with their national laws, MEPs added, so no Member State will be prevented from blocking sites.
Civil Liberties Committee MEPs made a series of amendments Monday to a proposed EU directive to combat sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Studies suggest that between 10% and 20% of minors in Europe may be sexually assaulted during childhood.

Complete removal at source must be the main aim

The original Commission proposal would have made blocking of child porn web sites mandatory for Member States. MEPs instead advocate removal at source and, should that prove impossible, allow Member States to ‘prevent access’ to this material.

EU Member States must impose binding requirements to ensure the ‘removal at source of internet pages containing or disseminating child pornography or child abuse material’, MEPs say.

The EU must also co-operate with third countries to secure the prompt removal of such material from servers hosted in those countries, they add.

Preventing access

Should removal at source prove impossible (e.g. because the state where servers are hosted is unwilling to co-operate or because its procedure for removing the material from servers is particularly long), Member States ‘may take the necessary measures in accordance with national legislation to prevent access to such content in their territory’, say MEPs. The adopted amendment therefore in no way prevents any Member State from blocking sites, in line with its national law.

National measures preventing access ‘must be set by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards, in particular to ensure that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and that users are informed of the reason for the restriction’, MEPs say. Content providers and users must also be informed of the possibility to appeal, and to whom to appeal, under a judicial redress procedure, they add.

Tougher penalties and ban on working with children

The new rules would introduce tougher penalties across the EU for those who sexually abuse or exploit children. The proposal sets minimum penalties for 22 criminal offences, but also allows Member States to impose harsher measures and sentencing.

Offenders would face penalties ranging from one to over ten years in prison, depending on the crime. Since some 20% of sex offenders go on to commit further offences after conviction, MEPs stipulate that convicted offenders ‘may be temporarily or permanently prevented from exercising professional activities involving direct and regular contact with children and volunteer activities related to the supervision and/or care of children’.

When recruiting, employers will be entitled to obtain information on any convictions for sex crimes. After recruitment, if serious suspicion arises, employers may still request such information, even if it has to be obtained from criminal records held in other EU countries. Member States may also take other measures, such as putting in place ’sex offenders registers’ accessible to the judiciary and/or law enforcement agencies, add MEPs.

Abuse by persons in a position of trust, authority or influence over the child (for instance, family members, guardians or teachers) is included in, and punishable under, the new criminal offences. Higher sentences would also be imposed on anyone committing an offence involving children with a physical or mental disability, in a situation of dependence or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

‘Sex tourists’ travelling abroad to abuse children will also face prosecution, under the new rules on jurisdiction.

EU-wide criminalization of ‘grooming’

New forms of abuse and exploitation, such as ‘grooming’ (befriending children through the web with the intention of sexually abusing them), or making children pose sexually in front of web cameras, will also be criminalised. MEPs have added a rule that offenders who use different means to target a great number of children so as to multiply their chances of committing the crime would face harsher penalties.

Protecting victims

MEPs have strengthened proposed rules on assisting, supporting and protecting victims, to ensure that they have easy access to legal remedies and do not suffer from participating in criminal investigations and trials.

Next steps

Negotiations between Parliament and Council representatives will continue in the coming months, with a view to reaching a compromise preferably in the first half of 2011. Once adopted, this directive will replace current EU legislation dating from 2004. Member States would then have two years to transpose the new rules into their national laws.

Committee vote on report of Roberta Angelilli (EPP, IT): 40 in favour, none against, 5 abstentions

In the chair: Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES)

REF.: 20110131IPR12841

Mumsnet backtracks support for net filter

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Mumsnet backtracks support for net filter: “

Who’s been a naughty girl, then?

Cuddly, child-loving web forum, mumsnet was last night licking its wounds after a page providing fairly uncritical support for government proposals to censor the web was first mauled by geek attack – and then taken down.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)