Iceland’s Stance on Internet Porn

In Iceland at the moment they are considering quite a bold move.  The intention is to ban all internet based pornography from being accessed from Iceland.  It’s one of the first time that a Western Democratic nation has tried to do this and an attempt which I believe is doomed to failure.

Whether you agree or disagree with the policy, there is a reason why I think it won’t work.  The problem is that the whole concept of the internet is to be and open and free source of information.  It doesn’t matter if that information is a physics thesis, Hollywood gossip or a hard core porn site.  To the internet it’s just words and pictures sitting on a computer somewhere and accessible to all.

Of course there are many restictions already in place, have you’ve ever clicked on an YouTube video to be greeted with the message – video not available in your country.  Well, the reason is that the person uploading it has used YouTubes ability to detect your location and has blocked access from specific countries – explained here http://www.theninjaproxy.org/just-interesting/video-not-available-in-your-country/.  China of course is world famous for controlling and blocking access to websites with the most advanced content filter on the planet, the Great Firewall of China.  But ultimately filtering like this simply doesn’t work – there are too many workarounds like proxies, VPNs and SSH tunnels to bypass the most sophisticated systems.

Any 13 year old in China knows how to bypass the Chinese firewall using a proxy server.  It is almost a trivial matter and millions do it routinely – watch this video from Youtube.

Whatever technical solution Iceland decides on to implement this policy – it will most certainly be vastly inferior to the Chinese system.  Which means that anyone who has the inclination to do so will be able to bypass the filters.  What you effectively do is infringe on people’s civil liberties, a government again trying to control another little piece of our lives.  Anyone who wants to access porn in Iceland will easily be able to do so.

You can argue that it will at least pretect children from inadvertantly accessing pornographic sites and images.  However any reasonable internet security program is able to do this already.  We our parents also have a role to play in making sure that our children use the internet responsibly.

 

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