07 March 2010

FR - Les FAI opposés au blocage des sites pédopornographiques

(01net)
L'Association française des fournisseurs d'accès juge peu efficace la procédure de blocage prévue par La loi d'orientation et de programmation pour la performance de la sécurité intérieure (Loppsi) a été votée par les députés et continue son parcours parlementaire au Sénat, et préfère l'intervention directe auprès des hébergeurs.

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19 February 2010

DE - New Internet Legislation Embarrasses German Government

(Der Spiegel)
A new bill to fight child pornography has been signed into law by Germany's president. There's only one problem: The government has decided it no longer wants it. They are now in the awkward position of relying on opposition help to repeal the legislation. It was supposed to be an initiative to stop child pornography on the Internet. But now the German government finds itself in a uniquely awkward situation after a bill which it no longer wanted was signed into law by the country's president. German President Horst Köhler signed the law after deciding that there were "no significant concerns" regarding the law's compatibility with the German constitution. The Access Impediment Law, as it is known, is aimed at combating child pornography and allows access to offensive Web sites to be blocked. However the German coalition government, which pairs Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, has decided it no longer wants the law, which was massively opposed by Internet users. Instead of blocking access to Web sites, it now wants to delete offensive Internet content instead.

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18 February 2010

DE - Bundespräsident unterzeichnet Websperren-Gesetz

(Heise)
Bundespräsident Horst Köhler hat das "Gesetz zur Bekämpfung von Kinderpornographie in Kommunikationsnetzen" unterzeichnet. Laut Mitteilung bestanden "keine durchgreifenden verfassungsrechtlichen Bedenken, die ihn an einer Ausfertigung gehindert hätten". Der Bundespräsident gehe davon aus, dass die Bundesregierung entsprechend ihrer Stellungnahme vom 4. Februar 2010 nunmehr "auf der Grundlage des Zugangserschwerungsgesetzes" Kinderpornographie im Internet effektiv und nachhaltig bekämpft. Siehe auch Justizministerin will Websperren vom Tisch haben. Das Justizministerium und das Innenressort hatten kürzlich eine Stellungnahme an das Staatsoberhaupt übermitteln lassen, wonach die Regierung "eine Gesetzesinitiative zur Löschung kinderpornographischer Inhalte im Internet beabsichtigt". Bis zum Inkrafttreten dieser Bestimmung werde sich Berlin "auf der Grundlage des Zugangserschwerungsgesetzes ausschließlich und intensiv für die Löschung derartiger Seiten einsetzen", heißt es in dem heise online vorliegenden Papier. Zugangssperren würden nicht vorgenommen, betonen die beiden Ministerien.

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16 February 2010

AU - Google and Yahoo raise doubts over planned net filters

(BBC)
Google and Yahoo have joined two Australian organisations calling for a "rethink" of the country's controversial internet filter plans. The Australian government has announced proposals to introduce a mandatory filter which would block all RC (Refused Classification) content. The groups argue that the subjects covered by RC material are too wide-ranging for a blanket ban. They also warn that the filter will not "effectively protect children".

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02 February 2010

OSCE asks Turkey to change the laws allowing Internet blocking

(EDRI-gram)
OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Media Freedom representative Miklos Haraszti asked the Turkish Government to change their Internet law in order to observe OSCE commitments and other international standards protecting freedom of expression. A survey analyzing Turkey's Internet Law has shown that the Turkish authorities were able to block the access to Internet of about 3700 websites. These sites included foreign websites such as YouTube, Geocities, DailyMotion and Google, blocked by court orders and administrative blocking orders issued by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB). The study also shows a lack of transparency in relation to the blocking orders issued either by the court or TIB and the fact that TIB has not made public the blocking statistics since May 2009. The OSCE representative considers that some of the reasons for blocking sites are "arbitrary and political, and therefore incompatible with OSCE's freedom of expression commitments."

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25 January 2010

CA - Web Filters Cause Name Change for a Magazine

(New York Times)
In 1920 the Hudson's Bay Company, which owed much of its early fortune to the trade in beaver pelts, began publishing a magazine for its 250th anniversary, The Beaver. This evolved into a respected magazine about Canadian history, and last week Canada's National History Society, the nonprofit group that now publishes it, decided that the Internet required the magazine to undergo a name change. To be more precise, the title was doomed by a vulgar alternative meaning that causes Web filters at schools and junk mail filters in e-mail programs to block access to material containing the magazine's name.

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09 January 2010

UK - Why Nominet disconnected more than 1,000 sites with no court oversight

(OUT-LAW News)
The body responsible for the .uk internet addresses disconnected over 1,200 websites without any oversight from a court. The much-publicised action last month was based only on police assertions about criminal activity on the sites. Two Nominet executives have told technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio that it severed the connection between 1,219 domain names and the sites that lay behind them without the kind of court order that web hosting companies would usually demand.

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06 January 2010

AU - Net filter satire site back after domain deletion

(Ars Technica)
Stephen Conroy is Australia's Communications Minister and, in that role, has been instrumental in pushing for ISP-level traffic filters that will block access to illegal content by his nation's citizens. A site that was combination parody and protest, stephenconroy.com.au, saw its domain registration deleted late last month since they had no business relationship with anyone or thing by that name. Its creators, however, registered stephenconroy as a business in Victoria, simply waited for it to reappear in the pool of available domains, and grabbed it again.

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23 December 2009

AU - could soon have the most restrictive internet regime in the Western world

(Sydney Morning Herald)
Senator Stephen Conroy's consultation paper on mandating the filtering of internet sites by Australian internet service providers suggests that Australia could soon have the most restrictive internet regime in the Western world. The incorporation of international lists of overseas-hosted child sexual abuse material would be sufficient to align mandatory Australian practices with the voluntary practices of most liberal democracies. Indeed, the implication is that it might total the sum of all other jurisdictions' voluntary filter lists. However, the commitment to add other content that is only prohibited in Australia will mean that the scope of the content to be captured will be much more extensively drawn than in equivalent nation

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22 December 2009

UK - Pupils 'bypassing school internet security'

(BBC)
Many young people are using 'proxy servers' to get round their schools' internet security systems. The free services offer instant access to banned websites, including online games and social networking. Figures suggest the use of proxies has risen sharply in recent years. Security experts are warning that pupils who log on put themselves at risk of cyber crime.

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16 December 2009

AU - Australia mulls mandatory ISP filtering

(ZDNet)
Mandatory ISP filtering legislation is expected to be introduced in Australia around the middle of 2010, after which there will be a one year period to implement and activate the filtering technology. The Federal Government announced it will introduce amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act, which will by 2011 require all ISPs to block refused classification-rated material hosted on overseas servers.

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19 November 2009

IGF - IGF: Jugendschützer für Netzsperren

(Heise)
Die Jugend im Netz war neben Klassikern wie Meinungsfreiheit und Datenschutz eines der großen Themen auf dem diesjährigen Internet Governance Forum (IGF) im ägyptischen Sharm El Sheik. Auf rund einem Dutzend Veranstaltungen wurden Themen wie Kinderschutz im Internet oder der Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie diskutiert. Dabei sprachen sich Experten auch für den Einsatz von Netzsperren aus.

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25 October 2009

AU - ACS gives conditional thumbs up to internet filtering

(SC Magazine)
The Australian Computer Society has released a report that flags conditional support to ISP-based internet filtering from a technical standpoint, based on a series of boxes that need to be checked before giving the scheme the green light. Six experts from the ACS said that filtering of the internet is plausible, but suggested a number of steps that the Federal Government needs to first address. The computer society pushed for the blacklist to be "transparent." "Transparency and credibility should include an independent oversight, a system of checks and balances that incorporates a system of appeals and an independent auditing process," the report said. Blocking websites was not enough to stop illegal websites from appearing, the report said. The ACS suggested the Federal Government work with the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN) and encourage it to reject domain name applications that were likely to contain illegal material.

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AU - Technical Observations on ISP Based Filtering of the Internet

(Australian Computer Society)
Report from the Filtering and E-Security Task Force.

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Internet Blocking study

(Aconite)
Government attempts to block access to the Internet are mounting throughout Europe - but look set to backfire, according to new study. The Open Society Institute funded the report which is titled "Internet Blocking: Balancing Cybercrime Responses in Democratic Societies." The study shows how efforts to block Internet content are spreading throughout democratic Europe. In Germany, Britain, Italy and Scandinavia, the measures are intended to block pages containing child pornography. The new study concludes that the measures are ineffective. Many technical ways exist to get around blocking technologies. More importantly, the blocking measures are intrusive and often abuse fundamental freedoms. These systems either over-block or under-block content and do not prevent the serious offender from gaining access.

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16 October 2009

DE - Koalitionsvereinbarung: Web-Sperren weg, Vorratsdatenspeicherung eingeschränkt

(Heise)
Die für die Innen- und Rechtspolitik zuständige Koalitionsarbeitsgruppe von FDP und Union hat überraschend schnell einen Kompromiss ausgearbeitet, wonach die geplanten reinen Blockaden kinderpornographischer Seiten faktisch passé sind. Das Bundesinnenministerium soll das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) anweisen, international stärker auf die tatsächliche Löschung kinderpornographischer Inhalte im Internet zu drängen. Zugleich wird der Wiesbadener Polizeibehörde untersagt, Sperrlisten an die Zugangsanbieter herauszugeben. Die bislang vom noch nicht in Kraft getretenen Zugangserschwerungsgesetz sowie in Verträgen großer Provider mit dem BKA vorgesehenen Web-Sperren könnten so nicht zur Anwendung kommen. Konkret setzen die Liberalen vor allem auf die Internetwirtschaft und die Verbesserung von Hotlines zum Löschen illegaler Inhalte wie INHOPE, dass das BKA auf dem kleinen Dienstweg über eine direkte Ansprache von Providern ohne den Umweg über ausländische Polizeibehörden mehr zum Entfernen kinderpornographischer Angebote aus dem Netz beitragen könnte.

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10 September 2009

UK - New web filter laws questioned by top child abuse cop

(The Register)
New laws reportedly planned for the Queen's Speech to force all internet providers to block access to child pornography websites have been questioned by Britain's top abuse investigator. Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), said the blacklist currently used to filter the vast majority of UK internet connections had been a "fabulous success". However, he added he is unconvinced of the need for legislation to impose it on the remaining small and boutique ISPs who argue it is unaffordable and easily circumvented by determined paedophiles.

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07 September 2009

UK - Internet providers face child porn crackdown

(Independent)
Internet service providers that fail to curb child pornography on the web would be criminalised in a crackdown to be introduced in the Queen's Speech this autumn. The leaked Home Office letter says a clause in the Police, Crime and Private Security Bill in the Queen's Speech would "compel domestic ISPs to implement the blocking of illegal images of child sexual abuse". There will be a four-week consultation with ISPs on the proposals, but insiders said the firms had not been informed about the proposed crackdown.

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03 September 2009

ONI Presents Social Media Filtering Maps

(ONI)
The summer of 2009 was a hectic one for online social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a bevy of other sites fell under the censors' axe in China and Iran as political events - namely the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the Iranian presidential election - shook both countries. Based on testing conducted in 2008-2009, the OpenNet Initiative has compiled data on the most frequently blocked social media sites around the world. We are proud to present five new social media filtering maps that serve as easy visual guides to the countries where Facebook, Flickr, Orkut, Twitter and YouTube are blocked.

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19 August 2009

Middle East and North Africa filtering

(ONI) The OpenNet Initiative is proud to announce the release of our Middle East and North Africa study. see also blog post. While not all countries in the Middle East and North Africa filter the Internet, censorship across the region is on the rise, and the scope and depth of filtering are increasing. Testing has revealed political filtering to be the common denominator across the region; however, social filtering is on the rise. Many Arab countries have begun blocking explicit and morally objectionable content in the Arabic language that was previously accessible. While many regimes are transparent about social filtering, most continue to disguise political filtering practices by attempting to confuse users with different error messages.

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28 July 2009

UK - BBC strikes web video-sharing deal

(Guardian)
The BBC has struck a landmark deal with four national newspaper groups to share video news on their websites for the first time. The BBC is providing a limited range of video news content to Mail Online, guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk and Independent.co.uk, which will supplement the newspaper websites' own material, in four areas - UK politics, business, health and science and technology. For partner media organisations to use the BBC online video content there must be no advertising - such as pre-roll or post-roll ads - running around any clips. The video shared with partner organisations will carry BBC branding. All BBC content will appear in a branded video player and the content will be geo-blocked so that it can only be viewed by web users in the UK. The video news sharing proposal marks a significant shift in relations between the BBC and rival media companies. Newspaper publishers, in particular, have long argued that the BBC has used the public subsidy provided by the licence fee to fund its expansion into digital media areas - such as online video - while commercial companies have not had the financial firepower.

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DE - Aktivierung der Netzsperren - "Verheerender Ausblick"

(Heise)
In den nächsten Wochen muss das Gesetz zur Netzsperre von den Providern umgesetzt werden. Michael Rotert von der deutschen Internetwirtschaft warnt vor Überregulierung und Offline-Politikern.

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24 July 2009

UK - School computers 'fail to filter'

(BBC)
School computer systems in the UK are failing to identify 10% of incoming harmful content, research suggests. Data monitored from 30,000 students found content from items such as mobile phones and cameras which had not been picked up by filter systems. Researchers from online safety firm, E-Safe Education, say children are still able to access inappropriate content.

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23 July 2009

DE - Bundeskriminalamt fühlt sich gerüstet für Web-Sperren

(Heise)
Das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) kann nach eigenen Angaben "ab Beginn des Wirkbetriebes" der geplanten Infrastruktur zum Blockieren kinderpornographischer Inhalte die von ihm zu erstellende Filterliste zur Verfügung stellen. Es werde dabei "im Benehmen mit zuständigen Stellen" sichergestellt, dass allen nach dem Gesetz verpflichteten Provider die Liste erhalten. Auch für die "Kompatibilität" des Filterverzeichnisses mit den Systemen der Zugangsanbieter werde gesorgt. Details zu den technischen Abläufen könnten "aus Sicherheitsgründen" aber nicht bekannt gegeben werden.

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16 July 2009

NZ - Web filter will focus solely on child sex abuse images

(Press release)
A filtering system to block websites that host child sexual abuse images will be available voluntarily to New Zealand internet service providers (ISPs) within a couple of months, Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said today. The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, funded with $150,000, will be operated by the Department in partnership with ISPs, and will focus solely on websites offering clearly objectionable images of child sexual abuse, which is a serious offence for anyone in New Zealand to access. The Department has entered into a partnership with ECPAT New Zealand, part of a global organisation the purpose of which is the elimination of child prostitution and pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. "ECPAT is operating a hotline through its website so that members of the public can report suspect sites, not already identified by the Department." see also NZ Internet Filtering FAQ by Thomas Beagle.

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09 July 2009

AU - Net filtering a $33m waste: child groups

(Australian IT)
Child rights groups have come out in force to criticise the Rudd Labor government's controversial plan to censor the internet, saying the scheme will divert around $33 million away from more effective ways of tackling online child pornography. In a joint statement with lobby group GetUp, both Save the Children Australia and the National Children's & Youth Law Centre believe the resources could be better spent on law enforcement agencies battling to eradicate child pornography on the internet.

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05 July 2009

CN / EU - Chinese censorship of Internet 'unacceptable': EU

(AFP)
The EU accused China of "unacceptable" Internet censorship, as Brussels rejected Beijing's claim that an internet filter due to be introduced is instead aimed at blocking pornography. "The aim of this internet filter, contrary to what Chinese authorities contend, is clearly to censor internet and limit freedom of expression," the European Commission said in a statement. "We therefore urge China to postpone the implementation of this mandate and request that a meeting is organised at technical level to better understand what is at stake," it added. The matter will be raised at "information society" talks hosted by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in Beijing on July 9, the statement said.

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03 July 2009

US -Suit over China's Web filter to target Lenovo, Acer, Sony

(IDG News Service)
A U.S. company will seek legal action against Lenovo, Acer and Sony next week over their shipment in China of controversial software that the company says stole its programming code. Solid Oak Software may also take action against other PC makers that have started shipping the software. The software, an Internet filtering tool that blocks pornographic and political content, copied files from Solid Oak's own Internet content control product, according to the company. In recent weeks China ordered domestic and foreign PC makers to bundle the software, called Green Dam Youth Escort, with all computers sold in the country. It postponed the requirement just hours before the original deadline this week, but said it did so only because PC makers needed more time to ship the program.

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30 June 2009

DE - Final Declaration of Berlin Conference on Protecting Children

(BMFSFJ)
Protecting Children and Young People from Sexual Violence with a Focus on the New Media: Perspectives for Europe. Final Declaration, International Conference, Berlin, 30 June 2009.

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DE - Familienministerium, Kinderschützer und Europol fordern mehr Web-Sperren

(Heise)
Die europäische "Konferenz zum Schutz vor sexueller Gewalt gegen Kinder und Jugendliche mit Fokus auf neue Medien" hat in Berlin eine gemeinsame Abschlusserklärung zum internationalen Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie verabschiedet. In der von Bundesfamilienministerin Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) initiierten Deklaration wird in 16 Punkten unter anderem die in Deutschland bereits gesetzlich verankerte Zugangserschwerung zu Webseiten mit kinderpornographischen Inhalten als "flankierende Maßnahme" gegen Kinderpornographie bezeichnet. Sie sei "umso effektiver, je mehr Staaten" mitmachten. Die Erklärung wurde unterzeichnet von Europol, dem Bundeskriminalamt, den Kinderschutzorganisationen Innocence in Danger, ECPAT, Save the Children und UNESCO Deutschland. siehe auch Regierung fordert mehr internationale Zusammenarbeit (Der Spiegel).

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CN - China delays internet filter plan

(BBC)
China is delaying a controversial plan requiring all new computers sold in the country to be equipped with an internet filtering software, state media says. The filter, called Green Dam Youth Escort, was to have been required from Wednesday, but the ministry of industry said computer makers needed more time. Its planned rollout sparked widespread disapproval inside China, legal challenges and overseas criticism. Officials say it is designed to shield children from pornography and violence. The BBC's Quentin Somerville, in Beijing, says the reversal is an embarrassing climb down for the Chinese government.

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25 June 2009

CN - US objects to China's net filter

(BBC)
The US has called on China to scrap its plan to put net-filtering software on all its computers. It said that China's proposals would violate its free trade obligations, weaken computer security and raise serious censorship concerns. China has demanded that all computers come supplied with software called Green Dam from 1 July.

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24 June 2009

CN - China blocks Google website

(FT)
Google's global website was blocked in China on Wednesday night, marking an escalation in Beijing's unprecedented crackdown on the world's leading search engine company. Attempts to access Google.com and Gmail from different computers in Beijing started failing after 9pm local time, but the websites could be accessed through proxy servers ? normally a sign that a website is being blocked by internet censors. The service in Beijing at least was back after two hours. The blocking came after Google appeared to resist an earlier order to restrict access to foreign websites through Google.cn, its local website.

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22 June 2009

US raises China filter amid business concern: official

(AFP)
The United States raised concerns to China about its new rule requiring Internet filtering software in computers after US businesses voiced unease. Computer makers have been told that all personal computers sold from July 1 must be shipped with anti-pornography software, a move that trade and rights groups say is a bid by Beijing to further tighten Internet controls. In Beijing, US embassy spokesman Richard Buangan told AFP that US officials had met with Chinese authorities to address concerns about the software. A US official said in Washington that the appeal came in part due to worries by US computer makers.

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19 June 2009

DE - Bundestag verabschiedet Gesetz für Web-Sperren

(Heise)
Der Bundestag hat mit den Stimmen der großen Koalition den Gesetzentwurf zu Web-Sperren im Kampf gegen die Verbreitung von Kinderpornographie über das Internet abgesegnet (389 Ja-, 128 Nein-Stimmen, 18 Enthaltungen). Das Gesetz, das nach umfangreichen Änderungen den Titel "Gesetz zur Erschwerung des Zugangs zu kinderpornographischen Inhalten in Kommunikationsnetzen" trägt, soll auf drei Jahre befristetet werden. Das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) soll täglich eine Sperrliste erstellen. Alle Zugangsanbieter mit mindestens 10.000 Teilnehmern müssen sie "unverzüglich" und zumindest auf Ebene des Domain Name Systems (DNS) implementieren. Ausgenommen sind Provider, die keine öffentlichen Internetzugänge vermitteln und selbst "vergleichbar wirksame Sperrmaßnahmen" einsetzen. Das BKA darf außereuropäische Kinderporno-Angebote "sofort" in das Filterverzeichnis aufnehmen, wenn ihm eine Löschbarkeit der Serverinhalte in "angemessener Zeit" nicht plausibel erscheint. Informationen an die betroffenen Host-Provider über die inkriminierten Inhalte muss die Polizeibehörde nicht verschicken. Als nächstes muss sich der Bundesrat mit dem Vorhaben befassen. Da es sich nicht um ein zustimmungspflichtiges Gesetz handelt, könnten die Länder höchstens Einspruch erheben und das Inkrafttreten am Tag nach der Verkündigung im Bundesgesetzblatt verhindern. Damit ist aber nicht zu rechnen, da die Koalition vielen Forderungen des Bundesrates Rechnung getragen hat. Das Gesetz könnte so im Sommer oder Herbst bereits Gültigkeit erlangen.

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18 June 2009

IR - Iranians find ways to bypass Net censors

(CNET News.com)
by Declan McCullagh. A new generation of Iranians has found ways to bypass the country's Internet restrictions and disseminate details about Iran's internal turmoil in the wake of the recent election. In technical circles, at least, Iran is well-known for erecting one of the world's most restrictive Internet blockades, second only to China in its scope. Certain blogs are cordoned off, politically unacceptable keywords are blocked, and Web sites like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, the BBC, and YouTube remain - at least at the moment - off-limits. But the government's censors have been unable to staunch every data leak.

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17 June 2009

Asus and Disney Join Forces on Kid-Friendly Netbooks

(PC World)
Asus and Disney have combined their expertise in computers and cartoons to produce a Disney-themed netbook called the Netpal. It has plenty of parental control options; parents can restrict their children's access to particular sites or programs, limit e-mail correspondence to certain addresses, set different permissions corresponding to different scheduled times and even provide statistics on what users are doing online. You can also figure out how much time the kids are spending playing Flash games when they're supposed to be studying.

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16 June 2009

UK - Make the unfiltered web illegal, says children's coalition

(Guardian)
Internet companies should be forced to filter the web in order to reduce the volume of indecent material being shared online, according to children's charities. In a new "digital manifesto", a leading group of charities including the NSPCC, the Children's Society and the National Children's Bureau argue that the government should legally compel ISPs to screen out images of child abuse and underage sex. Compulsory filtering is just one of a number of recommendations made by the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety (CCCIS), which believes that action must be taken now to prevent new technologies from being used to proliferate abusive images online.

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14 June 2009

CN - U.S. Firm Says China Stole Software for Web-Filter

(Wall Street Journal)
A California company alleged that an Internet-filtering program being pushed by the Chinese government contains stolen portions of the company's software. The company, Solid Oak Software Inc., said it will try to stop PC makers from shipping computers with the software. Mr. Milburn said Solid Oak received an anonymous email stating that Green Dam may contain parts of his company's code. Some lawyers said that because the software will only be sold in China, Solid Oak faces an uphill legal battle, even if it targets U.S. companies.

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CN - Let people decide on Green Dam

(China Daily)
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's latest regulation to preinstall filtering software on all new computers by July 1 has triggered public concern, anger and protest. A survey on Sina.com, the largest news portal in China, showed that an overwhelming 83 percent of the 26,232 people polled said they would not use the software, known as Green Dam. Only 10 percent were in favor. In the Green Dam case, buyers, mostly adults, should be given the complete freedom to decide whether they want the filtering software to be installed in their computers or not. Respect for an individual's right to choice is an important indicator of a free society, depriving them of which is gross transgression. Let's not allow the Green Dam software to block our way into the future.

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13 June 2009

CN - OpenNet Initiative releases Green Dam evaluation

(ONI)
The news that China will begin requiring all computers sold in the country to include Internet filtering software has sparked waves of commentary on topics ranging from legal challenges to human rights issues to concerns about security and effectiveness.

The software, known as Green Dam Youth Escort, ostensibly protects children from harmful information online by filtering out sites that contain prohibited keywords. It will be mandatory on every computer sold in China after July 1, 2009.

The OpenNet Initiative worked this week to evaluate the functionality of Green Dam. In "China's Green Dam: The Implications of Government Control Encroaching on the Home PC," we review the functional elements of this new software and explore the possible effects of its implementation on a national scale. We conclude that Green Dam is deeply flawed and poses critical security concerns for users. See also Analysis of the Green Dam Censorware System Scott Wolchok, Randy Yao, and J. Alex Halderman, omputer Science and Engineering Division, The University of Michigan.

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12 June 2009

CN - China Internet filter challenged in rights uproar

(Reuters)
A Chinese lawyer has demanded a public hearing to reconsider a government demand that all new personal computers carry Internet filtering software, adding to uproar over a plan critics say is ineffective and intrusive. Li Fangping, a Beijing human rights advocate who often embraces controversial causes, has asked the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to allow hearings on the "lawfulness and reasonableness" of the demand, which takes effect from July 1 and was publicized only this week.

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11 June 2009

CN - 'Big Brother' fears as China prepares to filter pcs for "unhealthy" content

(RSF)
Reporters Without Borders voiced concern over China's plan to force computer manufacturers to install software on personal computers to filter information seen by the Communist Party as "unhealthy". The 'Green Dam' software, which must be installed from 1st July onwards will filter pornographic content, the industry and information and technology ministry has decided. "It is a scenario worthy of Big Brother that is unfolding in China", the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "First comes the arrests of dissident bloggers and now the time for surveillance built into computers themselves".

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09 June 2009

CN - China orders PC makers to install blocking software

(Guardian)
Computer makers in China have been instructed to pre-install blocking software on every PC hard drive from next month, under a government push to control access to the internet. The new software, which has been developed by companies working with the Chinese military, is specifically aimed at restricting online pornography, but it could also be used to strengthen barriers to politically sensitive websites. China's authorities currently block overseas-based sites they disapprove of, such as those relating to Tibetan independence, or the Falun Gong spiritual movement, with a mesh of filters and keyword restrictions, widely known as the Great Firewall. see also China defends screening software (BBC). See also Green Dam filtering software scorned by many Chinese (Rebecca MacKinnon).

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03 June 2009

CN - Die Große Chinesische Firewall

(Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger)
Wolfgang Kleinwächter ist Professor am Department for Media and Information Sciences der Universität Aarhus in Dänemark und Direktor des NETCOM Instituts der Medienstadt Leipzig e.V.. Im Interview spricht er über Internetzensur in China und die Gefahr einer Aufsplitterung des World Wide Web.

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07 April 2009

EU - Proposal to revise Framework Decision on child pornography

(RAPID)
The European Commission has adopted a Proposal for a new Council Framework Decision on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, aimed at stepping up prosecution of criminal, protection of child victims and prevention of offences. New forms of sexual abuse and exploitation facilitated by the use of the Internet would be criminalised, such as grooming or viewing child pornography without downloading the files. In addition, national mechanisms to block access to websites with child pornography, which are most often located outside EU, should be put in place under the supervision of judicial or police. see Proposal for a COUNCIL FRAMEWORK DECISION on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA.

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16 March 2009

DE - Zypries stemmt sich gegen Vertrag zu Kinderporno-Sperren

(Heise)
Bundesjustizministerin Brigitte Zypries hat vor "erheblichen verfassungsrechtlichen Risiken" bei der vom Bundesfamilienministerium nachdrücklich geforderten Selbstverpflichtung von Providern zum Sperren kinderpornographischer Webseiten gewarnt. Das gewünschte "Access Blocking" betreffe unabhängig von einem "noch so berechtigten Zweck" Grundrechte der Bürger, teilte die SPD-Politikerin ihrer CDU-Kollegin Ursula von der Leyen am Donnerstag in einem heise online vorliegenden Schreiben mit. "Daher geht es hier um eine grundsätzliche Weichenstellung, ob und wie man Sperrmaßnahmen rechtlich korrekt durchführen kann." Machbar sei dies allenfalls auf Basis einer "klaren gesetzlichen Grundlage".

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26 February 2009

US - Herdict Web - the verdict of the herd

(Berkman Center)
We invite everyone to explore Herdict Web and participate by reporting websites that they cannot access, testing sites that others have reported, or downloading the browser add-on for reporting sites on the fly. Using Herdict Web, anyone anywhere can report websites as accessible or inaccessible. Herdict Web aggregates reports in real time, permitting participants to see if inaccessibility is a shared problem, giving them a better sense of potential reasons for why a site is inaccessible. Trends can be viewed over time, by site and by country. The brainchild of Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Herdict Web builds out from the OpenNet Initiative's research on global Internet filtering. The OpenNet Initiative tests Internet filtering through an academic methodology. Herdict Web takes a different approach, crowdsourcing reports to learn about and display a real-time picture of user experiences around the globe.

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23 February 2009

UK - Online child abuse image warning

(BBC)
Children's charities have expressed "serious concerns" many UK households still have access to images showing child sex abuse via their computers. The government had asked all internet service providers (ISPs) to block illegal websites by the end of 2007. But firms providing 5% of broadband connections have still failed to act. See also Can we block child abuse sites? (BBC).

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IE - Music-swapping sites to be blocked by internet providers

(Sunday Post)
Irish internet users are to be blocked from accessing music swapping websites, as internet service providers bow to pressure from the music industry. Eircom, the country's biggest internet provider, is to start blocking its internet customers from accessing music swapping. The country's other internet providers have been told by the Irish Recorded Music Association (Irma) to follow suit or face legal action. If the music industry is successful, Ireland will become the first European country to completely block access to hundreds of file-sharing websites.

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22 February 2009

UK - IWF chief: why Wikipedia block went wrong

(ZDNet.co.uk)
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an organisation set up by internet service providers to monitor child sexual abuse websites, caused a furore in December when it attempted to block a page on online collaborative encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Through a combination of technical factors, people wishing to edit Wikipedia were blocked from doing so, causing an outcry. The image the IWF tried to block was the LP cover for Virgin Killer, a 1976 album by German rock band Scorpions. Peter Robbins, chief executive of the IWF, talked to ZDNet UK about the fallout from the decision to block the page, and whether self-regulation of internet content is effective.

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21 February 2009

DE - Arbeitsgruppe zu Kinderporno-Sperren ergebnislos vertagt

(Heise)
Trotz hohen Drucks aus dem Bundesfamilienministerium und dem Innenressort haben Internetprovider bei einer weiteren Sitzung der eingerichteten Arbeitsgruppe zu "Access Blocking" in Berlin die von der Politik geforderte Vereinbarung zu Web-Blockaden von Kinderpornographie nicht unterzeichnet. Die Gesprächsrunde endete eine halbe Stunde früher als geplant, wobei beide Seiten laut Teilnehmerbekunden "gerade noch um einen Eklat herumgekommen sind". Die Gespräche in der großen Runde sollen jetzt am 13. März fortgesetzt werden. Siehe auch Kinderporno-Sperren im internationalen Vergleich und

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17 February 2009

DE - Rechtsprofessor kritisiert Vertragsentwurf für Kinderporno-Sperren

(Heise)
Thomas Hoeren, Professor am Institut für Informations-, Telekommunikations- und Medienrecht der Universität Münster, hat die vom Bundesfamilienministerium und Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) gewünschte Vereinbarung "über die Erschwerung des Zugangs zu kinderpornografischen Inhalten im Internet" als haltlos bezeichnet. "Der vorliegende Vertragsentwurf ist in fast allen Bereichen juristisch sinnlos und nicht durchsetzbar", erklärte der Informationsrechtler gegenüber der Vereinigung CareChild. Der eigentliche Vertragsgegenstand, die technische Sperrung durch eine Umleitung von Webadressen über das Domain Name System (DNS), sei ferner "sowieso wirkungslos", stimmt Hoeren mit Experten bei einer parlamentarischen Anhörung überein. siehe auch CCC veröffentlicht Vertragsentwurf zum Sperren von Kinderpornographie

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14 February 2009

FR - Sites pédopornographiques: Sarkozy veut bloquer, les FAI d'accord

(AFP) Le président Nicolas Sarkozy a souhaité la création d'une "liste noire" des sites pédopornographiques sur internet et que les fournisseurs d'accès les bloquent, ce que ces derniers ont accepté, tout en s'interrogeant sur le coût du filtrage des sites. Dans l'après-midi, les fournisseurs d'accès à internet (FAI) ont fait savoir qu'ils étaient "décidés à bloquer les sites" en question, comme le leur a demandé le président, a assuré la Fédération française des télécoms. Voir aussi Recommandation « Les enfants du Net III » et Communiqué de presse (Forum des droits sur l'internet).

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12 February 2009

DE - Familienministerin kämpft an allen Fronten für Kinderporno-Sperren

(Heie)
Bundesfamilienministerin Ursula von der Leyen hat am heutigen Donnerstag im Vorfeld einer Anhörung im Unterausschuss Neue Medien des Bundestags erneut die Werbetrommel gerührt für ihre heftig umstrittene Forderung nach Sperrungen kinderpornographischer Webseiten durch die Internetprovider. Die heftige Kritik aus Reihen der Internetwirtschaft und von Rechtsexperten bezeichnete die CDU-Politikerin als reines "Ablenkungsmanöver".

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31 January 2009

NZ - Filter to prevent access to child porn sites

(Radio New Zealand)
The Department of Internal Affairs is setting up a filter system that will allow internet service providers to stop people accessing child pornography. But there are concerns that the power to censor browsing could be abused. The filter system has already been trialled in hundreds of thousands of New Zealand households. Internal Affairs deputy secretary Keith Manch says the voluntary system blocks access to 7000 websites carrying images of child sexual abuse. Internet Safety group NetSafe welcomes the move, but says there could be concerns if the department later uses the filter to block a wider variety of websites. Mr Manch says there are no such plans and the filter is only for targeting the sexual abuse of children. He says the department is finalising its analysis from the trial and will be discussing with internet providers how to impelement the system.

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18 January 2009

DE - Familienministerin: Provider machen mit beim Sperren von Kinderporno

(Heise)
Bundesfamilienministerin Ursula von der Leyen ist nach einem Gespräch mit Internetprovidern zuversichtlich, dass in sechs bis acht Wochen eine mehr oder weniger freiwillige Vereinbarung mit einem Großteil der deutschen Zugangsanbieter zur Blockade kinderpornographischer Webseiten steht. Sämtliche Beteiligten an der internen Runde seien einer Arbeitsgruppe beigetreten, in der bis Ende Februar unter Federführung des Familienministeriums die nötigen Umsetzungsschritte vorgenommen werden sollten. Siehe auch Neue Bedenken gegen Web-Sperren im Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie

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13 January 2009

DE - Bundesregierung berät mit Providern über Kinderporno-Sperren

(Heise)
Die Bundesregierung macht Ernst mit der Einrichtung von Sperren für kinderpornografische Angebote im Internet. Das Bundesinnenministerium hat Vertreter großer deutscher Internet Service Provider in Deutschland nach Berlin geladen, um die Umsetzung von Access-Sperren zu erörtern. In dem Schreiben heißt es: "Die Bundesregierung sieht sich in ihrer Auffassung bestätigt, dass Access-Blocking neben einer konsequenten Täterermittlung und Schließung von Quellen ein schnell einsetzbares und geeignetes Mittel ist, um effektiv gegen kinderpornografische Seiten vorzugehen und Schutzmechanismen aufzubauen." Wie diese Sperren umzusetzen wären, werde derzeit geprüft. Die immer wieder vorgebrachten Bedenken gegen die technische Umsetzbarkeit und Wirksamkeit der Internetsperren will die Bundesregierung offenbar nicht akzeptieren. Als Vorbild werden die Länder Norwegen, Dänemark, Schweden, Finnland, Italien, Großbritannien, die Schweiz, Neuseeland, Südkorea, Kanada und Taiwan genannt. "Ihre Partnerunternehmen sind zum Teil daran beteiligt", heißt es im Schreiben an die Provider.

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16 December 2008

CN - China defends latest web censorship

(Guardian)
Chinese government officials have defended their decision to block several foreign news websites, including the BBC, as the country moves away from its pledge for uncensored internet access during the Beijing Olympics. The BBC, Voice of America, Hong Kong's Ming Pao News and Asiaweek have all had their websites blocked in China since early December. Restrictions had previously been lifted in August, when foreign journalists demanded full access during the Olympics. China's foreign ministry said today that it was within its rights to block sites that showed content illegal under the country's law.

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12 December 2008

UK - Why the IWF was wrong to lift its ban on a Wikipedia page

(OUT-LAW News)
EDITORIAL: The Internet Watch Foundation faced a storm of criticism this week over its decision to add a Wikipedia entry to a blacklist of pages that ISPs block. Under pressure, the IWF removed the image from its blacklist. That decision was a mistake.

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AU - Australian firewall trials start

(BBC)
The Australian government is due to start a series of field trials this month in order to filter websites that are harmful to children. The 'cyber-safety plan', spearheaded by Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy, will cost around AUS$126m (£55m) and will be implemented over a period of four years. See also Net firms rebuff filtering plan (BBC) and The Great Firewall of Australia (ARN).

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23 November 2008

DE - Bundestagsabgeordneter lässt wikipedia.de sperren

(Heise)
Juristischer Ärger für Wikimedia Deutschland. Der Bundestagsabgeordnete Lutz Heilmann (Die Linke) hat gegen den Verein eine Einstweilige Verfügung erwirkt, wonach der Betrieb des Portals wikipedia.de eingestellt werden muss. Der Betrieb der Wikipedia selbst ist von dem Rechtsstreit nicht berührt. Siehe auch Wikipedia-Sperre: Linke distanziert sich von Heilmann (Heise) und Die Fallstricke des Online-Lexikons (Spiegel). See also German MP's Wikipedia Lockdown Unleashes Flood of Donations (Deutsche Welle).

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UK - Industry and government work together to tackle internet terror

(Press Release)
State-of-the art filtering technology will allow parents, schools, businesses and web users to further restrict access to websites advocating or promoting terrorism. Following joint work between the internet industry and government, web users now have the opportunity to download software allowing them to restrict access to websites that may encourage the endorsement or participation in acts of terrorism.

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DE - Bundesfamilienministerin fordert Netzsperren gegen Kinderpornographie

(Heise)
Bundesfamilienministerin Ursula von der Leyen will im Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie im Internet deutsche Access-Provider zur Sperre von kinderpornographischen Webseiten verpflichten. Dazu will die Ministerin eine Änderung des Telemediengesetzes durchsetzen. siehe auch Forderung nach Webseiten-Sperrungen entzweit die große Koalition.

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22 November 2008

AU - Black, greylists wrong approach to net filtering: Analyst

(ARN)
An information security expert claims the government has the wrong approach to Internet filtering, and should focus on protecting Australians from technical risks rather than content. IBRS information security advisor, James Turner, has setup the Website nothingbutnet.net.au to lobby Australian ISPs to provide a safer Internet feed cleansed of known malicious content, like spam and viruses.

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14 November 2008

AR- Argentine search engines told to block famous names

(OUT-LAW News)
Search engines in Argentina have been banned from linking to stories naming up to 100 famous people including football legend Diego Maradona in a move critics have said is tantamount to censorship. Google and Yahoo! have filtered search results relating to the names on their Argentine sites but not their international ones, the companies told internet filtering campaigning organisation the OpenNet Initiative (ONI).

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23 October 2008

UK - Web content 'disturbing children'

(BBC)
Three out of four children have seen images on the internet that disturbed them, an NSPCC poll suggests. The charity is renewing its call for computer manufacturers and retailers to install security to stop children finding violent or sexual content. The NSPCC, which polled visitors to its children's website There4me.com, said it was "alarmed" by the accessibility of potentially disturbing material. Some 377 of 497 votes cast claimed to have been disturbed by internet images.

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13 October 2008

AU - No opt-out of filtered Internet

(Computerworld)
Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government's pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist. Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material. Pundits say consumers have been lulled into believing the opt-out proviso would remove content filtering altogether. The government will iron-out policy and implementation of the Internet content filtering software following an upcoming trial of the technology, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

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15 September 2008

AU - ISP filtering gains momentum

(Australin IT)
The federal Government's plan to implement content filters at the internet service provider level is one step closer to reality with live trials set to commence after next month. The Government will seek expressions of interest in the second half of October for ISPs to participate in live trials.

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04 September 2008

SE - TeliaSonera launches child porn blocking service for ISP

(TeliaSonera international Carrier has launched a free service allowing operators and Internet Service Providers the ability to deny their users access to web sites containing child sexual abuse. TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) is a global provider of IP-services with a network spanning around the globe. The service is based on a solution provided by the Swedish company NetClean and uses a dynamic and comprehensive list from the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation. The list contains live child sexual abuse URL's.

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29 August 2008

DE - BKA fordert Sperrung kinderpornographischer Webseiten

(Heise)
Der Chef des Bundeskriminalamtes (BKA), Jörg Ziercke, hat sich bei der Vorstellung des Lagebilds zur organisierten Kriminalität 2007 dafür ausgesprochen, Internetprovider gesetzlich zur Sperrung von Angeboten mit kinderpornographischen oder fremdenfeindlichen Inhalten zu verpflichten. "Der Großteil der Kinderpornographie wird über kommerzielle Webseiten verwaltet", betonte Ziercke in Berlin. Es gehe dabei um "Millioneneinnahmen". Das "Access-Blocking" könne daher eine "wichtige Maßnahme" sein, um das Geschäft mit Kinderpornographie weniger lukrativ zu machen.

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09 August 2008

Web filtering software is moving to the cloud

(New York Times)
Web filtering software is moving to the cloud - that all-knowing, pervasive, sometimes unreliable cluster of computers in the digital ether - and it?s going to watch your every move online and tattle to your boss. Zscaler's idea is to relieve companies of the tiresome and costly burden of managing Web filtering and security on their own servers. Instead, the cloud-based service, which is rented to companies by the month, acts like a Web proxy, intercepting all incoming and outbound HTTP traffic from employees and scrubbing it for malware and online activity that violates company policy.

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06 August 2008

US - Cablevision To Block Child Porn Sites - NY AG

(Dow Jones)
Cablevision Systems is the latest Internet provider to reach an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to block access to bulletin boards and Web sites that distribute child pornography. Cuomo said the media and entertainment company has signed his code of conduct, which requires the companies to restrict access by their customers to Web sites and newsgroups - or public bulletin boards where they can upload or download files - that have been identified as sites that disseminate child pornography.

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05 August 2008

Review: Livia Web Protection offers the first-rate filtering of Websense for Parents

(Filtering Facts)
Some former Websense managers have started up an Internet security solutions provider called Total Tech.  Their product offering is called Livia Web Protection, and it's basically Websense's filtering "in the cloud" - i.e., with the filtering done on remote servers rather than on your desktop. This is a good thing, because filtering databases have become too large and are updated too frequently now to be practical running on individual desktops as they were in the 1990s. This is about the best quality filtering I've seen, blocking everything in my test sample. 

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AU - New Filter Test by Australian Government Shows Filter Effectiveness

(Filtering Facts)
The Australian Communications and Media Authority released a report on Closed environment testing of ISP-level internet content filtering.  This report presents the findings of the closed environment testing of ISP-level filters conducted in 2008. The trial was conducted in response to a ministerial direction received in June 2007. Among the report's findings: Successful blocking (the proportion of illegal and inappropriate content that should have been blocked that was successfully blocked) was between 88% and 97% with most achieving over 92%. The median rate of successful blocking was improved from the previous trial. Overblocking (the proportion of content that was blocked that should not have been blocked) was between 1% and 6%, with most falling under 3%. The median overblocking rate was significantly improved from the previous trial. 

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15 May 2008

JP - Government plans blocking of child porn sites

(Yomiuri Shimbun)
The ruling parties in Japan will introduce legislation for Internet service providers to block access to child pornography sites with major providers in favor of the move. Under the blocking system, Internet service providers would use special software to block access to Web sites included on a police list of child porn sites, including sites using overseas servers. Britain, Italy, Sweden and other countries have already implemented such a system, and it is claimed the approach has been effective in limiting child porn on the Web.

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