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Finnish court: It is alright to censor a website that criticizes censorship

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 26 Aug 2013 3:26 User comments (14)

Finnish court: It is alright to censor a website that criticizes censorship The Supreme Administrative Court in Finland ruled today that Finnish police didn't break the law when a famous anti-censorship website was added to its censorship list.
Back in 2006 Finland implemented a censorship legislation that targeted websites distributing child pornography. Legislation handed the National Bureau of Investigation rights to add child porn sites to its secret block list which national ISPs would then implement and enforce.

As the process of blocking the sites is done in secret and the list of blocked sites has never been officially made public, an individual, Matti Nikki, decided to create a site called lapsiporno.info (translates as child porn dot info) criticizing the secretive process and the fact that there's no way to make an official complaint about one's site being listed on such block list. He also hosted on his site a list of sites known to be on the list, but didn't contain any child porn material whatsoever.

After his website gained popularity, especially in Finnish tech media, his site, too, was added to the NBI's block list.

Nikki sued the NBI for adding his site to the list. First, the Administrative Court of Helsinki ruled that inclusion of his site was illegal on the grounds that the block list was meant to block only sites hosted outside Finland (whereas Nikki's site was hosted and maintained in Finland). The case proceeded to the highest administrative court in Finland, the Supreme Administrative Court, which today ruled that adding Nikki's site to the censorship list was legal.

The court found that as Nikki listed the links to the sites that are known to be included in the censorship list, his site was aiding people to find them. It found that even the fact that Nikki's site contained material that was clearly legal (articles criticizing the censorship legislation), the interests of the children must come before freedom of speech. It also stated that if it were to rule Nikki's site legal on the grounds that it hosts legal material, other child porn sites could also circumvent the legislation by adding non-child porn material to their sites.

Additionally, even though Nikki's site is hosted in Finland, it contains links to foreign child porn sites and thus, the legislation (against foreign child porn sites) should also apply to Nikki's site, the court found.

Here's a link to court's ruling in full (in Finnish).

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14 user comments

126.8.2013 12:14

To that last bit, I thought that the only links to non-pornography-containing sites that were blocked anyway?

226.8.2013 12:54

Wouldn't it be nice if all the Thought Police and the Politicians decided to hang themselves on Christmas Eve.

326.8.2013 13:15

Everything about this screams 'ridiculous'.



426.8.2013 13:46

I'll withhold judgment, until I know more about the actual contents of the site.

526.8.2013 13:58

Originally posted by Bozobub:
I'll withhold judgment, until I know more about the actual contents of the site.
As the site isn't blocked from other countries, you can view its contents by visiting the site:

http://lapsiporno.info/

As I've cirvumvented the blocks several times to write news about the case to our Finnish readers, I can say that the contents of the site are still the same as they were when the site was blocked.

Basically the site criticizes the "build a censorship machine on the basis of 'protecting the children'" and the fact that by blocking the access to the child porn sites, the child porn itself wont go away from those sites, it is merely unviewable from one specific country, that's all (whereas using the same money to coordinate international efforts to actually shut down the sites would be probably spent much more wisely).

626.8.2013 15:03

The Child Porn go to no-where. As is wrong for some & sick for others: Just saying.
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Rksb...6-h409-o/33.jpg

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 Aug 2013 @ 15:09

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

726.8.2013 15:47

Well if his site contains child porn link then it should be banned. Unless he was to remove all those links in it. "the interests of the children must come before freedom of speech" They can use this excuse on a broader scale and unchallenge for example a website that sells guns they are crazy enough to do this

827.8.2013 11:02

Originally posted by aeonstorm:
Well if his site contains child porn link then it should be banned. Unless he was to remove all those links in it.
All such links were removed when found, I personally checked several hundred of those links before publshing the list and found no child porn anywhere. Afterwards it turned out a few of them actually contained child porn and I removed the links from the list.

However, the police claimed 100% of those sites were child porn sites, including top 4 hits from google search for "gay porn" - the biggest gay porn websites on the internet at the time. It's obvious somebody was maliciously targeting legitimate websites and reporting pictures from them in hopes of getting the sites blocked, and the legitimate sites did indeed end up getting blocked.

In some instances the police was blocking forum sites when the child porn was actually in completely different domain in linked images, yet the police didn't actually block the domain that hosted the images, only the domain that hosted thousands of forums. The police also blocked a few whole ISPs too, apparently thinking nobody would care about some homepages in Japan...

So yes, I published a list of sites blocked by the police. But I published them because I initially found no child porn on them at all, and even later only 1% of the sites ended up being somehow associated with child porn. Most of the actual child porn content on the blocked sites seemed to be there in the same way that Save The Children Finland's blog comment sections were once hosting child porn links for months; unwanted spam.

931.8.2013 16:19

I need uncensored information. Leave it to the few to jeopardize freedom of speech. I personally opt out when it comes to voyeurism. But courtrooms/governments should play no role in the flow of information. We have seen only too well, throughout history, how that plays out.

1031.8.2013 16:52

Originally posted by Bozobub:
I'll withhold judgment, until I know more about the actual contents of the site.
Why would they need to censor it if it is against the law? Just bust the site(s).

As to censorship I'd say thumbs down to that!

1131.8.2013 17:31

Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
Why would they need to censor it if it is against the law? Just bust the site(s).
Damn right!

But you know what? There actually was a criminal investigation five years ago, but the prosecutor concluded he had no chance of winning because there wasn't evidence that could be used against me. So the case never reached the courtroom.

Normally this would mean I'm innocent since I haven't been found guilty, but that's not how the censorship system works. The police has become the judge, and people are now guilty until proven innocent.

121.9.2013 0:39

Yup! Exactly!!

And then corruption steps in and all mayhem breaks loose.... :D

131.9.2013 2:30

Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
Originally posted by Bozobub:
I'll withhold judgment, until I know more about the actual contents of the site.
Why would they need to censor it if it is against the law? Just bust the site(s).

As to censorship I'd say thumbs down to that!

I meant this as, "People are judging this case without sufficient information; I'll refrain, for now, because I'm aware I don't know enough about the circumstances, either way."
If more people admitted when they have insufficient information, a lot of the world's problems would disappear, honestly.

141.9.2013 3:04

I understood what you were saying, and I don't know all the particulars in this situation other then knowing the reasons governments use to lie about taking away our freedoms which I believe applies here. It's always a good cause to screw us and most people fall for the BS and don't realize they screwed themselves until it is too late.

At any rate you can always talk about situations and how things should be handled based on those situations which just might apply to the article you are discussing as I've done here.

One also could argue that you'll almost never have all of the facts so you do your best to read between the lines, much like a GOOD reporter would do, we don't have many of those these days.

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