What a mess this is turning into! I am of course referring to the UK-wide internet censorship of a Wikipedia page (the one about the Scorpions album, Virgin Killer – if that last link doesn’t work, you’re among those affected).
The thinking is, according to the Internet Watch Foundation, that the cover of the 1976 album constitues child pornography and therefore we all need to be protected from it. It’s all a little controversial, though, because they’re not suggesting that Amazon US be blocked, for example.
But the worst of it is the amount of news exposure it’s generating is actually drawing traffic to the banned content. I wouldn’t ever have seen the album cover if it weren’t for the ban, for example, after which I realised how trivial it is to see the offending Wikipedia page. And that without the offending content appearing in a Wikinews article about the ban!
It’s hard to justify this kind of policing. In accordance with Wikipedia’s own policies, it is not a creator of content so much as a distributor: it takes content that is already “out there” and, in theory at least, legal, and disseminates it in an approachable form.
I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.
[this post was lost during a server failure on 11 July 2004; it was recovered on 13 October 2018]
Not the usual kind of story I link from my ‘blog, but this particular case is of interest because the girl in question is both the perpetrator and the victim, so to speak: she posted pictures of herself online, performing sexual acts. From what we can gather, she did this of her own free will and consent.
Read more on The Register. No word from the BBC yet.
[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]
[further fragments of this post were recovered on 12 October 2018]
Fun in the sun.
Kit and I had an idea for something like this a while back, and we were wondering if it constituted entrapment: after all, under UK law, it’s illegal for a human to attempt to trick another human into committing a crime, as it cannot be determined whether that person would have committed the crime of their own volition… but here’s the catch – is it legitimate for a machine, working on behalf of a human, to do the same thing?
That’s what’s likely to be the crucial issue if this scheme to trick ‘net paedophiles into giving information to computerised children [BBC] provides evidence in court (not just leads, as is the case so far) towards convicting people who are ‘grooming’ children on the internet.
Personally, I’d argue that – in this case – the machine is a tool of the human, just like chat room software is a tool of humans. I don’t see the difference between me using chat room software, pretending to be a kid, luring paedophiles, and providing tips to the police, and me writing a program to do the same for me. It’s …