Internet Censorship in Finland

Finland internet filter expands beyond its remit

21st February

Update: Filter Creep...

Minister surprised at negative tone of discussions

The Finnish Minister of Communications, Suvi Lindén, has set up a committee to protect minors from harmful material on the internet.

According to Lindén, society needs to ensure that the internet is as safe as possible for children. She said she's surprised by the tone of recent discussions in Finland on child pornography and freedom speech.

We are talking about a serious crime. This material should be regulated just as strictly as printed material, for example, she said.

Kirsi Miettinen of the Ministry of Transport and Communications will serve as chair of the 35-member committee. The committee will operate until the end of 2010.


5th March

Update: One Block Fits All...

Finnish internet blocking turns out to be rubbish

The controversy arose after the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) blacklisted censorship critic Matti Nikki's site. Matti Nikki himself is now under criminal investigation for aiding in the distribution of child pornography, as he published a large portion of the filtering blacklist on his still-censored website. MP Jyrki Kasvi has made an official inquiry in the Finnish Parliament on the matter, and Effi has filed an official complaint to the parliamentary ombudsman.

The Finnish Minister of Communication, Suvi Linden, and the NBI have been severely criticized over the filtering system, which has been under heavy scrutiny by the media. After stating that she will not tolerate discussion criticizing the filtering system, as the situation is not a matter of freedom of speech, a petition was signed by over 12,000 people demanding her resignation. This was accompanied by a Thai civil rights group questioning the blocking as child porn of a memorial site dedicated to a member of the Thai royal family. Eventually the NBI removed the memorial site from the blacklist, explaining that the DNS based system blocks only whole sites, and that there was child pornography site under the same domain; this raised questions about the efficiency of the filtering system.

The NBI have published a statement explaining their actions, at the request pf Linden. In it the NBI stated that there are filtered sites do not contain any child pornography, but claimed that it was not their fault, rather a side effect of the system. They also noted that they are planning to address this issue by switching from a DNS based filter to a URL based system.

The NBI's official position is that they block pornographic sites where the actors look too young, and sites which link to these sites.

The general opinion after analysis by multiple people is that the list of at least 1,700 sites contains a handful of actual child pornographic sites. However, some sites in the list are located in countries like the U.S., the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, and very few of those contain even questionable or borderline material.

Dutch journalist Karin Spaink reviewed 40 sites on the list which were physically located in the Netherlands. She concluded that some of the sites have illegal child pornography, and that four of those are also blocked in the Netherlands by their equivalent filtering system. She estimated that about half of the 40 did not contain any illegal material.



Update: Risking Consensus...

Minister proposes to extend Finland's ISP website blocking so as to censor violent porn

Link Here 8th February 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Finland...Finland internet filter expands beyond its remit

Finnish Minister for Justice, Anna-Maja Henriksson, is backing extending Finland's current pornography censorship to move beyond child pornography.

Under current Finnish law, the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) maintains a blocklist of foreign sourced child pornography websites, as it cannot take direct action against them. Specifically, the Minister eyes expanding the list to involve websites that include pornographic material showing animals, and violent porn.

The idea does not have unanimous support even within the Finnish government, however. Finland's Interior Minister, Paivi Rasanen, doubts the need to expand pornographic censorship at all. Indeed, even Finland's own child pornography blocklist has, in the past, included websites that had nothing to do with such vile content.

To most people, animal porn also would be distasteful, if not downright sick, but does the spread of those kinds of videos or images demand the same special censorship enforcement afforded to child pornography?

Where the proposal would raise most questions however, is the inclusion of violent pornography. Who decides what violent pornography is?


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