is to take all the worlds information and make it universally
accessible and useful.
censorship – 2002 about 4 countries were actively censoring
internet, in 2011 there are 40. Google has services in around 150
countries, 25 of which are in countries with censorship, filtering
or blocking (especially YouTube).
automatic filtering of suspected child abuse sites is generally
accepted, but once filtering technology has been implemented it is
often then expanded to also block other unpopular sites, like
creep" is commonplace in other areas, for instance using
language from copyright law (which is a civil offence) and putting it
straight into criminal law (for enforcing suppression orders online).
government to just say that ISPs should be responsible, but often
they do not have the resources, or the appropriate expertise to
decide which sites should be blocked or not.
filtering software can be used, which can for instance block images
from a web page but still allow the rest of the web site to be
Users need to
understand that they can generally be tracked looking at or doing
whatever they are doing online – argument that proactive
monitoring of undesirable behavior is a more effective way of
stopping it than just blocking certain websites, instead the website
can be left unblocked, but everyone who accesses it and what they
view is logged and can potentially be punished (i.e. if they are
viewing child porn).
breaks expectations of how the internet works, the concept of
blocking access to some parts strikes at the heart of the online
business model. Governments should not be disrupting the engineering
that the internet is based on, and tracking down child pornographers
is more effective than just trying to block them from accessing
Filtering is seen
differently depending what is filtered and how, blocking websites entirely for
instance is seen as much worse than simply google choosing not to
index it (so it can't be searched for, but can still be accessed by
clicking on a link or typing in the url).
Filtering can give
a false sense of security, parents feel there is no need to monitor
their children's internet use as they expect the filter to catch all
Anyone with name
suppression has the right to go to any ISP or website and ask them
to remove the name if it has been disclosed – problem is where the
hosting company cannot be identified or is in an overseas
jurisdiction where court orders cannot be enforced. Also
suppression orders may prevent victims from being identified, but
this often does not prevent the identification of the offender, the area in which the victim lives, the school they go to etc, which can indirectly allow
them to be identified despite the suppression order - especially in small communities (such as much of NZ).
are filtered themselves in that search results are personalised and
depend on where the user lives, what they have previously searched
for, what kind of websites they frequent etc, but this does not
block access to any pages, it just means they will be lower down in
the search rankings if they are something that google doesn't think
is relevant or doesn't expect you will be looking for. So there is
no denial of access, rather they just make access easier to
information that they predict you will find useful. Also note that
user preferences can be changed to alter how google weights the
search rankings for you.
consequence – PhD students studying "spam" have found
themselves unable to gather data due to automatic spam filters at
various stages (i.e. both ISP and email provider) with no opt-out
option and no listing of what has been blocked.
Google will index
most legal content, but blocks content that is illegal in relevant
jurisdictions, so child porn is blocked everywhere, but for other
topics they will only be blocked if they are banned in the relevant
country (i.e. all pornography is blocked in many middle eastern
countries). So things that are not allowed in general, are also not
allowed on the internet. However one argument against filtering is
that it presumes everyone is likely to do things that are wrong or
forbidden, unless the government is watching them the whole time so
they can be punished if they transgress - a system that gives people the opportunity to "make mistakes" (i.e. access forbidden content) and then only punishes those who choose to do so, seems more consistent with the underlying values of a democratic society.
Idea behind name
suppression is to make the suppressed name or information as hard as
possible to find, judges acknowledge in practice that the internet
may make name suppression outdated, but if a suppression order means
that finding the suppressed name involves laboriously trawling
through un-indexed blog posts rather than simply typing it into
google, this is still broadly achieving its aim. On the other hand
judge acknowledged that other methods may now have to be used to
ensure fair trial, such as questioning jurors to see what they know
about the case (if anything) before any evidence has been heard, so
they can be excluded if they know things or hold beliefs about the facts in issue that would prejudice a fair
search query logs after 6 months, and users can view and wipe their own
search history if they don't want targeted ads or "shaped"
search results. However there is a general policy to give higher
rankings to newer information, hence why doing the same web search a
few weeks later may have completely different results – in theory
the old results should still be available but they may have moved so
far down the search rankings that they are very difficult to find.
Is the "right
to be forgotten" the new privacy? If an unfiltered web is also
transparent and permanent, this makes the concept of privacy much
more limited, and the issue of embarrassing information resurfacing many years after it was originally posted is far easier and more likely to occur when everything is indexed online. Particular issue with the increasingly younger ages that today's digital natives are signing up to social networking sites, forums etc - is it fair for adults to be penalised for things they said or did many years ago, when they were well below the legal age of adulthood?