We may joke about the “Great Firewall of China”, but by the end of 2007 content blocking will be a fact of Internet life in the UK. In June, Vernon Coaker, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Department told Parliament, “I have recently set the UK Internet industry a target to ensure that by the end of 2007 all Internet service providers offering broadband Internet connectivity to the UK public prevent their customers from accesssing those Web sites.” By “those”, he means Web sites carrying pornographic images of children.
How on earth are they going to do this? BT’s current practices provide one model,
Since 2004, BT’s retail service is filtered by its Cleanfeed system, which last February the company reported was blocking about 35,000 attempts to access child pornography sites per day. The list of sites to block comes from the Internet Watch Foundation, and is compiled from reports submitted by the public.
But wait, how about a public Internet content regulator?
[IWF] was set up in 1996 as a way for the industry to regulate itself; the meeting where it was proposed came after threats of external regulation. If all ISPs are required to implement content blocking, and all content blocking is based on the IWF’s list, the IWF will have considerable power to decide what content should be blocked. So far, the IWF has done a respectable job of sticking to clearly illegal pornography involving children. But its ten years have been marked by occasional suggestions that it should broaden its remit to include hate speech and even copyright infringement. Proposals are circulating now that the organisation should become an independent regulator rather than an industry-owned self-regulator.
Former General Karpinsky (demoted to Colonel) has an axe to grind: she was made into the scapegoat for Abu Ghraib. Circumstantial evidence is pretty strong that higher-ups who reported directly to Rumsfeld, notably Gen. Miller, were at least as much to blame, but they escaped all responsibility.
How reliable a witness is Karpinsky? Hard to say — but reliable enough to deserve a hearing. Or two: one in the House and one in the Senate, say.
Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former U.S. general: MADRID (Reuters) – Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison’s former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.
Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain’s El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.
Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.
“The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: “Make sure this is accomplished”,” she told Saturday’s El Pais.
Racial Profiling at U.S. Airways – TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime Six imams attending a conference in Minneapolis took time to pray at the gate before boarding a U.S. Airways flight to Phoenix. A passenger handed a note to a flight attendant pointing out the “6 suspicious Arabic men” on the plane. Disturbed by their “unsettling” behavior — which apparently consisted of praying and asking for seat belt extensions — the crew told the police that the imams needed to be removed. They were escorted from the plane in handcuffs and detained for five hours before authorities conceded that they posed no threat.
U.S. Airways refused to book the imams on another flight to Phoenix. According to the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslims (both passengers and airline employees) have more complaints about U.S. Airways than other airlines. The incident prompted the Council and the NAACP to ask for Congressional hearings on racial profiling in airports.
Can you imagine the outcry from the religious right if six Christian pastors were removed from a flight because they prayed together at the gate? U.S. Airways would be deservedly out of business in a week.
I don’t expect much sympathy for this, but it was so cold out today that I had to wear a sweater. And we’re running the heater in the house this evening. I’m told it could get down to to the low 40s (that’s a few degrees centigrade) tonight.
We do expect a brief annual cold snap, but never this early in the year.