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Talking about censorship in Finland can get you censored

Don’t talk about censorship, don’t talk about child pornography or the problems with current laws relating to it – especially not in Finland. It’s much better to pretend none of it exists, because if you don’t, you could find yourself on the same block list as paedophiles.

At least that’s what’s happened with one Finnish website, which attempted to discuss the problems with current tactics to tackle child pornography online. It’s been around for over eight years, containing articles that criticise the blocking system used against child porn sites. The owner, Matti Nikki, believes that blocking sites just encourages them to be more secretive and makes the search and arrest of actual child pornographers far more difficult.

As part of his government criticism, Nikki mentions names from the list of blocked websites; never linking to them mind you, just naming names. For that, his own site ended up on the same block list.

According to the TorrentFreak breakdown of this story, Nikki took this decision to court in 2011, securing a ruling in his favour which demanded his site be removed from the block list. However, the country’s National Bureau of Investigation – an organisation charged with handling online child pornography – managed to have this initial decision overturned in the Supreme Court, so once again Nikki’s site is on the same list as site’s containing real child porn images, simply because he mentioned their names.

Of course the block does nothing to block the site outside of Finland, or to anyone using a proxy. 

The NBI argued that  http://lapsiporno.info/ – which is available outside of Finland – was a site that must be blocked, because if it wasn’t, it would provide a loophole for sites with child porn on them, which would allow them to circumvent the block if they had non-illegal elements on their pages too.

KitGuru Says: This is of course ridiculous, because I can imagine that there are elements of all child pornography websites that aren’t illegal, it’s the fact that they host child porn that they’re blocked – regardless of whether you think it’s an effective strategy. They aren’t blocked because all of their content is illegal, they’re blocked because most of it is deplorable. 

Unfortunately, these sort of strange rulings always happen when it comes to child pornography. It’s an emotionally charged and very sensitive topic and because most people don’t think about its existence on a regular basic, unfortunately this means that when they do, they feel they need to come down hard on it in whatever way they can. Thanks to the emotions involved, these hard reactions are usually irrational and don’t necessarily look at all the facts.

I don’t need to sit here and say how bad I think exploiting children sexually is, but it should be reminded that these children will one day grow up and live in a society that we created. If we destroy our adult (and child) freedoms, like freedom of speech, in favour of this vague idea of perhaps hindering child pornographers, then we’ll be leaving the world in a far worse place than one where an unfortunate few have been abused. 

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