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Songs on the Security of Networks
a blog by Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

Shortest Internet censorship debate ever

This is an ancient post, published more than 4 years ago.
As such, it might not anymore reflect the views of the author or the state of the world. It is provided as historical record.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking part (via a radio interview) in the shortest Internet censorship debate ever.

In the morning the Minister of Justice has apparently discovered there is porn on the Internet (welcome to the Net, dear Mr Biernacki; wish you’d been here earlier) and has voiced his support for implementing the British “solution” in Poland; already in the evening PM Donald Tusk and Minister of Administration and Digitization Michał Boni categorically denied any such plans.

In the meantime the NGOs that had been involved in several Internet censorship debates in Poland during the last few years were flooded with media inquiries about the subject – and criticised both the British idea and Minister Biernacki’s statement.

Obviously subject matter arguments were used, unchanged as they are for years: censorship can’t work; it does not solve the actual proble, just hides it; is a great potential danger to free speech and privacy; and so on, and so forth. However, it was also noted that, sadly, the same cabinet (give or take a few Ministers) keeps floating this idea over and over again, and we have to get back to this debate that has been already had several times during last 4 years in Poland.

This observation is however incorrect – to great joy and surprise of the undersigned.

And yet they learn!

We shall not block access to legal content regardless of whether or not it appeases us aesthetically or ethically
PM Donald Tusk, 26.07.2013

I would like to find solutions that are effective and at the same time do not cause concerns regarding surveillance of Internet users or over potential of erroneous limiting our Internet activity. (…) Filtering does not remove the content.
Minister Michał Boni, 26.07.2013

Chapeau bas! Turns out that years of subject matter discussion, with concrete evidence and arguments, have not been wasted, at least as long as we’re talking about the PM or the Minister of Administration and Digitization. This gives hope.

Next time some Minister discovers with horror that there is pornography on the Internet and that it might have a bad influence on youth (which I can understand might actually be true), before they offer their “revolutionary” idea of censoring the Internet for everybody, maybe – just maybe! – they will simply first ask their colleagues in other departments (Ministry of Health? of Education? of Administration and Digitization?) if there were better and more sane solutions available.

Meanwhile, could the UK and other so-called democracies please do something with their politicos and their moronic ideas, so that our political class doesn’t get ideas of their own?