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Japan Plans Internet Censorship Regime

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Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is considering implementing a system whereby visitors to a list of government proscribed sites would have their access restricted to a warning message, in much the same way as with China and elsewhere.

Their ostensible aim is a crackdown on sites serving pornography featuring underage participants.

The measures, which are currently being moved towards the experimental phase, would involve forwarding the requestor of a verboten URL to a page explaining that access is restricted (an unspecified “etc.” is also mentioned).

The same censorship technology is apparently already in use in ten mainly European nations, where anti-pornography laws are much broader in extent (if we except the mosaic laws in Japan); recall that a full ban on all “violent” pornography is due to come into force in the UK soon, and in a number of places various types of drawn images are also illegal. A ban on 2D loli images is also being explored in Japan.

What a simple matter it would be to expand the coverage of online censorship in such cases to include all such material, and beyond, using this kind of infrastructure.

Via Yomiuri.

ISPs are also likely to be groaning over this latest measure – the previous law requiring access for minors to be restricted came essentially without any warning or industry consultation, and made considerable demands of them.

The request for them to participate in trials of the censorship infrastructure may not necessarily mean the ministry has any intention of heeding technical objections, but on the other hand it may offer ISPs a chance to ameliorate technically illiterate political demands – whatever the case, it is a difficult position for ISPs, who generally stand only to lose money from such systems.

We do not hear if they have anything more than a simple blacklist in mind – presumably such measures would be easily circumvented, as is visible in the case of China and similar, and they do not address at all the question of encrypted P2P communications (though unencrypted P2P is already being targeted). To say nothing of what is quite legally provided

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37 Comments

  • This isn’t about banning cp. Gov’t higher-ups aren’t stupid. They know that banning will push it underground even further. (Bootlegging, drug-trade, prostitution etc..) This is about controlling the internet. If they gave a damn about kids they wouldn’t inject mercury-laden inoculations into 2 year olds. The pretext that everything bad on the internet is a reason to block it is the same pretext used to censor any medium. It doesn’t mean that’s what it’s for, it’s just the reason given to avoid backlash. If they said “We want to ban the internet so that people won’t find out as easily when we pull the biggest financial heist against decent and hard-working people”, they wouldn’t have as many fundamentalist morons waving flags and guns.

  • Tyranny and dictatorship are the natural results of limiting information! Someone, somewhere, will always find something offensive — mimes for example. Those things scare the living hell out of me. But should we ban them? No! Free the internet! We have nothing to fear from free information but pop-up advertising!

  • This will never work as long as these politics keep thinking the Internet is like a big truck, when it’s actually a series of tubes!

    Jokes aside, that analogy is somewhat correct as the whole Internet infrastructure is a big network of connections between computers. Independently controlled computers. There’s no such thing as effective content control with this model.

    Perhaps these censors’ ideal of Internet would be a huge government-controlled server farm to which users could connect and interact, without enabling actual direct communication between the clients.

    Wait… I think I just accidentally defined Usenet… (?)

  • FACT: I am accessing Sankakucomplex using a circumventor.

    what can be derived is this:

    1. The blocking system is blocking sites like these (which does have ero content, yea).

    2. It is weak enough that simple circumventors work.

    • What kind of censorship is used against you? Are you at work and cannot control your computer, or is it ISP? If you can change settins of your computer, try to change your DNS to Google’s one 8.8.8.8, if they are just filtering with DNS, then it should work. In my country some ISPs voluntarily censored internet with IWF lists which claims that block only cp, but it also “accidentally” blocked some filesharing sites (where you download mp3’s, videos and warez, of course), and all what is needed is to change DNS. If they are using deep packet inspection, then changing DNS won’t help, and you must use some web proxy, best is probably some php proxy in free hosting, which will be only for you, so that no one can stole your passwords if you use normal anonymizer. Also use https to connect it, it is then encrypted and no filtering can work, only outright banning https or whitelisting “allowed” https sites.

  • Maybe if people took a little more responsibility; as oppose to just creating something, calling it “art,” and then washing your hands of it when somebody does get hurt; then the Japanese government wouldn’t’ve cracked down so hard.

    And mentioning China… CHINA. IS. A. DICTATORSHIP. Japan just wants a hug. \(‘A’)/

    Who was that blithering idiot who thought it was a good idea for the Chinese to make all of the toys in the first place?

      • BECAUSE.

        CHINA.

        IS.

        A.

        DICTATORSHIP.

        Also, it’s manufacturing industry tried to kill everyone around the world. Remember?

        And I’d take “government regulation” anyday since all of these virtual child molesters and cowardly pedophiles like to hide behind the “freedom of speech” clause so much.

        • Yeah, and you apparently like people up high telling others how they are allowed to express themselves, so I suggested that a dictatorship might be the place for you!

          You also seem to tacitly support their poisoning of children considering your GI Joe and Transformers budget doesn’t seem to have substantially dropped in the past year or so.

          I’m tired of people exercising their freedom of expression too! Someone needs to do something about that!

  • I don’t know what japanese goverment trying to achieve in the future but i hope they not flaming a war to bloggers.

    One idiotic wiseass IT icon person in Indonesia, RS (his initial). Talking in the name of government and made bloggers furious (by saying bloggers are hacker and causing negative/missunderstanding matter). Then bloggers (which some of them are crazy hackers) hacking the Government IT Department site and placing nude RS image (Photoshop’ed). And now, everybody in Kaskus (Indonesian biggest forum) hate him, and abusing him with any matter and imagination.

    This is the example if government trying to enter people privacy or messing around with the Internet usage.

    I hope this is not happening in Japan or other country.

    • When your used to expressing your opinion it gets like that. I mean, if someone tried to tell me I was causing trouble when I wasn’t, of course I would retaliate. I can see how all this can be a problem to “sensitive” people. But I always learned, if you don’t like it don’t look, listen, or touch it. Its so stupid and I will never understand way people make this so trivial. If a parent really cared, there is such technology as parental blocking. Cp is a defiant block though, that’s just wrong… I believe people should just learn things their own way, whether its easy or hard. I guess you can’t change how things naturally are…

  • These censorship protocols are mostly to assuage computer illiterate voters. Considering that Japan has a huge elderly population (or will have, soon enough), it can be assumed ( I would think accurately) that the laws are more to provide peace of mind to the older citizens, than to actually prevent anything. Younger people will always be hundreds of steps ahead of many who are 20-30 years older than them . Just look at OpenDNS , or any http tunneling or routing system. The only place that censorship is effective is in China, because there are no freedoms of speech, so China doesnt have to worry about blocking legitimate sites (because they probably dont care).

    So, what this boils down to is that people are scared by what they dont understand, and thus create ineffective and costly rules and regulation to let them feel in control. Its the same in all countries.

    • naw, not effective at all, proxy business actually thrives in china,lol

      and i think it’s kinda same for china,
      the great fire wall was intended for semiliterates abundant in china who got all fired up by the slightest foment(who of course won’t be able to use a proxy or whatever).
      as a government striving for prosperity at the same time stableness of its society, this is actually necessary, at least so in my opinion.

  • I guess it’s a ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’-strategy. Unless you have access to the DNS root servers (located in the US) it’s simply impossible to censor the internet in a insurmountable way.

    While I’m all for blocking access to under-age porn (I don’t mean 2D lolis mind you!) I think this method is counter-productive. After all the sickos switched to using foreign DNS servers, proxy servers and/or Tor it will be even harder for the criminal prosecutors to get them and I don’t think that’s a good idea. Just because you can’t see something this doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Also let’s not forget that once a government gained a foothold to this censorship method sooner or later this will arouse their concupiscence to use it to fight other illegal or unwanted things like copyright infringements or bloggers spreading uneasy truths.

    • it will be the start of the end for the free internet,i totally agree with you.
      they gain a foothold…next day we get “censored” on anything they dont want us to see/know…or like with the anime on youtube,they just deleted it and said “screw you guys we hate anime” and theres nothing we will be able to do :'(

    • Actually, the way China does it, is somewhat effective – AFAIK, they use deep packet inspection for forbidden phrases, and when such a phrase appears, the Great Firewall breaks the connection (this is in addition to site blacklists).

      Blocking sites by just redirecting DNS is always ineffective, because it’s extremely easy to get around (3rd party DNS servers, or simply static list of domains in /etc/hosts or c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts).

      Somebody mentioned that Italy blocks gambling sites, which reminded me of a similar episode a few years ago here, when BetAndWin’s site was blocked for a few days. Of course, it was ineffective, and it just increased traffic to B&W (a similar incident happened a few more years ago, when somebody published part of the archive of ex-Yugoslavian secret service, when the ISPs were also ordered to block it, which only resulted in everybody in the country getting to know the site).

      There isn’t any actually effective way to block access to anything on the internet without breaking it completely – in the worst case scenario, you could always rent a virtual server at some hosting provider (preferrably one with direct link to one or more of the backbones), and use that for tunneling to blocked sites.

  • 2D loli images are in fact illegal in sweden.
    from what I have understood, if you read the law very strictly, much animé, certainly everything in the ero/moé genre is considdered child pornography.
    *sigh*

    • I believe its also illegal over here in Australia, though i dont think there have been cases of people charged solely with the possession of 2d loli images (there have been a number of cases of people possessing it alongside actual cp), though there was a case where someone was arrested for trying to bring loli games through customs alongside other apparently banned (though non cp) porn videos.
      Its good to know that our government and police forces have their priorities right when it comes to protecting the rights of those poor innocent virtual children. /*facepalm*

      Its also real good to see so many countries learning lessons from china on how to protect their citizens from “harmful content”

      And even putting aside the censorship issues, these filtering systems utterly useless in stopping anyone, a 10 year old can get around them in about 30 seconds (just use a simple proxy, or use openDNS as already stated), and i believe the Australian governments own experts predict it will slow down connection speed by between 20 and 75%.

      I really hope these trails can convince governments both here and in japan how retarded this idea is.

  • The only European country I know of that has some kind of internet censorship is Finland – and it’s easy to get around there (use OpenDNS instead of the ISP’s DNS servers). Outside Europe, currently Australia is considering putting censorship in place, with 1 ISP applying for test phase to show how ridiculous trying to censor Internet is (they say they’ll widely publicise every time somebody will get around the filters, and every time the filters will block a legitimate site).

      • Professor Meaty says:

        Only the kiddy porn and gambling and some sites mentioning terrorist acts/organisations (how to blow things up, etc.). Actually, most people haven’t noticed, but the gambling ones have been fairly restricted/censored for the last 4-5 years here in Australia already, but seeing as they are seen more as an annoyance than anything else, you really wouldn’t have noticed their absence.
        If things really get that bad, you could always buy a good net anonomizer (did i spell that right?) that bounces your location from some other country in the world, preferably one without such censorship laws. That or you could buy your own island and set up your own country where people don’t try to shape your “free mind” and you can download whatever you like.
        It’s like why Queensland has the highest subscription rate for adult magazines due to the censorship laws that exist in one state alone. I can drive twenty minutes and I’m over the border of NSW where I can buy whatever form of pornographic material I desire from a newsagent, but an extra 40 minutes in to the state and I can’t get it at a dedicated adult store.
        Anyway, like afore mentioned, it would be too hard to censor all of the net within Australia what with all the various ISP’s that wouldn’t comply (shutting them down would go against the free rights and intellect of individuals to access the net), too buggy, and way too damn expensive to move even beyond the trial phase.

    • In Italy too there is internet censorship for on-line gambling foreign site (in Italy gambling is State monopoly), foreign sites (mainly chinese) that stream soccer matches (!), foreign sites that sell cigarettes (cigarettes too is State monopoly in Italy), and obviously sites with child porn.