Suvi Lindén is clueless

Posted by – February 20, 2008

Suvi Lindén, minister for Transportation and Communication, has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Nikki case. She says that using child pornography for “testing the limits of free speech” is unconscionable and makes the comparison that books “that have or that refer to child pornography” would be confiscated just like Nikki’s site was censored.

At first look it would appear that Lindén severely misunderstands the state of freedom of speech in this country (for example by the aforementioned standard a book that contains Lindén’s interview should be confiscated as it refers to child pornography), but I suspect that in reality her quote is the product of

a) the fact that she doesn’t understand what a link is, which is unfortunate for someone who “demands that Finland make greater strides towards an information society”

b) being too stupid to think before talking even when giving an interview as a minister

As it happens, Nikki has consistently removed sites from his censorship-list when he’s found evidence that they have child porn content. The vast majority of the sites on the list are porn sites in the EU or US that feature either young women or gay sex (it’s an interesting question why so much gay porn has groundlessly ended up on the list) – sites with child porn are, of course, illegal in both the EU and the US. So if the Finnish police believes it’s found child porn hosted in those places, why doesn’t it tip the local police off so they can shut these sites down?

In any case, discussion of censorship is precisely what the list is for. As I previously discussed, anyone could generate such a list by scanning the Internet with free programs. Nikki’s site itself doesn’t contain child porn, just the addresses of the sites that are being censored.

So what Lindén meant was, presumably, that Nikki’s site is some kind of portal for child porn, and that if a book were a portal to child porn (when she said “refers”, she meant “has printed links to”), it would be confiscated too. To say that Nikki’s site contains child porn is not only untrue – it’s libel. But the core thing here is her inability to comprehend the www.

The web is an extremely interconnected place, and basically everything connects to everything else “eventually”. She thinks Nikki’s site is immoral because you can get from it to sites on the censorship list via one “connection” (I’m not even talking about clickable links in this case – the distinction in any case is trivial). But Helsingin Sanomat, the newspaper that published her interview, has published the address of Nikki’s site, so you can get from to censored sites through two connections. If you think that’s such a world of difference, what if Nikki’s site had a redirect directly to a random censored site? Then, from the point of view of Finns who are automatically going to turn into paedophiles if they venture within one link of censored sites, becomes a danger zone.

Links don’t really mean anything when the entire Internet is one network, proxyable and searchable. Lindén doesn’t understand this, and is incompetent as a minister of Communication.

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