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Cybertip and Project CleanFeed Canada

Last thursday, Cybertip.ca and all the major Canadian ISPs announced an agreement to implement a voluntary censorship scheme designed to block access to child pornography. Cybertip maintains a list of sites with illegal (in Canada) content on them, and the ISPs have agreed to simply block access.

The announcement has generated quite a bit of debate.  Engtech published a lengthy piece titled The Great Firewall of Canada, and Michael Geist also wrote about it in his Project CleanFeed Canada (read the comments, they’re very good).

This move strikes the right balance between government mandated censorship, and a total free-for-all. 

  1. Critics who worry that the list itself isn’t transparent can always choose an alternate service provider who doesn’t use the list.  My ISP, Telecom Ottawa, isn’t one of the signatories, at this point.  There are lots more like Telecom Ottawa.
  2. Let’s not forget that the object of this list is to block illegal content.  Its purpose isn’t to block content that some may find objectionable and others not, but rather to block content which is prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada.

One can legitimately question the processes by which Cybertip arrives at its list, but the goal should be completely above reproach. If you think otherwise, then you’re effectively demanding the right to view illegal content.

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