March 20, 2009

"", like any social animal, I feel a desire to make protest art. So here is my little contribution named: "". (Of course, living in Lewis Carroll's Oxford, I do not call the artwork that, and the name of it has another name.)

It is a Processing applet that renders a picture using the sites on the Danish net blacklist that was leaked to wikileaks. Which then became censored in Australia, and AU links to the page were threatened with $10,000 fines. We'll see if this artwork can escape that fate.

The basic problem, as Wikileaks points out, is "the first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship". The fundamental problem with all net blacklists is that they are nearly impossible to check legally for accuracy, since 1) you are not supposed to be able to access what is on them, and 2) they are not supposed to be revealed, since that would tell people where bad things are. And this usually means criticisms of their actual contents also get censored, and so ad nauseam.

The sensible thing to do, insofar blacklists are to be used at all, is to have a trusted third party check it for accuracy and handle removal requests. But right now most national infrastructures for blacklisting are extremely crude, and lack both transparency and accountability. For blacklisting to be anything more than a tool for limiting freedom it needs those two traits.

Posted by Anders3 at March 20, 2009 03:09 AM