On August 28, the Supreme Administrative Court in Finland ruled that Finnish police adding a prominent anti-censorship website to its blacklist was a perfectly reasonable, not in any way illegal thing to do. Except was it?
The site in question, lapsiporno.info (which translates to “child porn dot info”), is a site that examines the absurd bureaucracy of Finland’s censorship legislation that was implemented in 2006 as a way to block child porn sites from the national ISP. The site, founded by Matti Nikki, contains absolutely zero child pornography. What it does contain is a list of websites being blocked illegally for nebulous reasons, except that someone, somewhere, somehow thought they were vaguely related to child porn. While the Finnish government is happy to block sites, they aren’t as transparent regarding how to have your site reinstated once it has been targeted. Nikki’s site examined these idiosyncrasies and was subsequently included in the blacklist.
Nikki sued the National Bureau of Investigation and won by a loophole, but not because he was innocent. From techdirt:
[T]he Administrative Court of Helsinki ruled that inclusion of his site was illegal on the grounds that the block list was meant to block only sites hosted outside Finland (whereas Nikki’s site was hosted and maintained in Finland).
Because that wasn’t nonsensical enough, a higher court overruled the decision and issued an even more classically illogical one:
The court found that as Nikki listed the links to the sites that are known to be included in the censorship list, his site was aiding people to find them. It found that even the fact that Nikki’s site contained material that was clearly legal (articles criticizing the censorship legislation), the interests of the children must come before freedom of speech. It also stated that if it were to rule Nikki’s site legal on the grounds that it hosts legal material, other child porn sites could also circumvent the legislation by adding non-child porn material to their sites.
Basically: A site not hosting any child-porn that links to other child porn-free sites must be stopped because of the children — who will obviously corrupt themselves with all of the non-existent illegal materials on Nikki’s site. Not only does this set a damaging precedent that the interests of children do not include free speech, but it means that the law doesn’t need to be upheld in its intended form.
Much like oppressive Japanese and Korean anti-child pornography laws covered by CBLDF in the past, the NBI is failing to recognize that censorship laws aren’t working, and in many cases, they are not implemented as intended — to prevent the sexual abuse of actual children — and target people who are not involved in the production of child pornography.
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Casey Gilly is a comics journalist and cat enthusiast living in Oakland, CA where she eats tacos and plays ukulele.