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 NetSol; your Ministry of Truth. 
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Chibi-Czar
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Post NetSol; your Ministry of Truth.
From Slashdot; NetSol (host as well as registrar) nukes Wilders' account preemptively for "objectionable content." Before his film negatively portraying Islam has been seen by anyone but himself. I assume, being a politician, he's got skeletons in his closet, but I haven't been able to find anything terribly objectionable in his statements. He wants to eject dual-citizenship criminals from the country, reduce immigration from Muslim nations (not entirely sure about that one myself), holds that Sharia is (duh) incompatible with western secular democratic law, etc. But that's just to give you a background- I don't think his positions make his film any more or less useful, correct, or incorrect.

Now, however you feel about his positions, I think we can all agree that a host pulling a site for objectionable content before any content goes up is overreaching some. It's not censorship, since they're a company and not a government, and nothing's stopping him from sticking it on Pirate Bay or something. But it is a disturbing trend. If people start blocking controversial content, they're chilling debate on undecided topics. I don't even like people blocking flamebait- apologies once again to BTL for my previous position, now thoroughly reversed- because if we don't talk about, say, Nazis, and why they were jerks, we might forget it. But not talking about Islam? That's mad. I'm not saying we should all hop on the happy "Nuke Mecca" bandwagon, but we should at least be able to hear the full arguments in order to decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

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Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:00 am
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Post Re: NetSol; your Ministry of Truth.
Nothing new here.

Case in Point: The Superbowl/CBS Committee refuses to run a MoveOn.org and PETA ads during the Superbowl, citing "too political". Mysteriously doesn't stop two anti-smoking campaigns and a Whitehouse-Sponsored Anti-Drug program (and by anti-drug, I mean "Buying Pot sponsors TERRORRRRRRRISSTSS" - literally) from making the seats on the commercial list, however.

Not that there is anything wrong with fighting drugs and smoking, but the picking-and-choosing is obvious. In the Superbowl situation, though, at least they had the good taste to WATCH the ads first.

We can only hope that NetSol is just acting due to insane overzealous lawyers sensing a windfall of pain, and not actively deciding this "future content" is unhostable. That doesn't mean, however, that Mr. Wilder shouldn't sue them right back, though, before this precedent is set in stone.

Seriously, what if you're a goat farmer wanting an online presence and you register "www.softfluffykids.com" and pay for a full hosting package...only for your host to deny you outright because they think you're setting up a kiddie porn site? :P Not even talk to you and ask, but just assume you're up to no good?

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Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:28 am
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Chibi-Czar
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Post Re: NetSol; your Ministry of Truth.
Exactly. It's the whole issue of net neutrality and serving content without bias. I think companies that act like pipes should be immune from prosecution for not filtering content, whether it be sunday school lessons or CP. If they aren't made to be responsible for filtering/tracking content, then actions like this are clearly companies trying to act like nannies. In this particular case that's obviously what's going on already. Citing "objectionable content" instead of simply telling Wilders they don't want to risk it, here's a refund, go find another host.

It does occur to me, though; if ISPs do start filtering content like Comcast or NetSol are doing, do they then become responsible for not filtering other content? Don't they become implicitly approving of, and responsible for, any other "hate" crimes their users commit? This whole "objectionable content" clause is a paper ass-cover by ISPs and hosts, but now that we've got a culture of victimization, 100% of net content becomes objectionable, and they become responsible for serving anything. So they block Wilders' anti-Islam video, but what if someone makes a white supremacist comment on a forum hosted on a NetSol webserver? What about cyberbullying emails that bounce through NetSol mail servers? What about terrorist attacks planned through NetSol Jabber servers?

Censorship just seems like such a foot-shooting way to go.

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Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:36 am
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Post Re: NetSol; your Ministry of Truth.
ISP's already have clauses against illegal content, but you're right, if the current legal trends continue in the UK and the US, soon ISPs and providers will be responsible to a fault. This might mean simple fines and not actual criminal charges for them, but you can bet they're going to be a lot less eager to stick their neck out for the customer even if they don't support the censorship and limitations mandated. Scary shit. Especially when you don't need to dive into illegal activity these days to be on someone's "list of people to watch". Just say President, Jihad, and Terrorist and someone somewhere has flagged you for future notice, and can very easily start building a case on you based on happenstantial evidence in whatever context they want to justify a warrant.

Once you get to that stage, you better hope Firefox hasn't prefetched any cached Jail Bait from the internet without your knowledge, because your computers can be seized without much hassle.

One of the reasons I'm SO glad to be in Canada is that, for the moment, the ISP's only cooperate with this bullshit if it's a serious, criminal issue, IE, massive pirating or childporn. Normally they'll at least stick up for the harmless little guy. For now...

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Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:49 pm
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