This is a guest post by Herdict Netherlands Country Leader Stefan Kulk. It was previously published here.
Filtering and blocking Internet websites is a hot topic. Filtering systems are often put forward to combat the dissemination of child pornography. The European Commission has recently proposed new rules obliging EU countries to filter and block websites containing child pornography.
Also in the Netherlands, Internet filtering is seen as a solution to put the dissemination of child pornography to an end. In order to do so, the Dutch Hotline combating Child Pornography on the Internet, an independent and private foundation that cooperates closely with the Dutch Ministry of Justice, is compiling a blacklist of websites containing child pornography. In the future, this blacklist will be communicated to ISP’s in order to filter and block these websites. The Internet filter has not yet been installed. However, according to the Dutch Minister of Justice Mr. Hirsch Ballin, the Dutch Hotline and the ISP’s are making good headway to implement a filtering system.
Mr. Hirsch Ballin wrote to the Dutch Parliament (link to Dutch website) that he does not want to disclose the blacklist: “Publicizing such lists or portions thereof is certainly not in the interest of combating child pornography on the Internet”. That is disturbing news, particularly considering that a Finish activist was censored when he criticized the use of Internet filters to combat child pornography. His story exposes an important downside of nontransparent Internet monitoring and filtering systems.