Row highlights Internet censorship in Finland

An effort to quell child pornography in Finland as turned into a study of Internet censorship after a programmer posted a list of sites the government blocked.

A case of Internet censorship in Finland has garnered a lot of attention and may alter the secretive way Web sites are blocked, according to a privacy organization.

The controversy began when programmer Matti Nikki started to list domains that Finnish authorities had censored in an effort to stop the spread of child pornography. The authorities wanted to keep the list of censored domains a secret.

"It is my firm belief that these lists should be public so that anyone could make sure the list isn't being abused," said Nikki on his .

When Nikki turned a list into clickable links, he was added to the censored list.

After this happened Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI) stepped in and demanded an explanation as to why Nikki's site was censored.

"They sent me an answer that didn't really explain anything," said Jyri Luostarinen, a board member at EFFI. "But what it said was that we should turn to the Finnish chancellor of justice with all complaints."

At least one good thing has happened in Finland, according to Luostarinen.

"All the attention has turned into a public discussion about Internet censorship, which we feel is very important," he said.

Luostarinen now believes public demand will force the National Bureau of Investigation to be more open about the lists.

"I hope that it will be used as planned originally, if not abandoned as such. At least I expect that it will be used as law says," said Luostarinen.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service

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