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Thursday, 19 March 2009


This is another work-in-progress note.

The various governments of the so called Western world waffle on about  openness.

Some more than others but the general diatribe goes something like "One of the government's objectives is openness so that the people know what is going on and how we arrive at any given subject.". This means that what a given country's government do that directly or indirectly impact on the people they are supposedly representing will be done is a way that the people can see and what is happening regarding whatever it is that the governemt is concerned with or about. Now, I am very big on openness and open standards so I tend to try and keep up with such matters within my own  government and I urge you to do the same within your own as the definition of the word 'openness' is not what you think is it. This is especially true when defined by our governments.

A perfect example of this is with Internet blocklists. Blocklists are URL's that the are blocked by ISP's. In England this list is edited and held by a none government organisation called the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Anyone can send these none official people a URL that they find objectionable. This  request is then scrutinised and if found to hit some hidden definition it is then added to the blocklist which is then picked up by the various ISP's operating within the U.K. Not such a bad thing you may think and it would not be except for two things.

One) The IWF is not a government department. It consists of ordinary people who supposedly make decisions on what is and what is not a naughty URL based on both  what they have on their web site and also the personal tastes of the individual which cannot be avoided.

Two)  The blocklist created, edited and  held by the IWF cannot be seen by anyone outside of the ISP's administrators and those within the IWF itself. It is a hidden list of URL's that holds who knows what.

The first thing mentioned is not so bad until one thinks about it.

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