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publishing uncensorable pages on the web
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  [vote for,

To publish pages on the web not censorable by any law (by example: xenu papers, decss, etc.) we need:
- the pages itself, written using a simple substitution vocabulary (by example: xenu <-> billgates, scientology<-> musical underwear, etc.), and a <meta> command with a code of your choice;
- a public server, with a public dictionary where you can add substitution pairs linked to a code; the server has a page where you can write an url, and the server gives you the page at the url with the 'translations' based on the code.

Example: you publish a page telling the tale of the musical underwear of billgates (it can be amusing as you want), and set the meta code to 19932; then go on the public server, and register the substitution words under the code 19932.

When people go on the public server and input your url the server translate the page and the tale of the musical underwear of billgates translates to the tale of xenu of scientology (similar to websites as http://www.pornolize.com ).

I think this system is uncensorable because:
- the 'source' web pages are 'clean' (there is nothing censorable on a tale about billgates)
- the 'server' has nothing censorables, only pairs of words linked by a code (on the server there isn't any link to the pages, the visitors input the urls!)

denicolellis, Jul 14 2002

Google search for 'Church of Scientology' http://www.google.c...ceid=mozilla-search
Plenty of hits. [polartomato, Jul 14 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

'cryptography algorithms' http://www.google.c...+algorithms&spell=1
Again, plenty of hits. A legitimate and interesting science, too. [polartomato, Jul 14 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Decss descramblers http://www-2.cs.cmu...~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/
Ooopss, sorry for the urls in my texts. I am a novice! (to sctld) [denicolellis, Jul 14 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Automatic Redundant Distributed Data System http://www.halfbake...ted_20Data_20System
The idea's not very relevant here but have a look at the links off it. [st3f, Jul 15 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Sealand web hosting http://thewhir.com/features/sealand.cfm
A old sea platform, 11 miles off the UK coast, has declared independence and offers censorship free web hosting. [Aristotle, Jul 15 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

http://www.newscien...s.jsp?id=ns99992546 http://www.newscien...s.jsp?id=ns99992546
[technobadger, Jul 15 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       If it's publicly readable then it's censurable. All you need do on the whole is threaten an ISP with legal action to get them to withdraw a page. It's a nice idea though, analogous to the way people squeezed a few extra months use out of napster by changing the band names to avoid filtering.
dare99, Jul 14 2002

       I've seen this concept discussed before somewhere. You won't ever get around censorship - once the Chinese government, say, realizes you publish ideas they disapprove of, your site simply won't be accessible from China, no matter how disguised the content. However, it might take longer for your site to reach the blacklists if the content were disguised in this way.   

       Somewhere out there is a much better way of getting round censorship. Files are divided up into encrypted chunks that are passed out to multiple servers. Any individual chunk on any individual server is not incriminating, not does the removal of that server remove the item from the Web.
DrCurry, Jul 14 2002

       All it needs is the firewall to analyse the address. If it's a publically readable word substitution list it'll do so and test the document again.
dare99, Jul 14 2002

       Since enforcement agencies and website providers have limited resources, only the stinkiest laundry gets washed. If your page is full of low-profile controversy then you'll probably get away with it. But if someone's onto your trail (and the information being concealed is of some obvious importance) you'll get caught because they'll visit your website like any other user.
polartomato, Jul 14 2002

       to [dare99]: how can you justify the treat of bringing down an ISP for publishing pages that doesn't contain *anything* about your copyrights? Napster failed because the MP3 were covered by copyrights - changing only the titles didn't change the MP3.
But if you publish a page about Ali Baba and his toupet, I can't see how a judge can force you to take it down (but substitute 'Ali Baba' with 'Bush' and 'toupet' with 'Enron'...).
It's the same as seen on the DECSS Descramblers, only generalized.
denicolellis, Jul 14 2002

       Not to sound moralistic or preachy or anything, but what kind of censorable material do you have in mind?   

       Government overthrow? Munitions ads? Forbidden tales of teen pornography? Most things that aren't widely used aren't caught. Napster was a huge thing and got caught, but many smaller services today still survive. And something with this coding would be a bit clumsy and thus would stay small... and under the radar. Anyway, most of the time you shouldn't need this stuff unless you're paranoid.
polartomato, Jul 14 2002

       to [polartomato]: I'm quite worried about the end of free speech on Internet or in the media. I don't care about porno images or the like, I care about information that is easily blocked by attorneys in free countries (I agree that this system it is of no value in 'state' censored networks, like China. My idea was about USA, where you can publish websites about fisting, but you can't publish pages about scientology or cryptography algorithms)
denicolellis, Jul 14 2002

       Move to sealand. Next!
[ sctld ], Jul 14 2002

       denicolellis, It dosn't really need any justification to work. Most ISPs work on a tiny margin and wouldn't want the costs of a court case. It's far easier to annoy one site owner than spend cash on lawers and the like.
dare99, Jul 14 2002

       denicolellis: I applaud your motives but not your method. As pointed out by several people here already mildly encrypting a page will not get past censors (though it may give you a few days leeway). Have a search for 'steganography' on the web for a more effective way to hide content.
st3f, Jul 14 2002

       Please! My idea it's not about secretly exchanging information between a small group (cryptography would suffice). It's about to establish an "attorney-proof" method to publish information without the risk of being forced to delete a web page by the law; maybe it should be a public service, offered by Greenpeace or the like. Like "mail anonymizer" servers, only for the web.
denicolellis, Jul 14 2002

       The problem here is that the 'source' pages aren't clean, as they contain both content and the key to decode the content.   

       There are very few cases where the law works as strictly as you'd like it to. Attorneys (and judges) aren't automata, and they're not stupid.
bookworm, Jul 14 2002

       to bookworm: the pages *are* clean. There is no link to the server, no words objectonable. There is only a number in a meta tag. It should be clear to everyone that these pages are sort of 'encoded', and how everyone can decode them. The point is: a judge can block a page not directly objectonable, even if he knows that, with the aid of another software, you can 'interpret' this page to extract another meaning? I don't think so, as seen in "Decss descramblers".
denicolellis, Jul 15 2002

       [bookworm] is right - the law isn't a machine. Your argument about encoded documents which need publicly available software and/or keys to decode applies equally well to MP3 files and MP3 decoding software, and look what hapened to Napster.
hippo, Jul 15 2002

       denicolellis: The law looks at intent as well as action. If there is any crime you would have committed by posting the plain text on your web site then you would also have committed that crime by creating what is effectively a distributed document of the same thing.   

       Any judge short of senility would consider the act of creating a system which allows people to read a piece of text to be largely equivalent to publishing that text. You're just creating a smoke screen which would result in a longer court case and larger legal fees should any matter arise that requires the attention of the courts.   

       If you want to make sure that a some text stays up on the internet then you need a completely distributed data system so that downing a server will not stop the message. bristolz and jutta put some links on idea of mine. [link added]
st3f, Jul 15 2002

       You can't post encoded data and claim it doesn't count because it's encoded. You might as well say, "Oh that newsgroup message is MIME-encoded so it's unreadable so it's not illegal." And if someone produces software to automatically decode your webpage by looking up the key, then it's no different from MIME encoding or even ISO-8859-1 text encoding.
pottedstu, Jul 15 2002

       st3f is not exactly correct. The law does look at intent, but not quite in the way he describes. For example, conviction sometimes requires demonstration of criminal intent. That is to say, if you did not know that accidentally hitting the ~ button on your keyboard randomly killed someone somewhere in Nebraska for no particular reason, you wouldn't be guilty of murder. You had to actually intend that someone die. (The issue of intent in say, involuntary manslaughter, is more complicated.)   

       Murder and attempted murder are separate crimes in US states, and can have different punishments attached. As far as I know, there is no crime of attempted copyright violation, only of successful copyright violation.   

       But the author is also not entirely correct.   

       One of the protections of copyright is for "derivative works." A document which has been prepared from a copyrighted document through the process of word substitution could easily be considered a derivative work, and thus only publishable with the permission of the original author. However, it is unlikely that documents which are strongly encrypted (with no way provided to decrypt them) will be considered protected works if they are published. The dividing line would probably take into account the ease of access, value to the end-reader, and damage to the original author.   

       In any case, anyone who knowingly assists another person in committing copyright infringment, such as by providing obfuscated starting materials, or by providing tools, is guilty of contributory copyright infringment.   

       It is possible to outlaw both the means of accomplishing something, as well and the end result (e.g. a unauthorized copy is produced). In this case, the ends are definitely illegal, and I would bet that the means are, as well.   

       More effective means to resist censorship involve constructing systems which are physically difficult to control, thus raising the cost of enforcement (but probably not keeping the authorities from being able to discover some of the participants and arresting them). But totalitarian governments can make censorship easier by regulating the technology itself, for example, by restricting telecommunications connectivity.   

       The Freenet Project, of course, is a canonical example of censorship-resistant engineering. Though the domestic use of strong encryption is already restricted in some countries.
beland, Oct 31 2003


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