According to several news sources, Sri Lankan Internet service providers (ISP) are issued with instructions to filter and block pornographic content on the Internet as per a presidential order. First of all, we have nothing against pornographic content being illegal in Sri Lanka or whatever laws that apply to it. Long time readers will know that FILEnetworks has never advocated nor linked to any sort of pornographic material in any of our 700 odd posts so far.
That being said, we do have several questions over how this latest presidential order will be executed. There are many places and mediums to download porn (or any other material for that matter) via the Internet. But these mediums are not only used to distribute porn. For example, pornographic images are often transferred via E-Mail. But as any jackass may know, not only porn is transferred via E-mail; there are many other 'moral' uses as well. The same goes for video streaming sites, FTP sites, HTTP sites, IRC channels, Instant messages, Blogs, Forums and the likes. So how will the censorship be imposed? Will this be limited to several sites? If so, who will decide on which sites to be blocked? Will the ISPs be allowed to monitor and track user activity in direct violation of their privacy?
Right now there are a lot of question rather than answers. We sure do hope that Sri Lankan Internet users will not be deprived of new technology nor will have their privacy intruded, just to prevent few folks downloading porn off the net.
P.S. - Even if you block the shit out of internet, users will not stop till they find a way to unlock the 'now hidden treasures'. Hope this won't backfire and increase the popularity of porno sites instead.
Here are some links from the Sri Lankan blogosphere that are related to this story: