Monday, May 25, 2009

What evildoers do, if the web gets censored

Lots of discussion happens in German cyberspace around the planned blocking of child porn. It is foreseen to redirect DNS queries for blacklisted domains to a "Stop" sign, which will tell the user, that the site (s)he wanted to visit is blocked. Contrary to earlier promises the IP addresses of the users will be made available to the law enforcement agencies for what they call real time surveillance.

The proponents (one of them confused "servers" and "surfers" in a parliament debate) try their best to make every opponent of this plan look like a pedophile.

I think it's the opposite: Child molesters and other evildoers will have a lot of fun once the blocking mechanism is operational.

I neither plan nor endorse any of the activities listed below. I only describe theoretical possibilities to demonstrate, how easy it is to abuse such a nonsense.

Things to come
  • Pedophile newbies, who search for child porn, will find a leaked block-list from another country. The secret German list will leak as well, sooner or later. It was never as easy as today.
  • Less smart pedophiles will google for ways to circumvent the blockade. The first hit will be some commercial "surf anonymous" proxy provider. In the end, even more people will earn money with abused kids.
  • Smarter pedophiles will google better and configure another DNS server. If using another DNS server becomes illegal, they'll find a free SSL proxy. If SSL proxies become illegal, they'll use foreign VPN provider. Connections to foreign VPN providers cannot be illegal because they are used by lots of big companies.
  • Less smart child porn webmasters will simply use numeric IPs for linking to their sites
  • Smarter webmasters will regularly send a DNS query for their domain to a censored DNS server. If the returned IP number becomes incorrect, it's time to shut down the site and reopen it somewhere else under a different name. Can easily be scripted into a fully automated warning system. Also works if the block-list is really secret.
  • Never give your IP address to a bad guy. Today you can get hacked, if you have a poor firewall. Tomorrow the cops might pay you a visit. There is no firewall against cops wanting to visit you. That's because one can easily flood the DNS server of your German provider with forged requests for some blocked domain and your IP address as source. Should be no more than 50 lines in C, including comments.
  • The ultimate end of civilization is near if the first stop-sign worm appears. Not only because it'll DDOS the stop-sign servers. Most important effect will be to flood the law enforcement agencies with IPs of innocent people. Less time to concentrate on the bad guys.
Those, who know the facts and still want to install DNS blockades against child porn, are either pedophiles, criminals or conspirators who'd like a censorship mechanism for all kinds of unpleasant content. The latter might be the reason why each country maintains it's own block list.

Everyone except the pedophiles supports a serious fight against child abuse and child porn, not only in the internet. There are lots of organizations, who are committed to this. Interestingly, some of them are against blockades. Here are 3 German ones:

Abuse victims against internet blockades
Self-help group of abused women


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