IRISH WEB SITES OFFENSIVE MATERIAL
Report on the publication of Racist, Pornographic and other offensive material on
INTRODUCTION The Internet means something different to the person who use’s it, what they use it for and what they want to achieve by using the technology. Initially the Internet was seen as a means of Communication, predominantly using e- mail. This was a mechanism that meant that people were able to communicate with each other and share information in a new way, such as sharing documents, images, and other media. As the number of people using the Internet grew so did the Internet and its uses with the expansion of its uses to aid research and the emergence of Newsgroups, List Serves, Information Services, and Government, Corporate and Educational Internet sites. Following on was the use of general publishing to the internet to aid in general advertising to sites allowing for financial transactions like online payments as well as online banking. Throughout the relatively short history of the Internet a more sinister undercurrent has being prevalent, that of a destructive and undesirable nature of viruses, hacking, and unsuitable content being spread across unsuspecting users of the technology. It seems to be a common Human trait to exploit a weakness whether this is in another human being, or a resource. This is a trait that has being part and parcel of the emergence of the human race as the dominant species and the Internet has not escaped this fundamental human peculiarity. THE ISSUE As more and more people use the Internet for their particular reasons, the value of the Internet has increased and people’s reliance on it has also increased, so much so that the next stage of the Internet could be the emergence of a new society which has its own Laws, Values and morality. Therein is the problem, the value of the Internet. How do you measure the value of the Internet? The value of the Internet is measured by the amount of people who use it, whether it is by businesses, Governments, or individuals. The more traffic the more successful the Internet is becoming. There is no doubt that we have a long way to go before the Internet is at saturation point, and by today’s standards has reached its potential value. However Internet Marketing or putting a value on a specific Web site is measured by the amount of members that have registered, or the amount of Hits a particular Web site receives. This is an unsafe and inaccurate measurement as it does not reflect the actual number of visitors a Web site receives. Even using Actual Visitors is not truly accurate as many visitors can share an IP address which is the mechanism for estimating the total. It is however the only way to estimate a site’s popularity and is currently the only way to estimate the success/failure of a Web site and is used to
calculate the monetary value of a site, or will dictate the advertising rates a Web site can charge. Due to this flaw many unscrupulous individuals/companies have used this weakness to exploit and manipulate their current value by falsifying their own popularity statistics, which is currently very difficult to verify. Today some individuals/companies who are apparently trying to raise their value by falsifying their Web site popularity statistics using other Web sites to raise their site hits by placing imbedded images and links to content which under normal circumstances would have no reason to be associated with the site they appear on and have being placed there without the permission nor the awareness of the individual/company who operates/runs the Web site. In Ireland today there are hundreds of Web sites that are being exploited in such a manner by individuals/companies who are predominantly involved in Pornography and or Prescription Drug distribution, but not excluding the spread of Viruses, as well as Bank and Credit Card Fraud. Over a period of three month the Author of this document has uncovered a serious misuse of Irish Web sites, but this is not specifically an Irish problem, however for the purpose of this document we will concentrate on Irish Web sites. For the most part all the Web sites which were found have being using some sort of Open Source Software, i.e. Forums, Guestbooks and Blogs, etc. This indicates that the people who are utilising these suites have done so to either cut costs or do not have the technical ability or resources to develop an alternative solution. Further to this they have either abandoned or neglected to keep the software up-to-date. For example one Web site which was connected to the Financial Services in Ireland had an Online Forum in operation, it was obvious that this particular company was unaware of its status of operation, and as it did not have a link to it from their Web site was oblivious of its use. However before this company was informed of the existence of this Forum the site was receiving over 300,000 hits per month, and since the Forum was removed the hits have now dropped to just over 30,000. During the height of its usage the Forum was used to advertise Pornography of an extreme nature advertising sexual acts such as “Rape Sex, Anal Sex, an in some circumstances Sex with Children”. This indicates that the people who are using such Forums are very much aware of how the Internet Search Engines work, and are using the Search Engines to assist them in spreading their particular services by using “Key Words”. Other Web sites that were uncovered during the three months of research are Web sites run by a Local County Council who provides a service to local organisation whereby they are given a Web site which they themselves run. However the Software being used is Open Source and currently not fit for purpose as it has not being upgraded to assist in stemming the rising tide of Web site Spamming. One of the Web sites held on the Local Authorities Web Server has a Guest Book with over 106,300 entries, with an average of 10 links per entry to Web sites advertising “Viagra Online, Diet Pills, Online Gambling, sexy young naked girls, death sex and many more topics.
When you consider that this Local Authority also provide over 100 such services to other organisations such as Residents Associations, Sporting groups, youth organisations and others the potential of the problem is greatly exasperated and the potential for multiples of millions of links to potential content that could cause serious social as well as health problems is apparent. Due to the amount of Web sites uncovered by the Author, it is not possible to go through each individual site, but to summarise the types of sites being affected have being Third Level Institutions, Community, Health, Charitable Organisations, as well as businesses, and individuals providing services which have the potential to allow the posting of content which has no place or reason to be present on the Web site it appears on. It has also being uncovered that a major Irish Internet Company who uses OpenSource as the basis of its services is riddled with questionable content some of which may even be illegal. This Company provides Search Engine services, Blogs ad Forum services and in all cases the Software being used has being exploited to allow the posting of material that could be construed as objectionable. WHAT HAS BEING DONE SO FAR Following the initial discovery of this type of practice on May 14, 2007 the Author has contacted the hotline.ie set up to combat illegal child pornography on the Internet, all the Political Parties, as well as a number of individual politicians. To-date I have received only a few replies and most of the replies are to tell me to contact another department or organisation, which has already been contacted. So the Author of this document is at a stage where there is no other option but to go public as the Department of Justice has to the most part ignored the initial findings as to have the Department of Communications. Also a few Web site operators were notified of the problem, and subsequently despite being asked to provide the data for analysis prior to deleting it have not adhered to the request. On another Web site run by a Student Union they deleted all the content, but subsequent checks have revealed that the problem has re-occurred and the posting of obscene and objectionable content is preceding unchecked once more. Another Web site owner when confronted with the problem just cut off communications and several days following the revelation that his Web site was being used to post links and obscene sexual images on a site which is related to the Game Console Wii and would be used mostly by young teenagers still allows the posting of this type of content to it. Another Web site for an Irish Band was contacted to inform them of the abuse their Web site was receiving but after a number of days no reply has being received and the content remains. In all cases the Author has asked for a backup of the data in its raw form which may be from a Database, or a Flat ASCII file so that further analysis can be carried out as
the Author suspects that the majority of this content is being posted by few individuals/companies and may even be using some sort of Automation Software to post the information on a Scheduled basis, software usually used in Automated Testing which allows for pre-defined routines to be run on numerous Web sites without the intervention of a human. By using limited resources and technology the Author of this document has noticed that a major contributor of this type of abuse has Web sites apparently registered in the Netherlands, however other content has being traced back to Countries such as Russia, Panama, the USA, Germany and others. It is important to note that the Author of this document is although working from factual information has had to make some assumptions which without further study can not be substantiated. STILL TO DO Due to the amount of Web sites, i.e. in excess of 300 and the amount of data that is generally available a more indebt study would be required. This would mean analysing the type of abuse being afforded by a particular Web site and how it is being carried out, for example, simple posting of links, images, or a type of Hack whereby the core software is being manipulated in some way using tactics such as Script Injection, SQL Injection, etc. From there the data would then be analysed to extract key pieces of information such as email addresses, Web site URL’s which can then be traced to ascertain their origin. There would also be a need to access the Software being used to see whether the issue is being caused by an incorrect configuration or if there is neglect by the Web site owner in administrating the software in use. As some of the links found advertise links to content deemed illegal, i.e. Child Pornography, a Legal opinion would also be required to evaluate the extent and liability of such content. In total there is a lot of further study required and would require a team of professionals working on the research for circa 6 months to be able to fully understand the extent of the problem and provide a detailed and factually accurate report on the issue at hand. THE SOLUTION It is painfully apparent that there is single and easily implemented solution to this particular problem, however with a combination of simple and effective measurers at least 90% of this type of practice can be eliminated in a relatively short timeframe. Upgrading of Software being used. By keeping Software up-to-date, especially OpenSource Software will greatly increase the chances of being subjected to this type of abuse.
Use of Software that is Fit-for-Purpose. As in all implementations of Software, it is important that the Software being used is fit-for-purpose and is implemented in a manner that is described by the provider of the Software. Monitoring of Web site usage Vitally important is the constant monitoring of the Web site and its usage, this means that the Web site should be checked at least once a day to make sure that the content is not of a type that may cause offence to potential visitors. Education Programme It has become apparent that most of the Web sites uncovered during the course of the research are being run by or set up on behalf of people who really do not understand the technology and the way in which the services which they themselves offer can be abused if not monitored correctly. The education programme would be structured to educate people to the potential issues relating to running a Web site today, and also how to monitor their Web sites effectively. Responsibility Most Web site owners will have a Terms of Conditions which omit them from any responsibility for the content, however when the content is obviously offensive or has a potential danger associated with it, and this content is available for days, weeks month and in some cases even years then some liability should be levied against the Web site Owner. This may require Legislation, as the Self Regulation currently in operation is clearly not working; this is in particular when dealing with ISP’s. CONCLUSION In recent years we have read some horrifying stories about Paedophiles using the technology to spread their sick images, videos, and stories. We also have seen people becoming desensitised about Pornography and taking it as a necessary evil that is part and parcel of the Internet, also with the emergence of Web sites such as YouTube and Bebo we have seen an increase in violent, idiotic and downright criminal activity being videoed and put on Web sites such as the a/m in what can only be described as an individuals attempt to impress and give them a sense of fame or infamously. If action is not taken soon, our society will ultimately suffer as a result due to the increase of Sexual Crimes which have being linked directly to the availability of Sexual Content on the Internet, and the increased occurrence of bullying due to the apparent anonymous nature of the Internet. So to measure the extent of the problem, there would be a need for a body or company to have the authority to access the raw data both of the offending content as well as
the Web site Logs so that a thorough analysis could be carried out. This would require full cooperation from the Web site operators/owners and full disclosure of the content. There would also be a need a nationwide awareness campaign to highlight the issue and educate the people in how to combat such occurrences, as well as stricter regulation levied upon ISP’s to take steps on carrying out more rigours monitoring of sites they host.
L i s t o f P u b l i c a t i o n s , P r o f . D r . K l a u s R ä t z k e , K i e l Aging and free volume in polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM)S. Harms, K. Rätzke, F. Faupel, N. Chaukura, P. M. Budd W. Egger, L. RavelliAccepted for publication, Journal of Adhesion (01/2012) New insights into the microencapsulation properties of sodium caseinate and hydrolysed caseinDrusch, S.,
Informationsschreiben zur Pandemie Aufgrund der aktuellen Situation wollen wir sie über die H1N1-Influenza informieren. In Österreich befinden wir uns seit Anfang August offiziell in der Mitigationsphase. Vorher wurde versucht (Containmentphase) die Verbreitung möglichst zu stoppen, nun wird angestrebt die Verbreitung möglichst einzudämmen. So werden nicht mehr alle Erkrankten in