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The B Word
Wednesday 4th July, 2007 14:26 Comments: 1
European Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini is set to put forward proposals that include the banning of websites that explain how to make bombs. Mr Frattini said that in the wake of the foiled London and Glasgow terror plots, and a spate of terrorist arrests in Spain and France, it was clear Europe had to pool more resources in the fight for justice. It sounds a lot like a knee-jerk reaction to me. It also sounds incredibly stupid, as banning such websites in the EU will not stop terrorists from finding instructions hosted on webservers that are outside of the EU. If it was that easy to ban such information from being published on the internet, we wouldn't have so many high profile "torrent sites" and "trackers" to help share files that contain copyrighted material (copyright infringement in the US is a criminal action too).

Mr Frattini also wants an EU explosives database and a "rapid alert system" to track lost or stolen explosives. Which sounds a little silly, as how do you track lost explosives? Or is it a case of "we lost it here" followed by "it was blown up there"?

EDIT: According to the Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, "internet service providers would face charges if they failed to block websites with bomb-making instructions". Presumably this will only apply to bomb-making instructions, and it'll still be okay for ISPs to allow child porn, Hollywood movies, or anything else that people shouldn't be allowed to view, without the ISP getting into any legal trouble?

There doesn't appear to be any mention of instructions sent via email, browsed over encrypted relays such as Tor (if your requests go - encrypted - from one PC to another to another to another and eventually out of an exit node in America, that should be okay), sent by post (good old Royal Mail), or physically transported. Nor did Frattini's plan offer any serious chance of websites being blocked at hundreds of ISPs in time to prevent full details being obtained by anyone who wanted them. Nor did it take account of the speed with which controversial information can be - and usually is - mirrored (for example, the AACS key).
Avatar Fab - Thursday 5th July, 2007 09:06
The man is talking out of his arse. There already is an explosives database, definitely a European or a world one, I can't remember. And yes there is a reason, but I wont go into that here. As for people reporting stuff that is lost, how would this actually help? Assuming people reported it in the first place.

Of course such a database is pointless for tracking anyone who makes these things in their garage!
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