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Background

The Colombian government is fighting against child pornography a lot time ago. The law I concern the most is the law 679 of 2001, I do not know how do they get to verify if a site contains child pornography or not. The deal is that the law states that the ISP's need to block sites containing child pornography.

Situation

Stack Exchange seems to be hosting images on imgur.com, which has been blocked by some ISP's here in Colombia, due to supposed content of child pornography in that site. When I try to access to imgur I receive:

Blocking

(In text: "This page have been blocked obeying what established in the Law 679 of 2201 and Decree 1524 of 2002, for considering that it contains child pornography as shown in the list of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies. For more information please go to Children's Dignity". The link goes to the ISP directly, not really information about the law there).

Now, that is not the problem I am trying to expose here, the problem I am trying to expose is that, as SE host all its images in imgur, I find in all SE sites things like (screenshots taken from Trimming vectors in Photoshop):

Blocked

Instead of what I am supposed to see

Not Blocked

I am trying to solve that issue, but I don't know who to talk with, I decided to start posting the situation directly here on Meta; after all, this is basically the network of sites I am having problems with (I don't really use imgur too much); also I thought about contacting my ISP, however they are just following the government rules, and contacting government to solve this will be a long process.

  • Question is: Any way this can be solved? I don't know if I am asking too much, I believe what I am asking is for all the image infrastructure to change, I do know that is not a simple thing. But if imgur.com is actually hosting CP, I guess SE would be supporting that fact by using their service.

P.S.: For now, when I need to see an image in one of the questions I open the question with a proxy service (my preferred is: FilterBypass)

  • 6
    Technically the images are hosted on i.stack.imgur.com, a paid subdomain specific for Stack Exchange sites. Until that subdomain gets infected as well, it should be white-listed. A similar report of blacklisting here – rene Sep 27 '15 at 19:47
7

Any site which allows users to upload images freely is eventually going to get inappropriate images uploaded to it. Heck, I'm sure someone has uploaded such an image through the Stack Exchange image uploader before. But unless someone reports it, no one can take action on it.

Blocking Imgur for hosting child pornography is, simply put, insane. If the government is willing to block Imgur, then they might as well block every image hosting service out there because all of them will suffer the same issues. Facebook, Instagram, even Google has stuff like that on their servers somewhere. The battle against it may be tough, but outright blocking image hosting sites like this is not a good solution.

Even if we migrated or built our own image hosting system, we still can't know about every inappropriate image that gets uploaded to our servers. We can't exactly go through every single one and look at it to make sure. So we'd be just as vulnerable to being blocked by this rule as Imgur is.

I'll even point out that Imgur explicitly disallows child pornography uploads in their terms of service, so it's not like they support it.

Stuff not to do

If someone else might own the copyright to it, don't upload it. Don't upload gore, "hate speech" (i.e. demeaning race, gender, age, religious or sexual orientation, etc.), or material that is threatening, harassing, defamatory, or that encourages violence or crime. Don't upload illegal content such as child porn or nonconsensual ("revenge") porn. Don't hotlink to adult content or to file-sharing, gambling, torrent, warez, or Imgur rip-off sites. Don't impersonate someone else. Also, don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com. We mean it.

Chances are this is an overreaction to "we found an image we don't like - it's on your server so we're blocking you." Sorry to say, but the only real solution to this problem is for your government to eventually realize their mistake and unblock services which do make legitimate attempts to remove such content when it comes up.

  • 1
    I do not fully agree. Stack Exchange can ensure better safety by implementing this feature request of mine (yeah shameless self promotion :)), which will ensure proper punishment in case of reported images that were indeed found inappropriate. Uploading to Stack Exchange requires an active account, and this plus associating the uploaded image back to the account which did it (which so far is lost as far as I know) will convince even the most fanatic governments to give more trust. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Sep 28 '15 at 5:12
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    @ShadowWizard Uploading an image only requires an account on sites which limit images to users with 10 reputation, which is actually only a handful of our sites. Most don't have that requirement. You can go to Chemistry SE as an anonymous user and upload any images you want. – animuson Sep 28 '15 at 5:14
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    Didn't know that. In such case, guess there's indeed no real difference between imgur own hosting and the SE dedicated hosting. While I agree with your view that it should not justify total block, I can understand the panic it's causing (e.g. small typo in link can cause a horrible image to appear in unexpected places). So, no chance to consider a change on your side? – Shadow The Princess Wizard Sep 28 '15 at 5:19
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    @ShadowWizard I'm sorry, but even if we did associate image uploads with accounts (which is a feature I see a number of pros and cons for), it wouldn't do much for other networks deciding to block imgur altogether. I don't know what this specific block was prompted by, and unless someone does, anything we did would be purely reactionary guess-work. – Adam Lear Sep 28 '15 at 6:04
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    @AnnaLear thanks, I kind of gave up on associating account as measure against blocking, due to understanding anonymous users can also upload. But what about making it easier to report bad images, e.g. dedicated page in the help center? – Shadow The Princess Wizard Sep 28 '15 at 6:24
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    @ShadowWizard Anyone can already report a bad image (through "other" on /contact). We track different types of messages we get, so if we see a lot of these come through, we'd have some data to go on and inform any decisions we make about either restricting uploads or adding a more dedicated/targeted reporting mechanism. – Adam Lear Sep 29 '15 at 13:08
  • @AdamLear Has there been a recent change in this on your end? I mean, imgur has been blocked in Turkey for a long time but I could access i.stack.imgur.com but I now I cannot. I wonder if they blocked subdomains too or something changed in imgur? – user330457 Oct 26 '17 at 22:00

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