Category Archives: UnSQL

Stop SOPA…it already happened in Denmark #StopSOPA

I put out the call to stop SOPA, and one Twitter friend wrote back:

Good luck! We have it in Denmark. First blocking chi1d pr0n, then pharmaceuticals, & now Grooveshark.

I asked if he wouldn’t mind writing up a little bit more on that, and he complied. Thanks, Internet Friend from Denmark, for the real life cautionary tale!

Edit: has more on this particular story.


Here’s a quick rambling on the status of DNS blocking (that’s what techies are calling it, the official name is “The chi1d pr0nography filter”) in Denmark.

Some years ago there was a heated debate as politicians wanted to introduce a “chi1d pr0nography filter” on the web, to filter out said content. It would be implemented by passing a law requiring all Danish ISP’s to redirect certain IP addresses to so called filter pages – basically a white page with a big red “STOP” sign, explaining the purpose of the filter.

There was an outcry by techies, both on the philosophical level as well as on the technical level – really, how hard is it to change your DNS settings to Politicians like to enact laws though, so said was done. It didn’t last long till the discussion reheated as a Danish site hosting manga pr0n had been blocked. Another one hosted cartoon pr0nography using the Simpsons characters (which, technically, are underage). So what is pr0n exactly? Does cartoon pr0n go under the law? Apparently it does. Not to mention the problems when a given shared hosting provider is DNS blocked, even though just a single site violates the filter.

No warning is given up front. If, for any reason, chi1d pr0n was to appear on my blog – through XSS, hacking, whatever, all my visitors would be facing a big “STOP – This site is hosting chi1d pr0n”. As you can imagine, undoing the ban is no simple procedure and the damage will have been done way before that.

A couple of months ago they expanded the filter to include pharmaceutical sellers on the web. Sure, most, if not all of them, sell bogus drugs that may or may not be harmful to you. But really, how is this related to chi1d pr0n? The filter was only written to law on the basis of blocking chi1d pr0n, certainly not pharmaceutical drugs. Fast forward to today, they now want to block Grooveshark as it’s an illegal (in Denmark) MP3 hosting service. And given that Spotify just started paying licenses in Denmark (and are thus legal), they think we have enough legal options for a ban to make sense. Grooveshark – chi1d pr0n, you see the resemblance, right?

If you go to our biggest ISP’s website description of the chi1d pr0n filter (, you see plenty references to the name “chi1d pr0n filter”, but none whatsoever of pharma, drugs, MP3s or the likes thereof.

Where’s the limit? Drugs are bad, mmmkay. MP3s are bad, mmmkay. What about non-mainstream political opinions? It’s just a matter of time, I fear.

And just to clear up my own, as well as the opinion of all techies in Denmark – None of us mind the prosecution of anyone dealing with chi1d pr0n, nor do we mind the closure of servers hosting said content – this is just not the way to do it as it’s too easy to affect the innocent as well as too easy to extend the filter.

Jen here. This is exactly what we’re afraid of here. Good luck, man. Good luck all of us.


Un-SQL Friday: Stop SOPA!

This will be an unusually political Un-SQL Friday – and it’s two days early, to boot – but I’m making an exception to my no-politics-in-SQL rule – because it’s about internet freedoms.

I hereby declare this WEDNESDAY Un-SQL Friday. While T-SQL Tuesday is “…the SQL Server blogosphere’s first recurring, revolving blog party….on the chosen [SQL-related] topic,” UN-SQL Friday is a completely intermittant blog party about something SQL-adjacent.

This week’s Un-SQL Friday roundup is about SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Please take a couple minutes and read up…if this is meaningful to you, then blog and do what you can to spread the word on Wednesday, November 16 – American Censorship Day. Get involved however you feel you can best make a difference.

The internet is a wonderful, free place, and I believe that measures to combat piracy should be better targeted than SOPA.

Be sure to mention in your blog that you’re writing for Un-SQL Friday, and link to this post. Have it up ASAP…before midnight on Wednesday, November 16 is best. But we always take late submissions.


Here are a few highlights and articles to get you started.

11/17 addition: International human rights community vs.SOPA: “An enormous, diverse global coalition of press freedom and human rights groups have signed onto a letter (PDF) opposing America’s Stop Online Piracy Act, the worst proposed Internet law in the USA’s legislative history.”

PCWorld article: House hearing on Stop Online Piracy Act scheduled

BoingBoing: Stop SOPA Save the internet

  • The worst bill in Internet history is about to become law. …this law would give government and corporations the power to block sites like BoingBoing over infringing links on at least one webpage posted by their users.
  • …[government gets] unbelievable power to take down sites, threaten payment processors into stopping payment to sites on a blacklist, and throw people in jail for posting ordinary content …
  • Internet and democracy groups are planning an Internet-wide day of protest called American Censorship Day on Wednesday, November 16th for the day Congress holds a hearing on these bills to create the first American Internet censorship system. Every single person with a website can join and needs to.

Digital Digest: Internet Security And Innovation Under Threat From SOPA

  • The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) could have a drastic effect on software development, and Internet security, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned.
    SOPA would allow the government to blacklist websites and services via the Domain Name System (DNS).
  • The EFF also warns that many Internet security tools, such as firewalls or the widely used SSH tool, come with proxy and VPN functions, and under SOPA, any of these tools could be made illegal.

More from Digital Digest: US House of Reps Introduce New Controversial Copyright Bill

  • …the new legislation gives the government broad powers to intervene in what is traditionally a civil matter, to allow domestic websites to be seized, and injunctions filed against foreign websites, at the behest of Hollywood and the music industry, the two major industries supporting the bill

ZDNet: New house of representatives bill may strangle the internet or nerf the first amendment

  • SOPA wants to give, well, pretty much anyone with a law degree the right to shut down Web sites and domains. SOPA has some nasty teeth. First, according to the EFF, it allows individual companies to force payment processors (think PayPal or VISA) to stop paying any site that might be considered to be engaging in, enabling, or facilitating any form of copyright infringement.Let’s first look at how this might impact you. What cloud-based services do you use? Gmail? Dropbox? Amazon’s music sharing service? What about eBay? What about Facebook? Or perhaps you simply host your corporate email at an Exchange hosting provider, like I do.Let’s use that last one, as an example. My hosting provider, like most, offers a free SharePoint account along with their email hosting. Let’s say one of their other customers uploads something they shouldn’t. This new legislation would allow any other private company (including my hosting provider’s competitors) to demand that payment agencies cut off payments, effectively strangling cash flow and shutting the company down.

CNet: SOPA Hollywoods latest effort to turn back time

Major thanks to BoingBoing, without whom I probably wouldn’t have seen this in time.


Un-SQL Friday #006: Living in the Intertubez

We’ve had some BIG fun this week, relatively speaking, with #SQLSue and #SQLIdiot and just general #SQLcraziness. We’ve had several blogs out already, including my Rat Sues Corn! … and Why I Feed Trolls, Jorge Segarra’s heartfelt We Are Community, and Steve Jones’ Is my blog infringing on anything? 

Meanwhile, Redgate’s space on the web – from, to the new background, to the hilarious Developer in Hull promo – is a virtual rave-slash-nerdgasm.  Even last week, when a bunch of us were at the PASS Summit, we lived a large percentage of our lives online in tweetups and live blogs.

But why should we have all the fun? Here comes Un-SQL Friday!

I hereby declare this Friday Un-SQL Friday. While T-SQL Tuesday is “…the SQL Server blogosphere’s first recurring, revolving blog party….on the chosen [SQL-related] topic,” UN-SQL Friday is a completely intermittent blog party about something SQL-adjacent.

Read this blog, and then write whatever you want about Living on the Intertubez. Be sure to mention in your blog that you’re writing for Un-SQL Friday, and link to this post. Oh, and have it up any time before midnight on Tuesday, October 25. Extra credit if you get your submission in ON Friday…an A+ gets you an imaginary virtual gold star!

I know the topic is wide, wide open…that’s good. You get to write about whatever strikes you, be it community/SQLFamily, trollz, accusations, netiquette, or anything else that you feel fits into the topic.

Have at it!
-Jen McCown