Go Away MDA bypassing porn filters

From ‘Web add-on bypasses porn censors’ filters’, 28 Feb 2013, article by Lim Yan Liang, ST

A WEB browser add-on that lets surfers bypass the Media Development Authority’s Internet filters to access pornography and other sites has been gaining popularity online. The free tool, for Google’s Chrome browser, has been downloaded more than 6,300 times since it was made available to the public in the browser’s Web store on Feb 16.

It lets users access sites that would normally be blocked in Singapore by masking their true location. The MDA maintains a list of 100 websites that Internet service providers have to block. The creator of the browser extension, a National University of Singapore (NUS) computer science graduate, said usage figures have been growing thanks mainly to word of mouth.

While he had dedicated the tool to users of the popular Eat-Drink- Man-Woman forum of the HardwareZone discussion portal, forum threads discussing his creation have since been deleted or locked.

“There is no need for the word to get out, I can barely manage the traffic as it is,” said the 26-year-old, without giving specifics on the amount of traffic. He does not want to be named, citing previous run-ins with the law. “And it’s running off a server that I’m paying for.”

He added that the tool was “merely a fun hobby project” he set up during Chinese New Year as he was learning about a set of Web development tools.

Soon to be a thing of the past

Soon to be a thing of the past

While your run-of-the-mill hacker defaces government websites and replaces them with porn, the creator of Go Away MDA (you can download the tool for free at http://getgom.com/) hands you the golden key to online forbidden fruit. If the MDA hadn’t themselves went on a limb to declare war on the 100 objectionable sites, there wouldn’t be a need to device a tool to smash their firewalls down, nor would we proceed to satisfy our natural curiosity to see if unlocking Playboy.com with this actually works (It does at time of writing). There are many hidden treasures yet to be picked up by MDA’s internet sniffer dogs which are far more gratuitous than the softcore goodies of the Playboy empire. The complete list remains a mystery, but the folks at MDA clearly missed out the nefarious CHURCH OF SATAN (google it) website. The horror!

Porno material is generated so effortlessly maintaining a ‘100 banned sites’ list is like fencing up a grapevine to keep out the starving foxes but leaving the rest of the sprawling bush unscathed. They haven’t even got a list started on mobile sex apps yet. To many men who spent their formative cyber years journeying through erotic utopias, this is a godsend, like a reunion with an old flame which they’ll greet with an euphoric  ‘Come to PAPA!’. Some would laud this anonymous ‘hacktivist’ the equivalent of porno Wikileaks, tearing down the barriers to the revolutionary ideal that is ‘internet freedom’.

In 2005, two gay sites were clamped down by MDA. They banned one featuring explicit sex and photography while fining another gay dating site called ‘Meet Gay Singapore Friends’ (no longer exists). Three years later porno versions of Youtube were added to the list. When queried about the usefulness of keeping this blacklist when it’s near impossible to block out undesirables without killing the Internet completely, an MDA spokesperson replied that this ‘mass-impact’ censoring was a ‘SYMBOLIC statement of our CORE SOCIETAL VALUES’. In 2010, then acting Minister for Information and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew regurgitated the same reasoning, that the ban ‘serves as a reminder that there is a significant body of material on the Internet that is unsavoury and unedifying’. That’s as enlightening as telling people there are wild plants and mushrooms out there that you shouldn’t be putting in your mouth. It’s like a clueless puppy chasing its own tail; the hydra of porn is always leaps and bounds ahead of you. Nobody goes to Playboy for their fix anymore. A random amateur sex video from a couple of local students may score more hits than all 100 banned sites combined.

Now that the banned sites are being liberated by a tinkerer’s electronic Get out of Jail Card, this ‘symbol’ of all things good and moral about our society has come crashing down like the terminal stage of a badly played Candy Crush game, though our spate of sex scandals has made enough mockery of this surface gesture of moral policing. It’s like putting a helmet on a baby strapped with explosives in a bid to protect it from harm. The more likely reason that this ‘symbolic’ banned list still exists, even if you could find SEX.COM on it, is that it would be an admission of utter failure to take it back. If there’s one consolation for MDA, it’s that their eagerness to ban stuff has given rise to talented, enterprising, rebellious individuals with this inventive drive and mad skills to crack smutwalls, a skill that would make you a top draw for secret military projects, or for hacking into our Ministers’ accounts to see what they have been doing with their million-dollar salaries.

Victory for the high-priests of Internet activism, for Google Chrome, tech geeks and anyone who feels that MDA deserves to be embarrassed for its vile treatment of artists and filmmakers all this time. MDA, you got ‘pwned’. Big time.

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