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Old 05-14-2018, 06:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Firestorm Blocked in Some Countries

Hello All ~

I have been spending time with someone in SL who is relatively new. We want to use RLV to enhance RP and I encouraged her to get firestorm. However, she says that she tried and believes it is blocked in her country. She is logging in from a conservative Arab country. Is this true? Is Firestorm blocked in some countries? How about other RLV enabled viewers?

thanks so much.

Scott Rust
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't see any way an ISP could block Firestorm specifically (As opposed to blocking all of Second Life, period, which is very possible.)

They must be mistaken.

If an ISP lets you use Second Life, you can use Firestorm as well, ISP's can't tell the difference.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
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They must be mistaken.
The Firestorm website could be what she means, Adeon.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Adeon

Apparently the download site for installing it is blocked --- sorry for being unclear.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm really not sure. Firestorm's website may be blocked, which would prevent her from downloading it - although I'm not sure how the actual viewer itself would be blocked if she were to get it from some other place than Firestorm's home page.

I don't understand why Firestorm's website would be blocked but Second Life's would not be; it seems to me no one would even have heard of Firestorm without being aware of SL first.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No, it is not true. Second Life may be blocked but the client is not. Governments don't bother blocking clients. They block the programs.

http://forums-archive.secondlife.com.../321349/1.html

https://freedomhouse.org/report/free...-arab-emirates

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-s...-a7027301.html
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myf View Post
The Firestorm website could be what she means, Adeon.
I can't imagine how Firestorm's small-time website would end up on a block before Second Life's own website, though.

(Edited to add: Didn't see Scott's post above when I made this post. See mirror download link in my post below.)

Last edited by Adeon Writer; 05-14-2018 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adeon Writer View Post
I can't imagine how Firestorm's small-time website would end up on a block before Second Life's own website, though.
If I were to hazard a guess, it's the RLV thing.

Depending on how websites in the country in question are added to the blocked list, all it takes is one reactionary Second Life user, aware of what RLV is, and pretty soon, every viewer with RLV functionality is going to be blocked. Even without something like that happening, the typically capricious nature of internet censorship regimes means the site could have been blocked for any number of reasons unrelated to Second Life, possibly not even to do directly with the site itself. Firestorm might be collateral damage, it happens.
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRust View Post
Apparently the download site for installing it is blocked --- sorry for being unclear.
Woop - I entirely missed this post. Sorry!

Easy enough fix, download it from Linden Lab directly. Download Firestorm from LL's servers here:

https://status.secondlifegrid.net/in...s/w51nhq43v2qm

Last edited by Adeon Writer; 05-14-2018 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Myf View Post
If I were to hazard a guess, it's the RLV thing.

Depending on how websites in the country in question are added to the blocked list, all it takes is one reactionary Second Life user, aware of what RLV is, and pretty soon, every viewer with RLV functionality is going to be blocked. Even without something like that happening, the typically capricious nature of internet censorship regimes means the site could have been blocked for any number of reasons unrelated to Second Life, possibly not even to do directly with the site itself. Firestorm might be collateral damage, it happens.
That's what I've been thinking. Somehow the UAE got wind of RLV and what it was originally intended for then took steps to block anything related to it.

From the second link I posted:

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Authorities keep strict control over online media, blocking websites that criticize the government or tackle social taboos. Self-censorship is pervasive on social media and state-run news sites refuse to cover controversial issues. Families of political detainees highlight human rights abuses and communicate on behalf of their loved ones on Twitter, though they have also come under increasing pressure.

[...]

In December 2016, Emirati authorities blocked the encrypted messaging app Signal.40 Other blocked websites include the Beirut-based Gulf Center for Human Rights;41 an anonymous forum for employees of Emirates Airlines;42 an LGBTI sports news website (Outsports);43 the Lebanese queer and feminist e-magazine Bekhsoos;44 the U.S.-based Arab Lesbian e-magazine Bint El Nas;45 several political blogs;46 an Arab-Christian forum;47 a number of atheist and secular websites;48 sites disseminating news on Emirati political detainees and prison conditions ;49 a blog operated by the stateless activist Ahmed Abdulkhaleq;50and sites related to the Muslim Brotherhood and regional NGOs.51 Users have reported the blocking of social media content relating to political detainees in the past,52 as well as archive.today, a tool that keeps snapshots of URLs entered in case content disappears or gets modified.53
So yeah, the likely culprit is SL being social media rather than RLV. And American social media at that.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Perhaps it was just a too-wide attempt to block something else on the same IP-address block, and other stuff on the same block got caught by accident - rather like the Russians the other week, taking out half their internet in an attempt to kill a single messaging service.

I can certainly see this happening in the UK fairly soon, when the 'register for porn' law arrives and inevitably catches non-porn sites in its net - this is a UK Home Office project after all, and is therefore doomed to inevitable expensive failure.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:44 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Arkady Arkright View Post
Perhaps it was just a too-wide attempt to block something else on the same IP-address block, and other stuff on the same block got caught by accident - rather like the Russians the other week, taking out half their internet in an attempt to kill a single messaging service.

I can certainly see this happening in the UK fairly soon, when the 'register for porn' law arrives and inevitably catches non-porn sites in its net - this is a UK Home Office project after all, and is therefore doomed to inevitable expensive failure.
The BBFC are responsible for regulating the "register for porn" business, I thought, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, not the Home Office, has overall responsibility for the Digital Economy Act.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
The BBFC are responsible for regulating the "register for porn" business, I thought, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, not the Home Office, has overall responsibility for the Digital Economy Act.
I somehow suspect that this whole business would never have happened if the Home Office hadn't got it's finger in the pie (wasn't Saint Theresa in charge of it at the time ?), and are you implying the BBFC and/or DDMC have/will never made a mistake ?

Also, who is managing and controlling the local newsagents who are supposed to be providing the 'porn-passes' ? And what about personal privacy, as a large number of people will inevitably be known to their local newsagent ?

Personally, I'm off to read-up on VPN's (before they make them illegal in order to 'think of the children').
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Arkady Arkright View Post
I somehow suspect that this whole business would never have happened if the Home Office hadn't got it's finger in the pie (wasn't Saint Theresa in charge of it at the time ?), and are you implying the BBFC and/or DDMC have/will never made a mistake ?

Also, who is managing and controlling the local newsagents who are supposed to be providing the 'porn-passes' ? And what about personal privacy, as a large number of people will inevitably be known to their local newsagent ?

Personally, I'm off to read-up on VPN's (before they make them illegal in order to 'think of the children').
No, I'm just trying to understand what role the Home Office play (or have played) in all this. I imagine they played a role in discussing parts of the Digital Economy Bill when it was drafted (particularly bits relating to warrants to obtain people's internet data), as must have several other government departments, like the Foreign Office and the Treasury. But I think the lead department on internet matters, including daft ideas to regulate access to adult content, has long been the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its predecessors.

As to your question, "who is managing and controlling the local newsagents who are supposed to be providing the 'porn-passes'," according to The Telegraph article where the story first appeared it will be the BBFC, since they're the regulators in all this.

Background for non-UK readers. The Digital Economy Act contains provisions to require British ISPs to block access to adult content providers who don't verify the user's age. Credit cards are one way of doing it, but that won't work for people who don't have credit cards/bank accounts or who don't want to give their credit card details to adult sites or to agencies who could verify them (since that's a data-breach waiting to happen).

One suggested solution is have local convenience stores issue what have been dubbed "porn passes" (though they could also be used by people who need to verify their age to buy alcohol or other age-restricted products over the counter) that don't identify the holder but simply confirm that (if necessary) the vendor has seen the ID of the person to whom the card was issued.

The idea is only out for consultation at the moment, though. It's not set in stone.

As to the question, And what about personal privacy, as a large number of people will inevitably be known to their local newsagent ? , I don't think there's any requirement to obtain the card from your local newsagent so, if someone is concerned about their privacy, the solution would simply be to buy the card from a newsagent you don't usually use. If the purchaser is clearly over 18, then I don't imagine the vendor will insist on seeing any ID.

As I understand it, from what I've read, the BBFC's focus is, sensibly enough, not to try to stop anyone who wants to access porn from doing that. That includes teenagers under 18 who want to look at online porn. Rather, it's to reduce the risk of young children stumbling across porn when they're exploring the web unsupervised.

It's a pretty unworkable idea, I agree, which HMG took on board following pressure from the tabloid press (a bit like Brexit, really). I suspect that the practical problems of implementing it will cause that part of the Digital Economy Act to be quietly forgotten, and never activated. I just hope the same happens with Brexit.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This may be the explanation -from the Firestorm blog:

"We have stopped code-signing our windows binary due to costs and lack of benefits. Expect that your antivirus or firewall may warn you that the software is not trusted. If you downloaded it from THIS website, IT IS SAFE."

(http://www.firestormviewer.org/firestorm-update-5-0-11-53634/)
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'd be incredibly wary about offering her ways to get around it, in particular because of the RLV aspect, as she may get caught and we have seen what the punishments are for women over there.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRust View Post
Hello All ~

I have been spending time with someone in SL who is relatively new. We want to use RLV to enhance RP and I encouraged her to get firestorm. However, she says that she tried and believes it is blocked in her country. She is logging in from a conservative Arab country. Is this true? Is Firestorm blocked in some countries? How about other RLV enabled viewers?

thanks so much.

Scott Rust
What leads her to believe "it is blocked in her country"? As others have asked, does this mean she can't log in to SL using Firestorm but can with the official viewer, or that she can't log into the Firestorm site to download that viewer?

If she can't log into the Firestorm site, what error message is she receiving?

Has she tried any of the the other third-party viewers listed in the wiki?All of the ones listed as Active Full Viewers (other than Alchemy) have RLV or RLVa, I think. Catznip certainly does -- it's the official RLVa reference viewer -- and so, of course, does Marine's original RLV viewer.
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:25 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
What leads her to believe "it is blocked in her country"? As others have asked, does this mean she can't log in to SL using Firestorm but can with the official viewer, or that she can't log into the Firestorm site to download that viewer?

If she can't log into the Firestorm site, what error message is she receiving?

Has she tried any of the the other third-party viewers listed in the wiki?All of the ones listed as Active Full Viewers (other than Alchemy) have RLV or RLVa, I think. Catznip certainly does -- it's the official RLVa reference viewer -- and so, of course, does Marine's original RLV viewer.
There is no log in for the FS website.

http://www.firestormviewer.org/
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:37 PM   #19 (permalink)
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There is no log in for the FS website.

Firestorm Viewer – The Phoenix Firestorm Project Inc.
Sorry. I expressed myself badly. I meant if she can't reach the Firestorm site or get it to load.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
Sorry. I expressed myself badly. I meant if she can't reach the Firestorm site or get it to load.
No worries.

I have to wonder now if maybe she was using the wrong url since it's a dot org url and not dot com. I sometimes "forget" there are others besides dot com myself.

Kind of hard to know without Scott coming back and providing some answers. What little he has provided so far isn't enough to go on. If they really want/need help, he'll be back or maybe he'll think to have her try to sign up here on SLU so we can help her directly. If she can't then most likely any and all sites related (even remotely) to SL are blocked by the UAE. Online social media seems to be a huge no no there if everyone isn't toeing the current regime's line. They've been pretty adamant about silencing dissenters more recently.
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