Vertaisarvioitu artikkeli konferenssijulkaisussa (A4)

Hard-coded censorship in Open Source Mastodon clients — How Free is Open Source?

Julkaisun tekijät: Juhani Naskali

Konferenssin vakiintunut nimi: Conference on Technology Ethics

Julkaisuvuosi: 2020

Journal: CEUR Workshop Proceedings

Kirjan nimi *: Proceedings of the Conference on Technology Ethics: Turku, Finland, October, 21, 2020

Sarjan nimi: CEUR Workshop Proceedings

Volyymi: 2737

ISSN: 1613-0073


Rinnakkaistallenteen osoite:


This article analyses hard-coded domain blocking in open source software, using the GPL3-licensed Mastodon client Tusky as a case example. First, the
question of whether such action is censorship is analysed. Second, the licensing
compliance of such action is examined using the applicable open-source software
and distribution licenses. Domain blocking is found to be censorship in the literal
definition of the word, as well as possibly against some the used Google distribution licenses — though some ambiguity remains, which calls for clarifications in the
agreement terms. GPL allows for functionalities that limit the use of the software,
as long as end-users are free to edit the source code and use a version of the application without such limitations. Such software is still open source, but no longer
free (as in freedom). A multi-disciplinary ethical examination of domain blocking
will be needed to ascertain whether such censorship is ethical, as all censorship is
not necessarily wrong.

Ladattava julkaisu

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.

Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 18:09