16 December 2009

Australian Government to censor the Internet

| Chris Mordd Richards
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I know this isn’t strictly an ACT issue, [Ed don’t worry, we’re very much against it here in the Riot bunker as seen here, here and here] but this is something that I believe is still relevant to RiotACT readers as it is something that will affect all Australians, i just want to bring awareness to the issue so i’ll just try and report the latest facts here not go into my opinion in the article itself (expecting some great arguments in the comments though!).

For those that haven’t yet heard the news about Senator Conroy’s announcement that the government will be proceeding to introduce mandatory ISP level filtering in Australia, ITNews.com.au now has a section dedicated to related articles and is a great source of information, here: http://www.itnews.com.au/Topic/146953,internet-filtering.aspx

GetUp is also running a public awareness and lobbying campaign around the issue, for more information go here: http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/SaveTheNet/442

There is also an interesting article on Ars Technica website about the announcement and the exact mechanics of the proposal: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/12/aussie-content-filters-work-if-you-dont-count-im-p2p-ftp.ars

According to one of the articles on the ITNews website, the news has been reported worldwide in the past 24 hours about the plans, including:

Quote: London’s Telegraph led with the headline “Australia plans Chinese-style internet filtering”, reminding its UK readers that the leaked ACMA blacklist had included the “innocent websites of a dentist’s practice in Queensland, a tuck-shop consultant and a kennel operator.”

In the United States, Fox News ran with the headline: “Joining China and Iran, Australia to filter internet.”

The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the The New York Times ran with a moderated version of an Associated Press story which stated that the Australian Government was introducing a filter “despite concerns it will curtail freedoms and won’t completely work.”

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I think that the sad fact is that we will be getting the filter. Maybe it will not be as bad as we think.

I think that the two things that MUST be done are that there needs to be a completly arms-length, representative list committee. I think that there shoudl also be a public list of banned sites, sure not with names and URLS, but just a list of the reasons each one was blocked.

If the Govt does this, I will despite my opposition and reservations, not worry to much about the filter.

Jimi Bostock
PUSH Agency
Brisbane | Canberra | Sydney | Australia

The proposed filtering does seem to be totally in accordance with the thoughts of the Catholic Church. I suspect this is not a coincidence.

NO religion should have the slightest influence on good governance in Australia.

geriatrixcomputerix4:26 pm 23 Feb 10

Yes, there is a lot of rubbish on the internet.

Do we think Conroy knows what he is doing? NO.

geriatrixcomputerix4:23 pm 23 Feb 10

If the Vatican had had an Internet a few hundred years ago, any information about “Galileo” would have been blocked.

If the Romans had had one 2000 years ago any reference to “Christ” would have been blocked.

Do you get the idea now?????

Actually unlike most of the anti-clean feed alarmist, I quite get it. It’s not about stopping tech savvy ‘people’ getting access to unsavoury material as they can bypass any filtering and the govt knows this.

It’s difficult the argue ‘the govt will block sites (enuth./abortion/climate change)violating my civil liberties’ argument as being on the blacklist does not destroy the site, it’s still there people will get the information and know it’s blocked… and then the govt would be severely embarrassed. Only Barnaby Joyce would try it (so don’t vote for him).

Skidbaldnir… Well said. +1.

I-filled. Why do people feel they are entitled to operate outside reasonable norms?

Don’t you mean outside “Christian norms”. Have you ever tried to reason with a “Christian Norm”?

I-filed said :

Why do people feel they are entitled to operate outside reasonable norms?

So the individual is free, just so long as s/he conforms?

If the internet should be censored to ‘protect the vulnerable’, presumably we should also remove all the naughty books from the public library system too.

I await the coming of the Rudd overlord to control all aspects of my life.

I have not failed. I do love big brother….

I-filed said :

Why do people feel they are entitled to operate outside reasonable norms?

Normally, and in most jurisdictions, adults are entitled to act freely, and enjoy their freedoms, so long as they are aware there may be consequences.
Societal norms change, and now its apparently the role of government to decide for parents what theis children can and can’t see, because apparently you have no parenting skills, and can’t deal with the responsibility of protecting your own damn kids.

I-filed said :

I’m curious about pro-anorexia websites – but on balance am quite OK with not being able to access them, as they have long been censored to protect impressionable adolescents.

A parent letting impressionable adolescents have an unsupervised/un-logged information conduit while at the same time calling themselves an informed and responsible adult has some serious questions to ask of themselves.
Let people who aren’t responsible enough to take care of their children either deal with _those_ consequences, or opt-in to a scheme to protect them from themselves.
Anyone thinking themselves superior enough to the rest of the population to be able to decide what content is appropriate for other adults to access on open-web, has a severe ego problem, and needs to justify on what grounds they have assumed the authority to deny other adults their freedom to choose their own enjoyment and assume their own consequences.

I-filed said :

I think it’s fine for cyberspace be subject to “common good, protect the vulnerable” measures.

This ‘protects the vulnerable’ in a wholly new (for this country) and heavy handed way though.
By preventing adults from dealing with their life and coming to terms with the consequences of their choices, and denies the great majority of adults opportunity to utilise their own agency, while still allowing the extreme edge cases of a criminal minority the opportunity to commit their crimes by trafficking child pornography and prohibited content.

I-filed said :

And as James T Kirk has posted, anyone with their heart set on accessing a banned site can get around it.

So, in admitting that its already a failure in that those who want to avoid it will continue to commit crimes, you assert there is a need for it to protect those who will keep being victimised?
Some terrifyingly large supermajority of child abuse is committed in-person, by family members, and is neither trafficked online, or filmed in the first place.
This plan, while exerting government authority in a direction not previously exercised, does not prevent those victims from coming to harm.

You’re supporting a terrible plan based on politicised rhetoric, when you clearly have no familiarity with the issue or technical knowledge of the subject matter.

Evidently “won’t somebody think of the children” and pretending that the scary bogeyman can’t get them is enough reason to strip rights and responsibilities from
grown adults for your mind.
Apparently you’re gullible, so I have this magic rock you can buy, it keeps away tigers.

Why do people feel they are entitled to operate outside reasonable norms? I’m curious about pro-anorexia websites – but on balance am quite OK with not being able to access them, as they have long been censored to protect impressionable adolescents. I think it’s fine for cyberspace be subject to “common good, protect the vulnerable” measures. And as James T Kirk has posted, anyone with their heart set on accessing a banned site can get around it.

It is proposed to block material on the RC (“Refused Classification”) list. This list does include material (child pornography/abuse, terrorism instruction) that it is illegal to view or possess, but it also includes material that it is perfectly legal for an adult to view and possess for personal purposes, as long as you don’t live in WA or NT.

Irene Graham’s comprehensive analysis comes highly recommended.

Do you honestly think that a government run by extreme right-wing conservatives like Abbot, Bishop, Andrews, Minchin and the rest would be so less likely to engage in this sort of thing?

True, but remember, Howard offered an opt in scheme, not a mandatory one and anyway, one can only deal with current issues, not imagined or anticipated. Besides, Rudd is as fundamental as Abbot anyway.

One thing about the conservatives however, they may decide that it is a core responsibility of the individual given that it is one of the party’s core values. Not that this will make much difference. Labor will be returned.

James-T-Kirk12:01 pm 22 Dec 09

Lenient said :


At the end of the end of the day a couple of rough edges will be knocked off the internet and we can go about browsing lolcats as before.

But – no you won’t – The religion I am considering starting next week finds photographic images of Gods creation being made fun of highly offensive – so I will just have to recommend to the censorship board that lolcats be filtered.

Do you get the idea now?????

James-T-Kirk11:57 am 22 Dec 09

This is not a problem.

I own a computer in an overseas datacentre – and when at home, I simply set up a VPN tunnel, and pop out of the unfiltered end of the web, in another country.

The government is soooooo dumb it makes me giggle sometimes.

The bit that I love – Is that its running costs are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!

Whistle blowing is generally misunderstood by the public. Most public interest whistle blowing does not result in mistreatment on the employee (and only rarely resulting in termination and you’re probably better off fired than working for a PS dept not working for the public interest). Anyway this is really beside the point in the case of the blacklist as it is very easy to be anonymous. Say a certain website was blocked for political reasons, a public servant need not go public with this information it can just be passed on to anyone at all. It easy to demonstrate that the politcally motivated blocked website is blocked. The public servant is not needed to confirm it was blocked it’s a self evident fact. Anyway it would be politcal suicide to do this, so I really can’t see even the most inept politician trying to pull it.

And if you think this is bad what do think Tony Abbott would do?

Conroy said there were 15 other western countries with filters but thats bullshit. They are all opt in filters. We will be the only democratic western country to have mandatory internet censorship putting us up there with Iran, North Korea and China. They always bring out the emotive save the children justifications but thats the least of our worries as others and the AFP have said paedophiles dont use the normal web they use VPN’s etc which cant be blocked anyway.

This is extremely worrying and more then enough justification for booting them out of office without even mentioning the rest of there failed policies.

Lenient “Whistle blowers don’t get shot here you know.”

No, in Australia they tend to lose there careers.

Tinfoil hats everyone.

Is it not just 4,000 of the most vile child prn sites that are being censored? Still leaves a couple of million porn sites that you can pull too.

Hear, hear. This isn’t North Korea. The list will be maintained by public servants not the secret police; so whistle blowers will reveal if our civil liberties are being violated. Whistle blowers don’t get shot here you know.

At the end of the end of the day a couple of rough edges will be knocked off the internet and we can go about browsing lolcats as before.

Of course if conservatives get in, this won’t get expanded, it would get scrapped and replaced with something that is actually draconian… then I might be a little bit bothered.

I have a sneaking suspiscion that people are going to be red faced about their drastic warnings about speed impacts.

Id like to comment on 2 more issues raised in the discussion here:

1. That with the NBN the filtering will be less of an issue with faster speeds.

Ok this is MYTH #1 – the FACTS are as follows, the faster our connection speeds get, the worse the effect of the filter will be, this is why:

As speeds increase, the number of simultaneous requests ISP’s will be handling will increase exponentially. The reason that the filtering is more likely to affect us badly with faster access is that the trials show that when a high traffic site is requested if blocked, it can cause the entire filter to fail as a result and then all connections to that ISP would get blocked for a while until someone fixed it.

As the amount of content accessed online increases, so does the need for more server boxes acting as filters increase as well, meaning the costs grow over time and it becomes more likely the sheer amount of traffic will crash these fitler proxy servers regularly causing all traffic to be blocked. The costs of this grow over time until its exorbitantly expensive to filter all the traffic being requested.

2. There is a labor member who has spoken out about the issue so far, just not a Federal member unfortunately, check out this article though: Brave Labor MP rejects Conroy’s filter plan

This Federal Government have got rocks in their heads!
That goes for the party faithful labor idiots of the ACT ‘government’ yes-men/women too.
I can’t understand why the ACT electorate keep voting them in!

Thoroughly Smashed10:07 am 18 Dec 09

Trunking symbols said :

Bye, bye Labor . . .

That reminds me. Courtesy of Rational Wiki:

Australian politics is dominated by two parties, the centre-right Australian Labor Party (who can’t spell) and the centre-right Liberal Party of Australia (who can spell but don’t own a dictionary). As a result of having two such closely aligned parties Australian elections are decided by a game of two-up.

Also

Australia is hot, red, and dry. In fact, the only way an Australian can tell if they’ve died and gone to hell is that the beer is colder.

More

Trunking symbols said :

Bye, bye Labor . . .

Do you honestly think that a government run by extreme right-wing conservatives like Abbot, Bishop, Andrews, Minchin and the rest would be so less likely to engage in this sort of thing?

I’m reminded of a large trading partner of ours who attempted to have a film removed and banned from being shown at an Australian film festival. What if same trading partner sees something on the internet it doesn’t agree with and puts pressure on Conroy to ‘filter’ it. Will we even be aware that its gone on a list of banned sites? As for the continuing Lundy saga, I’ve said it before if she feels her loyalty is to the party and not her electorate then let the Labor party pay her wages and expenses.

Trunking symbols12:58 am 18 Dec 09

Bye, bye Labor . . .

dr phil said :

No more riotact then? Would be like living in North Korea.

+1, and it’s not just RA.

… not that RA’s ‘moderation’ could ever be misconstrued 😉

And Kate Lundy’s response of “Finally, I want to be very clear that ultimately, as a Senator in the Labor Government I will be bound by Labor Caucus’ position on the matter.” is just standard “I have no spine and will not represent the great majority of my constituents to the Party, because I enjoy my pay packet as a Senator and being part of Caucus”.

Did anyone really think that our elected reps in Canberra were going to go against it? Seriously?

Lundy, McMullan, Ellis, all party hacks with absolutely no concern for their constituents.

But feel free to keep voting these sock puppets back in.

It took Conroy 3 months to release the Enex report, which warned against censoring ‘filtering’ anything other than the ACMA list used in the preliminary testing phase. (‘overblocking’ or ‘additional content filtering’)
Version 9 (the publicly available one) was written October 2009, released to the public at 1503hrs 15Dec09.
My guess is Versions 1-8 will never see the light of day, and Version 9 has undergone some judicious censoring ‘adaptation’ of language and content before public consumption.
Conroy himself ignored the advice of their report, when Enex said
“Accuracy testing results are as follows:
• All filters participating in additional content filtering in the pilot blocked between 78.80 percent and 84.65 percent of inappropriate material.
• All filters participating in additional content filtering in the pilot blocked less than 3.37 percent of innocuous content.”

RE: The additional ‘overblocking’ dataset ‘The content on this list, while innocuous, is also designed to potentially lead some filters into recording a false positive. For example, references to sperm whales and robin red breast’.

So, how keen are you to have 1/5th of classified objectionable material still get through the censoring ‘filtering’ process and reach your child’s eyeballs, and as an adult lose 1/30th of the standard internet functionality as ‘accepatble collateral losses’?
As a business, how would you feel if your business was in the ‘unlucky’ >3% censored ‘filtered’ with no recourse to fix it?

And Kate Lundy’s response of “Finally, I want to be very clear that ultimately, as a Senator in the Labor Government I will be bound by Labor Caucus’ position on the matter.” is just standard “I have no spine and will not represent the great majority of my constituents to the Party, because I enjoy my pay packet as a Senator and being part of Caucus”.
Fuck the bullshit Katy, people voted for you as a Senator to convey and represent your constituents’ interests to the Labor Party, not to spout Party hardlines to the constituency.

Also, just to give you an idea of how the pandering is going, while the announcement was made at 1503hrs, and most media agencies were then forced to run without footage or having read the document, it only took the Australian Christian Lobby less than an hour to read the entire policy and be satisfied that not only does the censorship ‘filtering’ not go far enough, but it needs to be massively ramped up within three years. (<a href = "http://www.acl.org.au/pdfs/load_pdf_public.pdf?pdf_id=1461"their response is available here and is dated 15Dec2009 1610hrs).
Resulting ITNews article

Pandy said :

Is it not just 4,000 of the most vile child prn sites that are being censored?

No, it’s not. It’s anything “they” deem to be unsuitable for viewing; they’ve already said they’ll block things like pro-anorexia and pro-euthanasia sites. Which means it becomes a slippery slope of moral outcry; next thing you know they’ll be blocking other controversial subjects, like abortion, teenage sexuality/pregnancy, anything to do with rape (like resources for people who have suffered it)…

Will it be an offence to have the sites listed on the “blacklist”, on your hard drive? Could you be charged with having offensive material? How about if you share these sites with friends?

How are you supposed to know what’s on the list?

I don’t think I support filtering.

By the way, could an admin add a vote poll into the article for me? Something like:

Do you support the internet filtering legislation as it currently stands? Yes or No

I am particularly worried about the fact that there is a secret blacklist of sites. What will be put on the blacklist next? Nobody knows!

And of course, her Highness Kate Lundy is, as usual, rather useless on the issue – http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/communications/soa/Lundy-My-filter-views-well-known-/0,130061791,339300083,00.htm

DarkLadyWolfMother2:38 pm 17 Dec 09

Kate Lundy’s Thoughts on the Filter.

It looks like she’s stuck between toeing the party line, and being genuinely worried about it.

I’m hoping she can do something about this; she’s the only politician I’ve heard from that seems to understand technical issues.

Stephen Conroy writes a piece for ThePunch, and has been comprehensively shot down in their 125 comments so far.
SMH poll: 96% against the plan, 3% in favour ‘in theory’, 1% ‘don’t understand’., Sample size: 20,627 and counting

Conroy is being deliberately devious and aiming to splinter opposition by using wedge-tactics and misrepresentative phrasing.
While he portrays the filter as being something being ‘Refused Classification’ as being the worst of the worst, (Yes, child abuse videos, but previously also information about euthanasia, information drug) bear in mind that Australia does not even have an R18+ classification for interactive or digital content.

The Act names the classification categories for films and computer games, and the Code describes them.

The categories are:

G
PG
M
MA 15+
*R 18+
*X 18+
RC

Note: R18+ and X18+ apply to films only.
Note: Films that exceed the R 18+ and X 18+ classification categories will be Refused Classification. Computer games [and interactive depictions] that exceed the MA 15+ classification category will be Refused Classification.

Refused Classification for Film can entail but is not limited to:
Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
(i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed;
(ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have a high impact;
(iii) sexual violence.

Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of
(i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
(ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

Fetish material.

Instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.

IE: If it is digital and interactive, but not cuddlefluffy enough to get an MA15+ rating, its Refused Classification by default. Even with an R18+ rating (which is currently only being proposed, get over to the AG’s website and make an intelligent supporting submission if you enjoy being treated like an adult), your right to choose your own adventure (so to speak), and choose your own with consequences, is being removed, in favour of a massive expansion of government powers and control.

There is a difference between protecting children from a small population of out-family child abusers, who groom kids in and exchange material between themselves via peer to peer networks, and the great majority of child abusers.
Close family members and family friends.

Any http filter which will not be able to screen or block these mediums – it’s a web filter, not a total internet filter.
It also doesn’t lock out in-family perverts from touching children.
The best recourses are public education and enforcement.
Enforcing this policy requires a massive increase to both the scope of OFLC\ACMA powers, massive public burden on assessment and enforcing the policy, and provides a potential use of government power to limit freedom of speech in Australia.
It especially provides a bottleneck whereby special interest groups can exercise massive and lasting power over the public through minimal effort.
It is to be aded to on a public complaints basis, allowing a special interest group to effectively “poison the well” by reporting whatever they feel like. They very process is authoritarian and political in nature.

There will be no public oversight in that the list of forbidden topics is secret, no public discussion since the public can’t be trusted to see the list, and no method of recourse to reverse a decision.

Only 38% of the earlier ACMA blacklist (as leaked to wikileaks) was related to child pornography, the rest were sites added by mistake, material that is otherwise legal to see and produce within Australia, or information which the government doesn’t want Australians to see (there were foreign euthanasia sites, and foreign drug safety pages on it).

Even though it is being pitched as a plan to assist parents take care of their children, it is being forced on everyone and with no recourse to opt-out, becoming mandatory for even those without children, or people who already have reasonable parenting skills.
The idea that it will protect 5-12 year olds is also a parenting issue. If children are being left unsupervised on unrestricted internet, its the parents who are most of concern.
There was an opt-in filter available, but Conroy killed it.

Yeh the issue isn’t just around blocking child porn, etc… I am fully in support of that. The problem is that its blocking anything which is RC – Refused Classification. Which in australia means for example a game that would recieve an R18+ rating, is RC here due to our ratings stopping at MA15+ for games, therefore the game website, purchasing portals etc… all get filtered under the new legislation and get blocked.

This issue isn’t just about blocking child porn, and the Ars Technica article goes into detail as to why that isn’t really effective anyway, and I quote:

For instance, blocking the official government censorship list (the ACMA blacklist) of around 1,000 websites was easily done; all nine ISPs participating in the recent trial achieved 100 percent accuracy with no real performance degradation and without false positives. The results make sense, since the list is both small and specific (it uses full URLs to content rather than blocking a complete IP address or domain name).

But when many of the ISPs rolled out the second, optional filtering scheme designed to make the ‘Net “family friendly,” results weren’t so hot. According to Enex, the ISPs managed to block “between 78.80 percent and 84.65 percent of inappropriate material,” and at a greater cost to performance. Overblocking also became an issue, with each ISP blocking two or three percent of “innocuous content.”

Taking aside the problems of over-blocking and the fact that the list itself is blocked content under the laws, so where is the oversight for what is on the block list? There is very little, even wanting to see the listed contents of the block list will be illegal under the new laws. We are meant to simply have blind faith that no legit content will ever be accidentally blocked. Like for example a queensland dentists website among other false positives already blacklisted.

The most laughable thing is the fact that it really won’t be too hard to circumvent anyway, and it won’t stop the worst content its designed to stop, child porn, bestiality, etc…. Not only were the ISP’s in the trial not able to block anymore than 16% of all circumvention attempts, the fact is the really nasty stuff is already shared through methods such as email, usenet, irc, bulletin boards, etc… most of which can’t be blocked under the legislation anyway due to the technical difficulties. I quote again from Ars Technica:

In addition, Enex admits that “circumvention” of the filter shouldn’t be that difficult for technically inclined users. Bypassing the mandatory ACMA blacklist of “illegal” content actually turned out to be easiest of all; of the four ISPs that tested only the ACMA list, none was able to stop more than 16.2 percent of attempts to bypass the filter. Yes, that’s right, 84 percent of attempts to bypass the scheme were successful (and the ACMA list only includes websites, not P2P or FTP or IM).

Now the big problem here is those who think that the filtering scheme will somehow block all illegal content, child porn etc…. except that the blacklist is only a complete URL blocking method, just like your virus scanner, it can only detect and block what it knows to look for, content already investigated and determined to be unsuitable. It cannot just magically block all the new websites that spring up on a daily basis with disgusting content on the sites. Ask anyone who has been involed in online stings to catch peodophiles for example and they will tell you the sites used change daily or even multiple times a day to try and stay ahead of law enforcement. The filtering scheme will do nothing to prevent this in any way.

This is definitely bad news. I was hoping they would see sense and the idea would die a quick death. I can see the filter being a complete mess and a total waste of money. Yay Government…..

Not to mebtion tha small problem of once the NBN is rolled and information becomes less static all this palava will ne null and void anyways.

The government can not control the internet any more then they can control the weather.

All they will achieve is slow general use and black market access.

eyeLikeCarrots10:40 am 17 Dec 09

For every individual URL that gets blocked, there are millions more URLs that offer the same content (google domain kiting).

People accessing child exploitation material don’t generally do it via a publicly accessible web-page (All this tool will do is make sickos use other applications and protocols… even some of the same ones that people will use to circumvent the filter)

Placing this tool on the wire and giving the keys to a government achieves nothing but pave the way for abuse, a government already heavily influenced by various churches and interest motivated groups will eventually block content that they find objectionable to their interest.

It being controlled by the public service, the time it will take blocking/unblocking proccess will be not be fast.

This is the single worst decision since Fraser v Whitlam, I will be doing what I can to see this legislation does not pass.

Useful hit the nail on the head.

Considering that in every other policy/industry area we have started a rear guard practice of cotton wooling the public and legislating for idiots to protect themselves from themselves, arguing against this from a philosophical point of view is a waste of time.

Arguing that techncially it is rubbish and that once implemented it will not be cost effective and the TCO will be astronomical, and not the in the Government’s best interest is the only way to go.

The technical flaws cannot be fixed/tested until it goes live and that will lead to a massive bunfight.

Pandy said :

Tinfoil hats everyone.

Is it not just 4,000 of the most vile child prn sites that are being censored? Still leaves a couple of million porn sites that you can pull too.

Also censors stuff such as euthanasia-advocacy, gambling, etc. It will also block downloadable games, flash-based web games and sites which sell physical copies of games that do not meet the MA15+ standard … such as Ebay and Amazon.

Has an overblock rate of 3% (given the size of the internet – this is one hell of a lot of

And as the AFP have pointed out, paedophiles don’t use normal web sites to share files, they use peer to peer software, which the filtering has no effect on.

It doesn’t work, it actually makes things significantly worse, the list of censored sites is itself censored – so the Australian public won’t be allowed to find out what is being censored, it will slow down internet access significantly (the figures are all available – one filter caused a 22% drop in speed even when it was not performing filtering).

I’d suggest doing a bit more research before listening to Conroy’s “everyone who opposes me is a paedophile” argument.

Big mistake. The internet in Australia is slow enough as it is without having to proxy filter everything. Sometimes I wonder if Rudd has ever used the internet or knows how it operates.

how long before the system is adjusted slightly for ‘the good of the country’ to censor religion, ideaology, political beliefs, criticism of governments, public decisions (all though we already see this), etc.

it’s really doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to see this happening in the future.

censorship is not a good thing in any way, shape or form. the deprivation of personal liberty and choices is something we do not want to see here.

1984 easily springs to mind.

No more riotact then?

Would be like living in North Korea.

You know, it’s a pretty good idea if you ask me.

The important point in this debate, whether you agree with censoring or not, is that this proposal is rubbish from a technical standpoint. The government has already spent millions on filtering software that was easily breakable and yet it is keen to repeat the endeavour (see the above linked Ars Technica article on how easily one can avoid the filter). This will cost a lot of money, without effectively achieving it’s goal, yet it will also slow down the internet for everyone else involved.

There’s a good article here on the technical flaws, and why this will slow down the internet for all Australians: http://www.mnot.net/blog/2009/12/16/http_au

Overall, I’ve found this news very worrying. I normally take a fairly pragmatic stance and think, well, we won’t die because of slow(er) internet – maybe it’s worth it…

But I’ve read up on this a lot and am yet to be convinced of the benefits, that it will even achieve what it’s setting out to do (er, whatever that is…) and that the cons don’t far outweigh the pros.

x TDMJ

Bernard Keane’s guide on writing to politicians (from today’s Crikey) is a must read here. It’s basically a way to tactically DDOS the senior bureaucracy over issues such as this.

http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/12/16/dont-waste-your-time-waste-theirs-a-guide-to-writing-to-ministers/

WOFTAM and stupid to boot sums it up nicely.

Assuming it gets in Labor will have shot themselves in the foot and given themselves a public relations disaster for years.

The report says that the slow downs and incorrect blocking will be lost in the “noise” of the normal net issues, what they don’t seem to realise is that every bit of noise will become the fault of the “labor party internet filter”. Every time someone can’t get to a site, every time the net is slow, they will end up blaming the filter. I doubt there is anyone on the net on Australia that hasn’t experienced a site not available or slowed down. At the moment we just mutter and put up with it grudgingly, once the filter is in place though there will be a convenient place to blame.

Tinfoil hats everyone.

Is it not just 4,000 of the most vile child prn sites that are being censored? Still leaves a couple of million porn sites that you can pull too.

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