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Beyond the expected

Family First and Nick Xenophon want to make Labor’s Internet filtering even tighter!

By Aleximus - 28 October 2008 104

It had to happen. First, Senator Conroy wants all Australians to have to live with a filtered version of the Web, and now, Family First and Nick Xenophon want to make sure than nothing more than R18+ gets through, and that there is no access to online casinos and the like.

Conroy’s proposals would already put us in the same basket as such champions of freedom as Saudi Arabia and Iran. God knows what it would do to internet speeds, but the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) reckons that access speed would take an 86% tumble. EFF also points out that this shows that the filters will always become a bargaining chip for the self-appointed moral guardians of the senate [thank god that Harradine is gone, otherwise we’d be stuck using smoke signals!]

What can we do about it? First, write a letter to Minister Conroy at minister@dbcde.gov.au, or
snailmail to:
Senator Steven Conroy
Suite MG70
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

or fax to: 02 6273 4154

As for Senator Fielding of Family First, and Senator Xenophon, I don’t think that they have either the capacity or willingness to evolve out of their 19th century mindsets, but if you want to, you can write to them at:

senator.fielding@aph.gov.au and senator.xenophon@aph.gov.au Although, with those two characters, I am not certain they would know what to do with an email. You might be better off writing [with a quill, purple ink and lots of capitals and exclamation marks!]

to Senator Nick Xenophon
212 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000

and to
Senator Steve Fielding
255 Blackburn Road
Mount Waverley Vic 3149

Again, be polite, put your point of view forward and ask for a response.

[ED – No Canberra angle per se, but I’m running this due to the overwhelming public interest involved (to say nothing of the potential that the filter could be used to silence any website which merely annoys even minor functionaries – like this one). Google News has extensive coverage if you need to come up to speed on what may be the defining public policy issue of the decade.]

What’s Your opinion?


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104 Responses to
Family First and Nick Xenophon want to make Labor’s Internet filtering even tighter!
johnboy 12:14 pm 28 Oct 08

Much as I value our nerdy audience, it’s important to be able to reach the general public without requiring them to break the law in the process.

If the Government can limit undesirable speech to a handful of geeks, subject to arrest at any time for their filter circumvention, then they’ll be 95% of the way to a very scary place for the rest of us.

deye 12:08 pm 28 Oct 08

johnboy said :

deye said :

it won’t work, all it will do is piss people off for a while, slow things down for a bit, then be shuffled off to the side as a mistake to be hidden away.

I wouldn’t be so sure deye.

It won’t protect children worth a damn.

But it can end the danger of the internet to the powerful pretty conclusively.

give it a week after it’s live and someone will have found a way to get around it, access will be slow though.

Skidbladnir 11:56 am 28 Oct 08


It won’t protect children worth a damn.

Okay, I’ll bite and argue on this point.
Rockspiders -may- find it harder to acquire their desired imagery & video (but they can still embed an image within another image, or mask video, or just encrypt to a phenomenal standard if really needed.
An underground industry will be driven further underground, and be less visible to the public.
Which will be nice for politicians, but it will also make infiltrating the network harder.
There will be a demand from both of these sides (hunted and hunters) for appropriately technically skilled assistance, and a need for eternal investigative vigilance, as both sides will develop methods of either outplaying or infiltrating the other..


But it can end the danger of the internet to the powerful pretty conclusively.

Only for as long as nobody is able to bypass, or otherwise ‘tweak’ the system for their own needs.
I imagine these will be crimes, and require again some degree of technical skill in specialist areas.
If these skills are useful for the person who has them, they’ll also be useful for people who don’t, but can pay or otherwise have an incentive to utilise them (as above).
Once they’ve been used to perpetrate a crime, there’s less incentive to come clean, and more to work with people wanting to also use them.
So this Glorious Golden Shield just shifts the balance away from open access for all to open access for the powerful and\or criminal.

Johnny Q Taxpayer can get as much ABC Kids programming as he likes, but Melvin P Wunderkind can get all that while being paid to assist special-interest groups in getting their horn on.

ant 11:51 am 28 Oct 08

I read the SMH article with some horror today. The filter they have planned is already a disaster for us, for our internet, for society. This is 10 times worse!

People out there buy the line that it will protect kids (it won’t), absolving parents from teh responsibility to do this themselves.

But it won’t work, it will choke our net, and more dangerously, give the government the ability to smother any topics it wants to. The mandatory filter is more for “illegal” things like discussion of euthanasia and the like.

The filter originally proposed is actually MORE restrictive than the one used in Iran. The one we’re going to have imposed on us is more akin to what’s used in China.

p1 11:19 am 28 Oct 08

Here’s a thing though – Canberra gets to benefit from this new filter. Before the internet, Australia relied on flesh mags imported from the A.C.T. With internet porn blocked, it means men (and women, lets not be prejudiced here) will once again have to rely on the good people in Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume to provide for their needs.

That might replace some of the downturn in interstate business that the eventual banning of fireworks will cause.

johnboy 11:18 am 28 Oct 08

deye said :

it won’t work, all it will do is piss people off for a while, slow things down for a bit, then be shuffled off to the side as a mistake to be hidden away.

I wouldn’t be so sure deye.

It won’t protect children worth a damn.

But it can end the danger of the internet to the powerful pretty conclusively.

deye 11:14 am 28 Oct 08

it won’t work, all it will do is piss people off for a while, slow things down for a bit, then be shuffled off to the side as a mistake to be hidden away.

fhakk 11:04 am 28 Oct 08

Here’s a thing though – Canberra gets to benefit from this new filter. Before the internet, Australia relied on flesh mags imported from the A.C.T. With internet porn blocked, it means men (and women, lets not be prejudiced here) will once again have to rely on the good people in Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume to provide for their needs.

Huzzah!

In saying that, this filter idea is dangerous, expensive, useless and misguided.

fnaah 10:41 am 28 Oct 08

Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither.

This plan stinks. Could we organise some kind of nerdy demonstration during the next parliamentary sitting? Do they allow laptops into the viewing gallery?

caf 10:04 am 28 Oct 08

jakez: So if the Liberals support this in the Senate, and the Greens oppose… will you be resigning your Liberal membership and joining the Greens?

shauno 9:55 am 28 Oct 08

The Rudd govt is going to be setting up this firewall to sensor the internet just like China and Iran. This is absolutely disgraceful and goes against everything our fathers and grandfathers fought for in the great wars. We are loosing so much of our freedom and liberty over the last couple of years and now the Rudd government is continuing this very sad trend. People are very complacent about this but sooner or later the people are going to have to rise up and say enough is enough.

This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector. Plato

p1 9:53 am 28 Oct 08

I have to admit that I wrote quite an extensive rant to several ministers on this topic just last week. Apart from the blatant stupidity of the plan (in my opinion of course, censorship makes sense to the Nth Korean government and others), the direction my rant took was to ask how they could justify the plan with respect to the Labor governments stated environmental policy, considering the amount of work, and the amount of processor time (and thus electricity) that the filters require to implement.

I might be a nerd, but I am an environmentally conscious nerd…

MadScotty 9:51 am 28 Oct 08

I was going to post something about this but couldn’t see how it related to Canberra, apart from the politics involved in this.

Lets get one thing straight from the outset – this is not about children. The “think of the children” crowd make for convenient pawns and a good news bite, but at the end of the day it’s about getting Family First onside with the Labor party.

For more info check out http://www.whirlpool.net.au under the broadband forum.
Other links here:
http://www.somebodythinkofthechildren.com/
http://www.nocleanfeed.com/

There is heaps of information out there on this, just don’t try and argue it with people like Conroy, because he pulls a Strawman argument and calls you a pedophile if you support freedom of speech.

I’ve written to Conroy and a couple of other ministers, but haven’t gotten a reply yet. I’m not holding my breath.

justbands 9:40 am 28 Oct 08

I get to use my favourite new expession again… crazy fundos.

jakez 9:36 am 28 Oct 08

Very good work Aleximus. This is a very important matter and I encourage everyone who cares about this issue to contact their MP and the Minister.

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