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The Thought Police – Internet Filtering

By PeterStyles - 24 December 2009 63

Stephen Conroy

Now you may be thinking by the picture above that I’m not in support of the Internet filtering scheme.  Well I’m here to tell you that you’re entirely wrong.  I went out to the streets of Tuggeranong the other day and asked the question “What do you have against the idea of an internet filter?”  The response I received was overwhelming.  There were many relevant responses, which included such things as censorship and thought control.  All very good points, which I shall be getting to later in this article.

The one response that stood out to me was “I won’t be able to download songs from Limewire”.

Let me tell you something sport, Limewire can give you VIRUSES, and the sharing of copyrighted works is ILLEGAL.

What needs to be put into action when such places are blocked, is a system by which the user can download music, as much as they want.  A place like what.cd .  However, there should be a catch.  There should be forced DRM where the user can only keep the song for a period of up to 2 months, and after this time, it is up to the users discretion whether they want to buy the song or not.

This is a completely fair system, however the record companies are too blind to see this.  Perhaps the Australian government should pass a law in the senate that allows them to create such a website and only have it available to Australians.

Now for the fun part of the article, talking about censorship and thought control.  If the blocking of websites is to happen, there should be complete transparency in what is blocked.  The Australian government should create, and maintain a full list of websites that are blocked.  If a website is blocked, and it is not on the list, I can guarantee that there would a public outcry and media attacks.  The same would apply to a website that shouldn’t be blocked.  This could include a website about abortion, euthanasia, or gay marriage.

Another point that came up when I asked the question about Internet censorship was slow speeds.  This was relevant because compared to the rest of the world we already have slow Internet connections.  It doesn’t make sense to slow it down any further.  What the government needs to do before this filtering scheme exists is improve Internet speeds.  Once this is done, and the filter is in place, the price of an Internet connection needs to dramatically come down, and download limits abolished.

If all of these things are done, it will lead to a healthier country with happier Internet users.

Open Government – now I’d like to see that!

Peter Styles

21/12/09

ED – Canberra has the highest internet home access in the country according to the lastest ABS stats at 82%, 7% above the next highest state.
Although not a Canberra centric issue Riot hasn’t shied away for the discussion with numerous posts and comments about internet censorship. The case for stopping the clean feed and for more info on internet filtering can be found at No Clean Feed.

What’s Your opinion?


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63 Responses to
The Thought Police – Internet Filtering
niftydog 11:16 am 24 Dec 09

PeterStyles said :

You do understand this article IS about the public’s perception of the filter, right?

Looks more like an opinion piece to me.

tristero 11:03 am 24 Dec 09

dvaey said :

This is the same government, whos education department required all students in my friends 10 year olds class, to setup facebook and hotmail accounts (at school, unsupervised) ‘so the teacher can stay in contact’. Im wondering how many parents know the schools are requiring their kids to use unmoderated/unfiltered internet sites, while those same parents act responsibly and monitor their childs usage when at home. I wont be naming the school, but its a primary school in the Tuggeranong area, and my friends child was in Yr 5 when they created the accounts.

Maybe the govt needs to clean up their own house, before worrying about what others are doing.

dvaey, parents don’t know about this because it is not ACT government policy. It should not be happening because there is already a system in place for this type of communication!

For the past 8 years (at least) the ACT gov education system has had an internal online learning environment to facilitate class and teacher communication (ie, internal web-based email, secure discussion forums etc, accessible only to the other students the teacher has added to the class).

This is a situation where I’d advise the parents contact the school for clarification…

Katietonia 10:45 am 24 Dec 09

People download music and movies because downloading it provides the best service.. easy, fast and free. The filter will not block such programs (which I also think are crap) though.Do you really believe that the Government will put in place any measures to improve the speed? How the hell do they expect to improve internet speeds when some people I know can’t even get anything but dial up Internet because there is no space for them at the exchange?

As for film/music piracy online, interesting I just did a research report into that.

Thumper 10:36 am 24 Dec 09

I see this issue as a deprivation of liberty. I really couldn’t care about the internet, it’s more the fact that authoritarian governments such as Rudd’s want to intrude in people’s lives as much as possible and to mollycoddle the public in some sort of nanny state way.

And from internet censorship it’s only a small step to censorship of other things.

sloppery 10:27 am 24 Dec 09

Be interested to see how the proposed filter will inspect traffic passing through encrypted tunnels…

Tooks 10:16 am 24 Dec 09

dvaey said :

This is the same government, whos education department required all students in my friends 10 year olds class, to setup facebook and hotmail accounts (at school, unsupervised) ‘so the teacher can stay in contact’.

I find that pretty disturbing. I wouldn’t be a happy parent if my kid was at that school.

PeterStyles 10:10 am 24 Dec 09

Love it. You do understand this article IS about the public’s perception of the filter, right?

joannac 10:05 am 24 Dec 09

1. What’s to stop me downloading the same songs every 2 months?

2. Euthanasia is *illegal* in Australia. In fact, importing documents about end-of-life methods is illegal. Whether or not this should be the case is a different issue, but for the time being they are illegal. So why should this information be available over the internet?

dvaey 9:56 am 24 Dec 09

This is the same government, whos education department required all students in my friends 10 year olds class, to setup facebook and hotmail accounts (at school, unsupervised) ‘so the teacher can stay in contact’. Im wondering how many parents know the schools are requiring their kids to use unmoderated/unfiltered internet sites, while those same parents act responsibly and monitor their childs usage when at home. I wont be naming the school, but its a primary school in the Tuggeranong area, and my friends child was in Yr 5 when they created the accounts.

Maybe the govt needs to clean up their own house, before worrying about what others are doing.

niftydog 9:46 am 24 Dec 09

You seem a bit confused. The filter has nothing to do with DRM or copyright, nor will it block P2P or stop anyone from getting viruses. In fact, by pushing people to use proxies and other workarounds it’s likely to expose more users to malicious software.

It’s quite simple, Peter. If I want to go to a site that will give my PC viruses then I should be able to make that decision without the Government telling me otherwise. If I want an internet filter, then I’ll install one of the many commercially available, transparent and personally configurable filters on the market.

The proposed mandatory filter is secretive, non-negotiable and mandatory. There’s no information about how a site is deemed sufficiently offensive to be blocked, and apparently the list WILL include sites about abortion and euthanasia and whatever else the Government (unaccountably) deems unsuitable.

Improve speed, install filter, legislate for unlimited downloads (!!??!!) AND lower the cost… :O
How do you suppose the Government (or anyone for that matter) is going to achieve that?!?

Skidbladnir 9:36 am 24 Dec 09

Peter, you’re a twit.

I’m guessing either you’re 55 years old and have once attended a computing course and read a media release about how this would save children, or are maybe 17 years old, don’t understand the ACMA usage of the phrase ‘Restricted Content’, and haven’t read the Enix report on the proposed filter that was trialed.

harvyk1 9:36 am 24 Dec 09

Standing in a large crowded room can give you viruses – oh wrong sort…

A couple of things, firstly P2P traffic is not illegal, and infact there are several bands who use services such as limewire and\or torrents to get their songs out and about in a very cheap (and legal) way. (source JJJ)

As for DRM (which is way off-topic to the filter itself), well DRM does nothing to slow the illegal music trade. All that it does is make people part with good money for a song, where they can’t listen to that song from any device they like, and yet had they illegally downloaded the song they would have been free to listen to the song whereever they like. It’s kinda like the “you wouldn’t steal a car” message they have on DVD’s which should really be updated to “but if you had illegally downloaded this movie you’d already be watching it already instead of copyright messages”

shiny flu 9:21 am 24 Dec 09

Dear Mr Peter Styles,

Thank you for imposing your sanctified idea of how the music industry should be run- completely omitting the film industry -from what I can only assume is a ‘never actually worked in the music industry’ perspective and not factoring in the current process of producing music/media content.

But really, you’ve really outsmarted yourself here to expose that your single solution to the fact that any filter will slow an connection is to leave it to the very same government that already believes that slowing our already pricey, capped, slow internet connection for an Internet Filter is completely justified; to try and make it faster.

Since you’re so internet savvy you’ll be used to seeing this at every other forum you go to:

P A R A D O X I C A L F A I L

fnaah 8:52 am 24 Dec 09

Just goes to show how much disinformation and FUD there is floating around this issue (from both sides).

There is some excellent (but slightly emotive) info on the issue here:

http://libertus.net/censor/ispfiltering-au-govplan.html

The one response that stood out to you is incorrect – of all the nasty things the filter will do, blocking limewire doenloads is not one of them.

Bosworth 8:50 am 24 Dec 09

Peter, are you aware that the filter will not block p2p sharing software such as limewire?

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