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Australian Government Ignoring Problems With Proposed Filters 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the la-la-la-i-can't-hear-you dept.
halll7 writes with an update to the proposed Australian national firewall we discussed recently. According to the BBC, "The official watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has been conducting laboratory tests of six filtering products, and the government plans a live trial soon. ... After its recent trials, ACMA reported significant improvements on earlier studies. The network degradation on one product was less than 2%, although two products were in excess of 75%." Now, Ars Technica reports that "an Australian newspaper has uncovered documents showing that the government minister responsible for the program has ignored performance and accuracy problems with the filters, then tried to suppress criticism of the plan by private citizens." The EFA has a great deal to say in opposition of these plans.
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Australian Government Ignoring Problems With Proposed Filters

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  • What is going on? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [reggoh.gip]> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:23AM (#25516985) Journal

    What is going on with anglo-saxon governments?

    They used to be the vanguard of freedom and liberties! Now, they seem to be degrading into a spiral of power-hungry stupid obtuseness!!!

    Is it something in the water, or the anglo-saxon culture has run it's course and is now totally decadent???

    • by wjh31 (1372867) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:27AM (#25516997) Homepage
      power hungry is about it, the governments have realised that they can do what they want, and even if everyone complains, no-one will ever actually get off thier arse and do anything about it like they used to, we are all content to be passive aggressive even though it achieves nothing and the big wigs can do what they want
      • by electrictroy (912290) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @11:15AM (#25518027)

        Well there is at least ONE positive thing to come out of Australia: Abby Winters dot-com ----- Of course if the Aussies "turn on" their filter Miss Winters will probably no longer be available. :-(

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770)

        power hungry is about it, the governments have realised that they can do what they want, and even if everyone complains, no-one will ever actually get off thier arse and do anything about it like they used to, we are all content to be passive aggressive even though it achieves nothing and the big wigs can do what they want

        I think that the last generation would get off their arse and protest and that is the big difference is almost as big a myth as that whatever music the young generation listens to is garbage. I think humans were lazy last century, are lazy this century and will be lazy next century. The difference is that the surveilance is so much more indirect, impersonal and maybe even as far as subtle. There's not the vast armies of STASI where one in fifty(!!!) citizens was an informer. You don't need the same sort of

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by electrictroy (912290)

      He shouldn't be marked "troll" or "flamebait". He's voiced EXACTLY what I was thinking. I just read an article about how the U.S.-FCC wants to gradually phasing-out free television and replacing it with subscription-only whitespace devices. Meanwhile Australia is trying to dumb-down the internet (via filtering) so it's harmless fluff even a 5-year-old could read.

      Government is supposed to be "of, by, and for the People" and instead they seem to be working for Google, Microsoft, et cetera.

      Of, by, and for t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by deniable (76198)

        I've said it before, "No representation without compensation," and big business can afford a lot of representation. In this case, I'm sure someone is looking to cash in but I think ideology is driving it. Either that or a politician is trying to look tough on the 'think of the children' issue of the week.

      • by bconway (63464) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:07AM (#25517223) Homepage

        No, analog television is already being phased out and replaced with equally free digital television. They're squabbling over what to do with the leftover frequency space.

      • I just read an article about how the U.S.-FCC wants to gradually phasing-out free television and replacing it with subscription-only whitespace devices.

        Really? I live in the U.S. and read tech news all the time, would you please post links to articles backing that claim up?

    • Here is why (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's called 'social democracy'.

      People are taught/led to either explode or collapse with emotion at the sight or thought of suffering. Instil regret, a bad conscience and the 'humane reflex' from the age of three onwards.

      Therefore, they relatively speaking become blind to all other things. Who cares about clause 4.7.4a of the tax laws? If it could help a single child, then burn every tax law!

      The individual therefore only has relevance to society if the individual either 1) suffers or 2) is oblivious to suffe

      • I'm suffering under a $35,000 a year tax burden. And that's just income tax; it doesn't include the dozens of other taxes.

        Where are the people desiring to relieve my suffering?

        • by jlarocco (851450)

          Here [lp.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by A Pancake (1147663)

      This is absolutely nothing more than the result of people buying into government as a paternal figure.

      People have made it resoundingly clear that they want the government to protect them. Whether it's from alcohol, cigarettes, violent video games, firearms, drugs, sex or any number of other things which have been, or are curently threatened by, the nanny state.

      This isn't bad in itself. The job of government is afterall to do the will of the people. If the majority wants smoking banned and it isn't unconstit

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by electrictroy (912290)

        >>>If the majority wants smoking banned and it isn't unconstitutional who am I to say it's wrong?

        You've framed the question wrong. It should be, "Is a smoking ban Constitutional?" I don't know about other countries, but in these United States the answer is "no". The Congress has not been granted the authority to ban smoking. That power lies with the 50 State governments, or the People.

        • Re:What is going on? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by fugue (4373) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @12:00PM (#25518345) Homepage

          Fuck the Constitution. It does not really include any explicit provision for managing commons, and this is the most important job of a government. The Founding Fathers were too absorbed in their own issues to deal with the larger picture.

          Smoking doesn't really damage commons, but smoking upwind of me does: that was air that I wanted to breathe, and a government absolutely does have a place in telling people that they can't destroy a public resource.

          That said, it's unconstitutional, as is all regulation of pollution, federally funded education, establishment of national parks, ...

          • By that reasoning, the government could to confiscate your car, because your exhaust is FAR more polluting to my lungs, than a single cigarette. Fortunately for you, the Congress doesn't have the power to confiscate either cars or cigarettes. That power lies with the individual States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and so on.

            >>>Fuck the Constitution.

            I cannot. I swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution as the ultimate voice of the people. If you want to amend the co

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by fugue (4373)

              By that reasoning, the government could to confiscate your car, because your exhaust is FAR more polluting to my lungs, than a single cigarette.

              Yup.

              Fortunately for you, the Congress doesn't have the power to confiscate either cars or cigarettes.

              Are you sure that that's fortunate for me? Do you really think that we'd be worse off if we had clean high-speed electric trains and buses and cars, and a truly bicycle-friendly civilisation, than we are now? No more global warming (depending on how we got the electricity, but clean energy is possible), no more traffic accidents (or at least many fewer), no more oil wars, no more urban sprawl, no more geriatrics' (and others') lives destroyed when they find out that they are no longer mobile because t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The reason why governments expand in power and revenue throughout their lifetimes is simple, although not many people can bring themselves to accept it:

      Government attracts the kind of person who wants to control others through force -- tell them how to behave, how to spend their money, what to value and what not to value -- not the kind of person who just wants to mind their own business and live in peace.

      It is only natural for the people in this business -- the business of controlling others through force

    • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @12:31PM (#25518591)

      > What is going on with anglo-saxon governments?

      Anglo-saxon voters.

    • Re:What is going on? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @12:56PM (#25518773)
      What is going on with anglo-saxon governments?

      Name a race (as that's what you're talking about) that isn't doing this now. The Slavs are going back to authoritarianism under Putin, China has never left it, can't think of any African or Arab countries that do either.

      So, again, what's with the "anglo-saxon" tag? Are people of any ethnicity resisting this?

    • They used to be the vanguard of freedom and liberties! Now, they seem to be degrading into a spiral of power-hungry stupid obtuseness!!!

      It's been a long time since anglo-saxon people held leaders accountable. To the modern elites, having to make a public apology or receive an official censure is meaningless. Even if they are forced to leave the job where they betrayed the people trust, they get installed in a less public power position, like a corporate board of directors or high powered lobbyist position
    • by maglor_83 (856254) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @05:06PM (#25520927)

      Is it something in the water

      I doubt it. We don't have any in Australia.

    • Re:What is going on? (Score:4, Informative)

      by batwingTM (202524) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @07:09PM (#25521931) Homepage

      Well, it began a bit more innocently than that. Over the last 5 years or so the Media in Australia has given a lot of airtime to child porn rings. The Federal Police have broken a few and when they do it s HEADLINE news across the whole country. As a result parents are getting worried that the lonesome guy next door is a pedophile (It is like a witchhunt, but this is my opinion, not the facts).

      So the Howard Government (Liberal Party, Conservative) put forth all these ideas about "Protecting" the children. Tacked onto this was the issue that it is too easy to access porn on the internet, so the idea of putting up a filter to prevent children having access to these materials was floated. Now the Media has pushed forth these ideas that the Government must protect us from the big bad world and completely ignored the issues of parental interaction (again, this is filtered by my opinions)

      Last year the Howard Government was defeated in the election and the Rudd Government (Labor Party, left leaning) came to power. they spent a lot of the campaign pushing for "Working Families" (Industrial relations, Tax benefits etc) and one of those platforms was keeping the kids away from "questionable" material. The government has put a lot of money into providing access to free filters for parents to access and police their children's use of the internet. Personally, I think that is a good think, the parents being involved with how their children access the internet is a good thing (Again, opinion, not facts)

      Now, however, we have a problem. In it's goal to be the Family friendly government the men in power have decided that the internet needs to be filtered to keep "Questionable" material out. This is how we got to this point. and there are a few factors working towards this

      1) The Family First Party
                  There is a relatively new party representing voters in the senate in Australia and that is "Family First" a quasi religious party pushing "Family Values" the problem is that the one senator from this party effectivly holds the balance of power in the senate (Upper house) so that if the government wants his support, they have to appease him. I am sure that this internet plan plays into this (Opinion, not fact)

      2) Terrorism
                  Of course, Terrorists are out to get us all, and as a subset of this pedophiles are out to get our kids. this belief is a product of the media, for they are only interested in the next big shocking story, and child porn is shocking. but there are already a lot of ways to violate civil liberties in place because of the "War on Terrorism" and that has created an environment where this kind of censorship is acceptable to the public

      3) The Stigma of Porn
                  No-One wants to come out and oppose this. MP's do not want to come out as say "No, the Australian internet should not be censored" because the media will read that as "Mr Whomever supports Porn" and that would be political suicide.

      So what can we do from here, it's a good question. I know that I personally and raising the issue with everyone I know, sending letters (yes, paper letters, they are harder to ignore than email) and what-not, but there seems to be no organisation in place to fight this. so if anyone knows of one, please forward me the details. travisDOTmatheson(atSymbol)gmail.com

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:28AM (#25517003) Journal
    They are welcoming them. The next step is to block any content which discusses these problems.
    • by deniable (76198) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:57AM (#25517163)

      Bloody hell. This guy makes Richard Alston look competent.

      • by Gwala (309968)

        I know, scary isn't it? We thought the worlds biggest luddite was the worst of possible Communications ministers.

        Well, Labour did come into power under the guise of doing things better...

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      Sure you can filter the internet and not let people get to the websites set up about the problems... This doesnt stop someone from printing out fliers and handing them out to people or putting them up on signposts or what not...

  • Why... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kidde_valind (1060754)
    Why does this surprise anybody? The government has it's mind set on implementing these filters, and all democracy aside, nothing will stop them when their minds are made up.
  • "We have buttiduously canvbutted the industry, buttessed what is available and buttembled the finest selection of private contractors for this buttignment. The filters will buttociatively clbuttify all communications and filter then, I can butture you, rebuttemble them with surpbutting exacbreastude in any quanbreasty. Consbreastuents can be rebuttured that a mulbreastude of industry compebreastors will butture quality and keep our clbuttrooms safe. EDS Capita Goatse will not embarbutt us." [today.com]

    (Inspired by Daily WTF [thedailywtf.com].)

  • by cjfs (1253208) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:48AM (#25517105) Homepage Journal

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

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:50AM (#25517115)
    Let's see if I've got this right.

    The Autrailian government is considering implementing a web filtering system - but they don't want people to know that it doesn't work.

    Given that they state (in the cited article) that it will block "all illegal material", then by definition anything it allows through must therefore be legal, The only conclusion I can logically draw from this is that their government is against filtering, blocking or generally censoring the internet - but that they don't want their people to know this. Strange!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jnnnnn (1079877)

      The answer is possibly that Conroy is only continuing to push the filter because he wants to keep Senator Fielding (single representative of a Christian minority party, holds part of balance of power) happy for several difficult votes ahead.

      I can't imagine that Australian citizens will be too impressed if they find their 'net being censored. Actually implementing something that worked badly would be political suicide.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZorbaTHut (126196)

      Nope, it's simple.

      The government doesn't care about illegal material in the slightest. They just want more power over what people can see and experience. This gives them more power, and they're using "illegal filtering" as the way to get it past people who might otherwise be critical.

      They're certainly not against filtering illegal stuff - they simply don't care about it.

  • by cervo (626632) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:50AM (#25517119) Journal
    Now this is way out of control. I mean I thought the whole thing about a backlash at Child Porn was to protect the children. By censoring the websites you are stopping the consumption of child porn. But how are you protecting the exploited children?

    Instead of censoring the whole internet (which must be for some other agenda using Child Porn as an excuse to push censoring) why not focus more resources on finding and arresting the people who create child porn.

    I don't mean the people who view it. Because honestly I have had child porn come up on the internet while searching for other things. I immediately close the site, but if you look at the logs I accessed the site. Also in some newsgroups there are tons of child porn pictures. If you say download all messages, even though you open a child porn and are like no and close it right away, it still says you downloaded it. Or even browsing, sometimes a message will have one title but in the end it shows someone young that maybe is 18 but maybe is not you just don't know. So anyway I close that message but I still accessed it. Should I be arrested? Probably not because I am not interested in child porn at all and I certainly don't want to go out and do anything with a child (as far as the difference between 17 and 364 days and 18 that is tougher call if you were looking at women in a bar, but if I knew they were 17 and 364 days I would wait the one day not to worry about some FBI raid :)).

    What would be better would be if there is a way for me to report these things to the government authorities easily. In the end I'm sure a lot of people come across Child Porn searching for completely unrelated things, or even searching for adult porn. It seems a waste to not have a way to report these things for investigation. The problem with that is if they just look at every ip in the logs that accessed the site and go arrest everyone, they will arrest a lot of people who came to the website by mistake or who downloaded a newsgroup message by mistake. But if there was a way to report it and they closed down the makers that would be great. At some point there would be so little child porn that people would stop coming across it by accident (mostly). Because the makers of it would take steps to make it harder to find. And the good thing is that people actively looking for it would have a harder time as well....

    Also from the way this guy seems so child porn phobic you would thing he was looking at child porn and because he feels guilty he decided he should help filter the internet so he doesn't have the temptation anymore. Usually the most vocal opponents against something actually do it. I remember quite a few Republicans who were very anti Clinton for his affair who ended up having affairs of their own.....And I don't even need to mention the various ministers in the church. Maybe someone needs to investigate this government minster. He sounds awfully anti-child porn, as if he is overly familiar with the problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by electrictroy (912290)

      Child porn is not illegal, unless it involves actual children. If child porn involved adults who look like children, or computer-generated images (ala the vixens in DOA Volleyball), then child porn is perfectly legal in the USA.

      I don't know how it is in Australia, but it should be the same. The crime is the victimization of children, NOT the faked photograph.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deniable (76198)

      Child porn may just be the cover story. It's possible that some of these people are really looking to stop child porn. It's also possible that they are being paid to consult with a vendor who has a solution in search of a problem. It's also possible that they hate all porn and want to use child porn to get a foot in the door.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cervo (626632)
        I was thinking the same thing and also something else.

        1. He's gonna pay a vendor a fortune to implement the filtering. And that is the motivation.

        2. Child porn is phase 1, music and movies are phase 2...you can see where that is going....warez and microsoft windows phase 3......
        • by deniable (76198)

          No, you're not thinking like a politician. He's gonna get the ISPs to pay a vendor and we know where that cost will go.

          • by cervo (626632)
            NO, you're not thinking like a politician. If the government pays it is still taxpayer money. And if he pays a big ISP then the isp can contribute to his political platforms. For the little guys yeah the government could care less....but for the big guys it is advantageous to posture to them and get them on your side.
    • by electrictroy (912290) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:03AM (#25517193)

      >>>I'm sure a lot of people come across Child Porn searching for completely unrelated things, or even searching for adult porn. It seems a waste to not have a way to report these things
      >>>

      They do? I've never seen any child pornography. Never. I've seen lots of Nudist websites displaying Mom, dad, and child naked at the beach, but that is NOT porn. The human body was created by God, and what Gods creates is not sinful. A naked human is not porn.

      If you want to see child porn (read: sex), you have to go into dark corners of the internet. It is well hidden. You can't just stumble upon it "by accident".

      • by cervo (626632)
        I think child porn read naked picture without sex is shady enough that I would not want to have even that. Plus if there is any question as to if someone is 16 or 18 I would not want to have that either. There are 16 year olds who look 20. Just like there are 25 year olds who look 15. And quite frankly unless you can prove that 25 year old is really 25 I would not want to be caught with any of it. Not even nudist pictures at the beach. Not with the US government anyway (I think nude pictures of people
        • by cervo (626632)
          By the way here is the link http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/08/teen_charged_for_cell_phone_pics/ [theregister.co.uk] it seems that a naked human body under 18 IS child porn. At least in the US. So I guess that makes you guilty of looking at child porn if you look at those images. When I say I came across child porn by mistake I mean those images. I don't think I have ever come across children having sex (or if I have maybe they were close enough to 18 that they looked 18). But I don't think they need to be having sex
        • >>>I think child-naked picture without sex is shady enough that I would not want to have even that.

          Okay. Here's a challenge for you. Go here and tell me how this is morally wrong? http://www.purenudism.com/free-nudist-pictures.html [purenudism.com] ----- I don't see a single image there that depicts sex. These are3 just family photos!

          And as I said before, a human body is God's creation. To label God's artistry as "obscene" is an insult to the Creator.

    • by mangu (126918) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:12AM (#25517239)

      Because honestly I have had child porn come up on the internet while searching for other things. I immediately close the site, but if you look at the logs I accessed the site. Also in some newsgroups there are tons of child porn pictures.

      That's weird, in the 15 years or so that I've been using the Web, I have never, ever, seen one single photograph that could be classified as "child porn".

      I have seen some pictures of nude children in nudist camps and beaches, there are many beaches in Europe where whole families go totally nude. There are many so-called "teen" sites, which show nude women with small breasts and shaved pubic region, who could be of any age between 15 and 30.

      But I never found one single picture of a child engaged in sex. This must be some different "internets" we are talking about. That, or people have extended the meaning of "child porn" to "any image I don't like".

      • by cervo (626632)
        As far as I know if they are under 18 in the photo it is illegal. And in newsgroups it is a bigger issue. At least I think. I have been using the internet for about 15 years as well. And especially in the mid to late 1990s it was much easier to find unintended things on searches about completely unrelated things.

        Enough that my high school had a policy where if you found such things you had to call a computer lab aid over who would check out what you were searching for. And then clear it. Otherwise
        • Stupid Christian. Where do you get off imposing your morals on me??? Butt out bastard.

          • by cervo (626632)
            I'm not imposing morality just the laws. I don't want to go to jail :) Whether I agree with the laws or not is another issue. But as long as the laws are the law I have to be in compliance with them as much as possible unless I want to go to jail. The same applies to Marijuana/etc... In reality alcohol is probably more dangeorus than marijuana but unfortunately alcohol is legal and marijuana isn't. It doesn't matter what I agree with. If I am caught with marijuana I will go to jail.
            • That's fine, but it also helps if you actually READ the law. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed time-and-time again that photos of naked children are not illegal. They are protected by free speech, and that's why nudist sites exist. It's why some child actors like Brooke Shields ran-around naked in their movies. It's not illegal to be without clothes.

              They only time a naked child becomes illegal is if an adult forces the child to have sex, because a minor (17 or less) can not give consent. But nudity i

            • >>>unless I want to go to jail.

              Henry David Thoreau is famous for his "Walden Pond" work, but he also wrote treatises on civil disobedience. A true citizen should be willing to spend time in prison in order to fight immoral laws. As happened with Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

              In addition a law that is unConstitutional is no law at all. (According to the U.S. Supreme Court.) It is null-and-void.

    • What would be better would be if there is a way for me to report these things to the government authorities easily.

      http://www.iwf.org.uk/ [iwf.org.uk]

      That is quite a good resource for reporting child porn. It's not Australian but the internet is international so it doesn't matter who shuts them down.

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:51AM (#25517133) Journal
    The countries of the world seem to be catching a bad case of censorphilia. I can't think of a single reason important enough to warrant censorship in peacetime. Where the hell does this all stop?
    • Revolution? Presumably at some point enough people will be sufficiently annoyed to get off their asses and do something. Until then...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tuoqui (1091447)

      That's because we've never been at peace, we've always been in THE WAR ON TERROR!!!!!111111oneoneoneone!

  • by squarooticus (5092) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:26AM (#25517339) Homepage

    If anyone thinks this is about child porn, they are simply fooling themselves. This is about control. The governments of the world want the serfs to know who their masters are and what their place in society is. The easiest way to do that---as China has found out---is to limit the information coming into the country to that which is approved by the government.

    This is nothing new: Australia is simply following an ages-old script. The difference between then and now is that you think you have control because you live in a democracy. Let me assure you that democracy and liberty are two entirely different things, and often are at odds. Please see Hoppe's Democracy: The God that Failed [amazon.com] and Hayek's The Road to Serfdom [amazon.com] for more detail.

    The best reaction you can have to this is to encourage yourself and others (especially your own children) to differentiate respect for others' rights from respect for artificial "law", and to show the latter none while deferring to it only enough to keep from attracting too much attention. Defy all rules that have nothing to do with protecting the rights of others, and you are a free man; obey them, and you are a slave.

  • At work, one of our filters even blocked microsoft for a day or so.
    I get 3-4 blocked sites everyday just by looking at some links from Digg, Slashdot and a links from some newspapers. And this filter is only claiming to block dangerous sites.
    I am sure that they have blocked a lot of sites that had infected banner ads at some point but then have left them blacklisted to inflate the hit counter of blocked sites.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by rohan972 (880586)

      At work, one of our filters even blocked microsoft for a day or so.

      You're right, if it's only going to be for a day or so, it's just not worth it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by plasmacutter (901737)

      At work, one of our filters even blocked microsoft for a day or so.

      WOW! It actually worked at filtering out harmful material!

      Send a letter to the oz government recommending their solution.

  • by moxley (895517) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:40AM (#25517429)

    They ignore anything that may set them back because those within these western governments pushing this garbage really don't give a fuck about child porn, protecting the people, or anything. It is all politics; window dressing for censorship and control, a conduit to get an agenda they've wanted for a very long time rammmed through whatever sort of consitutional or other protetctions (including mass opinion) the people supposedly have against these sorts of abuses.

    Another interestingly disgusting point when to comes to child porn (and other sexual behaviors that are not criminal but just as denounced by these guys) is that there have been many occasions where politicians, community leaders, priests, leaders of socially conservative movements, etc who are vocal and fervent denoucers and crusaders against such things are caught with this material or, worse, even involved in producing and distributing it.. the nebraska Franklin scandal that the Reagan/Bush whitehouse was caught up in comes to mind....

    As a political issue child porn is like terrorism - it's an awful thing, but is also one of those political trump cards - and these slick bastards know it and use it as such.

  • by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:44AM (#25517445)

    Serious question. What IS the solution ??

    I'm torn on this. The filtering plan is bullshit obviously and I'm also sure that someone
    will post the funny "Please god.. won't someone think of the children!?" but heres the rub...

    They're my children. MY kids. Not someone theoretical child somewhere that needs saving.
    And after 15 years on the net, I know exactly how bad and sadistic some of the content is
    out there.

    My kids are of the age where they're becoming independent. I've educated them. I've
    implemented my own rules of engagement when it comes to my kids accessing the internet at home.

    But I can't guide them 100% of the time. They know whats ok, and whats not, but
    they're still kids.

    I'm lucky in that I was in Uni when the Internet went mainstream in early 90s. I could make
    decisions for myself, but for kids these days, the Internet has always been ON.

    Its time we stopped bagging the HOW and started thinking about the WHY.

    WHY is the (insert your government here) trying to censor the internet ?

    The main reason is simple - people are worried about their kids and the ease
    with which they can end up in touch with seriously maladjusted, sick and sadistic
    motherf**ers online.

    Most parents learn that while the world can be wonderful - it can also be a nasty,
    mind numbingly horrendous place at times. The internet is representation of that.
    All things wonderful, all things horrible, all at the same time. You can't critisize
    parents for wanting to come between their kids and the nastier elements.

    This is Slashdot - one of the biggest collection of people with the talent and ideas
    to find a solution to this problem in the world. SO WHAT IS IT ???
    2 internets ? registered and unregistered ? make it an over 18 network ?

    How do we use a technical solution to enforce a line in the sand that noone can agree
    on anyway ? If the geeks can't find a solution to this dilemma, then ultimately the
    politicians will - and we won't like the bonus pack I'm sure.

    So, to pose the question: Dont put your head in the sand. The predators are there.
    They're real. They exist. Given this, how do we protect OUR kids online ?

    • by dhasenan (758719)

      You want to protect your kids online. Fine. Who is going to rape your kids via the Internet?

      Be careful about who your kids see in person, if you're worried. But they're going to run in to everything from Tubgirl to 4chan to scientology on the internet; you can't filter it out. Make sure they're well grounded in reality, and they should be able to handle it.

    • by Davemania (580154) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @10:14AM (#25517655) Journal
      How do you protect your kids in real life ? Predators are there and they're real. Do you lock them away and shield them from the real world ? Like the so called "war on terror", it is not a military solution alone, its a combination of economical, social and military etc etc approach. I don't see a technological solution to a social problem. These problems has been around way before the tubes have been laid. My parents have taught me be cautious or avoid strangers etc etc and I am still alive, commonsense and being actively involved with your kids goes a very very long way.
    • Well, do you? Do you force your kids to wear a helmet. Every second. There are hard surfaces out there and people die EVERY day from falling even if they are not doing anything dangerous.

      I am willing to bet that if I do a safety study on your house and daily routine I can find dozens if not hundreds of things you could do to make your life and the life of your childeren more secure. Yet you won't because you will say that your freedom to life a normal life is worth the added risk.

      Yet, when it comes to the

    • by Alsee (515537) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @01:07PM (#25518849) Homepage

      So, to pose the question: Dont put your head in the sand. The predators are there.
      They're real. They exist. Given this, how do we protect OUR kids online ?

      No, the real worry is how do you protect your kids when they are OFFLINE.

      Your kids are vastly more likely to be molested by the baby sitter, the gym teacher, your priest, or your brother/brother-in-law, than by some stranger on the internet. If you want to keep your kids safe keep them ON the internet all the time, don't let them go to church, don't let them go to school, don't let them join the boyscouts/girlscouts, and most importantly never let any relatives into your home. Police figures show those are the REAL predator threats.

      Be smart, keep your kids on the internet as much as possible. It's about the safest place for them short of padlocking them inside the fridge.

      -

  • Source of filters (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ebonum (830686)

    Disclosure: I am American.

    Now that we have that out of the way, I really don't feel the American government should be telling Australian government how to rule their own country ( This statement does not apply to things such as are killing political dissidents ). However, I would have no problem if the US government made it illegal for US government agencies to purchase equipment from any company who supplied a foreign country with this kind of filtering technology. The ban could be extended to any organi

  • we are not in thatcher days anymore. even thatcher's time was much more free and liberal than today.

    in last 15 years, conservatives around the world have become real public enemies, damagers of the modern civilization. from usa to europe to australia the damage conservatives did to the modern values are beyond reproach. from civil liberties to privacy, there isnt a single field that they have harmed by their increasing levels of bigotry and zealotry.

    troll ? not at all. i was a conservative once, long
  • by cliffiecee (136220) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @10:49AM (#25517837) Homepage Journal

    So, if Australia's filtering, that means I NEVER have to worry about getting in trouble for using the internet! Right?

    A while ago, a place I used to work at implemented filtering. I was actually kinda happy about it! I no longer had to worry about going to an inappropriate site, because the filters would stop me from getting there. Great!

    Except that, a few weeks later, the CEO sent an email to everyone stating how annoyed he was that people were trying to access the filtered sites. It didn't matter that the sites were blocked. It didn't matter that people never saw the blocked content! The mere fact that we were still adjusting to the new filters caused our CEO to chastise us about our internet usage.

    And that's the ultimate insult with filtering- It doesn't matter if it works 100% perfectly. You will be expected to filter your brain as well. If the filter admins see that you're trying to access things that you cannot even access because of the filter, you WILL get in trouble.

  • by papafox_too (883077) * on Sunday October 26, 2008 @11:05AM (#25517949)

    The Australian governments' proposed ISP filter system has little to do with censorship or child porn - it is all driven by Australian domestic politics.

    The government requires control of the Senate to get its legislative program through. The Senate consists of 76 members, with the Government (ALP) holding 32 seats, the Opposition 37 seats, the Greens 3 seats, Family First 1 seat and one Independent senator.

    The goverement requires the support of all non-Opposition memebers to get legislation passed - with Senator Steve Fielding, the Familiy First senator a vital supporter.

    The Family First [wikipedia.org] party is a socially conservative political party. Senator Fielding recieved 56,000 primary votes out of a 3.3M votes cast. However, through preference distributions he gained a quota and was elected.

    Senator Fielding has demanded that the government implement porn filters, with ISP filtering being his method of choice.

    So, the Australian government is implementing ISP filters, no because they work for filtering porn, but because they work at meeting their political needs. Complaining about the effects of ISP filters on freedom of speech or internet performance will fall on deaf ears - the filters will be implemented because they are critical to the governments tenuous control of the Senate.

  • Even if you're okay about the intrusion of privacy, slowing down the internet by that much is horrible...

    It's policies like these which really make me think an open source style government [metagovernment.org] would be the answer. Although it's not perfect, what's particularly interesting about the linked site is how people's opinions are weighted. People who are voted by other people as having a good understanding in an area will have a higher chance of enforcing laws and making decisions. Those people themselves are voted
  • by srjh (1316705) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @07:52PM (#25522173)

    Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy
    Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
    Suite 1B, 494 High Street
    Epping Vic 3076

    I'm not normally one to write to politicians on issues, but I did so for the first time regarding the filter because of the grave privacy and censorship implications. I encourage everyone else in Australia to do the same.

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

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