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Australia's ISPs Speak Out Against Filtering 262

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-it-possible-to-import-an-isp dept.
daria42 writes "The leaders of three of Australia's largest internet service providers — Telstra Media's Justin Milne, iiNet's Michael Malone and Internode's Simon Hackett — have, in video interviews with ZDNet.com.au over the past few months, detailed technical, legal and ethical reasons why ISP-level filtering won't work. Critics of the policy also say that users will have no way to know what's being filtered."
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Australia's ISPs Speak Out Against Filtering

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:21AM (#25592353)

    I take comfort in the fact that once typical people are aware their internet is being filtered and monitored they will start blaming every internet slow down and disconnection on it.

    • just like people blame their internet slow down and disconnections on ISPs overselling far beyond their hardware capacity and creating unnecessary network overhead through the use of traffic monitoring/filtering & packet shaping technology?

      the general public will think what the media tells them to think. assuming that Australian society has developed a culture of complacency similar to that of the U.S., if the Australian media can spin this issue the same way the U.S. media was able to spin the war on I

      • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:07AM (#25592815)
        maybe i'm wrong, and Australians are more receptive to the voice of reason than Americans are. but then again, a rational society would not be facing this dilemma, since they wouldn't put anyone in power who'd even be considering this kind of nationwide internet censorship. i mean, the Chinese at least have an excuse since they don't really elect their government officials. but Australia?

        Unfortunately, America doesn't have a total monopoly on stupidity. Australia didn't really have much choice at the last election. The incumbent Prime Minister was an outright fascist who was so in love with himself that he refused to accept the value of anyone else's point of view, and his replacement is an insufferable narrow-minded suburban prig with as much imagination as one might expect from the glorified parking attendant that he is.

        Sure, the Prime Minister's office will no doubt spin this any way it likes, but when it comes down to it, the policy is still driven by the so-called "moral panic" imperative. We never voted for internet censorship (that idea wasn't mentioned in the run-up to the election) but that won't stop them trying to get it through.

        The silver lining is that they have to sweet-talk a lot of MPs to get the policy through Parliament, so there's hope that they might still get the kick in the pants that they deserve.
        • by ozphx (1061292)

          The silver lining is that they have to sweet-talk a lot of MPs to get the policy through Parliament...

          That lining isn't so silver. The two votes that Labor need to ram their nanny state crap thru are from the "Family First" MP, and the "No Pokies" MP.

          "Family First" is basically Paradise Community Church's rep - and he has gone on record saying he wants the mandatory filter extended to all forms of hardcore pornography.

          "No Pokies" is down with it as well, and would like it to include mandatory blocking of g

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by electrictroy (912290)

          I think the previous two posters are correct. Here's how it will be reported by the television media:

          >>> Australia's ISPs Speak Out Against Filtering

          "Once again the mega-corporations are putting profit before morality, said Politician Joe Smith. Added his collegue Senator Sarah Jane: "What do they care if your children are exposed to pornography, or child molesters post their smut online? We need this filtering in order to protect our youngest citizens from corruption, and we can not allow corpo

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by afxgrin (208686)

            "Once again the mega-corporations are putting profit before morality, said Politician Joe Smith. Added his collegue Senator Sarah Jane: "What do they care if your children are exposed to pornography, or child molesters post their smut online? We need this filtering in order to protect our youngest citizens from corruption, and we can not allow corporate greed to derail us from out goal."

            LOL corporate greed. These people are hilarious. This isn't like TV, where you go to a channel and you get content deliv

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by philspear (1142299)

        just like people blame their internet slow down and disconnections on ISPs overselling far beyond their hardware capacity and creating unnecessary network overhead through the use of traffic monitoring/filtering & packet shaping technology?

        Most people don't understand what that means. I've been lurking on YRO slashdot for a while and I'm not too clear on packet shaping (not asking, that's not my point). "Government is monitoring your internet and that's slowing it down" is a lot clearer.

        Most important difference though: you can't vote against your ISP. You can switch, but they all kind of screw you over, right? At the very least, people generally seem to be concerned with price more than ethics of their ISP. You can, however, vote for th

      • maybe i'm wrong, and Australians are more receptive to the voice of reason than Americans are. but then again, a rational society would not be facing this dilemma, since they wouldn't put anyone in power who'd even be considering this kind of nationwide internet censorship. i mean, the Chinese at least have an excuse since they don't really elect their government officials. but Australia?

        When it comes to elections, there are generally a lot more issues involved than just this one, which I personally knew nothing about until quite recently. In particular, we had to get rid of John Howard to abolosh his mistakes like "Work Choices" (the highly controversial workplace laws he forced on us), and the way he followed Bush to war, and countless other issues.

        Yeah, it would nice to get a government that's completely perfect in every way, and wouldn't try to introduce such an appalling internet cens

        • by inflex (123318)

          Further to the fact that Mr Howard was pretty much doing his best to turn AU into another US state, I think that they would have tried to bring in exactly the same policy for internet filtering anyhow (I do seem to recall hearing about it raising its head in parliment more than once before).

          The Howard government needed to be turned over for more than one reason, even if Rudd only stays in for a single term the cooling effect against the profound arrogance that was taking hold in the Howard camp will be wort

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by rohan972 (880586)

            Further to the fact that Mr Howard was pretty much doing his best to turn AU into another US state

            No, a US states citizens would be protected by the bill of rights. Howard would have done anything to stop that, you don't think he was a 2nd amendment fan do you?

            • by MrKaos (858439)

              No, a US states citizens would be protected by the bill of rights.

              Exactly, something that seems lost on a lot of Australians when the Anti-Terrorism laws, and laws to remove liability from Australian Soldiers shooting Australian citizens in protests were passed. Australian law has decended to that of a sleazy dictatorship without the dictator. However, the stage is set...

              Howard would have done anything to stop that, you don't think he was a 2nd amendment fan do you?

              Or a 1st Amendment fan.

            • No, a US states citizens would be protected by the bill of rights. Howard would have done anything to stop that, you don't think he was a 2nd amendment fan do you?

              And you think US politicians aren't doing their best to chip away at these protections bit by bit themselves? AU is descending in the same direction as the US, just a bit quicker since there's no pesky bill of rights to get in the way (actually, there is an Australian constitution of course, but not much in the way of rights to the people outlined therein). Once the US politicians finally erode whatever is left of their constitution, the US will do the same freefall that AU is doing.

              The second amendment s

          • by Malekin (1079147)

            The Liberals did try to bring in internet censorship under the same sort of system that is currently being rammed through. When their research showed it would slow down the internet and be ineffective anyway, they instead handed out free filtering software for anyone who wanted to install it on their own computer (see: http://www.netalert.gov.au/ [netalert.gov.au] ) Unsurprisingly, only a tiny fraction of the population actually wanted the filtering software at all, and after trying it only a fraction of those ever updated

      • Use Crelm toothpaste, with the secret ingredient Fraudulin. It's the he most effective way to fight

        • Tooth Decay
        • Gum Disease
        • Iternational Fascism

        Fascism has a domino effect: once we restore liberty and democracy to the US, the rest will fall like dominoes.

        Use Crelm toothpaste, or a well-regulated American militia (being necessary to the security of the free state), to fight fascism.

        (apt-get install miscfiles to get /usr/share/state/us-constitution.gz)

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:21AM (#25592367) Journal
    Zero comments. Maybe this post is being filtered in Australia.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:33AM (#25592429)

      That can't be true - I'm posting from Austr

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by master5o1 (1068594)
        So posting from Australia is like saying candlejack. You either die or don't comple
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jesus_666 (702802)
        I'm posting from Australia as well and the situation here is PERFECTLY FINE. Internet access in Australia is FAST AND CHEAP as it is, but now they're filtering all kinds of SITES NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO VISIT ANYWAY. I also suspect they LEAVE INTACT all outgoing data so as to LET EVERYONE ENJOY THEIR FREE SPEECH.

        Seriously, what kind of EXTREMELY LIKABLE AND INTELLIGENT government comes up with something like that? Australia is really looking more and more like AN UTOPIA. I'm going back to THE OUTBACK
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jamesh (87723)

      I don't think Slashdot will be filtered... according to the summary:

      "The leaders of three of Australia's largest internet service providers -- Telstra Media's Justin Milne, iiNet's Michael Malone and Internode's Simon Hackett -- have, in video interviews with ZDNet.com.au over the past few months, detailed technical, legal and ethical reasons why excellent and much looked forward to ISP-level filtering will work exactly as designed. Critics of the policy have now come to their senses and have also put forwa

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:26AM (#25592383)

    IaaA (I'm am an Australian)

    If they think they can start censoring things they don't want us to read using child pornography as an excuse, they're really underestimating our intelligence. Everybody knows why KRudd wants this, he has some really unpopular solutions to problems nobody cares about (or those that don't even exist). Who knows what the great firewall of Australia would filter out?

    Many technical users will bypass this in a matter of minutes. People should ask for a personal refunds from the morons who devised this scheme, taking back the tax money they wasted from their own pockets and giving it back to hardworking Australians.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You didn't say anything when they took your guns. You won't say anything when they take your voices, either.

      • by walshy007 (906710) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:58AM (#25592987)

        You didn't say anything when they took your guns.

        some of us were too young to have any say in it at the time (1990) and while even more strict and limiting laws have been applied since then, the general public's view of firearms is only what they see in cop shows and action movies

        It's those views that really harm shooting as a sport, and I know people who want all firearms in the country banned except for police.

        Their view is nobody needs them, nobody needs to go rock climbing either, but should we ban it because some people like to be idiots and hurt themselves every few years? I have no qualms about requiring licenses for people who own firearms, hell even the whole requiring a safe over x kg or permanently bolted to a building foundation, but some of the limits are just too much.

        as an example, I've always wanted a walther ppk, something just reeks of class about it, anyway I have no chance in hell of ever owning or using one in Australia, because it's 'too small'

        granted, my other favourite firearm is justified in the limiting of civilians having access to, the aug steyr, it's a semi/fully automatic assault rifle, however being in the military solved that problem. I'll never own one, but using and practising with them all the time is nice.

        Former prime minister John Howards irrational fear of firearms was clearly evident on one of the few times he went to speak to concerned firearm owners, he wore a bulletproof vest...

        that pretty-much sums it up I guess. But the biggest problem is the general public's lack of knowledge of firearms, and lack of experience, that which people don't know they fear.

        • by doktorjayd (469473) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @04:08AM (#25593229) Homepage Journal

          But the biggest problem is the general public's lack of knowledge of firearms, and lack of experience, that which people don't know they fear

          ... and if you dont do what i say i'll shoot you.

          thats pretty much why the _vast_ majority of australians dont want guns in our society - there simply isnt a need, and the risk that a fuckwit with a short fuse and a .22 can kill with little more than pulling a trigger far outweighs the benefits of ' ohhh but i really want a gun'.

          funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s).

          as for the 'sport' of it - i've always thought it a stretch at best to call it that - how much of a sweat do you work up pulling a trigger?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by timmarhy (659436)
            funny it's anti gun types like you who go straight for the do as we say type policies. you are also always the ones claiming to speak for EVERYONE.

            has the last 10 years of anti gun policy in this country lowered the murder rate? http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/buyback-has-no-effect-on-murder-rate/2006/10/23/1161455665717.html [smh.com.au] i think not

            there is an old saying "an armed society is a polite society". perhaps this is why the streets are full of little thugs, because there is no danger of anyone fighting

            • there is an old saying "an armed society is a polite society"

              clearly you've never been to many [armed] parts of the USA.

              and no before you go off on some tangent about the wild west, it's not gun battles in the street that stop crimminals, the mere fact it MIGHT happen to be them that gets blown away that stops them.

              theres no real logic in that statement; what often transpires in the aforementioned _armed_ societies is that someone works up a rage, whips out a handgun and starts shooting _without_ thinking of the consequences. the fact that anyone else _could_ be also armed is in that point in time irrelevant, they have a gun and are prepared to point it at someone else.

              tends to work much better when there are no guns - even taking a knife or other manual force

          • the risk that a fuckwit with a short fuse and a .22 can kill with little more than pulling a trigger far outweighs the benefits of ' ohhh but i really want a gun'.

            Does it outweigh the benefits of a well-regulated militia which is necessary for the security of the free state?

            • Does it outweigh the benefits of a well-regulated militia which is necessary for the security of the free state?

              prove its necessary!

              the fact that it is mentioned in the second amendment to the us constitution has no real meaning here - and from what i understand about 'interpretation' of the us constitution, it really could mean anything over there too! lets see who obama appoints to the supreme court over the next couple o yrs.

              the 'right to bear arms' should of course be clarified to ' the right to both arms' and some reference to how shoulders should be used to connect them to the body might make it even clearer. :

          • by walshy007 (906710) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @07:25AM (#25593839)

            funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s).

            or rather, the more stable people who want firearms know that anyone who speaks up about it is automatically regarded as at best a bit out there, at worst psychopath by people, as you clearly demonstrate.

            I already know nothing I say will ever be taken into consideration by an anti-firearm person, because I will have already been written off as one, no matter how good the arguments are.

            as for the 'sport' of it - i've always thought it a stretch at best to call it that - how much of a sweat do you work up pulling a trigger?

            None to perhaps a little, but how much sweat do you work up playing chess? should it also be disregarded completely as a sport also?

            If you think shooting is so easy, assuming your australian, try competing against one of our olympic athletes in their class of shooting, if you can beat them you will moot my argument that it is not a sport. Just because you don't break a sweat doesn't mean it can't take tremendous amounts of skill to do extremely well.

            ... and if you dont do what i say i'll shoot you. thats pretty much why the _vast_ majority of australians dont want guns in our society - there simply isnt a need, and the risk that a fuckwit with a short fuse and a .22 can kill with little more than pulling a trigger far outweighs the benefits of ' ohhh but i really want a gun'.

            come on now, that's just fear mongering, we all know that the 'bad guys' don't follow the laws anyway, all you are doing is taking it away from people who obey the law, and, if you think it lessens the availability of said firearms to people who want them, I sincerely disagree, it is not terribly hard to acquire an illegal firearm, but most people have the morals to not do so.

            The only reason I don't own the ppk I mentioned I'd like is for moral reasons, letting the government make everyone who likes shooting be a criminal is fine with them, don't let them have their way.

            Perhaps your wondering why I still argue even though I know my opinion will be discounted by the anti-firearm people, it is simply because by completely giving in and not objecting clearly and concisely why for the reasons they bring up, the people who want to take our freedom to enjoy a sport away win.

            That is all from me, I look forward to your reply, it has been rather long so if I was unclear on anything please ask :)

          • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:12AM (#25593985) Journal

            thats pretty much why the _vast_ majority of australians dont want guns in our society - there simply isnt a need,

            And the vast majority of Australians are so apathetic that they don't recognise *why* there is a need. The series of laws that were passed after Port Arthur and justified as useful for the 2000 Olympics have yet to be sunsetted. As they are no longer neccessary is an extremely unsettling development considering Australia does not have a bill of rights like UK or US citizens but, 'she'll be right mate'(???).

            That's why I credit the designers of the American constitution, they knew that the constitution was flawed enough let it slip into despotism, that's why Americans are armed. At the same time the rampant stupidity that is allowed with American weapons laws is the reason it needs some regulation and review.

            funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s).

            So did you write to a politician protesting any of the terrorism laws that were passed? I actually think Australians would be better off with a few more weapons because our laws were very pragmatic about the way firearms licences were issued and, therefore, who could own a firearm. I don't recall the massacres that occured in Australia were conducted with 'legal' firearms, and Port Arthur has some uncomfortable facts connected to it. So considering that the illegal firearms used in those terrible events were a policing issue not a licencing issue, the premise of deregistering firearms owners in Australia was a political issue.

            Of course, once you learn how to handle firearms you respect them, and are very careful with the grave responsibility you posess. It's the extreme of any safety based culture that you find in industry.

            as for the 'sport' of it - i've always thought it a stretch at best to call it that - how much of a sweat do you work up pulling a trigger?

            Hunting is a skill that goes beyond shooting a target and being a sport.

            The ecology of firearms in Australia is the protection of native species. Humans introduced foxes, feral cats and dogs, pigs, goats, buffallo, camels, horses and rabbits that decimate the native population of animals, well over 500,000 species. Yellow tailed rock wallabys (a small, and very cute version of a kangaroo) don't stand a chance against a 60kg feral cat that some careless individual decided to irresponsibly dump in the bush once upon a time.

            So it's also stewardship of this continent to protect native species by balancing out the damage humans have done by introducing those species in the first place.

            If a farmer has to kill the animals he raised because they were severely burnt in a bushfire a firearm is the most merciful way possible. Below a certain calibre of weapon you are just prolonging the suffering, for the farmer as well. All of that takes skill.

            I doubt that events now unfolding in the congo would be the same if thier population was armed. Firearms, owned, maintained and used responsibly with the proper training represent more than just a hunters weapon or a farmers tool. It also represents a long forgotten aspect of the civil rights movement that was maginalised by the 'shooters party' clumsy attempt to retain ownership of thier firearms in Australia.

            An armed population is a symbolic counterpoint to a government becoming a dictatorship. It also says that government should fear law abiding citizens, not the other way around.

          • by Canberra Bob (763479) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:01AM (#25594487) Journal

            "... and if you dont do what i say i'll shoot you."

            Where in the previous post was this ever mentioned? So you have made up something the previous poster never said, then use your made up statement as proof that gun owners are unstable. I would laugh if I did not see this used time and time again.

            "funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s)."

            Here we go again

            There was nothing unstable in that previous post. And yet again we have a repeat of the usual. Make up something about the previous post that was never there.

            Read the study by Melbourne University. To quote the abstract of the study "The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths"

            "The results of these tests suggest that the NFA did
            not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates."

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jonaskoelker (922170)

          the aug steyr, it's a semi/fully automatic assault rifle,

          You don't need to explain to us what the aug steyr is. It was in counterstrike.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by doktorjayd (469473)

        actually,

        the _vast_ majority of us didnt want guns fucking over our stable society as they do in the USA.

        alas, the proposed filtering scheme will not ( aside from slowdown of networks ) affect the _vast_ majority of people at all - and the ones that it seems to be intended to foil ( kiddie porn fiends, copyright fiends ) will very quickly and easily be able to work around the filters.

        i've written to the relevant senator here [dbcde.gov.au] ( and of course got no reply ), trying to point things like ssh tunnels and proxy s

    • i too am Australian, and I too think it will be easily circumvented. I also think this is really just a piece of policy to appease the christian 'family first' party, and if implemented is their first real big mistake!

      Of course the web should be open free and unhindered, it should be equal and available. As soon as they start filtering out one thing, they can filter out more... stupid. If parents are concerned then they should install personal filtering software, keep the computer in a public part of the ho

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtb61 (674572)

      What is really odd about all this, is it was launched by what is now the opposition party, the Liberal party (think of a fairly even mix between the US libertarian party and the Democrats, Australia doesn't really have anything like the Republicans except for fringe political parties). So normally you would expect them to back away from this, one can alone think that the proprietary creators of the filtering have done a truly spectacular and likely very 'generous' snow job, just think millions of licences,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760)
      "People should ask for a personal refunds from the morons who devised this scheme"

      IaaA and yes this is a complete waste since there is already an ISP sponsered option for filters and everyone knows this mandatory crap will get nowhere. KRuddy is pandering to this guy [aph.gov.au] who (under certain circumstances) holds the balance of power in the senate, this dick sells his vote to whoever will "do something about the internet" - so KRuddy is doing "something" in order to gain Fielding's support to get certain more s
  • by Airw0lf (795770) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:30AM (#25592401)
    ...next it will be used to silence political dissent, and then the content cartel will lobby to block everything from torrent trackers to sites that about console homebrew software.

    Oh wait it's already happening - from TFA:

    Conroy's mandatory Internet filtering proposal caused a stir last week when it was revealed a member of his department had tried to censor severely critical comments made on the Whirlpool broadband forum by an Internode network engineer regarding the merits of ISP level filtering.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @01:30AM (#25592651) Homepage Journal

      Actually, what they want to ban is this:

      Publications that:
      (a) describe, depict, express or otherwise deal
      with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction,
      crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or
      abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they
      offend against the standards of morality,
      decency and propriety generally accepted by
      reasonable adults to the extent that they
      should not be classified; or
      (b) describe or depict in a way that is likely to
      cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person
      who is, or appears to be, a child under 18
      (whether the person is engaged in sexual
      activity or not); or
      (c) promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime
      or violence

      The way that this is done with films, books, etc, is that everything must be reviewed before it can be made available to the public. Consider how fucked the internet would be if they applied that standard.

      • by Airw0lf (795770)

        Actually, what they want to ban is this:

        Publications that: (a) describe, depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; or (b) describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not); or (c) promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence

        The way that this is done with films, books, etc, is that everything must be reviewed before it can be made available to the public. Consider how fucked the internet would be if they applied that standard.

        Sure, that's what the regulations are about. But it will be abused and misused, and that is already happening. From the TFA:

        Conroy's mandatory Internet filtering proposal caused a stir last week when it was revealed a member of his department had tried to censor severely critical comments made on the Whirlpool broadband forum by an Internode network engineer regarding the merits of ISP level filtering.

      • by philspear (1142299) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:53AM (#25592961)

        The way that this is done with films, books, etc, is that everything must be reviewed before it can be made available to the public. Consider how fucked the internet would be if they applied that standard.

        I'd be interested in getting a position with the australian government in monitoring the internet, specifically the porn portion. I have extensive experience.

      • Ok, so applying this standard, lets start censoring things.

        Everything in Heinlein's later period is cut, since his views on sex definatley go against the majority view there. No drugs, so Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is right out the window. (And pretty much every other stoner movie, though I'm only able to summon a very weak peotest on those) Unacceptable violence... I guess that means you can't have the Godfather movies or books.

        Do these people even *pretend* to think?

        (I realize the things I mentioned

  • by Jacques Chester (151652) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:38AM (#25592451)
    You have managed to make Telstra into one of the good guys. This is an unnatural state of affairs. Reality will snap back to normal, and as the man defying it, you may be in for some serious harm.
    • This may well be the first time in Australian history when Telstra has sided with the rights of it's customers. If anything, their business interest lies in going along with the filtering so they can charge more to maintain it. Of course, in the event it becomes voluntary for ISPs, Telstra don't want to get the wrong end of the public shift to non-filtering ISPs.

    • by Barny (103770)

      Its got me too, Hackett agreeing with telstra... ... Uh, I think Mr Death and his brothers are over, their here about "the reaping"?

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:39AM (#25592455) Homepage Journal

    The purpose of this filtering is not to keep child porn away from pedophiles. It's not to keep hard-core porn away from people who wanna whack off. The purpose is to stop Mum and Dad and the kids from stumbling upon this stuff. Sure, if they can stop people who want this stuff from getting it, they'll do that too, but they're happy that they've put some effort into stopping it. Having Customs officers review the contents of video tapes does not stop people from getting this material through the mail, but it does stop some of this material from getting through the mail.. and the slowdown caused by Customs officers is considered acceptable.

    Filtering websites with this material is easy. You just force the ISPs to blacklist certain addresses from their DNS, and hire some puritans to maintain the blacklist. No, it isn't perfect, but neither are Customs officers. And it won't even result in much of a slow down.

    These technical arguments are being raised by people who are against filtering in principle. They are against censorship and, frankly, so am I! The technical arguments are being raised because these people don't want to enter into a censorship debate. Why? Because they perceive that this ship has already sailed. We've had censorship in Australia for decades, and arguing now that censorship is wrong and the government shouldn't be doing it, is considered by many to be futile.

    I disagree. I believe we should be speaking out against censorship. I believe we should be ignoring censorship laws and fighting to have them overturned.

    NC = censorship. End censorship now!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The technical arguments are not counter-productive. If filtering is technically unviable and the government tries to proceed anyway, then it exposes with great clarity that the motives are not about filtering per se.

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        But it is viable. I just told you how to do it and anyone with a vague idea of how a DNS server works can see how trivial it is.

        Screaming about how "impossible" it is just makes it a challenge.

        • I don't believe that a DNS blacklist is the proposal. More a blacklist + on-the-fly content analysis. That's why the initial tests show massive slowdowns.

          The slowdowns and false positives are the technical argument. I think it's still valid to raise for the reason I raised above.

          • by QuantumG (50515) *

            And distracting people from the real issue - censorship is wrong - is just going to encourage them to solve the technical issues. I'd rather have a broken solution that will get thrown out in the first few months of use than an efficient solution that will actually succeed. If you think censorship is wrong, shut the fuck up about how bad the implementation is. Jesus.

            • Hi Quantum, What makes you so sure that a bad solution will be "thrown out in the first few months of use"? The real issue is not that "censorship is wrong" (using your words). The real issue is that a serious attempt is being made to provide a "clean" internet feed--despite the overwhelming technical issues that implies. A blacklist is one thing (and, yes, trivial to implement). This isn't what the government is proposing though. They are proposing some kind of algorithm that will detect dodgy content on
        • by Zerth (26112)

          DNS blacklists are pointless. I've already memorized the IP addresses of all my favorite sites after a DNS filter was implemented at work.

          • by QuantumG (50515) *

            And that, in no way, makes them pointless.

          • DNS blacklists are pointless. I've already memorized the IP addresses of all my favorite sites after a DNS filter was implemented at work.

            But if your web browser just sends the IP address in the Host: header, how will you get to those sites that are on name-based virtual hosting?

    • by tftp (111690)

      The purpose is to stop Mum and Dad and the kids from stumbling upon this stuff.

      It's not easy, considering that "this stuff" is at arm's length. That's how people learned "the stuff" before Internet - and apparently it worked just fine.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jaa101 (627731)
      Precisely wrong. The purpose of this filtering _is_ to block kiddie-porn, XXX ... all `illegal to possess' content. We wouldn't care if there was an optional porn filter for the kids but what's come out recently is that there will also be a mandatory filter. Government studies agree that this filtering has false positives, false negatives and a performance impact. They think it's good enough but slashdot types can well imagine that it will be inadequate, ineffective, expensive and slow down and/or break
    • by deniable (76198)

      Actually, the purpose is to make Steve Fielding, the Family (Fascist) First senator, happy enough to vote for Labour's economic agenda. His constituents want to protect the children.

    • Whilst I agree that the whole concept of the government secretly censoring what we access on line is abhorrent, the technical issues regarding performance and accuracy are also real issues to be considered.

      Filtering websites with this material is easy. You just force the ISPs to blacklist certain addresses from their DNS, and hire some puritans to maintain the blacklist. No, it isn't perfect, but neither are Customs officers. And it won't even result in much of a slow down.

      So to circumvent that system, you could just run your own DNS server.

      Also, if the blocking were to be that coarse it would most certainly block many legitimate web sites, just because one section of them was considered undesirable. eg, if one of the 'puritans' took a dislike to a particular video on yout

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:47AM (#25592495)

    Just like DRM, all this filtering will do is cause trouble with the honest users.

    The real criminals will just use a VPN, perhaps a VPN over port 80 so it can't be distinguished from SSL traffic without deep packet inspection.

    Does the Aussie government want to try to play this arms race? There is little to be gained, assuming they want to remain an open society.

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:57AM (#25592543) Journal

      That is exactly what I was thinking. This arms race can escalate pretty damned fast, and at little cost to the user's fighting the filtering. Every time the Australian government has to rebuild or reinforce their great firewall/filter it will cost them money.

      Judging from what they decided to implement, it's painfully clear that they won't have the savvy to keep up with the arms race. In effect they have created a great money pit. Some wise Australians should watch to see where the contract money goes and how much is sunk into this steaming pit.

      I'm sure some enterprising tech savvy Australian already has set up a tunnel to some other country and is slowly spidering the Internet to see what is being filtered. Hopefully this/these person(s) will find a lot of false positives with which to complain vociferously about the problem.

      There are likely to be quite a few sites willing to host the comparison results from such activity including caches of pages that are filtered, which should in turn make many of them viewable again inside Australia's filter system. OOoooops, guess that might be illegal? hmmmmmm Wonder if anyone will do it?

    • Time to put up a few spycams in EVERY MP's bedroom and car plus spycams in the dingo house called parliment and to broadcast it 24x7 on the 'net.
      After all if i have nothing to hide why worry is their argument, so apply it to them!
      Once a few MPs are SPitzer'ed then the law will be gone.
      Until then the law stays.
      Which aussie wants to volunteer?

      • Doesn't the ABC broadcast the proceedings of Parliament? They seemed to be doing that all the time when I lived there. (Usually when there was supposed to be something on that I actually wanted to watch.)

  • The funny thing is, it will only take one "story" on a "current affairs" program showing how hardcore porn and such is still easily accessible for the whole policy to come crashing down around the Rudd governments head.
    • Re:Wont last long (Score:4, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @01:33AM (#25592667) Homepage Journal

      Current affairs programs in Australia are a joke. Literally, respected journalists make jokes about them. No-one cares what the fucktards at Today Tonight have to say.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        No-one cares what the fucktards at Today Tonight have to say.

        Don't get me started on that show. I hate it. When I watch it (eg when it happens to be on when i'm in the room), I get really really angry about stuff, until I very quickly realize I've been sucked in, and then I get angry about that. And then I get angry about the people who will be watching and maybe haven't yet realized they've been sucked in. Then only time I actually enjoy watching it is when their reporters get attacked (eg physically punch

      • by Nazlfrag (1035012)

        Things are much better over at ACA [youtube.com] though.

  • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @01:20AM (#25592619)

    Michael Malone personally banned me from iinet after I said I didn't want his spam sent to my iinet email address any longer. According to him I was the only one out of his entire customer base who complained about the advertising. He even drove up country to come visit me at my home because, in his words, I was 'causing them a lot of costly problems' (In the form of a simple 'opt-in' switch to continue receiving their corporate propaganda)

    Meh, I call bullshit to this little pony show video anyway. The ISP's will cry a river saying it'll never work, the government will say 'ok, we'll pay for it then you frigging cry babies.'

    The end result will be the federal government shoving in a few Sun boxes at public expense in various little choke points across the country, the ISP's keep their mouths shut about it all, and ASIO suddenly has a lot less need for their employees to be chained to federal crime authority as they run around swinging warrants and subpoenas - DSD will then recall all their worker drones from the ASIO basement, and life goes on. New overlord laws are set in motion never to be repealed, government gets to spy on its populous and live happily ever after.

    I no longer live in Australia.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      All ISP traffic used to go through the University of Queensland's Prentice Hall. The ASIO office there was the biggest in the state. They're mandated to monitor all communications in and out of the country. Only naive people think they don't.

  • If they REALLY hate it that much, just turn off the routers until the .gov relents.

  • by kaos07 (1113443) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:07AM (#25592817)

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1012207&cid=25565869 [slashdot.org]

    "Regarding the Australian filter, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

    The Green party and the Liberal party are both going to block the legislation in the Upper House. Their numbers combined are enough to stop the bill from passing.

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/10/30/1224956188036.html [theage.com.au]

    The Greens don't get much of their other policies talked about very much, besides the environment, but they have the most pro-Slashdot internet platform out of any political party. By that I mean they support open standards, net-neutrality and internet freedom (no censorship). They also want the government to embrace open source and all government documents to saved in an open document standard."

    • by Xiroth (917768)

      Yeah, it looks like the Greens are morphing into a genuine leftist party rather than the few-issue party they used to be. With any luck, they'll pick up more power in the Senate - and maybe even some House of Reps seats - before too long. While I personally wouldn't want them in power, having the option of a centre-left, centre, or centre-right party come election time would definitely be a good thing for political choice in this country.

      • by deniable (76198)

        The Greens look to be turning into what the Democrats used to be before they imploded. They'll pick up steam until they get a leader who gets into bed with the government (Kernot/Evans) or start making deals (Lees) or starts looking like a nut-job (Stott-Despoja.)

        • by srjh (1316705)

          We're getting a bit off-topic here, but the Greens have had a social conscience for quite some time. Part of the reason the Democrats imploded was because they tried to pass themselves off as a left-wing clone of the Greens instead of the watchdog party they were traditionally known as. Of course, after getting into bed with the government (as you say), their role as a watchdog wasn't taken too seriously to begin with.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      The Liberal Party wanted this previously and will unfortunately only vote against it if they want to create mischief. They have a deliberately misleading name - remember this is that party that the infamous racist Pauline Hanson was in - they are really the Australian decendants of the UK Tory party with a few unfortunate local twists. Also it can be argued that their current leader bought his way into a safe seat and his current position, that's the sort of people they are. As the last decade showed the
      • by srjh (1316705)

        There's a fairly good chance that this will be scrapped, but I wouldn't be too comfortable.

        On whirlpool (www.whirlpool.net.au, a broadband discussion forum in Australia), people have been posting the canned responses they've been receiving from politicians after writing to them.

        The Greens seem to have a lukewarm opposition to the plan (I received a letter from Bob Brown's office implying that they would go for it if a full opt-out was available... better than what they have now, but still an idiotic plan),

      • by SQL Error (16383)

        The Liberal Party wanted this previously and will unfortunately only vote against it if they want to create mischief.

        The Liberals had already reached the conclusion that it was untenable and dropped it. It took a while, but they did come to their senses.

        They have a deliberately misleading name

        What, since 1944?

        remember this is that party that the infamous racist Pauline Hanson was in

        No, I don't remember that. Pauline Hanson was kicked out of the Liberal party before even standing for her first election as

        • No, I don't remember that. Pauline Hanson was kicked out of the Liberal party before even standing for her first election as an MP.

          That's sort of correct, but not completely. She was nominated as a Liberal and was still noted as such on the ballot paper as she was only disendorsed just before the election.

          From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Hanson [wikipedia.org]

          Just prior to the election, Hanson made comments to The Queensland Times - a daily newspaper in Ipswich - advocating the abolition of special government assistance for Aborigines above what was available for other Australians. These comments led to her disendorsement by the Liberal Par

  • by iminplaya (723125)

    "also say that users will have no way to know what's being filtered."

    Well jeeze! Isn't that the intention? Why would the government want anybody "watching the watchman"? Supreme authority is the preferred idea here, no? "Turn off that camera!"

  • ...for the first time in history, Australian ISP and telecommunications company Telstra have done something right. After blindly ripping off consumers and having anti-competitive monopolistic policy, Telstra have done something completely uncharacteristic - they supported their customers.

    Stay tuned for news at 11, where we report that hell has indeed frozen over.

  • by WTW - WP (1320557) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @03:36AM (#25593115)
    The debate has been raging for over 7 months on the Australian Broadband Community web site www.whirlpool.net.au See: http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=cleanfeed [whirlpool.net.au] Current debate: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1079347 [whirlpool.net.au] Many Australians have taken to using their graphic design skills to get their message out. See: Posters and Stickers here http://www.bbinternet.info/content/view/8/7/ [bbinternet.info] It has been the governments attempt to mussel the debate by industry leader, Mark Newton, that has really fired up the community. Cheers WTW
  • #!/bin/bash

    $> ssh -L80:www.kiddieporn.com:80 my.overseas.host.com &
    $> cat "127.0.0.1 www.kiddieporn.com" >> /etc/hosts
    $> firefox www.kiddieporn.com &

    $> echo " what filter? "

  • by a.ameri (665846) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:15AM (#25594545)
    The only reason a government can get away with this is if we, the citizens, don't act, and let our liberties gradually slip away.

    If you are an Australian, please take action:

    1) Call Senator Conroy's office on 03 9650 1188. Do not be rude, do not swear, just in a very reasoned and rational voice, express your disapproval, and in a few short sentences, say why you disagree. It matters a lot.

    2) Write a letter to Senator Conroy, make sure it's between half a page to one page (no more than 400 words). Again, in a polite tone (that doesn't have to be formal, and doesn't have to have letterhead, etc., just your name and address) let him know why you disagree with him. His address is:
    Senator Stephen Conroy
    Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
    Melbourne Vic 3002


    3) Write a letter to your local MP. It doesn't matter what party he/she is from, Liberals will use your letter to back up their claims in Question Time, which gives publicity to the whole issue and will bring it to mainstream media's attention. Labor members will also express their criticism, privately, to him. This specially matters if your local MP is a Minister and serves in the Cabinet. To find out who your local MP is click here [aph.gov.au]

    4) Write a letter to Prime Minister Rudd. Let him know that when the Australian people voted him in office last year, they didn't know "Education Revolution" means censorship. Rudd's address is:
    PO Box 6022
    House of Representatives
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600


    5) Donate or become a member of Electronic Frontiers Australia [efa.org.au] . Right now the EFA is the sole organisation fighting this. They need all the help they can get.

    6) Write a letter to your ISP. It doesn't matter if it's the Evil Telstra; on this, we're all together. They are fighting the battle for us right now, but it would help them to know that what they are doing is a good business practice, that you expect them to fight this to the end.

    Don't just sit around and do nothing and then complain about how evil governments are. We, the citizens are the ones who allow governments to become evil, by our political apathy. Move! Take Action! Now!
  • I have to disagree.. If i look for x or y, and its not there, i know something is up.

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