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Largest Aussie ISP Agrees To "Ridiculous" Net-Filter Trial 231

Posted by timothy
from the may-you-get-what-you-desire dept.
Klootzak writes "Michael Malone, head of Australia's largest ISP iiNet announced today that his company would sign up to the Government's live trials of the Great Firewall of Australia. In an article published by The Age, Mr Malone is quoted calling Stephen Conroy 'The worst Communications Minister we've had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed.' Despite at first giving the impression that iiNet is rolling over like a good Government puppy the article quotes Mr Malone saying that the reasons for participating in this trial is to show how unfeasible and stupid it is — Quoted from the article: 'Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we'll be publicizing it and every time it blocks legitimate content, we'll be publicizing it.' Let's hope that in typical fashion of government-instigated Internet-filtering that this stupid idea is just as useless, inefficient and ineffectual as the last one, and that the Australian Government realizes this before wasting more taxpayer dollars on it (seeing as the first attempt only cost taxpayers $84,000,000)."
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Largest Aussie ISP Agrees To "Ridiculous" Net-Filter Trial

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  • Oh no... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hopejr (995381) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:03AM (#25719683)
    ... iiNet is my ISP!!! It will be interesting to see what happens, and what sites get blocked. I like Mick's idea about doing it to show how unfeasible it is, just hope it won't sour iiNet's reputation. Their already overrun support lines may end up getting worse.
    • If iiNet are a local monopoly for you then forgive the redundant comment.

      If not then isn't this an excellent reason to bail on them right now?
      When I switched away from virgin media, I made a list of why they had become worse than a Hitler/Mao/Stalin hybrid and I was asked for this info as part of the quitting procedure.

      Often smaller ISPs have far more enlightened policies.

      • Re:Oh no... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by srjh (1316705) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:48AM (#25720289)

        I'm with iiNet and I fully support Malone's plan to continue with the trial. Reading his comments, it's perfectly clear that he is opposed to the filter and that he doesn't think Senator Conroy is playing with a full deck. The internet industry has been telling him all year that his plan will never work, and he continues to ignore and harass them. The only way to bury the plan once and for all is to get it out in the open and let the spectacular failure of the filter be visible to all.

        At the moment, 90% of the politicians don't understand the issue (clearly including Senator Conroy), 90% of the public hasn't heard of it, and the Labor party just keeps parroting the same bullshit about protecting children whenever someone objects to the filter on technical or censorship grounds. Nevermind the fact that even if the filter is a perfect list of kiddy-porn websites, when it leaks, they've just provided the most comprehensive list of such websites to the entire online community.

        When the test goes live, I'll opt-in to the kiddy filter and complain when I still see some naughty bits. I'll find the sites that have been accidentally blocked (there is no doubt that there will be some, the government's own tests showed that between 2% and 8% of the internet will be accidentally blocked), and complain when I can't reach them. I'll complain when the ~30% speed penalty hits. I'll find every flaw that everyone in the industry is predicting, and complain at every step.

        The government is conducting a test, and we need to let them know it failed by demonstrating the failure ourselves. If the only people participating in the test are people naive enough to want ISP-level filtering to begin with, the problems won't be revealed and Conroy gets his pet censorship project through.

        • Re:Oh no... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lysergic.acid (845423) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:17AM (#25720683) Homepage

          if they have a list of all the kiddie porn sites on the web, why don't they just go after the site owners? even if the sites are hosted overseas, there are very few countries in the world that tolerate that sorta thing, and with a little international pressure it shouldn't be too hard to get their own governments to shut them down.

          if the RIAA can get the Swedish government to illegally shut down the pirate bay and seize their equipment, i'm sure it'd be no problem for the Australian government to pressure other governments to go after their own kiddie porn sites.

          • Re:Oh no... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by computational super (740265) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:41AM (#25721027)
            why don't they just go after the site owners?

            Because this isn't, and never has been, actually about protecting the children.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by SuluSulu (1039126)

              why don't they just go after the site owners?

              Because this isn't, and never has been, actually about protecting the children.

              No, it's far more likely that the kiddie porn site operators themselves are much harder to find even if their sites aren't. They would have to be pretty stupid to run their sites with real names and addresses. Not to mention that they are likely to operate in countries that have different laws about what is illegal (like the age of consent).
              I think that it would be better to go after the credit card processors. Make it more difficult to get peoples money.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Nazlfrag (1035012)

                It's not even about stopping them, or slowing them down. It's all about the balance of power in our Senate being held by the conservative christian 'Family First' party and our current governments attempts to woo them over to their side. This is why the technical impossibility and futility of the filter isn't an issue, it's all about looking like an uptight conservative christian, and that plan is working great.

          • Re:Oh no... (Score:5, Informative)

            by srjh (1316705) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:47AM (#25721111)

            The simple answer is that it isn't about kiddie porn, it's just the rhetoric that is about kiddie porn. There's actually very little kiddie porn out there floating around on HTTP (just about the only thing that the filter will block), because no-one is stupid enough to host it when it's highly illegal pretty much everywhere. Really, if they wanted to actually remove the kiddie porn, they'd cut it off at the source - the only way that it is even possible to do. Instead, we have to wait for the content to be classified, then listed on an updated blacklist, then we have to wait for the updated blacklist to filter through to all the ISPs in the country.

            It's a complex situation, but there are a few points:

            The balance of power in the Australian Senate is held by a Senator from a party called "Family First". That party pioneered the concept of mandatory filtering of internet pornography, and the current government needs this one Senator's support in the Senate to get any legislation through. So it definitely wants to be on friendly terms with said Senator.

            Originally it was going to be a filter at the ISP level that every ISP had to offer, but that adults could opt out of. Unfortunately the idiot in charge of telecommunications in Australia decided that the technology could also be used to ban "unwanted" content (his words) for everyone. He's confirmed that unwanted content would include topics such as euthanasia, and other politicians have been pushing for gambling and anorexia websites to be added to the mandatory filter.

            The severe technological obstacles that would be obvious to over 99% of the posters here at slashdot are being repeatedly ignored, and opponents are being accused of peddling child pornography (I wish I was joking, this is literally what the minister is saying to his opponents). Never before have I seen a minister and his industry have such a fundamental contempt for one another.

            • by WK2 (1072560)

              other politicians have been pushing for gambling and anorexia websites to be added to the mandatory filter.

              Seriously? Anorexia websites? What purpose could they possibly have to ban anorexia websites, other than to prevent mentally ill people from getting help? 15 years ago, I would have said that's even too ridiculous for government, but there is no such thing anymore. Still, are you sure you didn't mean something else, though?

              • While I don't agree with the censorship. He isn't talking about recovering from anorexia sites. He is talking about sites that help people BECOME anorexic. They do exist, and it is creepy.

            • He's confirmed that unwanted content would include topics such as euthanasia, and other politicians have been pushing for gambling and anorexia websites to be added to the mandatory filter.

              Now that you have mentioned those words, this is going to get slashdot blocked from Australia. Let me see what these two words mean, oh heck wikipedia is probably going to be blocked now ;)

            • Re:Oh no... (Score:4, Informative)

              by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:02PM (#25726539) Homepage Journal

              You seem to be completely unaware that hard core porn is considered as "illegal" as kiddie porn in Australia.

              • by DRobson (835318)

                You seem to be completely unaware that hard core porn is considered as "illegal" as kiddie porn in Australia.

                Unless you're within the ACT or NT, where X rated material is permitted.

                • by QuantumG (50515) *

                  It's my understanding that it's not all of the ACT.. and there's still plenty of hard core that is refused classification: "violent or degrading" describes a lot of porn that is considered perfectly acceptable in the rest of the world.. not to mention "disgusting".

            • by ignavus (213578)

              In the minds of the common person, kiddy porn conflates two quite separate things: pornography consisting of images of children in all sorts of abusive situations, and ordinary adult pornography that children can access through Google searches.

              The average mum'n'dad isn't going to stop and think that real child pornography is rarely found in your typical Google search. What they are imagining is their teenager seeing ordinary adult pornography in Google searches (a much more likely situation). So they think

          • Re:Oh no... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by gnick (1211984) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:58AM (#25721305) Homepage

            if they have a list of all the kiddie porn sites on the web, why don't they just go after the site owners? even if the sites are hosted overseas, there are very few countries in the world that tolerate that sorta thing, and with a little international pressure it shouldn't be too hard to get their own governments to shut them down.

            If you're talking about shutting down sites with 5 year olds, you're probably right - Not many countries would refuse to cooperate. But if you're talking about sites featuring 13-18 year olds, the lines get a little blurry from one country to the next (I think IANAL nor a pedophile). So, like the TPB shutdown, the "best" they could do is illegally shut down the sites temporarily before they returned as strong as ever (along with some extra publicity) and possibly try and convict the site owners in absentia so that you can arrest them if they ever decide to visit your country.

            And, like the other posters point out, this isn't really about shutting down kiddie porn. It's about giving the government the ability to filter the Internet as they see fit. The kids are just a convenient launching point because, as everyone knows, opposing censorship == supporting child abuse.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by janrinok (846318)

            there are very few countries in the world that tolerate that sorta thing

            It depends on what you mean by 'sorta thing'. If you mean fully clothed children posing for a camera seen on the kind of site that has been frequently banned in the US then many other countries do NOT have a problem with that. The problem is with the individuals who get some kind of sexual pleasure from those sites and, even then, if they don't actually do anything then what crime has been committed? The problems with this type of filter is who gets to choose what is kiddie porn and what is not? We migh

        • I'll find every flaw that everyone in the industry is predicting, and complain at every step.

          So what you are saying is you'll conduct an unbiased test?

          IMHO we need to be careful not to swing farther away from people we disagree with just because they say or do something that we don't like. I'm guilty of it at times. If you disagree with censorship you should fight that issue. Those that like censorship might not care that your internet is 30% slower or that you can't get on Facebook anymore.

          Anyways, I just think if you are for censorship you should be helping people make a "better mousetrap" so

          • by NightRain (144349)

            If you are against censorship fight that issue not technical problems in its implementation. The argument shouldn't be "censorship makes my internet slower therefore it is wrong".

            Why would you do that? If you're against censorship you're never going to convince someone who is for it, making the whole exercise futile. If the one thing you can potentially convince people on is the technical limitations of the pro censorship suggestion, then it's only common sense to use that angle

        • by sckeener (137243)

          When the test goes live, I'll opt-in to the kiddy filter and complain when I still see some naughty bits. I'll find the sites that have been accidentally blocked (there is no doubt that there will be some, the government's own tests showed that between 2% and 8% of the internet will be accidentally blocked), and complain when I can't reach them. I'll complain when the ~30% speed penalty hits. I'll find every flaw that everyone in the industry is predicting, and complain at every step.

          That isn't the best part...the best part is when you publicize blocks on political groups.

          If you are going to get people riled up, at least target the ones that will vote.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ross.w (87751)
            This is Australia. Voting is compulsory.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Yep, you have to show up, have your name checked off, and put a piece of paper into a box. But you don't have to fill it in correctly if you don't want to. Though I don't think many people throw their vote away deliberately.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cute-boy (62961)

          and he continues to ignore and harass them

          Yep. Several weeks after I sent a letter to his Australian Labour Party Cabinet Minister's office on this subject I have yet to receive even an acknowledgment.

          My own Australian Labour Party representative (also a cabinet Minister) also failed to respond.

          The main opposition party's Shadow Minister of Communications, Senator Nick Minchin (Australian Senate is the Australian Federal Upper House) at least responded with an acknowledgment.

          Australian democracy in action,

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phyrz (669413)

        iiNet is a good ISP. They were the first to support ADSL2 by installing their own DSLAMs (at least in West Oz), they were the first to trial naked DSL. They help push the industry forward. If it wasn't for these types of ISPs we would still be paying $50 / month for 512k / 5gig.

        Also I appreciate the fact that MM built the company from his garage like a true geek. Also they were the first to offer TCP/IP.

        Not to say that iiNet doesn't have some bad moments, but they are far from the worst in Australia.

        They re

    • by mjwx (966435)
      As an iinet customer, their service is already pretty bad. I don't think this will work, at least in the way we hope it will, this will just drive customers away from iinet as other ISP's are already offering better deals.

      The best thing that could happen out of this is to show other ISP's how financially damaging filtering is (Service Provision is not a high margin business to begin with) so the Telecom industry can universally stand up and say no. Most Australians wont care about the filtering, but broa
  • What a scam (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:03AM (#25719687) Homepage Journal

    Good way to get the people to accept it, ' look we are just trying to disprove it' ' its for your own good '.

    I bet a buck it doesn't get shut down and seen as a success.

    • Re:What a scam (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:12AM (#25719799) Homepage

      I especially like how they seem to suggest they will be able to tell when someone breaks around it, and even more impressive who did it!

    • Re:What a scam (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fex303 (557896) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:25AM (#25720799)

      Posting will undo some moderation, but I have to do it here...

      I know that in general we look on ISPs as evil pricks, but in this case, iiNet is actually stepping up to stick it to Aussie government. iiNet isn't the perfect ISP, but they've consistently taken steps to push the Aussie ISP market in the right direction. For example, they were the first (I think) to introduce ADSL 2+ and their ADSL 2+ connection has been the fastest I've ever had, beating out connections in the US, Singapore and Australia. They also pioneered naked ADSL (which is great). When I had ADSL issues with the local telco's lines they helped diagnose and get the problem resolved.

      Then there's the quotes that have been coming out of iiNet's staff about this filtering, which are leave no doubt about their thoughts about the whole thing.

      They're going into this kicking and screaming and only volunteering because they know they'll kick and scream the loudest.

      Full disclosure: I'm currently posting from an iiNet connection, and have been a happy customer in the past. (Though I also rate TGP's connections.)

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        You have more faith then i. For your fellow citizens sake, lets hope I'm wrong.

        • Re:What a scam (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Fex303 (557896) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:53AM (#25721201)

          The thing is there's no motivation for them to screw us over. iiNet are out to make money, and filtering is just going to be a massive problem/money hole for them. Sucking up the government won't get them anything because of the telco situation here.

          So iiNet are taking the long term view that being seen as 'the guys who stopped the filtering' will be seen as a positive for their brand and mean when people ask their local geek who they should get their interwebs from said geek will be more likely to suggest iiNet.

      • Re:What a scam (Score:5, Insightful)

        by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @12:01PM (#25721369) Journal

        Let us stipulate, then, that iiNet's aboveboard and that agreeing to this trial is, essentially, a demonstration of the futility of the government's proposal. Even with iiNet's principled and participatory opposition (i.e., not just sitting there pouting, but doing something about it), this may have unintended consequences.

        [Comms Ministry]: The trial was a smash success; iiNet's endorsement guarantees we have good PR and can steamroll this out. All we have to do is invoke the name of our ally in the industry.

        [iiNet]: "Endorsement"? WTF are you talking about! We signed up to prove just how stupid the idea was.

        [Comms Ministry]: You signed up. That's endorsement. Your participation gives us all the credibility we need, and the rollout will proceed on schedule.

        Trying to change stupidity from the inside has risks, one of which is that you get stupidity all over yourself.

        • and the alternative? The government signs up a few conservative Christian ISPs for the trials who will give nothing but praise for the idea? Yeah, the sounds much better. I'm much happier knowing that a big company who opposes the filter is involved and will be playing up how bad it is to anyone who'll listen. Much like the American elections, this is an issue where sitting on the sidelines prove nothing. You can not vote, like you can not participate in he trial, but contrary to common believe this doesn't
      • Re:What a scam (Score:5, Informative)

        by Fex303 (557896) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:04PM (#25722371)

        I know it's bad to reply to your own posts, but someone posted a link to a thread on Whirlpool [whirlpool.net.au] that Michael Malone has replied to. I just had to include the link because it shows you what kind of company you're dealing with. The managing director replies to a thread on a consumer advocacy forum and uses language like:

        ... It is not sensible to stay out of the trials. If we do that, then the government will sign up a couple of pissant ISP's from some small regional location. They will run the trials there and then say voila, it worked, perfect results, no slowdown. Then it will be legislated and enforced. That's stupid.

        ...

        There is no point sticking our heads in the sand on this. I want real data that demonstrates why this is dumb, even to someone as slow as this minister.

        Now, perhaps this is part of grand scheme to get this filter in place, but if so, it's so masterfully orchestrated that I think we may as well give up, they're too good to fight. :P

        Credit to ghmh's comment [slashdot.org] for the link the Whirlpool thread.

        • by Whiteox (919863)

          But as some of us know, it's easy to block a dozen sites and 'prove' that filtering works.

          This will be seen as a success that filtering doesn't slowdown anything.
          Once it's in place and the filterset gets bigger by a few magnitudes, that's when it going to bite hard.
          I understand MM's point very well, but he's got to be careful not to be the fall guy here. The filterset has to be fully fledged and operational for it to be a true test.
          When it starts to affect business, gov. administration etc, that's when the

  • by apathy maybe (922212) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:20AM (#25719899) Homepage Journal

    Mark Newton (of Internode, not the same mob as this story is about) has an opinion piece on the ABC (which I submitted to Slashdot, but still pending...), entitled Filter advocates need to check their facts [abc.net.au].

    In my observation, it's obvious that the debate has polarised into two camps. One of them is largely populated by people who know what they're talking about and who mostly oppose the ALP's censorship plan;

    The other camp includes people who just make lots of mistakes; including Senator Conroy, who claimed that Sweden, the UK, Canada and New Zealand all have similar filter systems as are being proposed.

    ----

    Anyway, if Conroy is the worst minister, that's pretty damn bad. After all, Richard Alston [wikipedia.org], Daryl Williams and Helen Coonan [wikipedia.org] were all communications minister under Johny sticken Howard.

    According to Wikipedia, Alston tried "to ban online gambling, and make email forwarding illegal, he was dubbed 'the world's biggest luddite'. [1]".

    Maybe this "representative" thing isn't all it's cracked up to be? Anyone up for some Demarchy [wikipedia.org]?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NoisySplatter (847631)

      I'd never heard of Demarchy before. Thanks for the lesson.

      I can see where a lot of reelection pressure would be removed, but I think it would lead to even worse corruption than we have now, or at least less expensive corruption.
      A randomly selected segment of the population would be likely to have far less personal wealth than current politicians and thus be easier to influence with current lobbyist practices.

      Add to that there would definitely have to be some way of ensuring that the person selected could a

      • so you think that only appointing rich people while keeping poor people out of government is the best way to combat government corruption?

        part of the reason why government corruption exists is because there's little incentive for politicians to represent the interests of the people. there's such a big cultural/socioeconomic gap between the political elite and the common man that government officials don't even share the same realities, much less the same political interests, as the average working class per

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NoisySplatter (847631)

          I think you misunderstood where I was trying to go with my rambling.

          I wasn't trying to say that working class people are bereft of morals or less fit to govern. I was speaking directly about the separate issue of bribery and illegal corruption that you spoke about in your last sentence. Basically I skipped a few steps in between and assumed oversight would stay as it is now, allowing lobbyists to work their magic on an equally impressionable but less wealthy group of people.

          I'm all about getting rid of th

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ardle (523599)
            I agree with your POV on the prospect of bribery effectively shifting from the elected to the electorate. And you are right that it may be cheaper because it is going on at the moment, in the form of advertising.
            Extreme example - and at risk of taking the thread in an unwelcome direction - oil industry ads are very "green" these days. Surely the goal of those ads is to make us feel better about the product we are buying into?
            There are a lot of things I like about the "Demarchy" idea (new to me) but I thi
        • the rich simply don't play by the same rules as the working class in most societies.

          Perhaps that's how they get rich?

          F.Scott Fitzgerald: "The rich are different."

          Ernest Hemingway: "Yes, they have more money."

    • by ghjm (8918)

      I had never heard of this before. Wasn't there some old science fiction series where the king was selected at random, then beheaded at the end of his term?

      I wonder how it would work, though. Wouldn't there have to be a permanent bureacracy to form the committees, perform the random selection, provide information and data, and implement the resulting decisions? Wouldn't this bureacracy have a tremendous amount of power, for example, to influence when and on what topic the decision committees should be formed

      • by Plunky (929104)

        I had never heard of this before. Wasn't there some old science fiction series where the king was selected at random, then beheaded at the end of his term?

        It doesn't mention it in the Wikipedia article but the book A Far Sunset [wikipedia.org] by Edmund Cooper features this, in that the last survivor of a starship crew becomes ultimate ruler of a remote civilisation and although he does work towards modernisation he is still killed at the end of his reign.

        full disclosure: my username came from an Edmund Cooper short story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:24AM (#25719943)

    It was just as bad an idea 12 years ago:

    [dilbert.com]http://www.dilbert.com/fast/1996-01-23/ [dilbert.com]

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:56AM (#25720381)

    I know it's popular on slashdot to look at things based on its technical proficiency, but this isn't about whether or not it works. It's based on satisfying certain luddites that think that free access to information is evil because free access to information means free access to things that they disagree with. Things like abortion, religion, sexuality, human rights, protest, recipes for unhealthy food, and government/corporate oversight. And it doesn't matter whether it can be bypassed or not, what matters is whether the majority of the population cares enough to.

    It's like peer to peer filesharing. Geeks like us will always be able to make it work because we know enough about the network to make a connection from any one point to another point. It's a decentralized communications network and by design and very nature it cannot be fully compromised. You can't stop the signal. But very few of us that use the internet are geeks and they use common tools like Google and Shareaza and if they don't work then they just give up. They don't have the proficiency to make it work. And so the luddites win, because the literacy is so low.

    They don't care if it works... They just want to stop enough people that they don't lose their political clout. It's not a firewall, it's a dam; And while there's always water flowing through a dam, it's not all the water and that's what makes a dam useful.

    • Geeks like us will always be able to make it work

      I wish I had your faith, but they seem to be moving toward trying to turn the internet into TV or radio - a completely closed platform. As long as we have some way to communicate, we'll still be able to set up some form of a network (even if we have to fall back to connecting modems to phone line), but I wouldn't put it past them to start working on closing the telephone network as well. Of course, geeks could bypass the restrictions... if they were willin

      • by glamb (191331) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @12:25PM (#25721753) Homepage
        "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people," Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf. "As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." (sorry, pinched from an earlier thread)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        computational super -- It's not faith that makes me say this. It's the knowledge of human nature and statistics. No, I don't underestimate what people are willing to give up; The everyday person will sacrifice almost anything except themselves to have a little temporary safety (however illusory it is), to believe in the promise that the government, or the church, or some institution can somehow build some framework to hold back the chaos. But there will always be people either too smart, too stupid, or too

    • by Eil (82413)

      I believe that all of what you said applies to intelligent people versus those in power as well.

      It's no accident that most U.S. public schools are a complete disgrace in terms of education quality. (And also happens to be the biggest customer of net filter software.)

    • Many Australian beaches have shark nets. They exist to stop swimmers from being exposed to sharks. Sure, swimmers can just climb over the shark net, and sure, the net isn't 100% effective at shielding swimmers from sharks, but does that really mean we shouldn't build them?

      The fact that some of us might like to swim with sharks is completely lost on the majority of the population who don't want sharks near their kids.. and, frankly, think we're being unreasonable by insisting that the shark net be optional

    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      But very few of us that use the internet are geeks and they use common tools like Google and Shareaza and if they don't work then they just give up. They don't have the proficiency to make it work. And so the luddites win, because the literacy is so low.

      You'd think that the luddites who are pushing for this would use their limited abilities to try and verify what they are talking about. Try googling for 'child porn' for example, in which case they find.... nothing. At least no actual child porn. But doe
  • Content (Score:4, Funny)

    by fireheadca (853580) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:59AM (#25720423)

    If they filter conte

  • Largest ISP?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by kingturkey (930819) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:12AM (#25720605)
    How is iiNet Australia's largest ISP? That's ludicrous. Telstra Bigpond is by far the largest due to their former government monopoly, Optus would be a 2nd and then perhaps iiNet would be there along with a dozen other medium sized providers.
  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @11:23AM (#25720765)
    Y'know, I understand the "Great (Fire)Wall of China". Shouldn't this be the "Australian Great Barrier Firewall"? And - isn't that in danger of being destroyed by people poking and prodding at it, punching holes in it, etc.?
    • by Adambomb (118938)

      That would definitely make for some serious comparisons [usatoday.com] if they were to use that terminology.

      Get out of their groupthink!

      (i'd like to say most canadian tourists know enough to not do such things, but given the current state of my generation and earlier here i sadly hear you...)

  • by ghmh (73679) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @12:07PM (#25721471)

    Is here [whirlpool.net.au], in which an iiNet user pleads with them to not go ahead with the trial, and is replied to by Michael Malone (the head of iinet). Whirlpool is the main news / forum site on Australian broadband news and information.

    I concur with the original poster, and that the ulterior motive is not about blocking child pornography, but instead about:

    • Trying to keep the independent senators who hold the balance of power happy, so they can get them on side to help push their other legislation through, (specifically Mr anti-gambling and Mr christian)
    • Give the government the ability to control access to information - there is no opt out. (Remember - we're not allowed to know what's on the blacklist). This is largely encouraged by:
    • Big media, who are slowly losing control over information as most of what they publish gets republished on the internet in some form, rendering their traditional distribution channels obsolete(and thus potential advertising revenue falls in a big way)

    Australian censorship has always been pretty hopeless... - We still don't have an R18+ classification for games (although we do for movies, and print media), so games that would fall into that category are refused classification (and therefore can't be sold). This mandatory internet filtering would take things to a whole new (unwanted) level.

    Unfortunately, despite Michael's best (and appreciated efforts), there's still nothing stopping them from continually moving the goalposts... and when challenged they'll continue with the "If you're not with us, then you're against us, which means you're pro-child porn" rubbish. Sounds kind of like the always attack never defend strategy endorsed by a certain science fiction author [wikipedia.org].

  • I like this guy. Here in the we need a government branch for granting honorary citizenship to people who go around publicising how stupid our various government branches are.
  • by roesti (531884) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:19PM (#25726743)
    Whenever political or social ideology gets a chance to make as enormous a mistake as this one, the playbook always contains the same steps, and they're always taken in the same order.

    Firstly, decide on an ideological action. In this case, The Powers That Be don't want the internet to remain free and open, and a system is needed to control it. (Don't kid yourself that what is at stake is anything less.)

    Secondly, make up an excuse that appears, at least superficially, to justify that action. It doesn't actually need to justify the action, and typically, under any degree of scrutiny, the argument will fall apart. If you need to resort to cheap appeals to "the children" and scare tactics, by all means, go for it.

    Thirdly, you need to maintain that your excuse is better than anyone else's explanation to the contrary. Try not to spend too much effort replying to the experts who pick your excuse to pieces - you can't match wits with them. Don't answer their questions.

    Fourthly, do whatever you wanted to do anyway. Again, ignore all the failings for now. Stick to your excuse; say it louder, if need be.

    Fifthly, explain why the whole exercise has been such a success. If it has actually been a success in some way, your mistake has been justified by a successful result. However, even if it has been a terrible failure, you can still fall back on your ideological decision. For example, if your system has failed, you can campaign for the funds for a bigger and better system. Perhaps most importantly, do not acknowledge any failings significant enough to suggest that the move should be undone: leave it there at all costs, and use it as leverage as required.

    I worked for an Australian government department once, and I've seen these sorts of mistakes made firsthand. I can all but guarantee that Conroy will say whatever he thinks he needs to say to keep the filter going. Everyone knows it doesn't work. The ISPs will say it doesn't work because it's broken by design. The Minister will say we just need a better one to make it work. If that's all that happens, the Minister will win.

    If people don't stand up and make themselves heard, sooner rather than later, then the government is make whatever mistakes it can, using your tax dollars, and make your life worse with the consequences. Let's make them earn their keep for a change.

  • NoCleanFeed [nocleanfeed.com] has a pretty good site on how to take action [nocleanfeed.com] on this.

    If you're only bitching about this, and don't do anything, you are nothing more than a goatse.

    ws

  • http://www.ultrareach.com/ [ultrareach.com] ultrasurf will get you around the filters folks. There is no way in hell that the Aus govt has the resources to block every proxy that ultrasurf can find, especially considering that the Chinese govt doesn't have the resources to stop it.
    please, everyone who is an iinet customer install it and surf constantly for porn and wrongly blocked websites... it's your duty to download as much porn and illegal content as possible to prove that this shit doesn't work... so go looking for t
  • Take Action Now! (Score:5, Informative)

    by a.ameri (665846) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:56PM (#25727179)
    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!

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