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Censorship

Aussies Hit the Streets Over Gov't Internet Filters 224

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thinking-of-the-children dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "Outraged aussies will hold simultaneous protests across Australia in opposition to the government's plans for mandatory ISP internet content filtering. The plan will introduce nation-wide filtered internet using blacklists operated by a government agency, away from public scrutiny. Politicians and ISPs will join protesters in the streets to voice their opposition to the government's plan, which has ploughed ahead, despite intense criticism that the technology will crippled internet speeds and infringe on free speech. Opponents said the most accurate filter chosen by the government will incorrectly block up to 10,000 Web pages out of 1 million."
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Aussies Hit the Streets Over Gov't Internet Filters

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @10:45AM (#25974911)
    Once again the guise of stopping child porn and terrorists will be used as cover to do the bidding of big business and lobbyists for the music/movie/software studios who want to block torrent sites. I doubt the U.S. and E.U. will be far behind Australia's lead, sadly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Trahloc (842734)
      The Great Firewall of OZ, Dorthy will be safe now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      if they do this in the USA, there will be blood. end of story.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @01:09PM (#25976891)

        if they do this in the USA, there will be blood. end of story.

        I didn't see any blood over the USA PATRIOT Act, did you?

        • by GospelHead821 (466923) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @01:36PM (#25977275)

          No, in fact, I've seen outright approval of the PATRIOT Act. Too many people have the attitude "It doesn't hurt me in an obvious and immediate way and it just might help catch a terrorist, so it's a good thing!" A trivial application of critical thinking shows how it hurts EVERYBODY in subtle and long-term ways. It is one of many popular laws that exists because we base our decisions more on worst-case-scenarios than on rational cost-benefit analysis.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by interploy (1387145)

          That's because for all the freedoms taken away/mangled by the patriot act, it's not immediately present in the mind of the average american. Americans just plain don't like to be bothered. Laws like the Patriot Act get passed because it doesn't affect the day-to-day grind. But, take away the ability to surf porn and chat up myspace and people will be pissed. God knows what would happen if some ISP decided to block fantasy football sites here.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by JoCat (1291368)

          Didn't have much time to react. The USA PATRIOT Act kept getting voted down in Congress. After 9/11, it was pushed again and made it into law in less than 48 hours.

          Those that sought blood after it became law were apprehended, given orange jumpsuits, and placed into tiny rooms.

    • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:10PM (#25976031)

      Any widespread filtering of the internet at large will result in a massive tech 'arms war' that will make the cold war look like a Sunday picnic. Splinter cryptoed internets on both the current and eventually new internets will occur. Won't be pretty.

      • and this has happened how much since china built it's firewall?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        actually that might be the kind of obstacle that would force an evolution of our networks and communications. i think that people usually respond well to adversity; in this case there are a lot of very intelligent and skilled people that want information that other people have. if barriers are thrown up in the way of the transfer of data they will find ways to use technology to overcome them or create new technology to do it. i kind of like the idea of "splintered cryptoed internets" because they are les
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:35PM (#25976403)

      big business and lobbyists for the music/movie/software studios who want to block torrent sites.

      These issues are also a smoke screen, just like child porn and terrorists. The _real_ problem is free speech, that is what is under threat.

      This was all planned. In "Between Two Ages" by Zbigniew Brzezinski he predicted the internet and the rise in free speech. This take down of the free internet is just the next step. Get us all hooked, get the world using it, then transform it into the greatest propaganda tool ever invented.

      First they caught us in the "net". Now we are getting moved into the "grid".

      We _must_ keep hold of the internet in its present form, this is very important.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kandenshi (832555)

        So what you're saying is that THEY are actually Cardassians? child porn is a smokescreen for music torrents which are a smokescreen for free speech.

        "a plan within a plan within a plan leading to a trap" [wikipedia.org] seems very in-line with what you're describing. Hmm, this situation is alternatively terrifying and awesome, not sure how I'm supposed to feel as an old trek nerd and current music nerd.

    • by OriginalArlen (726444) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:39PM (#25976465)
      OpenAustralia.org [openaustralia.org] is your friend.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @10:47AM (#25974931) Journal

    Opponents said the most accurate filter chosen by the government will incorrectly block up to 10,000 Web pages out of 1 million.

    Uh, why didn't they use the metric of 10^4:10^6 or 1:100? Sounds like somebody wanted that statement to be heard as much more impacting than it is. The thing that worries me is that if we look at other technologies designed to "protect the people from themselves," a false positive rate of 1% really isn't that bad--especially on a fully automated system. A high false positive rate is--in my opinion--what's holding back facial recognition but I fear that 1% blockage of websites is completely acceptable to most folks. Maybe a better analogy is that of the FCC in America and the words you can't say on TV ... even though there is no research showing how these words negatively affect people, this small percent of our language and expression is blocked. This analogy (like all) is flawed, however, as you might never know what was on that website that caused the super happy and helpful animated kangaroo to appear on your computer and gently chide you that this site is not for Aussies.

    Hopefully (and I'm betting on this) it will turn out to be a lot like prohibition. The outlawing of these sites and data cause their value to skyrocket, the government is made to look a mockery, your average citizen (I've heard talk of simple SSL encryption stopping this) knows how to reach them, in so doing they inadvertently supply criminals with capital and the very stupid law is repealed. Twenty years later, everyone is joking about "the Grand Experiment" and how pathetically futile it was to begin with.

    Lastly, how is this any different than what China is doing? I'm surprised nobody has made this connection and accused the government of being no better than anti-free-speech China.

    After reading a bit of the plan [dbcde.gov.au] on Australia's Cyber-Safety, it's evident this quickly degrades into a "think of the children" mentality:

    While the internet has created substantial benefits for children, it has also exposed them to a number of dangers, including exposure to illegal and prohibited content. Parents rightly expect the Australian Government to play its part in helping protect children online.

    So why isn't there an "opt-out" plan for those Aussie adults who like our interwebs a little dirty (and are over 18 years of age)?

    • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:04AM (#25975201)
      That's the problem; since it's automated, that 1% blocked could be anything. cnn/bbc/etc could be blocked for talking about a child porn news item. That would seem unacceptable to me.

      As for the whole "think of the children" issue. There are child protection software packages available. Parents need to start taking responsibility for their offspring and stop expecting everyone else to bend over backwards for them. You brought them into this world, not me. You take care of their well-being. I'm all for "thinking of the children" when it doesn't adversely affect anyone else but this does. Therefore, it is unacceptable.
      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:22AM (#25975429) Journal

        That's the problem; since it's automated, that 1% blocked could be anything. cnn/bbc/etc could be blocked for talking about a child porn news item. That would seem unacceptable to me.

        Well, according to the last part of one of the articles

        The trial is expected to use a blacklist of 10,000 banned Web pages, using the rumoured 1300-page blacklist held by the ACMA mixed with dummy data.

        If that's true, they are simply going to blacklist a bunch of websites. I heavily doubt cnn/bbc/etc will ever negligently be put on that list. I know little to nothing about this scheme but if it's a blacklist, you probably have little worry about with major news sites. A lot more to worry about things labeled as "counter-culture" or "low brow humor."

        • by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:51AM (#25975789) Journal

          What you doubt, is not reality.

          Remember the whole "5 9's" philosophy of uptime?

          Well what if you reduce that back to 2 9's of uptime, which was like ....8 hours a year I believe. I think you know how big of a deal that even 1/10th of a percent can make, in that regards.

          Now lets take this to an ineffective bloated government mandated filter, and you think it's going to work? Yeah, right. "we're only blocking 1% of the internet, and it happens to be every torrent sites (including linux ISOs) , and 0 child porn websites. I'm proud that the other 80% of the sites we filter are very effective".

          Watch an almost identical quote to that come out of government mouthes if this is implemented.

          • Well what if you reduce that back to 2 9's of uptime, which was like ....8 hours a year I believe.

            I am pretty sure 2 9s of uptime would be 3.9 days of downtime a year. Talk about unacceptable.

            At any rate, so if they block 1% of the internet incorrectly, they will get a very low number of people complaining. And as we all know, if only a small minority is discriminated against it is ok, right? Wait...

        • by gorbachev (512743) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:56AM (#25975853) Homepage

          If that's true, they are simply going to blacklist a bunch of websites. I heavily doubt cnn/bbc/etc will ever negligently be put on that list.

          They are doing something very similar in Finland. The biggest difference is that ISPs aren't required to filter based on the blocklist, yet.

          An unnamed police officer (yes, apparently a single person) is in charge of what goes on the list and what comes off the list.

          They recently put w3c.org on the list.

          Obviously it was a mistake, but nevertheless it quite nicely demonstrated that any site can end up on the list.

          • by uffe_nordholm (1187961) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:18PM (#25976157)
            If I remember correctly, the very same filter was used to deny access to www.lapsiporno.info/ (childporn.info). The only problem was the the blocked site was not about child porn per se, but about the child porn filter. Thus the filter was used by the Finnish police to silence their critics! "Very handy" if you happen to be the authorities and don't care about such things as freedom of speech.
            • by TheNarrator (200498) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:21PM (#25978605)

              They can block anyone's free speech and blame the whole thing on a mistake.

              From what I've seen over the years, the incompetence defense works every single time. Officials can do something they want to do and blame it on a mistake and the public accepts it unquestioningly every single time. It's one of the most perfect propaganda techniques ever engineered.

        • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:07PM (#25975997)
          Do these people not realize that the web sites with the content on that they really want to block are moving targets. A static list will not work. It will have to be automated. Which then results in the blocking of medical blogs and forums. Have they all forgot AOL and 'breast' cancer.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Shivetya (243324)

          I would be interested too see if sites which report negatively about this new adventure suddenly find themselves on the list.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by morkk (42729)

          The trial is expected to use a blacklist of 10,000 banned Web pages,

          I heard that this list was compiled from the proxy logs at Parliament House.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hubbell (850646)
        You'll never see that start happening again. All the people who OMFG THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!! and have their own...want someone else to take care of their children for them. Gone are the days of parents actually taking responsibility for upbringing of their children.
      • by ErikZ (55491) *

        "That's the problem; since it's automated, that 1% blocked could be anything."

        Yes. It could be 5%.

    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:47AM (#25975725) Homepage Journal
      "The thing that worries me is that if we look at other technologies designed to "protect the people from themselves..."

      I think we need to back up and examine that statement in itself. Why should the govt. be involved at all in technology or laws that protect people from themselves?!?!

      Isn't part of being free, the freedom to fuck up?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nazlfrag (1035012)

      1 in a million is 1 too many.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by operagost (62405)
        The hyperbolic argument is rarely valid, as a supporter of this censorship could just as easily claim, "If it protects one child, it will be worth it!"
        • It's no more valid than the counter argument. Casualties are a part of life and I am not willing to make personal sacrifices to "protect" other people's kids. I'm not a babysitter and if I were I'm not being paid enough.

      • by Z34107 (925136)

        1 in a million is 1 too many.

        There are only a million website?!

    • by Trentus (1017602) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:15PM (#25976121)

      Lastly, how is this any different than what China is doing? I'm surprised nobody has made this connection and accused the government of being no better than anti-free-speech China.

      It has before been alluded that it is just like what China have implemented, even in the senate. To quote Senator Conroy (the nut in charge of the department for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy).

      I was wondering if I could get the questions without being accused of being the Great Wall of China.

      From http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S11346.pdf [aph.gov.au].

      No, you great twat, you can't, not when what you're proposing is so damn much like it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pmontra (738736)

      a false positive rate of 1% really isn't that bad--especially on a fully automated system

      Well, I'd say that a technology with that failure ratio isn't ready for production. Just try dropping every 100th page you load into your browser. I concede that maybe a

      1% blockage of websites is completely acceptable to most folks

      but a 1:100 false positive rate is unacceptable. Unless the opposition to the filters wins, I'll remove Australia from my list of countries I'd like to live in. Too bad, I remember it as a great country when I've been there on vacation years ago.

  • Good On 'Em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paranatural (661514) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @10:48AM (#25974957)

    It takes some amount of courage to stand up to laws like this. Basically they have to publicly oppose the guise of 'Safety' and 'For The Children'. For politicians and normal people alike it can be difficult to come out sand say you oppose anything that is 'supposed to protect children'.

    Good luck to them I say, and lets hope this kills this insane filtering plan.

    • Re:Good On 'Em (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:01AM (#25975141)

      Of course in the long run government will win, as they always do. The business of government is simply too lucrative to resist. A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're sitting at the top of a trillion-dollar power pyramid.

      There's a reason why no government in history (democracy or otherwise) has ever significant, permanently, and willingly reduced its revenue or power over the people. The reason is simple, although not many are willing to accept it (or admit it): more government benefits the people who make their fortunes in the business of government.

      Make no mistake, governments only expand in power and revenue throughout their lifetimes. We ought to sit down and think long and hard about this reality, because it is a perfect window into the true motives of government.

      • Re:Good On 'Em (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sigismundo (192183) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @02:03PM (#25977649)

        I'm inclined to take a cynical view of government too, but how do you explain King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan [wikipedia.org] who oversaw reforms to transform his country from an absolute monarchy to a democracy?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by stei7766 (1359091)

          To play devil's advocate I wouls say that a single person can indeed act decently and change things for the better, but only if they actually have the power to make those changes.

          In democratic governments the ability of the same individual within the government to make the same changes is minor compared to the larger number of those who would rather increase its size.

          Not saying that autocratic governments are inherently better...but this is an aspect of democracy which one could argue is not always best.

    • Re:Good On 'Em (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @03:33PM (#25978785)
      Nice quote on that topic:

      The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
      - H. L. Mencken

      I think that pretty much covers it.

  • They will label the protesters pedophile sympathizers. Insinuations will fly. Motives will be questioned. Fingers will be pointed. Dissent will disintegrate.

    Newspapers will be sold.

    Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.
    Frederick Douglass

    These protesters are only protesting the symptoms and not the root causes of modern censorship. That is why they will fail.

    • by Andr T. (1006215) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ffaterdna)> on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:18AM (#25975389)

      They will label the protesters pedophile sympathizers.

      That will depend on how many people really show up and how clear the protester's leaders get the message through. If they convince the average Aussie the real reasons they are protesting, the 'bad' people can say anything they want. Just like people calling Obama a terrorist (and here I'm only making an analogy) - he got the message through.

      These protesters are only protesting the symptoms and not the root causes of modern censorship. That is why they will fail.

      To get people on the streets, you need the symptoms. And, when they are already there, you tell them about the theory behind that, and the root causes. But you need facts and impact on people's lives to make them care.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:39AM (#25975611)

      Aren't you precious? Go ahead, hunker down, keep your mouth closed, mind your own business, and refuse to participate until someone--ANYONE--makes a protest that rises to your standard of approval against those so-called "root causes". Meanwhile, teh pwers that be will take your pathetic silence as acquiescence and will heap even more restrictive control over your life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nazlfrag (1035012)

      Censorship only works while the public remains silent. The media is not at fault, it's our corrupt political system. We are resisting with words, with public protest which will come to blows. We will prevail.

  • Vox Populi (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @10:49AM (#25974983)

    "Think of the children! Won't somebody PLEEEEEEASE think of the CHILDREN!" - Helen Lovejoy

    While this is a great start, perhaps they can also lift the bans on games? I'm pretty sure that aussies will want to play F.E.A.R. 2 and Silent Hill Homecoming. Okay, maybe not so much Silent Hill, but they'll want to give this one a miss by choice, not by rating board decree or royal edict.

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot.davidgerard@co@uk> on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @10:51AM (#25975009) Homepage

    "We have buttiduously canvbutted the industry [today.com], buttessed what is available and buttembled the finest selection of PFI contractors for this buttignment. The filters will buttociatively clbuttify all communications and filter then, I can butture you, rebuttemble them with surpbutting exacbreastude in any quanbreasty. Consbreastuents can be rebuttured that a mulbreastude of industry compebreastors will butture quality and keep our clbuttrooms safe. EDS Capita Goatse will not embarbutt us."

    The first filtering offices will be set up in Arsenal, Penistone and Scunthorpe.

    (Inspiration: The Daily WTF [thedailywtf.com].)

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @10:52AM (#25975019)
    A quote from this article in the The Age [theage.com.au]

    "Holly Doel-Mackaway, adviser with Save the Children, the largest independent children's rights agency in the world, said educating kids and parents was the way to empower young people to be safe internet users.

    She said the filter scheme was "fundamentally flawed" because it failed to tackle the problem at the source and would inadvertently block legitimate resources."

  • Curious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:02AM (#25975175) Journal
    I'm curious. What does the Slashdot community think of government run opt-in blacklists and/or whitelists?
    • If it was an opt-in, I might, might, be interested. Not for my family, but for NPOs that can't afford a subscription to a commercial service. For the kids, I found that age appropriate supervision and education worked best.
    • by Dmala (752610)
      Well, I think it's a terrible idea. Clearly the government does not have the resources to stay on top of all the sites that can pop up. I think the only way a program like that can succeed is if the government enlists the help of major corporations and the various trade associations that represent the major content creators.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by chadenright (1344231)
        Yes, and clearly, the government joining forces with major corporations to help censor the internet is going to revolutionize the way we see the internet--the parts of it we see, anyway.
    • In the US specifically, there is no federal authority for any such thing, so it would be completely illegal. If done at the state or local level it might be legal, but would still be a stupid idea. It would be impractical for technological reasons, immoral due to it being none of the government's proper business, and generally a waste of money handled by a bloated bureaucracy.

      The Constitutional angle is one that gets too little attention in the US. In Australia, the people are still nominally subjects of
    • by jonwil (467024)

      I have no problem if the government wants to make filtering software available. Or even if they want to mandate that ISPs must make filtering software (or ISP-side filtering) available to those who want it. As long as it is opt-in, its fine with me (since I can and will choose not to use it).

  • by conureman (748753)

    Charlie "Brown" Artman is rolling in his grave.

  • by redelm (54142) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:06AM (#25975239) Homepage
    Although nicely social, demonstrations and protesting seems somewhat futile -- whinging you are unhappy and the perpetrators ought to fix it. Especially when they are stupid enough to not realize the level of discontent, they are likely to be stubborn as a matter of "principle" (most likely of power retention).

    However, I don not see anything else Aussies can do. I don't think their constitution is strong enough to carry a challenge against parlementary primacy. Naturally, they can vote the b#ms out, but that happens anyways as a matter of control.

    Unfortunately, many "democracies", especially UK-style parlements, functionally are elected dictatorships.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malekin (1079147)

      Although nicely social, demonstrations and protesting seems somewhat futile [snip] Naturally, they can vote the b#ms out, but that happens anyways as a matter of control.

      One of the important goals of protesting is to get many people to take notice of the issue who otherwise wouldn't. If nobody pays attention to the issue it's not going to affect how they vote. With a colourful protest splashed across the evening news more people are going to want to vote the bums out sooner.

      (And seriously, you self-censored the word "bums"? Harden the fuck up, mate)

  • Also known as 1 in 100, or 1%? Granted, 10,0000 sounds a lot better, but it's a bit disingenuous...
  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:14AM (#25975329) Homepage
    "Opponents said the most accurate filter chosen by the government will incorrectly block Web pages."

    The opponents are doing themselves a disservice by analyzing percentages. By doing so it takes the focus from "should we or shouldn't we filter", to "how much should we filter?" Government should never filter Internet access, and the US should put pressure on them however they can, though I concede that is unlikely to happen since so many politicians are too busy trying to figure out ways to convince the proles that the US Government should filter the net to slap the hands of others for doing the same :-)

    (admit it; you were in desperate need of a good run-on sentence and I filled it.)
  • "No mandatory ISP internet content filtering!!" "When do we want it?" "Before our copies of Quantum of Solace finish downloading!!"
  • by oskard (715652) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:23AM (#25975459)

    will incorrectly block up to 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Web pages out of 1 decillion.

    There, fixed that for you.

  • NEUTRALITY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kieblerh (1414625)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs [youtube.com] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mYbYG-nXVA [youtube.com] Lawrence Lessig is the man! Internet users should be in control of what software they use and what content they transmit over the internet. The internet has operated openly since its start. Nobody should be able to use their market power, or government power to silence people's voices on such a powerful network as the internet.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:39AM (#25975621)
    The best internet filter that can be used is called a 'parent'. The 'parent' places the child's computer in a high trafic area of the home and monitors what the child is doing. 'Parents' can also come with aditional feature which is called 'intrest' as in the 'parent' takes an active intrest in what the child is doing on line. (Comments accepted, special cases ignored)
  • Et tu Australia? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeevesbond (1066726) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:40AM (#25975643) Homepage

    So Australia, you voted in a Labour government, thinking you were going to get a moderate, left of centre government? A change from the Neo-Liberal (see Thatcher and Reagan) fiscal policies of the right.

    But what you got is a bunch of socially right-wing, authoritarian cock-wads, who think the solution to any social problem is making new laws. As a Brit, I have to say this sounds disturbingly [labour.org.uk] familiar [wordpress.com].

    If it's not Stephane Dion [thisisdion.ca] declaring that he's "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime [google.com]," Australians electing a Tony Blair clone, or the Canadian Prime Minister ripping-off speeches [www.cbc.ca] from John Howard; it continues to amaze me how the Commonwealth leaders copy each other.

    • by MadKeithV (102058)
      Or more succinctly:
      Left is the New Right.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kingturkey (930819)
      Actually I knew we were getting a bunch of cock-wads and didn't vote for them. Those cock-wads would prefer it if you would mispell Labour as Labor.
      • by GrpA (691294)

        Some of us knew what we were getting into...

        It was pretty clear that whoever won, Australia's voters would lose. But to paraphrase Paul Keating (former PM before John Howard) it's the painful government we had to have.

        The only hope for many of us was that whoever eventually replaced the government we were about to vote in would be a better choice in the long term. Sometimes that's the best you can hope for.

        In three more years, I'll know if I made the right choice.

        It's just unfortunate that the government we

    • by compro01 (777531)

      In Canadian politics, I'd like to see either the grits or torries disappear for awhile (depending on who replaces Dion. I'd like to see Goodale running things (slight regional bias here), though it would definitely piss off Quebec, as I don't think he can speak French.), have the one that doesn't form a minority government, with the NDP running the opposition.

    • by operagost (62405)
      I don't even live in Oz and I know that the authoritarian stupidity has been going on a long time [wikipedia.org]. When you give up your rights to hold useful firearms because one nutcase went on a rampage (with guns he possessed illegally in the first place), it shows a lack of fortitude.
  • Not In The Streets (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:50AM (#25975757)
    Hold your protests in the voting booth, not in the streets. Then something will really happen.
    • Hold your protests in the voting booth, not in the streets. Then something will really happen.

      Sure, do your duty of voting once every 5 years, and shun every other form of social and political engagement. Yeah right.

      Protesting in the streets is as much a part of democracy as voting is.

    • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @02:43PM (#25978121) Homepage Journal

      No, not in the "voting booth".

      The reason is simple -- a government that is elected sets up an organization. Typically, the organization is created without an "exit strategy". After which, future governments end up feeding it anyway.

      So, we end up with a "internet monitoring" or "media monitoring" organization. It may live on a LONG time.

      As an example: Ontario, Canada, created a censorship tribunal in 1911. By the 80's, very few people could tell much about it, although it was still active. Indeed, it existed until 2004, when it was declared "unconstitional" (in the Canadian sense). See: http://www.ccla.org/news/winter04-05_10.html [ccla.org]

      However, the Ontario Film Review Board still exists (http://www.ofrb.gov.on.ca/english/page4.h) but I find it interesting that the events of 2004 are not mentioned in its "self-history".

      That is what happens to these initiatives. Leading to the only solution possible. "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." (Aliens).

    • So do I vote for the people who introduced internet filtering or the ones who will continue with it?

      The problem is that in most democratic countries on many issues do not have a choice since the two (or three at most) major parties agree and so whoever you vote for nothing will change

      The recent US elections are a case in point - Name three things Obama and McCain disagreed on? (Fairly easy) and now three things they disagreed on (ludicrously easy .... since it is almost everything)

      • by Malekin (1079147)

        The problem is that in most democratic countries on many issues do not have a choice since the two (or three at most) major parties agree and so whoever you vote for nothing will change

        The recent US elections are a case in point -

        That's because the US federal election system is a first-past-the-post system, which is deeply flawed in this way. The Australian system uses preferential voting, meaning a vote for a minor or single-issue party (Like the newly-formed Australian Sex Party which opposes this censorship as a core platform issue) is not a wasted vote.

  • could be a market for ssh proxies in countries where filtering is not implemented.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:22PM (#25976197)

    Whether by the Chinese government, the Aussies, the US, wherever, censoring public communication is the ultimate expression of disrespect for the public, and seriously undermines the validity of the offending government.

  • Simple, really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @12:46PM (#25976559) Homepage

    Parents have not exercised proper control over their children. Obvious on the face of it.

    Government has recognized this lacking and is preparing to step up to the plate, at least in some minimal aspect.

    This removes the need for any "parenting" in that specific area. Of course, since "parenting" is an obsolete concept that seems to have gone out of favor with June Cleaver we can expect further government action.

    It is an obvious step. The government can't legislate "parenting" so they are going to (ineffectively) step into that role. The people have spoken, by not doing any parenting themselves. I believe we can expect similar action in the US sometime soon. The nanny state expands to fill all voids.

  • Back in the days when I first learned about and used the Internet (no "darpanet") we did not have ISPs. The idea of an ISP is a new thing. In the old days you got an Internet conection beacuse you knew someone else who had one and you rigged a communications line to them. Many times you could not afford to keep that line 24x7 so you connected periodically and when the connection was up you send email and NNTP (news) that had been queued. Most of use had multiple "peer" and we'd connect with some of them

    • > you connected periodically and when the connection was up you
      > send email and NNTP (news) that had been queued.

      NNTP is to SMTP as news is to email. (more or less -- IHAVE/SENDME excluded for obvious reasons).

      If you were doing dial modems back in the day, you were probably using UUCP, with the UUCP-g protocol to exchange news and email.

      Anything that you could do over UUCP over a modem could be done over UUCP over a telnet or ssh link.

      So fallback to ham or dialup for netnews will probably never happe

      • by swilver (617741)
        How about fallback to wifinet, with occasional encrypted bridges over the internet? :)
  • You'd think by now the moldy old news that blacklists do more harm than good would have percolated up to even these idiots in Aussie government? The allegations of corporate ulterior motives are almost certainly true; they're aware of the consequences and don't care because they have an IP agenda.

  • Kudos to our brethren down under. I believe that this is an issue where people NEED to protest and do whatever is necessary to prevent losing freedom on the internet means really does mean the end of the only real freedom we barely have left in western society; the uncensored net means freedom of comminication and expression, freedom to organize, etc...We know that US (and likely every other country) is recording everything that happens online, under the guide of keeping the world safe and "looking for terr

  • by doug141 (863552) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @02:24PM (#25977887)

    A video site called Liveleak, that runs a few dozen new videos daily, ran a video of a russian circus family practicing, which involved an adult holding a child by the limbs and tossing/spinning him about. The aussie gov't is prosecuting an aussie for watching the video. Here's the appeal for support for the accused:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a77_1228162261 [liveleak.com]

  • g'day mate (Score:2, Funny)

    by Strep (956749)
    Govmint plowing forward despite widespread protest from people and politicians, eh? How's that democracy workin' out for yeh?
  • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @05:29PM (#25980773)

    Write to your local MP and senators (especially write to those who hold the ballance of power in the senate).
    The greens have already said they will oppose this in its current form (Whether they would accept it if it was 100% opt-in and voluntary I dont know)
    If we can get enough people to oppose it (especially those on the liberal/national opposition in the senate) Kevin wont be able to pass the law necessary to implement the filtering.

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