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Censorship The Internet

Australia Says No to Internet Censorship 209

Posted by timothy
from the war-of-attrition dept.
Brenton Fletcher writes "A nationwide protest rally against the internet censorship filter proposed by the Australian Labor Government was held today. Over 9,000 people were slated to attend. I was fortunate enough to go to the rally on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide, South Australia. I heard speeches from the Digital Liberty Coalition, the Green Left Weekly, and other concerned members of the public." Reader mask.of.sanity adds a link to ComputerWorld's photo-heavy coverage of the gatherings.
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Australia Says No to Internet Censorship

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  • OVER 9000?? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:40PM (#26105491)

    /b/ is going to be all over this story...

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by FugitiveMind (1423373)
      Who's to say a /b/tard didn't submit the story? Anonymous is everywhere...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Starayo (989319)
      I was at the Sydney protest, and there were definitely some /b/tards there. Among the shouted replies of "none" and so on to the question of "How many 'accidents' are we going to take from the Australian government?!" there were a few "OVER 9000!".

      We also had dave the happy singer. He sang never gonna give you up and still alive. XD
  • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:41PM (#26105499) Homepage

    But "Australian Government Says Yes" The government always knows whats best and do not question their motives.

    • Re:Australia Says No (Score:5, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:10PM (#26106105)

      Then it's time to kick that government out of its cushy seats. A government governing against the will of its subjects has to be removed from power. Unless you don't mind being called a dictatorship.

      • Re:Australia Says No (Score:4, Informative)

        by donscarletti (569232) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @08:11PM (#26106943)

        The election isn't for another two years. We'd overthrow them by force, but overthrowing a democratically elected government does not have a good track record in making a good successor.

        I think this is all a good experience for Australian democracy, we had a Liberal government for close to twelve years. We had forgotten how much of irresponsible populists the Labor party are. The Labor opposition had drawn us to things like mandatory detention of asylum seekers and had the Australian people convinced that they were somehow a "freedom party" of sorts. So as their first memorable act they go out to censor the Internet.

        Now we have that idiot Rudd spending education dollars on free laptops, telecommunications infrastructure dollars on censorship and tax dollars on allowances to buy Christmas presents. I can't believe that I voted for these arsehats.

        • by Malekin (1079147)

          We had forgotten how much of irresponsible populists the Labor party are.

          If Little Johnny is to be remembered for anything it was his ability to sniff and exploit popular opinion. He was a canny bastard and that's why he lasted as long as he did.

          Australia went Labor because we hate politicians and we get eventually sick of whatever party is in charge and vote in the other guys. The two parties are so similar that the issues at each election are just window-dressing.

          Now we have that idiot Rudd spending education dollars on free laptops, telecommunications infrastructure dollars on censorship and tax dollars on allowances to buy Christmas presents. I can't believe that I voted for these arsehats.

          The coalition also spent millions on internet censorship, the "technical colleges programme" and a range of allowa

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by theaveng (1243528)

          >>>We had forgotten how much of irresponsible populists the Labor party are.

          They don't sound like populists. They certainly aren't listening to the people demanding "no censorship".

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            They don't sound like populists. They certainly aren't listening to the people demanding "no censorship"

            Yes, but the people actively demanding "no censorship" are not the majority of voters.

        • by Eskarel (565631)

          Howard was a tool, especially towards the end. He'd have sold his own mother for a vote, took 8 years of good financial governance and flushed it down the toilet by throwing money at any marginal seat he could find.

          His government(along with every labor state government) also spectacularly failed to take advantage of the boom to do anything even remotely useful.

          He needed to go.

          True, Nanna Rudd has turned out to be a bit useless, spending most of his time trying to go after people's vices(drinking, porn, etc)

        • by lachlan76 (770870)

          The Labor opposition had drawn us to things like mandatory detention of asylum seekers and had the Australian people convinced that they were somehow a "freedom party" of sorts. So as their first memorable act they go out to censor the Internet.

          I expect that WorkChoices had a little bit more to do with it. Ignoring most of the population deserves a fairly forceful removal from office...as it does again in this case. The best we can hope for is that this is not forgotten come the next election.

        • Really ? Because the alternative (to leave Howard in power for another 3 years) was THAT MUCH better ??Yeah Right!
          Which is better?

          The current government who is against mandatory detention, who ratified the Kyoto agreement and wants to spend $100M to censor the internet,

          or the previous government who is FOR mandatory detention, refused to ratify Kyoto, and HAS ALREADY SPENT $100M trying to censor the internet ?

          Democracy is about picking the lesser of two evils.

          • At least the $100 million (citation?) spent by the previous government on examining Internet censorship still left us with a choice of whether or not to participate. I would rather see $100 million spent on trying to catch and punish the people making and distributing the real kiddie porn.
            In other news,in Sydney, a homeless guy was today charged with having child porn on his phone [news.com.au]. It was pictures of kids running around in public in their underwear, so apparently children playing, with clothes on, in a n
        • I can't believe that you voted for those arsehats either. ;)
  • By raising a big, public stink about it, all that has been done is to teach the politicians that they need to sneak this through the next time -- either by hiding it within some broader "anti-terrorism" or "think of the children" bill, or by passing it before the public can get wind of it. This is the main failure of legislative bodies -- a given bill can be put up for a vote repeatedly (maybe worded a bit differently) or integrated into something larger that is difficult to oppose. It can face any number o

    • depend upon your defeatist attitude to make sure opposition is muted

      i mean seriously, wtf: "all that has been done is to teach the politicians that they need to sneak this through the next time"

      really? all of our representatives are programmed androids? they aren't people like you and me?

      "Yet it takes only one passing vote to put it on the books forever"

      forever? seriously?

      look, your attitude is part of the problem

      a legislature is a representation of the will of the people. does the people's will get warped? absolutely. does it get betrayed? absolutely. but not all the time, and not forever. if the right thing is ever going to get done, defeatist attitudes that accept bullshit, like yours, must be destroyed just as much as bad legislators need to be brought down

      yeah, really: you're part of the problem

      ultranegative, ultracynical attitudes are the beginning of acceptance of the crap you complain about

      i don't accept this bullshit

      by your words, YOU DO

      change your retarded atittude, pronto

      • by Mal-2 (675116) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @05:22PM (#26105781) Homepage Journal

        Hey, I do have an answer for this -- sunset clauses. They should work both ways and be MANDATORY.

        Propose measure X, with a sunset clause of five years. If it passes, it has to be re-passed after those five years or it goes away. On the flip side, if it makes it to a vote and is defeated, it CANNOT BE PROPOSED AGAIN for five years. This should stop legislators from trying to bite off more than they can chew. Laws confirmed to be a good idea can be given longer sunset clauses the second time around -- say up to some multiple of the original. If it can get passed a third time, then some "cap limit" such as 99 years would come into play.

        But do you think the legislatures would actually want to DO this? It would require them to not only pass laws, but to examine and renew those that have already been passed... and that would be WORK!

        Mal-2

        • by frieko (855745)
          The only problem I see with this - one legislator hates, say, education. So he puts forward the "Fund education and also shove a baseball bat up everybody's ass bill of 2008". Bam, no education funding for the next five years.
          • by compro01 (777531)

            1. Prohibit bill names. Just give them a number.

            2. Prohibit omnibus bills.

            • by frieko (855745)
              Okay, what if you propose a bill with an education budget of $1? Then the choices are either $1 or nothing. It totally eliminates the opportunity to tweak/compromise on good bills that actually need to get implemented.

              I think your 1 and 2 are much better ideas than the original no-do-over idea.
          • We don't have "riders" here in Australia
          • by Mal-2 (675116)

            No, it only means THIS PARTICULAR proposal is off the table for five years. One proposing ONLY to fund education, or one proposing ONLY to put baseball bats up everyone's asses (or in some other combination, just not with each other) would still be allowed to be proposed. Not only that, but only reasonably connected items should be allowed to be on the same bill in the first place. No more "increase veterans benefits (and build a bridge to nowhere)" kind of omnibus bills. Thus, unless the proposal was to ed

            • by Mal-2 (675116)

              Also note that I said it has to come to a full vote and be defeated. There is no penalty if it is shot down in committee and never brought to the floor.

              Perhaps there should also be no penalty if it passes in one house of the legislature but is defeated in the other. This would only kick in if both houses say no -- though as things are now, the second house usually does not vote if the other has already shot something down. This way, the Senate or House (in the U.S., I do not know their equivalents in Austra

    • by Daimanta (1140543)

      "It can face any number of deaths in committee, or beat-downs when held to a vote, and it doesn't die. Yet it takes only one passing vote to put it on the books forever."

      Different time-periods have different people with different opinions. You can't expect a law that was voted down once to remain undiscussable forever because it would hamper any change and would allow sneaky blockage of laws(by trying to introduce a law that will never pass thus banashing it forever).

      Trying to create a bureaucracy that will

  • by SinShiva (1429617) <slashdot@drowzy.net> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:54PM (#26105585)
    http://nocleanfeed.com/ [nocleanfeed.com] - i personally have not been and likely never will go to australia, but if you are a citizen, you would be hurting the rest of the world if you didn't help fight censorship. keep on trucking, aussies.
  • by retech (1228598) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:56PM (#26105603)
    Incredible showing of people and protest. That % of people rallying behind anything is sure to make a change!

    I'd type in the sarcastic font but /. doesn't support that tag, pity really.
  • by viiviiviivii (459313) <viiviiviivii@g m a i l . c om> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @05:03PM (#26105631) Homepage

    I haven't been back home for almost 5 years, but it saddens me to see that only 7000 people were in protest.

    Come on, there was 1/2 a million for the anti Iraq rallies, I guess since the public couldn't stop the government on that one they just can't be bothered anymore.

    I never realised Australia had a problem with an over controlling government until I moved to Europe.

    Something has to be done before you all just give up all of your rights!

    • by QCompson (675963)

      I haven't been back home for almost 5 years, but it saddens me to see that only 7000 people were in protest.

      It is sad. Those pictures of the protest on computerworld.com make the gathering look pathetic. I've seen more people waiting in line for "doorbuster" sales at box stores. Not a diverse bunch either, mostly 20something nerdy types.

      • It is sad, however, the media has not got behind this like they did with the anti Iraq rallies, anti gun rallies etc. Without the self righteous media - I'm looking at you Daily Telegraph - telling the sheeple what to do, they won't do it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It was raining heavily, and it's the pre-xmas party season.

      Parts of europe already have internet censorship, so .au is ahead there.

      Mostly people don't want it I think -- from the various people I've talked to, and the reactions in different media. However people aren't as passionate about it as going to war for bullshit reasons.

      Hopefully this new government will listen to people. We kicked the last government out when they didn't listen.

    • by eebra82 (907996) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:59PM (#26106413) Homepage

      I haven't been back home for almost 5 years, but it saddens me to see that only 7000 people were in protest. Come on, there was 1/2 a million for the anti Iraq rallies, I guess since the public couldn't stop the government on that one they just can't be bothered anymore.

      I agree that the number is rather low, but keep in mind that a war based on false intelligence is something more people can understand, as opposed to internet regulations that only (well mostly) internet techies really care about.

    • by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:08PM (#26106481) Journal
      Nobody turned up except the tinfoil hat types because most people who know anything about it also know it's not going to pass the senate. The entire project was set up to plactate senator Fielding from the "Family First" party. Because of the current make-up of the senate he gets to be "the decider" in certain political stand-offs. The previous government did something similar because belive it or not some people do want the govt to censor the net, and they have themselves a senator.

      "Something has to be done before you all just give up all of your rights!

      If the "Family First" party was more popular then I might think about getting off my arse, but as it stands my "rights" are intact and are likely to stay that way.

      "Come on, there was 1/2 a million for the anti Iraq rallies, I guess since the public couldn't stop the government on that one they just can't be bothered anymore."

      As with the US, Aussies had a chance to show their displeasure at the war by kicking the bums out at the next election, they chose not to do so.
    • by daBass (56811)

      The problem is that mainstream media completely ignores this and so most people don't know that it is happening.

      Unbelievable, but true. I have seen some coverage on the clean feed plans in the opinion and IT pages of The Australian, but nowhere else.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      Europe has its own problems. Do you know that in Germany you have to tell the government where you live. If you move, you have 2 weeks to tell them where you are now living.

      In the UK, all foreign nationals have to have an ID card that they need to carry at all times.

      In Sweden, you could only buy alcohol from Government shop, and they limited how much you could but, until recently. Now, you can only get the real stuff (not-lite beer) from Gov shops.

      That is just 3 countries that I know off.

  • a different take (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thermian (1267986) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @05:15PM (#26105725)

    What amuses me about this censorship is the fundamental lack of understanding of the Internet as it stands today.

    There is a perception that it is websites that contain the kinds of material to be blocked, and for some countries, the conversations to prevent.

    Whats wrong with this? Online games, that's what. Even at this early stage its possible for people to meet in groups online in games and talk.

    mummorpegers are becoming more complex as time rolls on, and with them, the ways in which players can interact. My son does all his online chatting in game, or through things like steams speech comms.

    Can these be censored? Not easily, if at all, about the best the can do is prevent swearing, and that assumes a list of pre-established stop words. Apply censorship more complex than swear filters to online games and you kill them, because the costs of administering the censorship would outstrip the money to be made, or dent it so much as to make it non viable.

    Then there's the fact that not all online games are run by conveniently visible corporations, a trend also likely to continue.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:19PM (#26106157)

      Wait, wait, it's not really about keeping kids from getting access to obscene material or being molested online. For that, as you point out, it would fail on so many levels. That's just the smokescreen to make people agree with it who only give it a cursory glance and now question the efficiency (as you do). Too few do that. The usual reaction is a nod and a "if they say so, it sounds like something that might work". People in general don't know too much about the inner workings of the internet. And when the government says that something they use will block out those threats to kids, the train of logic is usually that they prolly employed some expert eggheads who know their shit and that those eggheads developed that, and that this should work out and do its job.

      What people don't question is the governments motivation to do something. After all, we live in a democracy, right? So our governments have to do what's good for us, if they didn't they'd be voted out, right?

      That's the fallacy here.

    • by Samah (729132)
      It's spelled "mumorpuger". :)
  • by syousef (465911) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @05:19PM (#26105755) Journal

    For those of you that don't understand the reference Tasmania is a state of Australia that is an island and shaped something like an upsidedown triangle. "Show us your map of Tassie" is slang and translates to "show us your pubic hair".

    • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:58PM (#26106813)
      An upside-down triangle? What does that even mean? I didn't know triangles had a "right " way up. A triangle is simply a triangle, whatever its orientation.
      • An upside-down triangle? What does that even mean?

        By convention:

        1. Maps are drawn with south at the bottom.
        2. Regular or otherwise symmetric polygons with an odd number of sides are "right side up" when they are flat side down. That's the position they assume when stood on end.

        Therefore, a triangular land mass is "right side up" when pointing north and "umop apisdn" when pointing south.

        • by dangitman (862676)
          But Australia's in the southern hemisphere. Doesn't that make everything upside-down, and therefore Tasmania the correct way up?
          • by tepples (727027)

            But Australia's in the southern hemisphere. Doesn't that make everything upside-down, and therefore Tasmania the correct way up?

            You mean like pretending gravity pulls toward the equator, which would put south at the top in a southern hemisphere map? Hey, it could happen [about-australia-shop.com].

      • by syousef (465911)

        An upside-down triangle? What does that even mean? I didn't know triangles had a "right " way up. A triangle is simply a triangle, whatever its orientation. ...and yet I bet you understood exactly what I was saying.

        The other poster is correct. It's a matter of convention.

        Were you just trying to troll, or were you genuinely trying to make a point? Either way thanks for demonstrating how broken the moderation is around here. You got modded informative.

        • by dangitman (862676)

          Were you just trying to troll, or were you genuinely trying to make a point?

          Neither. It was just a "slashdot moment." If you can't post pedantic and irrelevant non-sequiturs here, then where can you?

      • An upside-down triangle? What does that even mean? I didn't know triangles had a "right " way up. A triangle is simply a triangle, whatever its orientation.

        Well, it's the Southern hemisphere, right, so all triangles are upside-down, see?

  • slated (Score:2, Insightful)

    by julian67 (1022593)
    "Over 9,000 people were slated to attend" Slated to attend? That's not even English, it's barely bad journalese. It seems to be a way to avoid saying "25 people attended, with 2 crappy banners, and nobody cares. We'd better make up some shit so we don't look totally ineffectual".
  • I missed news reports, but going off the story here and comments I'm disappointed in the focus.
    I don't want the pollies to think this is only an issue for civil-liberarian fringe groups, greens, and porn consumers.
    No, I wasn't there; I live 600km from the nearest held rally.

  • http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/11/28/1227491813497.html?page=fullpage [theage.com.au] You know it is bad when children's groups want clean feed as well.
    • If they're serious about protection of kids, the last thing they want is governmental filters.

      As a parent, you and only you should be the one telling what your kids can and cannot see. It is your job to educate and raise your kids. Not the government's. And certainly not mine. More importantly, why the heck should I suffer from blocked out webpages because someone cannot be bothered to supervise their kids online?

      If you are to protect kids, give them the tools and knowledge to defend themselves against pred

    • Thanks for the link, the Age is one of our better rags. Notice the last sentance - "Senator Conroy's spokesman, Tim Marshall, has consistently failed to respond to requests for comment on the issue.".

      I have said from the beginning that Conroy does not support this, however going through the motions of a "trial" is the price KRuddy must pay to get senator Fielding on side for a majority in the Senate. Conroy has provided what Fielding wanted and is now trying to point the media back at Fielding, by the ti
  • HUNDREDS of people attended rallies in Australian capital cities yesterday to voice their opposition to the Rudd Government's planned internet filtering scheme. In Sydney a crowd of up to 300 mostly young and tech-savvy protestors gathered at Town Hall to hear guest speakers including bloggers and musicians criticise the web filtering scheme Digital Liberty Coalition protests against web filter held across Australia [news.com.au]

    .

    A crowd of several hundred gathered at Stirling Gardens in Perth today to rally against t

    • by Chuq (8564)

      The weather was fairly bad all across the country on Saturday which would have put a lot of people off. In Hobart it was so bad they postponed the entire event until next week. It will be interesting to see how many we get ...

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:41PM (#26106301)
    ... Australia says "No [expletive deleted] way!" to Internet censorship.
    • by mgblst (80109)

      Websites that are censored by the Government, where the bloody hell are ya?

  • by Michael Wardle (50363) <mikel&mikelward,com> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @08:00PM (#26106825) Homepage

    According to news.com.au, the attendance in Sydney was about 300 [news.com.au], so you'd assume nationwide it was closer to 1,000.

    It was also raining, which didn't help.

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Sunday December 14, 2008 @12:04AM (#26108353)

    Turn out was disappointing. The Brisbane protest was probably the most successful, but of the thousand people on Facebook who said they'd attend only a hundred turned up. Kudos to those who did.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/queensland/rally-rejects-rudds-internet-filter/2008/12/13/1228585168416.html [brisbanetimes.com.au]

    The Sydney rally was a disaster. Poorly organized, it was supposed to start at 11AM but didn't start till 11:40AM. When they did it was a very poor speech by of all people some wannabe-politician from the "Sex Party", and by some dufus with a guitar who thought this was going to be his break into the music world. Those few who attended just wandered off.

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1102985&p=35 [whirlpool.net.au]

    > there was 1/2 a million for the anti Iraq rallies, I guess since the public couldn't stop the government on that one they just can't be bothered anymore.

    True. The people got out and protested but the then Howard government ignored them. The people said "well, what can you do?", went home and re-elected Howard anyway. LOL Western Two-party Democracy.

    But back to the protests... the organizers of the Sydney one should be shot. I went to a few of a the war rallies after the big one and they were a poor effort: organized by students whose egos were overblown at their now found (and very short lived) celebrity. If they try these anti-censorship rallies again, they need some decent organizers. Get rid of the hangers on like marginal parties no one will ever vote for and any wannabe musician who is friends of the organizer. Get someone from the Greens or even the Liberal Party to speak. My enemy's enemy is my friend if you will. This was an opportunity lost through sheer ego. Sure the Greens/Liberals would have got on board if anyone asked them. Next time get EFA: they've got far more experience at lobbying than the Sex Party clowns do.

    I noticed the protests received marginal coverage from the mainstream media (at least for the Sydney protest their lack of coverage was deserved). They're probably hoping the net dies anyway.

    • Surely you're exaggerating... sounds like it was less of a disaster and more of a train wreck! I'm conservative (US conservative, not sure where that falls on the Australian political spectrum) and reading that made me cringe!

      As a college student, the largest problem I have with politically active 'organizers' is that they want to be involved with politics. Regardless of where they fall on their political leanings, they all have this in common. I think ego is part of the package. The other part is th
      • I really don't get the band thing. If you have to get a band to get people to attend a political rally, you might as well be offering them free food and beer, or why not just give them the money directly. When you say 'Look how many people attended our rally' the powers that be can sniff 'so what. they were there for the band.' We live in a difficult age. People are apathetic as hell, and our politicians have got manipulating us to such a fine art they can do stupid stuff like the Aussie Internet Filter (or
  • Personally I couldn't care less about what happens to Australia's Internet connections, but I see proposed filter as an interesting experiment. And a good laugh.

    An experiment moreover funded and carried out by Australians. An experiment which the world at large can and should watch. And why not? It's free of charge. Let's face it: there is no actual downside to this experiment.

    Therefore I urge Australia's parliamentarians not to let the protests from obvious anarchists and lawbreakers put them off-cours

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