Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Wikileaks Pages Added To Australian Internet Blacklist 437

Posted by timothy
from the paging-dr-streisand-dr-streisand dept.
cpudney writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has added several Wikileaks pages to its controversial blacklist. The blacklisted pages contain Denmark's list of banned websites. Simply linking to addresses in ACMA's blacklist attracts an $11,000 per-day fine as the hosts of the popular Australian broadband forum, Whirlpool, discovered last week when they published a forum post that linked to an anti-abortion web-site recently added to ACMA's blacklist. The blacklist is secret, immune to FOI requests and forms the basis of the Australian government's proposed mandatory ISP-level Internet censorship legislation. Wikileaks' response to notification of the blacklisting states: 'The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship.'" So Australians aren't allowed to see what it is that the Danes aren't allowed to see?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wikileaks Pages Added To Australian Internet Blacklist

Comments Filter:
  • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:44AM (#27224311)

    Any Australians fined yet for coming here?

    • by Daengbo (523424) <daengboNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:50AM (#27224381) Homepage Journal

      The fine article also states that Thailand's blocklist [wikileaks.org] has been leaked. I thought you'd want to read it for yourself in addition to the Denmark one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meist3r (1061628)
        Interesting how there are several dozen links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk on this Thai list. What's being blocked? The biography of the Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The future of internet is NOW. Citizens have no right knowing who makes for their government. That's the future right at your fingertips. Glad Germany will get this pretty soon, too. I love to be protected from things that aren't supposed to be secret.
    • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:53AM (#27224417) Journal
      Aussie here, it has always been my contention that Conroy was in charge of the project to drag it out and make sure it DIDN'T happen, I think they are about to sign the death certificate...

      Relevent info in amoungst the links...


      "The Greens and Opposition also oppose the scheme, meaning any legislation to implement it will be blocked. The Opposition has obtained legal advice that "legislation of some sort will almost certainly be required", but others have said it may be possible to implement the scheme without legislation. Speaking at a telecommunications conference last week, Senator Conroy urged Australians to have faith in MPs to pass the right legislation."
      • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:09AM (#27224637) Journal
        Maybe you can answer a couple of questions...

        1. Have they blocked SSH access out of the country? It's hard to block a tunneled connection...
        2. Have they blocked TOR access?

        Maybe I'm just being naive but firewalling off an entire country (noted exception: China) seems really impractical.
        • by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:36AM (#27225025)

          Maybe you can answer a couple of questions...

          1. Have they blocked SSH access out of the country? It's hard to block a tunneled connection...
          2. Have they blocked TOR access?

          Maybe I'm just being naive but firewalling off an entire country (noted exception: China) seems really impractical.

          No they just banned the sites hosting the proxies and sites listing the location of proxies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Thinboy00 (1190815)

          [snip]
          Maybe I'm just being naive but firewalling off an entire country (noted exception: China) seems really impractical.

          What [wikipedia.org] are [wikipedia.org] you [wikipedia.org] smoking [wikibooks.org]?

  • We need to find a document showing who is responsible, then put it up on wikileaks where everyone can see ..... Oh.
  • by Leafheart (1120885) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:46AM (#27224343)
    From TFS:

    Simply linking to addresses in ACMA's blacklist attracts an $11,000 per-day fine (snip) The blacklist is secret, immune to FOI requests and forms the basis of the Australian (snip)

    So you receive a letter on your mailbox saying that you were fined in AUD $11,000 , for linking to a site that you didn't know you could link, and if you knew that you couldn't link to it you would be even more penalized because that information is not for your security level?

    Has someone on the Aussie's Government been playing Paranoia recently?

    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:48AM (#27224361)

      Has someone on the Aussie's Government been playing Paranoia recently?

      What is your security clearance, citizen?

      • by faloi (738831) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:54AM (#27224423)
        I'm afraid if you're not ultraviolet, you can't ask that question. Can you tell me if the chainsaw looks like it's going fast enough, look closer.

        I loved that game.
      • Newspeak! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Has someone on the Aussie's Government been playing Paranoia recently?

        What is your security clearance, citizen?

        Citizen, plus good you unpraise crimethinker. Plus ungood you post in oldspeak. You go plus speedwise ACMA center for transport to joycamp.

    • So you receive a letter on your mailbox saying that you were fined in AUD $11,000 , for linking to a site that you didn't know you could link, and if you knew that you couldn't link to it you would be even more penalized because that information is not for your security level?

      Doesn't the Australian court system offer its citizens some kind of protection against this?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:56AM (#27224455)
        Nope, they're immediately detained on some manner of prison island, no questions asked.
        • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:01AM (#27224525)

          Nope, they're immediately detained on some manner of prison island, no questions asked.

          Yeah, but it's also filled with lots of women with Australian accents. Please excuse me while I go find some felony to commit...

    • by mcvos (645701) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:08AM (#27224625)

      Simply linking to addresses in ACMA's blacklist attracts an $11,000 per-day fine (snip) The blacklist is secret, immune to FOI requests and forms the basis of the Australian (snip)

      So you receive a letter on your mailbox saying that you were fined in AUD $11,000 , for linking to a site that you didn't know you could link, and if you knew that you couldn't link to it you would be even more penalized because that information is not for your security level?

      This is truly bizarre. Sounds like it's a law that's designed to be accidentally broken.

      I don't think it'll stand up in any court. It's just wrong on too many levels.

    • by psyron (1175659) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:09AM (#27224639)
      The link in question was to an anti-abortion page containing some pictures of aborted babies. Apparently a member of the forum decided to test the filter by posting a link to the page and then submitting a complaint to the ACMA asking for such a link to be banned, for the purpose of seeing what would happen.

      Lo and behold someone at the ACMA must of looked at the page, seen the pictures (I'm sure you can find much worse in any medical journal mind you) and decided that linking to the page was now illegal. So they sent a notice to the forum's hosting provider (bypassing the forum all together) informing them to take the link down within 24 hours or risk being fined $11K per day. The host then contacted the forum admin who obviously didn't want to put this on his provider took down the link.

      I initially thought nothing would come of this ridiculous filter idea because it was just so plain stupid and so many people, including most ISPs, are against it. But I'm not so sure anymore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Shikaku (1129753)

        Dear god someone link them to 4chan. Or GNAA. Or Kids in the Sandbox. Or 2 girls 1 cup. Or Efuckt. Or Goatse.

        • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:22PM (#27229151) Homepage

          Score +5 Informative, because there's no score -HolyFuck GougeMyEyesOutWithASpoon.

          4chan [4chan.org] Random image boards. Daily flood of random crap.

          GNAA [www.gnaa.us] Internet Troll headquarters. Obnoxious text, but I'm not aware of any eye-gouging image content.

          kids-in-the-sandbox [kidsinsandbox.net] Some men might scream in pain at the thought of a dildo being shoved INTO their penis.

          2girls1cup.mpg [lucabartoli.info] The most famous video you really really don't want to see, unless you have a fetish for watching girls eat soft shit then vomit it into each other's mouths.

          efukt [efukt.com] Tag line "Porn you wish you never saw". Assorted video collection: Anorexic sex, a donkey giving itself a blowjob, gay anal fisting nearly to the shoulder, etc etc etc.

          Goatse [whitehat.net.nz] The original mammoth asshole you wish you never saw.

          And how can we not include TubGirl [forumspile.com] Another image you really wish you never saw, unless of course you think getting blasted in your face with your own fountain of enema spray is really really HOT.

          -

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        The link in question was to an anti-abortion page

        For someone who hasn't been following this too closely - were they still pretending that this was about blocking child pr0n (in which case, this shows the claim up to be false), or did they drop that pretence?

        (Even if it was about blocking child images, laws about automatic fines for linking are very worrying - linking to such images can be dealt with specific laws, and it should be up to a court to decide if the image constituted an illegal image; it shouldn

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by interiot (50685)

        I initially thought nothing would come of this ridiculous filter idea because it was just so plain stupid and so many people

        Just wait. In the end, it will certainly be scrapped *, but in the meantime, there will be many lulz.

        When people implement ridiculous ideas, the only thing they accomplish is to provide fodder that helps prevent the idea from being implemented again. And they get their 15 minutes of fame, even if they wish they could take it all back.

        • (* okay, there's a miniscule possibility that
    • by alexhs (877055)

      They're preparing to replace Web2.0 by Web3.0, a.k.a TV2.0 .

      Big Corp. know what's good for you and won't be bothered.

      If you're not Big Corp. you had nothing to link here in the first place. You just deserve that fine, collateral damage or not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This is why they took all the guns away!

    • by srjh (1316705) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:53AM (#27226267)

      To be fair, the fine is for ignoring a request for deleting links to prohibited content. It would be stupid to significantly penalise someone for breaking a law they aren't allowed to know about... but if I had a dollar for every time I thought "That would be stupid, there's no way the ALP will possibly incorporate that into the net censorship plan", I'd be able to forget about this whole financial crisis and retire at 26.

      What's just as concerning is the apparent recursive nature of the blacklist. Link to prohibited content, and your website becomes prohibited content. Therefore, any links to your website become prohibited content. Given the nature of hyperlinking and the internet, the whole web is probably only a few steps away from being banned. At this stage, I'm not even sure that's not what Labor wants.

      It's actually worse than this - the blacklist doesn't just deal with "prohibited content", it deals with "potential prohibited content". In other words, material that has not been found to be prohibited, but which a single bureaucrat thinks has the potential to be prohibited if it was investigated. Given that even MA15+ (i.e. material that is legal for a 15-year-old to view) content can be prohibited, and a significant proportion of the blacklist is legal for 18-year-olds to view (i.e. R18+ and X18+), that's an extremely low threshold for something to be considered off-limits to Australian web users by our government.

      Ugh... the whole thing sickens me. I was hoping it would have been dropped like a hot potato for now, but it's obvious they aren't backing down. Our only hope is if it goes to a vote in the senate and fails.

  • That's Kafkaesque (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:46AM (#27224345)

    Eh, what?? A $11k fine for breaking a secret law? How are you supposed to stay clear of it if you can't read the list of things you can't do?

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:47AM (#27224349)

    At least in Denmark, you can drive a little ways and get your Internet uncensored.

    For those unlucky souls in Australia who can't access their favorite aberrent websites don't really have any good recourse.

  • Well done! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the_germ (146623)

    So you can't see what pages are on the list, but if you happen to link to one you pay $11,000 per day...

    Welcome to BDA - Banana Dictatorship of Australia!

  • Looks like Australia is going fascist *instead* of the USA.

    Dick Cheney must be drooling at this.
    This is probably one of the things he always wanted.

    • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (avitlaocin)> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:25AM (#27224845) Journal

      This has nothing to do with fascism. The problem with fascism wasn't censorship. Censorship is bad, fascism included censorship as a matter of course, but it's not what was particularly bad about fascism. Soviet Russia wasn't fascist. It was bad too, just not in the same way.
      Today the United States are much closer to fascism than Australia, yet they enjoy incomparable freedom of speech.
      Militarization of the economy, dubious appeals to patriotism, booming prison population, the collusion between corporate interests and government, that's fascist-ish.
      Censorship, that's what you find in China, which is not nearly as bad as the US in the areas I just listed (but by no means any better overall, don't get me wrong.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:50AM (#27224389)

    Why don't we just block Australia from the internet altogether until they learn to use it properly?

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:53AM (#27224419) Journal
    The blacklist is secret

    These guys just don't "get" it still, do they?

    Step 1) Run a simple web spider that checks availability but never actually pulls content, from within Australia.
    Step 2) Run the same spider in any non-censoring country.
    Step 3) Compare the two lists.

    Simple as that. Nothing more than a few hundred megs of shotgun-requests, and you can map the portions of the web that look dark but shouldn't.
    • by BESTouff (531293) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:14AM (#27224703)

      Step 1) Run a simple web spider that checks availability but never actually pulls content, from within Australia.
      Step 2) Run the same spider in any non-censoring country.
      Step 3) Compare the two lists.

      You'd better be quick. The amount of non-censoring countries is drying very fast.

    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:16AM (#27224735) Homepage

      Yeah, that's a great idea. All you have to do to get a copy of the blacklist is check every URL on the entire internet twice. I'll get my iPhone started on that!

      • by pla (258480) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#27225035) Journal
        All you have to do to get a copy of the blacklist is check every URL on the entire internet twice.

        Given the choice between dealing with government bureaucracy or using a technical end-run around the same, I'll take the technical approach every time. At least it will deterministically give the desired results.

        And as I mentioned, you don't need to get the whole page, just check the headers. This task would also parallelize perfectly... A few dozen people splitting the task between them could probably do it in under an hour. You could further optimize it by only checking the list of possible positives in the noncensoring-country phase.

        But by all means, feel free to complain to the politicians, and see which of us gets an answer first... And which of us trusts the answer we get (if any).


        Personally, I think this would make an interesting exercise for a potential link aggregation site... Run the same experiment daily from various known-censoring countries, and post them to the FP so everyone can instantly see the day's new "Big Brother disapproves of this" content. Sort of an automated Streisand effect.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by schmiddy (599730)

          And as I mentioned, you don't need to get the whole page, just check the headers. This task would also parallelize perfectly... A few dozen people splitting the task between them could probably do it in under an hour

          LOL. I take it you've never actually tried to write or run a web crawler before? It's a fun exercise.. try it sometime.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          How do you spider the internet, if you are only checking headers. The whole point of a spider is that you recursively follow all the links returned from each page.
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:54AM (#27224427)

    ...but when did Australia become the poster boy for blatant censorship and policies akin to fascism? I lived there for awhile back in the early 90s and it seemed like such a laid-back, friendly place where pretty much anything goes so long as it doesn't hurt anyone.

    The irony of all this is I remember getting a "talking to" by a fellow in a bar who held up McCarthyism as one of America's saddest moments because it directly attacked free speech and free thought of individuals in the name of the "commie boogyman". With news like this coming out of Australia, I'm wondering if I'm going to see him again on TV in some show trial, being accused of thoughtcrime.

    Actually, no, I won't, because unlike the McCarthy hearings, the ones in Australia would probably be censored.

    • by Em Emalb (452530) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <blameme>> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:58AM (#27224479) Homepage Journal

      It's as if countries in the "western" world these days are in a race to see who can remove citizen rights the fastest.

      I really don't understand it. Have we really fallen so far so fast?

      As always, it's just a matter of following the money and/or who has the most to gain from these measures. Find that, then you can combat it.

  • The vast majority of the list looks like kiddie porn sites or links to kiddie porn sights. You know, teenagers and younger being exploited.

    Frankly, the Danes and the Australians are doing the "liberal" thing in trying to block these sites. If they block everyone, they reason, the sites will go out of business and the exploitation will stop. That's admirable.

    But... since I'm an American.... I would rather let the people go to these sites, determine who is getting their jollies off looking at this stuff,

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:01AM (#27224527) Journal

      If they block everyone, they reason, the sites will go out of business and the exploitation will stop. That's admirable.

      And if we outlaw drugs, people still stop using them and drug abuse will stop. That's admirable.

      But... since I'm an American.... I would rather let the people go to these sites, determine who is getting their jollies off looking at this stuff, and then let's round up all these sick f--- people and kill them.

      That thought has occurred to me as well. Why block these sites when you could presumably get warrants to see who is going to them and actually investigate the people breaking the law instead of trying to impose a censorship scheme that will never work anyway?

      • by __int64 (811345) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#27225041)

        Because it's not actually about stopping childporn, it's about imposing censorship. Whether childporn is weeded out is irrelevant, and these filters don't actually have be effective at stopping childporn to be effective at making people complacent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)

        Well I would say that just leaving them up would be bordering on entrapment.
        It wouldn't be hard for somebody to spam people with HTML Email with links back to those sites. Most people don't turn off the images in email like I do.
        If a site is illegal in a certain country for some reason and that country decided to block it then that list should be made public.
        Keeping the list secret is just wrong.
        Every site that is blocked should have a reason that it is blocked and they type of content that is on it. If yo

    • With laws like this the pedos will realize that they need to move on to something more secure than open HTTP.

      This way the kids and politicians alike will not be able to see the stuff; just like it was before the Internet took off. Politicians will then be able to back to the way they used to handle this problem: http://www.dilbert.com/fast/2009-03-15/ [dilbert.com] (focus on the last pane)

    • by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:16AM (#27224739) Journal

      > The vast majority of the list looks like kiddie porn sites
      Please post ACMA's blacklist so we can verify.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Who modded this funny? I wasn't trying to be funny - I was trying to point out that the list is secret, so GP doesn't know what's in it. Until this assertion is backed, I call bullshit.

  • Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acehole (174372) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:59AM (#27224491) Homepage

    The anti-abortion website was purposely reported to ACMA (the gov dept looking after the censorship) to test the waters in reporting websites.

    All it took was one email.

  • welcome to what it feels like being an american during the bush administration. pariah, object of scorn and derision. you do realize what a joke this makes your country look like right?

    1. sites blocked not for pornography, but ideological reasons
    2. harsh punitive financial punishments just for linking
    3. secret lists you, as a common citizen, don't have the right to see

    i now think of australia the way i do iran and china in terms of freedom of expression. you better clean this disgrace up, you blokes can't let this continue, it is an embarassment

  • Catholics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:10AM (#27224645)

    By far the nastiest and most insidious threat to democracy in Australia is the Catholic far Right. Their home has traditionally been the "right" of the ALP, although some Catholic militants, like Tony Abbott have gone joined the opposition conservative parties.

    In years past, they've played mostly a spoiling role in Australia politics. As fascists, they know only how to destroy, not build, so they formed a right-wing fringe political party (the Democratic Labour Party, which in Whitlam's immortal words, was neither democratic, nor liberal, nor a party) kept the ALP out of government for 25 years and the country stagnated for decades under a conservative government. After B. A. Santamaria died and after the fall of Communism, they went back to infiltrating mainstream political parties.

    These days, their strongholds are right-wing unions (the SDA , of which I was a member -- if I had known my union dues were being siphoned off by Phalangists and militant anti-abortionists, I would've quit instantly...), and the right wings of the ALP and Liberal parties.

    Democracy and rational debate has always been anathema for these fascists. Their malign and destructive influence has been out there for all to see, although there has been very few political forces organised enough to challenge them head on.

    If there's a vicious anti-democratic force in Australian politics, chances are, militant right-wing Catholics are behind it.

    • The "Catholic far Right"? Damn I'd heard it was the gay alien flying pigs that were behind it all!!!!!!!1111one!!!!eleven!!!111!

      That was probably the most paranoid posting I've ever read and I read a lot of Slashdot!

      Seriously, did you forget to take your lithium this morning?
  • Slope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by olddotter (638430) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:11AM (#27224663) Homepage

    Hopefully this will not come to be in Australia or not be up held upon legal review. Two things I find are disturbing:

    1) You will be held accounting for violating the law, but you can't see the law to know how to avoid violating it.

    2) All of western democracies have shown a sharp turn towards the police state in the last decade. Something they all used to stand up against and accuse non-democracies of being evil for the same polocies.
       

  • No problem... (Score:3, Informative)

    by expat.iain (1337021) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:14AM (#27224717)

    It's simple enough to proxy through SSH [suominen.com] and have access once again and (short of blocking SSH traffic) the Though Police can do very little.

    Iain.

    • Re:No problem... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:54AM (#27225269)

      Only if you have a willing HTTP proxy to actually connect to. Far too often the technical solution of "Lets just setup a VPN!" or "We'll just encrypt it and use a proxy!" gets thrown up without realizing that you have to have a working endpoint in a lax country to work with. If you're relying on the "free" ones that pop up here and there - good luck. While you MIGHT get the HTTP proxy setup with them (VPN ain't happening), they tend to flitter in and out of existence so quickly that you're playing a game of cat and mouse more than actually using the net. You're certainly not going to perform a few keystrokes and make the problem go away.

      And without using them or finding some pay equivalent (that you can trust), you have to work in a data connection, server space, and power in some nonrestrictive country. When you start factoring in collocating a server in Mexico then we're beyond the "Just encrypt it!" stage.

  • netnuterality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drknowster (946686) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#27225053)
    do we realy need these people around claiming to represent a consensus ? we have the technology,but we gotta do it "before" they have thier way with it .The best bumper sticker seen yet"politicians and diapers should be changed often ,and for the same reasons."
  • by mjrauhal (144713) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:41AM (#27225097) Homepage

    The Finnish police have already censored the Wikileaks page on Finnish internet censorship; see my comment at the appropriate talk page [wikileaks.com].

  • yo dawg (Score:5, Funny)

    by harry666t (1062422) <harry666t&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:08PM (#27227627)
    i herd you liek blacklists so we put a blacklist on our blacklist so you couldnt browse things while you couldnt browsing things.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

Working...