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Australia's Vast, Scattershot Censorship Blacklist Revealed 401

Posted by timothy
from the please-don't-click-here dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "Australia's secretive Internet filter blacklist held by its communications watchdog has been leaked, revealing the government has understated the amount of banned Web pages by more than 1000. Multiple legitimate businesses and Web sites have been banned including two bus companies, online poker sites, multiple Wikipedia entries, Google and Yahoo group pages, a dental surgery and a tour operator. Andrew Twaits, CEO of Betfair, a billion-dollar business blocked by the blacklist, was furious the government has potentially annexed tens of millions of dollars in revenue after the Betfair.com gambling site was blacklisted. The blacklists were reportedly leaked by a Web filter operator to wikileaks which has published the full list of banned URLs. Outraged privacy advocates say the government has effectively lied about the amount of URLs included in the blacklists, totaling more than 2300, and the type of content which it would ban. The leak follows a series of attacks on the watchdog in which irate users successfully lobbied for web sites to be banned, only to be threatened with an $11,000 fine for publishing the link contained in the PR response. It was also revealed the watchdog can ban Web sites at a whim, with no accountability."
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Australia's Vast, Scattershot Censorship Blacklist Revealed

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  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:11PM (#27264537)
    I can only watch as my jaw is hanging limply. I can't believe that anyone who got power to do something would abuse that power. Really. Truly. They promised they wouldn't when we brought it up before. They said they were only doing it for us.
  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:13PM (#27264553)

    As I stated on the petition to reinstate Goatse's domain, instead of having a single site to block there we are now stuck with dozens of mirrors. The internet now has more gaping arsehole to gaze at than ever before. Furthermore, the constant attempts to shut down shock site's domains leads to them registering multiple domains in various TLDs to ensure at least one or two of the domains stays registered.

  • Wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordKaT (619540) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:16PM (#27264569) Homepage Journal

    god bless wikileaks.

  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SupremoMan (912191) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:16PM (#27264573)
    I thought that was the best part of the internet.
  • Re:False alarm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afaik_ianal (918433) * on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:20PM (#27264597)
    No they haven't, they've just said there are things on the published list that are not on the official list. They don't say that there's anything in the official list that's not on the published list. I suspect it's been intentionally seeded. It's kind of typical of politicians to say things in a way that sound like they're saying something else. You'll also notice he's threatening to launch an investigation into the people who released it. If it's not the list, then what exactly are they going to investigate?
  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unlametheweak (1102159) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:21PM (#27264609)

    Then I typed the word "Goat" - I saw the .cx variation - well, at least they're making some attempt at saving the populace from the horrors of the web.

    So that would mean that Slashdot has (or likely will be) blacklisted, because it has most of the criteria for blacklisting: it posts secret, patented numbers; sites about gay Negroes, goats, gambling, and references the links to banned and immoral Internet domains (like in this front page story).

  • by twostix (1277166) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:32PM (#27264689)

    And I'll say it again.

    In the haste to throw out the smarmy blue blooded $50k a year private school aristocrat wannabes known as the liberals out of government, we've introduced something that's so far been *far* worse. And I say that as someone voted for them!

    At least the liberals had a solid grounding in running the country and seemed to know what the hell they were doing. So far Rudd and that dimwitted treasurer Swan have been blundering about without any sort of cohesive strategy and burning through billions of dollars a day doing it.

    It would seem that like any 'revolution', when the dust settles usually the country ends up worse off when the populist leader takes power.

    Even my father, a dyed in the wool blue collar labour man has started questioning whether Rudd's more interested in selling us out to China, financially AND ideologically than the he is in the national good. What sort of politician pushes something like this onto his own free country?

    Who is Rudd really? (Seriously I'm genuinely interested).

  • Re:Wikileaks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by afaik_ianal (918433) * on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:32PM (#27264691)
    Yeah, because the Swedish are really going to give a shit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:33PM (#27264699)

    Some of the innocuous looking ones actually do have CP. Like this one [print.org.ua]. The /geoip/ in the URL made me think "Yup, there's a sure-fire false positive.", and lo and behold, pre-teen hardcore. Now I've gotta go and shred my cache. Joy.

  • Re:False alarm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:35PM (#27264709)

    That's just obvious attempt at spin/cover-up. Some simple (as these things go) binary reverse engineering of the "Intergard" content filter already showed a similar (though not-identical, earlier) [snapshot of the] list - after all, it's a dynamic blacklist.

    http://techwiredau.com/2009/03/was-an-acma-blacklist-leaked/ [techwiredau.com]

    So, yeah, of course it's the real list, as at mid-2008. The current ACMA list is probably even bigger and more abuse-of-power filled.

    Look, nobody not mentally ill likes true child porn. But consider keeping something valuable - do you demand everyone chop off their hands so they don't steal your gold? Or do YOU put it somewhere safe, with CCTV surveillance? So it is with children -
    they don't have adult legal rights, being children. So monitor _children_, perhaps even encrypted feeds over the internet (and monitor who's watching the feeds, mind - unless they're parents or peers they're almost certainly sickos). When children turn 18, they get full adult legal rights, including right to privacy, and the camera monitoring is disengaged.

    i.e. if you want to keep children safe, restrict and monitor them, not everyone else, just like keeping anything else precious safe.

    When someone says "think of the children" about installing internet censorship, their goal is internet censorship, not keeping children safe!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:40PM (#27264747)

    When Bush took over America and went down many, many bad roads, the world took us to task. For cause. It wasn't news to us, and admittedly many of those taking us to task lived in even more corrupt places, but this is America. We don't do 'wrong', and that shit was clearly wrong, and it should never have happened.

    We're supposed to be the good guys, dammit. Well, now the money's on the table, the vote came, the vote was made, we exorcised our demon and repairs are being made at record pace. We are the good guys, that never changed, and we're cleaning the tarnish that those brought to our shine. It's never perfect, nothing is, but we're at least going to try.

    Well here in America, last we knew, Australia was a land of good guys too. Inviduality. Freedom. The good fight. SO WHAT THE FUCK'S GOING ON DOWN THERE?!? How the hell is this going on WITHOUT a 9/11?

    It's time for the citizens of that fair nation to show us what they got. Time to whip out the vote and make things perfectly clear. Write a letter. Make a sign. Anything. I don't doubt that Australia has it in them, but if you're waiting for the right time, it looks like it's passed!

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:44PM (#27264767) Journal

    Is I told you so redundant?

    There is NO reason to trust any government, ever. period.

    The more they ask you to trust them with, the less you should trust them. This is the rule of the land. Governments are not here to help anyone but themselves. When you get rid of one bad politician, 10 more are ready to take their place. They say that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Think about that for a minute. These people are not absolute rulers and look how fucked up they are. The more we trust them with, the more fucked up they will get.

    No, there is no simple answer, but citizens should never allow such things as this to exist in the first place. In the US, the second amendment helps to ensure that citizens have a method for revoking license given to governments... if it comes to that.

    P.S. They are NEVER doing anything for you, they (the government) always do things for themselves. They just say it's for you, kind of in the same way that a rapist says "this is for you" before they start in on you.

  • Re:False alarm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:49PM (#27264795) Journal

    You'll also notice he's threatening to launch an investigation into the people who released it. If it's not the list, then what exactly are they going to investigate?

    Who embarrassed them.

    Kinda like when it was discovered the CIA was running secret prisons around the globe.
    Government didn't want to investigate "what are they doing at these prisons" it was "who leaked their existence."

    Shameful really, no matter which government or political party is doing it.

  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:51PM (#27264803)

    Well, it's understandable why they blocked it - it's kitty porn. /me ducks.

    I could presume it's because Australians aren't allowed to see any "pussy".

  • Re:*This is fake* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:11AM (#27264903)

    And we would take him at his word, why?

  • Re:False alarm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:20AM (#27264963) Journal
    "It's kind of typical of politicians to say things in a way that sound like they're saying something else. You'll also notice he's threatening to launch an investigation into the people who released it. If it's not the list, then what exactly are they going to investigate?"

    I agree, speaking of "saying things" I still haven't heard Conroy say he is in favor of a blacklist...here let me clean up then cut&paste my theory from the last story...

    Labor is playing the same game with Fielding [wikipedia.org] as Howard did when he "wanted" to implement mandatory filters (that his party are now blocking in opposition). There were similar circumstances for Howard at the time (ie: a censorship nut holding a deciding vote on more important legislation). Here let me spell it out.

    Labour have a full majority in the house that the Lib's can't block, (that's what makes them the government of the day). However they need the support of the all the Green's and the two independents (ie a coalition) to pass legislation through the senate that the Lib's cannot block. The Lib's also need a coalition to sucessfully block but only have to find one senator to join their coalition if they want to block the legislation.

    Xenophon[sic] and Fielding (the two independents) both wanted a mandatory filter, (Xenophon has an anti-gambling platform). Labor set up a "trial" to keep them onside for as long as possible. Xenophon to his credit has seen the glaring human rights error in his plan to ban offshore gambling sites, Fielding has nowhere to go because he is now in the position of voting for a blacklist that bans his supporters (anti-abortionists), an independent's vote is no longer of much value since the major reform is out of the way ready for the next election, the Lib's, Labor and Greens are happy because they have collectively screwed "Mr 2%" for winning on their preference fuckery, Rudd is happy because Conroy is showing loyalty instead of challenging him in the back rooms like Costello did with Howard,....get my theory.....it's a YES MINISTER episode if ever I saw one.

    Oh and check out the nude pictures of Hanson, unfortunately it's only funny because it's happening to someone I don't like.
  • It's gone viral (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:23AM (#27264971)

    So... The ACMA (i.e. the government) is playing a losing game with the child pornographers who are always going to be one step ahead. They are also going to be fighting on anther front when "smart trousers" (credit to jimboot) are going to be leaking the black lists.

    By the time the list is reverse engineered most of the questionable web-sites are going to be relocated and it starts again. Hopefully government will see the futility of the whole exercise...after 10 iterations :D

  • Re:False alarm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afaik_ianal (918433) * on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:29AM (#27264993)

    Oh and check out the nude pictures of Hanson, unfortunately it's only funny because it's happening to someone I don't like.

    I know this is off-topic, but it's looking less and less likely that it was Hanson.

    How bad must the woman who posed for some guy 30 years ago be feeling? She probably has a family now, and I doubt would want that kind of thing being dredged up (Some might say she "wouldn't like it" ;)). It's pretty irresponsible of the Telegraph to basically post nude photos of some nobody in a major newspaper just because she looks like a politician...

  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghostcorps (975146) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:30AM (#27264997) Homepage

    Yes! That is exactly what it means. Australians have very few 'rights'. The free speech thing.. forget it.

    There is a big issue with blogs, because, by Australian Law any presentation that may encourage dissent is illegal (remember: we were originally a penal colony). So the very nature of blogs.. ie opinionated ranting, ensures that they can be shut off without notice if anyone says they were offended. Indeed we have already seen this with wikipedia, wikileaks, yahoo and google group pages. Essentially, any ideas that have not been vetted by the govt is open to any misinterperetation and repurcusions..

    Behold ... the future

  • Re:False alarm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unlametheweak (1102159) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:34AM (#27265019)

    When children turn 18, they get full adult legal rights, including right to privacy, and the camera monitoring is disengaged.

    By then it's too late. You've already conditioned them to accept the fact that Authority can and should monitor them for their own good. They're already used to the idea, so the next thing you know they'll think it is normal to pee in a bottle for a Manager so that employers will know what drugs they've taken, or they may think it's normal for companies or governments to monitor what you email to people. Nope, if you treat children like shit then they will grow up to be assholes. Garbage in garbage out.

  • Re:*This is fake* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hecatonchires (231908) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:46AM (#27265065) Homepage

    I don't believe Conroy. Do you?

  • by atmurray (983797) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:49AM (#27265083)
    Goes without saying for us lot, but be really careful looking at the list if you have a browser with a link accelerator (that crawls forward links and caches them). Could find yourself catching someone's attention, not if you're in Australia though, the feds are too busy running after the people who leaked the list that isn't really the list.
  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m.ducharme (1082683) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:52AM (#27265097)

    Or he may be married to another guy.

  • fascinating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by okmijnuhb (575581) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:01AM (#27265153)
    It's fascinating to see what occurs behind the kangaroo curtain.
    When the hell did they become Soviet Australia?
  • by Toonol (1057698) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:54AM (#27265343)
    The bill of rights pertains to individuals, not states. The framers knew their philosophical shit; rights belong to all humans, and only to humans. The 2nd amendment was more fundamental than either of those issues. It wasn't just for the defense of the states, it wasn't just for defense against rogue governments. It was a recognition of the fact that it is right that all men should be allowed to fight to defend their life and freedom. It is as morally wrong for the government to deprive people of the tools to defend themselves, as it is wrong to deprive people of the ability to speak or worship. And here's some advice: Far smarter people than you and I disagree with you. Far smarter people than you and I agree with you. That doesn't indicate who is right; but it does mean that calling the other side 'ludicrous' indicates you are probably approaching the issue irrationally.
  • by burgundysizzle (1192593) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:56AM (#27265345)
    Like I'd take that request seriously. Throw out the incompetents (Labour) for the crazies (the Greens) - your post should be modded funny not interesting.
  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:08AM (#27265385) Homepage

    So that would mean that Slashdot has (or likely will be) blacklisted

    On the bright side, productivity in Australian IT departments will skyrocket.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:08AM (#27265387) Journal

    It's a secret list. You can't know what sites are on it, but you can't link to sites on the list.

    It's like your girlfriend who doesn't want you to say certain things, but won't tell you what they are.

    Only a government weasel could come up with such an idea. It's clear he doesn't know how the Internet works.

  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:02AM (#27265571)

    It is good to be offended, from time to time. Any candy ass who can't tolerate a little offense, should just go suicide, and save the rest of us his offensive presence.

    Ooops. I just realized, I'm anonymous coward. Screw it, I don't care enough to go back and log in.

  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:11AM (#27265603)

    It is nice to know that you do not have to represent a government to engage in "spycraft".

    It is also nice to know that the People have moles in governments and in corporations. Kudos, to whoever you are.

    Sad state of affairs that it is required, though.

     

  • Re:*This is fake* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:15AM (#27265627) Journal
    However with the way they're MIShandling this, I wouldn't put it past them to have leaked a fake list themselves just to discredit sites like WikiLeaks.
    Oh, wait, I forgot: they aren't SMART enough to do something like that! Silly me..
  • Re:Wikileaks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:34AM (#27265673)

    "Go after our source and we will go after you" [wikileaks.org]

    These guys are awesome.

  • Re:*This is fake* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpe (36238) on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:14AM (#27265805)
    Conroy and ISPs implementing the blacklist confirm that this is a fake: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/19/2520929.htm [abc.net.au]

    Would they say anything else? Also Conroy appears to be a "career politician" so it's probably wise to take anything he says with a few kg of salt :)
  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:09AM (#27265961)

    "(remember: we were originally a penal colony)"

    Did someone forget to re-write the law books when you became independent or something??

  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @06:54AM (#27266349)

    Yep; and most of that productivity will be spent in finding ways around the blacklist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:12AM (#27266703)

    and it has some shock pictures about which it says "Look what is in your cache right now!!!" (They're lying, of course, the images are loaded from their server.)

    Of course, given that you just viewed the page, these pictures *are* in your cache now, so technically, they aren't lying...

  • Re:I did a CTRL+F (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:49AM (#27267535)

    Some other guy already corrected you, but I love how your comment is phrased, as if the U.K. would storm in and start shooting you fuckers if you didn't do what the queen said.

    Historical documents like the Magna Carta and the Constitution are wonderful statements, but they gain their power because the people give their assent, not by historical fiat. All political systems and documents share this trait.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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