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Censorship Government News

Aussie Minister Backs Down on Internet Censorship 211

Posted by samzenpus
from the imperfect-filter dept.
gballard writes "After the constant furore raised by rights groups, ISPs and concerned citizens over the Australian Government's planned 'internet filter,' it seems that Australia Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is finally backing down. In a recent interview, the Minister conceded that many of the sites blocked by the filter were legitimate businesses (including, in one case, a Queensland dentist's homepage) and changed his story on whether the planned filter would restrict 'Refused Classification' websites or use the broader (and more vague) criterion of 'prohibited.' It's a positive step, but as the article above suggests, at the moment it's only one crack in the defenses of a censorship plan with broad ramifications for Australian internet users."
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Aussie Minister Backs Down on Internet Censorship

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  • To view the show (Score:5, Informative)

    by acehole (174372) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:34AM (#27427543) Homepage

    http://news.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/index/id/59#watchonline [sbs.com.au]

    The hour long show which had the minister and various opinions on the filter.

    • by acehole (174372) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:37AM (#27427553) Homepage

      Also take note of the Australian Christian Lobby rep "Lyle" who interjected during the discussion saying that the majority view of anti-filter people was that rape porn and child porn had no effect on children which was not said by anyone in the audience or at anytime.

      Its that kind of view that has to be struggled against. If you're for the filter you're pro child if you're against then you're pro child-porn. Its sickening.

      • by Techman83 (949264) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:45AM (#27427599)
        I also I believe one of his comments was "We are happy with the filter being to RC (Refused Classification) material For Now"

        Which is a big part of the problem I have with the filter (amongst other things) is that it's open to scope creep. Pet peeve of the month will be used to help get ministers onside, especially at the moment to pass anything Labour need the help of the Independant ministers, ones like Family First Senator Steve Fielding [stevefielding.com.au], religious right wing nut job.
        • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:57AM (#27427639)
          And because of scope creep I must say that the only acceptable filter is no filter. The basic premise of CP or whatever is simply not good enough of a reason to give such a big stick to the government.
          • by MindKata (957167) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:04AM (#27428923) Journal
            "because of scope creep"

            Scope creep is a major aspect, but its worse than that, as it also provides an example to all governments, which is a danger to everyone around the world.

            People who seek governmental power go into that kind of work because they want to have power over others (and power also means money). (They are constantly looking for new ways to gain more power for themselves and fearful of loosing power to their opponents). The drive to seek power and the fear of loosing power is why they are seeking to control the Internet.

            All governments are like slime moulds seeking food and what feeds governmental power is finding ways to control people. All the individuals in the governmental slime mould are clambering over each other to feed their thirst for power. Its why different departments of government work independently yet all end up moving in the same direction, as they all ultimately seek the same thing. Power over people. The Internet (and extending the Internet into the real world) is a huge potential source of power over people. People in power both want and fear the Internet, because of what it means for their goal of seeking power. For example, large numbers of people viewing things online can stir up public opinion, which can undermine the people in power, as this leaked block list demonstrates.

            This battle for censoring the Internet is just part of a larger battle, which is going to get ever worse control of everyone, until everyone stands up and provides opposition to the people who seek to use the Internet to gain ever more power over people. Also as fast as some stupid power grab over the Internet is forced back, the different members of the governmental slime mould all force forward dozens of other new power grabs, some of which take time to surface. That's why scope creep is so difficult to limit, bacause as fast as we try to stop one power grab, they add loads more power grabs.

            This battle isn't between different political parties. They are all the same when it comes to their core goal of seeking power over people. Therefore there is no effective opposition to the political parties on this point. They all want to control the Internet.

            This battle is between the elite few in power and the majority of people who the elite few aim to control (and then exploit for their own gain). This will continue to get ever worse control until the minority in power make life so difficult for the majority, that they finally stir up the majority to force some kind of fairness out of the relentlessly power seeking minority.

            It will continue to get ever worse control because that is what the people in power want and currently there isn't sufficient opposition feedback to rein in their uncontrolled power grab. Its like a machine without feedback. Without enough feedback the machine runs out of control. Thats exactly want is happening now all over the world, with relentless power grabs to find ever more ways to control peoples lives.

            Almost all the censorship talk is simply using FUD to sell the idea the governments need to grab control of the Internet ... and the "almost" aspect is a key part of their plan. Its a clever chess move as it provides a thin Veneer of credibility to hide their core goal behind and to force people to accept what the governments want. Which is simply to seek more power, just like they always do.
        • Re:To view the show (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:38AM (#27427759)

          Here's an additional problem. People doing what I do for a living:

          My relatively clear view of how things work on the inside is that not only senators, but many middle and senior level execs are little better than the good old BOFH. They are the voyeuristic. Whatever their pet peeve of the week is, they'll often act on it simply because they have the power to make a difference. Myself, working for the man in a little known corner of a little known secret 3 letter agency in Australia, we come across a fair old chunk of CP. Most of it, in fact the absolute vast majority of it is completely non sexual shots of single children, no toys, not an adult in sight, just a naked kid between probably about 10 and 15 years old, most of them on the beach, many of them oblivious to the camera. I guess people have a thing for bodies as they hit puberty. Good or bad? I don't really know, we usually skip it and get on with the job. The sickening kind of CP is so exceedingly rare that you'd stumble on it maybe once every other year - and report it up the chain, track it, ID the parties at either end of the link, then dump interpol on their arses. This is something we definitely do undertake with the same resolve that any parent would have if it was their child at the wrong end of that crap. Lots of success too.

          Not everything on that list comes from a single government department, quite a few people have as much input as they want, too much really. As to the corporations that made it on there, that obviously doesn't happen by accident. How it happens? You're dealing with politicians and their vested interests, no more need be said.

          A little bit of chair throwing happening inside government on this one, so it pays not to rock the boat, I'll stay anonymous this time.

          • by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:21AM (#27427861)

            Most of it, in fact the absolute vast majority of it is completely non sexual shots of single children, no toys, not an adult in sight, just a naked kid between probably about 10 and 15 years old, most of them on the beach, many of them oblivious to the camera.

            I believe this is referred to by the "victims" as Nudism. There are whole sites [purenudism.com] full of such pictures.

          • by kestasjk (933987) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:18AM (#27428215) Homepage
            You can stay anonymous and still leak all the details of whatever agency you work for.. As this article shows, leaking information is one of the best ways to fight censorship.

            Do we even have a right to know who is monitoring us?
          • Fight back! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by alexo (9335) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:14AM (#27430687) Journal

            we come across a fair old chunk of CP. Most of it, in fact the absolute vast majority of it is completely non sexual shots of single children, no toys, not an adult in sight, just a naked kid between probably about 10 and 15 years old, most of them on the beach, many of them oblivious to the camera.

            I am sick and tired of the lowlifes in power trying to capitalize on "child porn" by using lies and intimidation in order to get even more control over everybody.

            It is time we fight back using the same tactics. Make them feel the heat. Get them on the defensive.

            Whenever a person (and I use the term broadly) calls CP something which isn't, he or she must be painted a paedophile.
            Use the broadest brush possible, I don't care whether it's moral or not anymore: whoever screams "paedophiles!" is projecting and must be a closet one himself.

            - You consider that picture I took of my 3yo in a bath sexual? What kind of a sick paedophile are you???
            - No, I just want to protect the children from the predators...
            - Yes, dirty predators like yourself! You should be locked up! I'm calling the paper.

            Make it dirty. Make it personal. Make it hurt.

        • Re:To view the show (Score:5, Interesting)

          by twostix (1277166) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:55AM (#27427979)

          On Q&A on the ABC The smarmy newspaper "columnist" that was giving Sen. Conroy dreamy looks all night gave himself away as well "Why should people be allowed to read Jihadist literature" plus the constant fall back to "Well in a civil society x *should* be banned" argument with of course him deciding what's civil and what's not.

          This is not and never was about child porn.

          And I've got to say, the internet losers (sorry harsh but they *were* classic examples of) who were there didn't help things at all. Dear 4chan losers, your internet memes are funny to you on the internet and in your dorms with your loser mates, but in the real world and to the average man on the street they're embarrassing and weird. You did *far* more harm than good to the perception of the anti censorship argument with your childish rubbish and mealy mouthed tired soundbites. Did someone seriously stand up and say "1984 is a warning not a manual" in real life on national TV? Yes yes they did and I gotta say it doesn't translate....at all, not to mention wasting time that someone who actually had a reasonable point to make could have used. Oh and everyone watching groaned and face palmed except Conroy who smirked at the easy pickings.

          Seriously if that's the best you can come up with, regurgitating +5 slashdot comments, don't bother standing up and opening your mouth.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Seriously if that's the best you can come up with, regurgitating +5 slashdot comments, don't bother standing up and opening your mouth.

            They don't let competent, intelligent people serve on juries if they can help it, either. You actually believe that was a random sampling? If that's the best you can come up with then please, never breed. (Wait, this is slashdot, there is little danger...)

          • by Techman83 (949264)
            After watching Q&A I was really disappointed in Andrew Bolt, I expected a lot more common sense out of him. I've always enjoyed his interesting opinions in the Herald Sun. He really need a bib for the amount of BS he was dribbling.
          • Re:To view the show (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mdwh2 (535323) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:16AM (#27429025) Journal

            Dear 4chan losers, your internet memes are funny to you on the internet and in your dorms with your loser mates ... Did someone seriously stand up and say "1984 is a warning not a manual" in real life on national TV? Yes yes they did and I gotta say it doesn't translate....at all

            Firstly I don't see why that statement is so bad, although yes I realise one must be careful of 1984-style comparsions, for fear of triggering "But we're not as bad as that, therefore it's okay" fallacy in response.

            But aren't these two responses complete opposites? The problem with 1984/police-state comparisons that they come across as too serious and doom-mongering, which is the very opposite of light-hearted jokes and Internet memes. Consider the style of protesting at the anti-Scientology Anonymous protests - the fact that they can be seen having a bit of fun about it helps suppress the "But there are worse things to worry about, stop being so serious" response.

            Seriously if that's the best you can come up with, regurgitating +5 slashdot comments

            Yes, posts with "+5 Interesting" are obviously of no value ;)

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Everything is susceptible to creep of scope. It's all a matter of perspective. The real problem is having ANY censorship at all; once you permitted it in other forms of media, it was bound to come to your internet access sooner or later. THAT is the TRUE "scope creep" here - you have missed the point completely.

      • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:48AM (#27427607) Homepage

        I think there is an idea from marketing that is relevant to this political issue.

        Never try and compete directly with an idea that people have already bought into. If many people believe that anti-filtering is anti-child, to change someone's mind 180 they must admit that they were wrong...and people don't do that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by alexo (9335)

          Never try and compete directly with an idea that people have already bought into. If many people believe that anti-filtering is anti-child, to change someone's mind 180 they must admit that they were wrong...and people don't do that.

          So the solution is to convince people that pro-filtering is even more anti-child.

          The implementation details are left as an exercise to the reader, but I suggest we start using the same dirty tactics the other side.
          Accuse the proponents of being closet pedophiles projecting their

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bh_doc (930270)

            So the solution is to convince people that pro-filtering is even more anti-child.

            How so? Like how the filter wastes money that could be better spent on law enforcement? Or how the filter encourages a false sense of security in parents and guardians, while having little if any real effect? Or that the filter encourages deviants to go further underground, making it harder for law enforcement to detect, track and pursue them? Or maybe the way the filter distracts from much more important and much more real p

      • Re:To view the show (Score:5, Informative)

        by Xest (935314) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:53AM (#27427807)

        Maybe people need to be more assertive in trying to reverse that argument? Start spreading the idea that anyone for filtering is just hiding the fact abuse continues to happen anyway only that it's pushed underground.

        Start using arguments such as anyone defending the filter is allowing child porn to continue as a dirty little secret that's kept out of the publics minds and that they're basically okaying it as long as the general public doesn't stumble across it or know about it.

        It's eqaully a bit of a stretch, but they're not playing a game of truths and facts here.

        That said it may not even be necessary, whilst people like the guy you mention are already using this kind of argument it doesn't seem to be getting them far for the most part. Governments seem to finally be getting the idea that these plans aren't such a good idea and are backing down a bit. Perhaps just keeping up the pressure as is is good enough!

        • Start using arguments such as anyone defending the filter is allowing child porn to continue as a dirty little secret that's kept out of the publics minds and that they're basically okaying it as long as the general public doesn't stumble across it or know about it.

          [Conroy]Only a paedo would say that![/Conroy]

    • by Techman83 (949264) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:37AM (#27427563)
      The only time I didn't spend yelling at the TV was during the AD breaks. Senator Conroy only further showed how disconnected from reality he is.
    • He was also on Q&A (another show like Insight, but on ABC http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/ [abc.net.au]) last week saying the same thing. Pretty much he's merely using this to support his denial that the list leaked was a real list.

      He even states the list is only 1300 sites big, rather than the 1600 that ACMA state. Pretty much it's not a backdown so much as a side step.

      Chink in the armour, but not the beast defeated.

  • Censoship? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:34AM (#27427545)

    Censoring the letter 'r' now, are we?

    • by overzero (1358049) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:00AM (#27427647)

      I, fo one, welcome ou new censoing ovelods.

  • by Daemonax (1204296) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:42AM (#27427583)
    How long is it going to take people to learn. Blair, Bush, Rudd and Conroy... Four politicians I can name in recent times who advertise their religiousity, four politicians who have backed terrible plans and ignored criticism.

    When will people learn to vote for the less religious politicians, or even the agnostic/atheist politicians?
    • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:52AM (#27427627)

      Forget their "religiosity". When are they and everyone else gonna learn that collective community blacklists don't work? Teach people how to set up and manage their own personal blacklists, which they can tailor to match their own personal values, and then get-the-fuck out of the way!

      • by indiechild (541156) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:42AM (#27427767)

        You're completely missing the point. These kinds of nutcase zealots aren't interested in setting up their own personal blacklists, instead they want to control what other people see and do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by evolx10 (679412)

          they want to control what other people see and do.

          ..
          Most of the public seems to miss this little aspect of our(world) leaders, or whomever is driving the puppet.

      • This has nothing whatsoever to do with actually protecting anyone or stopping anyone from seeing things that perhaps they really ought not to see - we could argue about that one all day and I'm not even sure I'd know how I really feel about it, which is why I'm against the idea of blacklists even if I thought you could keep them ideologically pure. That's not what they're for, however; the idea is that they can "accidentally" slip sites which promote political speech of which they do not approve, sites that criticize their constituents (the real ones - the corporations) and other sources of information that "they" don't want you to have access to. It has already happened time and again and it will continue to happen so long as such blacklists are permitted to exist. You can examine the great firewall of China as your inspiration. While it is largely ineffective against interested parties, its purpose is to keep the masses largely ignorant so that they don't become interested parties.

    • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:53AM (#27427631)
      I don't think their "true faith" has much to do with what they advertise. They are doggy politicians that will use these things for political gain. Its not like "other" (aka less religious ones) come up with better policies. Just dirty politicians.

      The best people to have in power are the ones that don't want it.
      • by Daemonax (1204296) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:04AM (#27427661)
        I would say that the politicians that advertise their religiousity are the dodgy ones. They're basically taking the advice of Machiavelli which I'll quote for you here... "A prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality." For prince, simply substitute poticians.

        Now with regards to the truely religious politicians who aren't cynically using it as a tool for votes, I would say they're simply not smart enough or critical enough to be put into a position of power.
        • by chthon (580889)

          There is a Dutch translation of Machiavelli, which has as title "The Ruler" (De heerser), instead of "The Prince", where the translator based his choice of wording that the original title "Il Principe" originally means more than someone of noble blood who is the son of a king. Lorenzo de Medici was a nobleman, but not of royal blood. This is in this meaning even closer to the concept of a politician than that of a prince.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Ihlosi (895663)

            There is a Dutch translation of Machiavelli, which has as title "The Ruler" (De heerser), instead of "The Prince", where the translator based his choice of wording that the original title "Il Principe" originally means more than someone of noble blood who is the son of a king.

            The word "prince" can mean both in English - son of a king, or ruler (of a principality).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by krou (1027572)

      And atheist leaders or secular governments are somehow better? Here's a thought experiment: how many atheist and secular, non-religious governments and leaders can you think of in the 20th century that committed mass atrocities against their people, or others?

      If you think quite hard about it, I'm sure you can name a few. Stalin is probably a very good place to start.

      I would rather we questioned the whole concept of the state itself, and the type of governance we accept. It's far more likely that we encourag

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Daemonax (1204296)
        Yes they are some how better.
        Stalin, Mao, Kim Jong Il... They were very religious. Bertrand Russell had a lot of criticism for the religion of communism.

        Part of the step towards questioning the state has to be raising the conciousness and level of intelligence of the general populace. Part of that is getting them to part with childish fantasy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by krou (1027572)

          I'm impressed at your ability to quickly denounce them as being religious, and that communism was their religion. When in doubt, they're not true atheists. Tell me, are you equally quick to denounce atheists who adhere to capitalism as being "religious"? Or those that support democracy?

          I think you have an axe to grind, and are simply not willing to accept the truth that atheists and religious people can be equally as tyrannical, murderous, and genocidal as each other.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Daemonax (1204296)
            Yes actually, I consider naive libertarians and anarcho-capitalists and others that naively believe in the invisible hand of the market as religious. That is not to say that I don't agree with some of what they say, but the naive ones take it too far.

            Democracy I'm in full favour of. But I have no problem with it being questioned/critiqued.

            It seems to me that you have more of an axe to grind if you're trying to say that Stalin, Mao or others are somehow reflective of what the vast majority of non-relig
            • by krou (1027572)

              Again, you're missing the larger point.

              I don't hold atheism or religion responsible for what leaders do. /. makes a big deal of "correlation is not causation", and it's never been more true than in this case. Most bad leaders breathe air - therefore, air is bad.

              Atheism and religion provide necessary justifications and moral conviction to leaders in carrying out these atrocities. They would not be able to carry these out unless they had the moral conviction to do so. But, more often than not, it is the syste

          • by jabithew (1340853) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:25AM (#27428235)

            The point is that for Mao, Stalin, etc. their religious preferences were incidental to their communism-inspired mass-murder. They didn't kill people because they were atheist, but because they disliked opposition or genuinely believed that planting rice more densely would increase production, instead of causing starvation.

            Equally, Mussolini and Franco were Catholics, but they didn't murder in the name of Christ, but in the name of political expedience. I'm just so fed up of this "Hitler* and Stalin were atheist, therefore atheism is evil" meme that I need to stamp it out before it even gets the chance to flourish in a conversation.

            For what it's worth, I don't think atheists make better or worse leaders than secularists of any faith. I do think that religious rule of any stripe can only be a bad thing though.

            *Hitler wasn't even remotely atheist.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by JesseMcDonald (536341)

            The real division isn't atheist vs. religious. As you say, there are plenty of renowned and despised figures on both sides of that particular debate. The real division is authoritarian vs. free-thinker.

            Organized religion is almost always authoritarian by nature, and tends to attract authoritarian followers, but the reverse is not always true. Plenty of atheists and agnostics tend toward authoritarianism just as much as their religious counterparts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cyberax (705495)

        Also, there's another logical flaw in your argument.

        Stalin did not kill people in the name of atheism. He killed people to keep his power.

        On the other hand, I can give you many cases when religious people started genocide in the name of their God[s] for religious purposes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by krou (1027572)

          Stalin did not kill people in the name of atheism.

          That's an easy claim to make, considering that atheism itself is not a religion. Besides, Tony Blair (used as an example by the parent) didn't come out and say, "Hey, I'm invading Iraq in the name of Christianity!"

          I can give you many cases when religious people started genocide in the name of their God[s] for religious purposes.

          I'd be curious to hear your examples. Not saying that there are none, but I'll bet you anything you like that a majority are goi

  • Yes Minister (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @03:45AM (#27427597) Journal
    It's a simple mythbusting excercise. I have been posting it to all these Conroy stories these stories but not one slashdotter has been able to point to a quote from Conroy saying he is in favor of a blacklist...here let me clean up then cut & paste my theory from the last story in this predictable political theater...

    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.

    The two independents holding the balance of power are Xenophon (anti-gambling platform), and Fielding (anti-abortion platform), both wanted a mandatory filter. Labor set up a "trial" to keep them onside for as long as possible. Xenophon gave up on the balcklist (perhaps smelling a rat), 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, Everyone except Fielding is happy because they have collectively screwed "Mr 2%" for winning on their preference fuckery, KRuddy is happy because Conroy is showing loyalty instead of challenging him in the back rooms like Costello did with Howard, Libs are happy because Labor can be tarred as censors, Labor is happy because Libs can be tarred with the same hypocricy....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.
    • Steve Fielding [wikipedia.org]
      • by krou (1027572)
        Steve Fielding is the missing link? Holy shit, to think that after all this time it was right under our nose!
    • by Techman83 (949264)

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

      **shudder** I was talking to the GF and said I didn't understand why Pauline Hanson was making a big deal out of it, who the fuck in their right mind would ever want to see her naked!

      Back OT, maybe that is the case, but we still have to fight it. If no one says anything, it might just go through silently. On the other hand it could explain why it was kept pretty silent pre-election.

      • "we still have to fight it"

        I agree, evil prospers and all that. But we don't have to fight on their terms, I'm proposing this is SOE in the Westminster and Republic style democracys, this grain of 'truth' is why the TV show was funny, OTOH if someone convincingly debunks me then I will learn something.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Psychotria (953670)

        I doubt it will go through silently anymore. I've written to, and emailed, Conroy several times detailing the absurdity of it all (he at one stage suggested [dunno if he and his office still does support this] monitoring and censoring VPN connecttions, which I stated to him is akin to wire tapping without a warrant) and haven't got a response that doesn't seem like a form letter. Or a letter that basically boils down to "it's for the children". Yeah. Right. That aside, I do think that mainstream media are f

        • I doubt it will go through silently anymore. I've written to, and emailed, Conroy several times detailing the absurdity of it all (he at one stage suggested [dunno if he and his office still does support this] monitoring and censoring VPN connecttions, which I stated to him is akin to wire tapping without a warrant) and haven't got a response that doesn't seem like a form letter. Or a letter that basically boils down to "it's for the children". Yeah. Right. That aside, I do think that mainstream media are finally giving the issue the (bad) press this topic deserves. It's just wrong on so many levels.

          I saw the preview option and ignored it. Coherence is for wimps.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Techman83 (949264)
          I did the same and all the letters I received in return just made me angry.
          • Re:Yes Minister (Score:4, Interesting)

            by lucas teh geek (714343) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:28AM (#27427889)
            same here. the responses I got actually killed any motivation to write more. it was patently obvious they werent being read, probably put straight through a shredder, and I was just being sent a generic form letter. no specific points I mentioned addressed, just generic bullshit you could probably find on their website
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by drinkypoo (153816)

              Just put "Cc: The Internet" at the bottom of each one, and post them somewhere they will be read. Then at least your writing isn't a waste. Add citations to the online version, please.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by h4rm0ny (722443)

              Call them on it. Put your letter and their reply side by side on a website. Show the complete disconnect. Laugh at them. True, you wont get the entire population of the country looking at that site, but if you posted a link in a few places where it's on topic (here and now as example), then you could have a fair bit of attention. And perhaps enough to force a better reply from them.
      • PS (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:43AM (#27427773) Journal
        "On the other hand it could explain why it was kept pretty silent pre-election."

        It "kinda" didn't exist before the election, check how Mr 2% got elected in the WP link. I say "kinda" because it's a cyclical thing...

        1. Pre election - no censorship.
        2. Post election - New government and a few independent censorship nuts are suddenly sitting members. Their heads swell with the phrase "balance of power" and believing their own bullshit they try and play the big boys against each other.
        3. Government sets up an inquiry and wins the support of nut jobs.
        4. Government sends draconian bill to the senate, opposition and public don their tinfoil and go into a turd flinging, arm flapping frenzy.
        5. The trial drags on until mid-late term when the list is suddenly broad enough to include the nut jobs own supporters.
        6. Trail ends, bill is voted down and considered by all not to be worth risking a double dissolution.
        7. Goto 1.
        8. ????
        9. Profit.
        • by thogard (43403)

          But Conroy played the part and he must be punished. I for one will donate over a thousand dollars to anyone who opposes him in the next election unless I find a bigger threat. I don't want this crud getting this far again.

          And I don't think its over yet.

          • But Conroy played the part and he must be punished.

            He's a Victorian Senator so I will put him last on the senate ballot next time around.

    • The Telecommunications Minister, Stephen Conroy, pointed to European examples of successful restrictions to quell fears the move could slow connection speeds.

      "Labor makes no apologies to those who argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road," Mr Conroy said yesterday. "If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd Labor Government is going to disagree."

      -- Labor warned on porn filters, Sydney Morning Herald report [smh.com.au], 2 January 2008.

      That a

      • I'm glad you empasised "looks". Politicians are experts at juggling contradictory ideas. I can agree with both those statements but I sure as hell don't want a mandatory blacklist.

        The one about the connection speed falls under the "I fully support the trial" type quotes. If all other options were worse I could see the political rationality of "managing" a trial I believe is going to backfire on it's few genuine supporters. Note I think both sides take turns at good cop / bad cop.

        Disclaimer: I grew up
    • KRuddy is happy because Conroy is showing loyalty instead of challenging him in the back rooms like Costello did with Howard

      Conroy is in the Senate so I don't think this is likely to happen. In any event I think Labour are pretty happy with Kevin07. I am sure he will ride it out for a couple of terms.

    • Those definitely aren't pics of Hanson... they look nothing like her.

    • by syousef (465911)

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

      Whether it was Hanson or a Hanson look alike I almost lost my lunch a few times.

    • by Kryptic Knight (96187) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:35AM (#27427919)

      With apologies to the original TV Series http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister [wikipedia.org]

      Minster's office, Civil Servant and Minister.
      CS : Why on earth would the people be worried about not having access to information?
      Mi : Well they want to be able to access it!
      CS : But Minster, if they don't know about it they can't access it!
      Mi : Don't know about it ! The Entire List has been leaked.
      CS : Oh no Minister, what we want the public to THINK is the entire list has been leaked.
      Mi : Then whats the entire list?
      CS : Oh you don't want to know that Minister.
      Mi : Why not .. I'm the Minister I have to be able to know what the public can't see in case I'm asked about it!
      CS : Exactly Minster, if you don't know then you don't have to dissemble to the public.
      Mi : Dissemble ?
      CS : Discourse with knowledge in error, converse in a manner likely to perjure yourself, .... LIE!
      Mi : So you're saying that nobody knows the full list, including me, just so I don't have to lie about it?
      CS : YES MINISTER!

  • by lamapper (1343009) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:03AM (#27427655) Homepage Journal

    Politicians can be so short sighted and stupid.

    They scream, porn, rape, child molestation, crime, etc, etc, etc, this moral issue, that moral issue.

    Of course you CAN legislate morality, the better question to ask is SHOULD YOU?

    To have freedom of religion, no one religion can dominate, otherwise we all lose religious freedom. THIS IS BAD.

    Now ask yourself, is your religion the dominant religion right now? (Answer is probably No)

    Are members of your religion having more babies than all other religions? (Answer is NO, unless you are Muslim)

    If you are Muslim, do NOT get too excited as ultimately you too will lose because the fanatic Islamist, also claiming to be Muslims are going to start nuking as soon as they get the capability, the money to purchase, to do so. So while from a population perspective you will dominant, after the first dirty nuke, those numbers will change, like it or not. It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. Nothing anyone does can stop this fact...either Islamist become tolerant or the Muslim religion is ultimately doomed.)

    Good luck with that one...you will need it.

    The only point, any law passed with Religious intent or perspective, allows your law to be replaced by a religion with more population.

    This is why you MUST NOT pass any law of a religious nature and why government and religion should NEVER mix.

    To do so risks the loss of freedom of religion for you and your posterity.

    Obviously any law of censorship, ultimately threatens your freedom of religion, no matter how that law is worded. Do you really want to do that to your kids? To their kids?

    In America, our founding fathers understood religious persecution, sadly we have forgotten those lessons.

    Net Neutrality is in YOUR religions best interest. Net Neutrality is what god wants you to have. Now go, worship freely, get out of government and sin no more!

    • I agree with many of your points. But, I'm not sure why you're bringing religion into the argument. I've read a lot about the censorship issue and religion is rarely put forward as a pro-censorship argument. I personally think it'd be silly to mix up two very different and, often, volatile subjects. It's asking for trouble. Conflating "morality" and "religion" (as your post seems to suggest) is a very rocky path to head down...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lamapper (1343009)

        But, I'm not sure why you're bringing religion into the argument

        Basically because after reading the posts that were already there, I realized there were many posts referencing religion and censorship based on religion. So I am definitely not the first nor the only one pointing out that censorship often occurs first from a religious perspective.

        I also disagree with you that the two are not related. I would suggest to you that most censorship is based on moral issues. Never mind that you can choose not to watch, not to hear, not to partake by turning off, personally

        • For most, it is not enough to censor themselves, they want to censor you, me and everyone else, as they know what is RIGHT and what is WRONG. It is not enough for them to live their lives, they want to control how you live yours.

          [me] waves hand. You don't need to see my religion. These aren't the morals you're looking for.

          [lamapper] These aren't the morals I'm looking for.

          [me] Psychotria can go about his business.

          [lamapper] Psychotria can go about his business. He is right.

          [me] Move along

          [lamapper] Move along... Move along... nothing to see here.

  • Bugger all backdown (Score:5, Informative)

    by femto (459605) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:04AM (#27427663) Homepage

    In fact there has been virtually no backdown. The list will still contain "refused classification" material and be mandatory. Keep in mind that Australia has no "R" rating (18yrs +) for games and the states of Australia have no "X" rating for pornography. These things are "refused classification".

    Thus any computer game deemed unsuitable for a 15 year old (highest rating for a game is M) will be censored for all. Pornography, pictures of abortions, information on euthanasia or drugs and anything that is deemed illegal or "too gross" for an R rating gets censored. Too bad if it has a political angle (such as abortions, euthanasia or drugs). If the politics is deemed offensive, it will be refused classification and banned.

    • by srjh (1316705) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:01AM (#27427995)

      There's also the fact that one of the biggest problems with the concept remains - it is still a top-secret blacklist that we aren't allowed to see. We're not allowed to know, or talk about, what exactly is being censored. We were assured by Conroy that no political content would be blocked, but we have no way of confirming that if the list is a secret (unless it leaks... which it did, clearly showing that political content was being blocked).

      Time and time again, experience has shown that these lists WILL leak, and they WILL be trivial to defeat (particularly for those with the greatest interest in defeating them). And these people want to keep adding child porn to some of the most widely released documents on the internet?

      Fucking imbeciles, I tell you. You're not helping the children, you're harming them, and you're pandering to fundamentalist wowsers who have about 1% of a clue about what they're talking about between them.

  • Q and A last week (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Techman83 (949264) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @04:21AM (#27427709)
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/video.htm?pres=20081002&story=1 [abc.net.au]

    Conroy also Featured on Q and A last week. I also spent a great deal of Yelling at the TV watching this. He makes so many conflicting statements, it's hard to know what's really going on.
  • Hello fellow slashdoters. I was offline yesterday (power outage). Did I miss any particularly interesting /. stories posted yesterday ? Hope not.
    • by meist3r (1061628)
      Everyone who's got "great" in their nickname received a million dollars and a complementary holodeck ... but nevermind.
    • Hello fellow slashdoters. I was offline yesterday (power outage).

      You live in Sydney?

  • Without incidents like these it's getting really tough to argue against those who have all the information and therefore power.
  • Well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:24AM (#27428231) Homepage

    If we have indeed finally passed the stage where every single story on every website is an un-funny April Fool's "joke"...

    What worries me more about stories like this (in any country) is not that anyone thought they could filter a country, or indeed DO (there are countries where this sort of thing is already in place, don't forget) but that no-one questioned HOW it got so far so quickly. Someone, somewhere made a decision to affect every Internet-using citizen in a country and nobody batted an eyelid. You can bet your life if they'd added 1% to Internet connection costs, there would have been uproar. But it took until the lists were ballsed up, leaked (illegally?), those lists were banned in several countries, the news of this all hit the web and from there the mass media, etc. before anyone really decided that, actually, this might not have been the best course of action to embark on.

    I don't expect politicians to have morals - they are given to them by their voters and their fundraisers - but I would have at least expected some sort of two-way consultation on this beforehand. The users said no, the ISP's said no, so who exactly did they ask and who pushed it through anyway? Someone, somewhere must have asked "is this even possible, is it going to cause trouble?" before it got near a trial phase.

    I could also understand it if it came the other way - an ISP decides to implement it for its customers and it gains traction... a bit like Phorm in the UK (targetted advertising delivered by proxying all web traffic at the ISP side).

    There's nothing I hate more than a "decision"/"vote" that has already been decided and even if it hits vast opposition STILL gets implemented. It just makes me detest the person/entity that tried to make me think there was a decision to be made and never trust them ever again. It's like redundancy negotiations - by the time it's GOT to the point where you're announcing that there MAY be redundancies, you already know who, what and how many and everything else is a pointless paperwork exercise to pretend you don't and to fiddle the numbers to come to the same conclusion as you want. The second you reach that point of announcement, you KNOW that you're either in or out and there's no way back. (I've never been made redundant, but I've seen several of these pointless exercises first-hand).

    Here's a clue - before you go affecting more than 10,000 people's lives, ask around and see how people feel (those affected and those not) by telling them every consequence that YOU know of. It'll prevent a lot of stupidly embarassing political mistakes.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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