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Aussie Gov't To Introduce Bill That Would Require ISP-Level Censorship 200

Posted by timothy
from the lovely-people-shame-about-the-government dept.
bennyboy64 writes "iTnews reports that the Australian Government has announced its intention to introduce legislation that will make ISP-level filtering mandatory for all refused classification material hosted overseas. The Government intends to amend the Broadcasting Services Act in August 2010 to enforce the filter, and expects the filter to be operational within a further twelve months. 'The report into the pilot trial of ISP-level filtering demonstrates that blocking RC-rated material can be done with 100 percent accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed' Senator Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said." This despite, as reader Sharky2009 writes, the trial run showing that "a technically competent user could circumvent filtering technology based on ACMA’s blacklist."
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Aussie Gov't To Introduce Bill That Would Require ISP-Level Censorship

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  • what the fuck. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:39AM (#30443882)

    Is there a way to vote this guy out of office or something?

    • Well, his next bill will propose that adults are not only incapable of choosing what is and what isn't appropriate to be played or viewed by themselves and their children, but also to choose who chooses what is and is not appropriate.

    • by jim_v2000 (818799)
      Because he's a dictator acting on a whim, right? The thing I want to know is who is supporting his ideas? Do the Aussies have some conservative/religiously motivated party down there like we do in the USA?
    • This is what governments do when they're allowed to regulate internet traffic. This is exactly what I was arguing can happen in discussions on "net neutrality." You don't want this kind of government control over your public medium.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Net neutrality is about your packets arriving on time.
        Nothing to do with a faith based filter via a political deal.
        Every isp should have its packets treated in the same way, so should your p2p app :)
    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      Barring a double dissolution (the constitutional trigger for which has occurred, but the PM has said it will not happen), you probably won't have a chance to vote him out before late 2010/early 2011.

      In addition to writing to your MP, if you are a member of the IIA, you might want to write to them urging them to lobby the government to ensure that ISP-level filtering will be offered on an optional basis and will not unduly burden small ISPs.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:40AM (#30443898) Homepage Journal
    If the lone holdout Attorney General gets his way, Australia will ignore comments from the public [slashdot.org] and continue to refuse classification to video games that have been rated mature in other regions. Does this mean Australia will start blocking Amazon, eBay, and other foreign sellers of mature-rated video games?
  • by jack2000 (1178961) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:41AM (#30443920)
    I can't believe you're still swallowing this bullshit by the buckets. It's time you did something. Get those people out of parliament, elect new officials!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:53AM (#30444072)
      We voted out the last government, who at one point tried to introduce Internet filtering (they currently don't support filtering), and now this government wants to do it (who went to the election proposing voluntary filtering). We're fucked either way eventually when one of these bunches of cocks decides it's a good idea and has the numbers to push it through.
      • by BlortHorc (305555) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:48AM (#30444848)

        Yes, sadly so, we need to introduce a new law. Must be at least this technically literate to hold a ministerial position governing technology. Sadly, that would exclude essentially all currently elected politicians, as well as the vast bulk of the potential electoral fodder.

        This is essentially the end result of having a technological society where technological education is not mandatory. They require you to learn English, so you can speak to people, but the don't require you understand technology, so that you can understand the society you live in.

        As a consequence, at best, the pollies are neophytes, and at worst luddites.

        • by sg_oneill (159032)

          The Greens, despite their reputation as being a bit luddite have proven themselves surprisingly literate with Scott Ludlum putting up a great fight against the laws, practically being the lone voice against censorship in the senate.

          • by Techman83 (949264)
            Not quite lone, Senator Nick Minchin although initially for it, because his own agenda, came to realise that exactly what he was pushing, was exactly the problem with the proposed filter and withdrew support for it.
          • The party as a whole doesn't seem to have a policy on it. Their candidate for the Higgins byelection was heavily involved in the scheme while he was at the Australia Institute, and is very much in favour of it.

            (I'm not putting down Ludlum's work agaisnt the filter, just saying that it seems to be a personal rather than party policy.)

      • We're fucked either way eventually when one of these bunches of cocks decides it's a good idea and has the numbers to push it through.

        Well, fortunately our illustrious government hasn't had such an easy ride lately at getting the numbers to do anything, and there's plenty of opposition to this filter, so there is still hope that sanity will prevail.
    • by Techman83 (949264) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:56AM (#30444102)
      Believe me, Australians are not asleep. Senator Conroy has chosen to barge ahead regardless of any public outcry. Fortunately the Labour Government do not hold enough power in the Senate to push this through with out the support of the opposition and the Independents/Minority Parties, which they just aren't going to get. Independent Senator Nick Minchin and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam have both been very vocal in opposition to Censorship in Australia. The Librals (the other major party) seem to be fighting the Labour party at every turn, so I suspect their support will be limited. I think if it doesn't pass, the worst outcome will be that Labour will use this as a slander campaign to paint the opposition as supporting "Child Abuse".
      • by Xest (935314)

        Labour, and pushing laws through that no one wants including their own supporters.

        That sounds familiar.

        Ah yes, I remember now, it's like our Labour party here in Britain trying to push through ID cards despite the opposition being against it and half their own voterbase being against it leaving them around 10% - 20% support for the scheme with 80% - 90% being opposed (yet ~35% still being stupid enough to vote them in each election which is all they need for 100% control under first past the post).

        If it's a

        • by Rennt (582550)

          Hopefully we can do away with the international scourge which are Labour parties for good.

          1) Don't hold your breath. Both sides are very happy with current two party system, and won't be changing it any time soon.
          2) International scourge? What are the Tories/Liberals/Republicans... Scotch mist?

    • by zsau (266209) <.ten.srehpargotraceht. .ta. .todhsals.> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:03AM (#30444202) Homepage Journal

      There hasn't been the opportunity to since they made it obvious they would stick to their idiotic promises and drop their useful ones (i.e. since they got into power). You realise we can't just get new elections every news cycle. (Although the Prime Minister can call elections for the House of Representatives almost as often as he likes, it's terribly inconvenient and if they do go early (or, as early as you're suggesting they should've gone), people are inclined to vote them out just for dragging them out to the polls one more time than is necessary.)

      In any case, even if we could, the other lot aren't any better... Most people would rank this (known) temporary inconvenience as a lot less bad than the (unknown) evils a government ran by Tony Abbott, Leader of the Liberal Party, would bring.

      In the last case, we have a Senate and the Australian people are generally not idiotic enough to give the Government unmitigated power there. I expect the Liberal party will oppose it on the basis that they're the opposition, the Greens will oppose it on the basis that it's neither left nor liberal, and the independents will probably vote quite randomly on the basis of stellar alignment and what their advisors tell them people think.

      So ... don't say stupid things like that. The least you could do before commenting on our political system is inform yourself of the absolute basics of how it works. And in this particular case, almost every political system in the (developed) world works comparably.

      (If you really *were* telling us to use pitchforks, then either you're completely unrealistic, or completely crazy. In any case, whoever said "those who would give up an essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" was obviously crazy and/or making use of hyperbole and/or hadn't thought about his own position, and if you're an American you've probably been brainwashed into both believing that and not acting on it. Our society is so great, and so free, precisely because we complain and wait until its time to vote instead of getting out the guns and pitchforks and executing anyone in Parliament)

      • by BakaHoushi (786009) <Goss DOT Sean AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:30AM (#30444538) Homepage

        That would be Benjamin Franklin who said that, I believe, and I don't see anywhere where he is suggesting the wholesale slaughter of those who oppose liberty.

      • by gknoy (899301) <(gknoy) (at) (anasazisystems.com)> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:41PM (#30446912)

        Whoever said "those who would give up an essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" was obviously crazy and/or making use of hyperbole and/or hadn't thought about his own position.

        Benjamin Franklin, one of the more influential thinkers in the American Revolution, was the one who said that. He was eccentric, but I don't think he was crazy. He certainly was aware of his situation.

        At the time, people living in America had relative safety (individually). The British crown generally tried to protect them, and wasn't out to kill them. However, there were certain injustices that the Crown perpetrated on them -- things like taxing them without letting them have representatives in Parliament, and the British military effectively forcing civilians to quarter (Feed+board) them for indefinite amounts of time. Franklin, and the other revolutionaries who drafted our Declaration of Independence, were very aware that they were making a choice to either revolt (and risk capital punishment should they fail or be caught) or continue sacrificing the Liberties which they felt were absolutely essential.

        Many of these liberties and related concerns are addressed directly in the first 10 amendments to our Constitution: the rights of freedom of religion, speech, a free press, and the right not to have troops quartered in your house are four examples. These are principles which Franklin and the others were absolutely prepared to die for.

        Franklin and his friends knew a lot more about the matter than many of us do. Right now, we live in relative prosperity and comfort, so the risk and "temporary safety" are amplified in our minds. We're not likely to die to disease, cold, or raiding natives, for example. Our populace has basically been seduced by the bread and circuses (so to speak), and has willingly traded away freedoms which some of us consider essential (freedom to copy a DVD you own, freedom to communicate securely, etc) in order to have a more blissful and convenient existence. The security theater we see in American (and other) airports is another example of this: we've pretty much irrevocably squandered our right to not be treated like a herd of potential criminals, in exchange for "safety". This is absolutely the same sort of things over which Franklin and others were willing to shed blood over: tyrrany, however petty.

        • by zsau (266209)

          Thanks for your coherent response; it was way better than "Fuck you, you little internet pissant. You don't know shit." and probably better than I deserved. I will try

          Benjamin Franklin, one of the more influential thinkers in the American Revolution, was the one who said that. He was eccentric, but I don't think he was crazy. He certainly was aware of his situation.

          Well, that leaves hyperbole Not a suprise; people often do. But something people often forget when they refer to him. I think too many people ju

      • Direct action of millions of customers canceling internet service would quickly force the ISPs to push legislators in the right direction. I suggest you organize the boycott before you cancel, however.
    • by yincrash (854885)
      I can't believe the Obama administration went to Australia for broadband advice.
    • by Jeeeb (1141117) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:25AM (#30444452)
      Who says we are?

      The Labor party (Current government) was meant to be liberal and reformist. The alternative is the Liberal party who despite there name are mostly socially conservative Christians. They just finished voting out Malcom Turnbull their former leader who was clearly too liberal and replacing him with Tony Abbot a Christian conservative who suffice to say holds a number of opinions that don't exactly resonate with the more liberally minded.

      Anyway despite that I say fuck the Labor party. I'll vote for the Liberals next election. Maybe for 3 years it wouldn't be the perfect government. But it's better than voting for the status-quo of simply being ass-raped by greedy bastards.

      As for young people the best way to make a real difference on this is to talk to your parents and grandparents (If they're still alive). Your vote alone isn't worth as much as the votes of both your parents and yours combined.
      • by PeterBrett (780946) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @12:26PM (#30445462) Homepage

        The Labor party (Current government) was meant to be liberal and reformist. The alternative is the Liberal party who despite there name are mostly socially conservative Christians.

        I refuse to believe that there is a whole continent-sized country with two and only two political parties. If you can confidently vote for neither the Labour nor Liberal parties, why not try one of the following options:

        • Vote for a third party;
        • Run as a third party candidate if no third party candidates are available in your district;
        • Spoil your ballot paper.

        Don't vote for the "not quite the worst" party: use your vote responsibly.

        • by Jeeeb (1141117)
          I choose not to spoil my ballot paper because that is an even greater waste than voting for a party which I believe to be the lesser of two evils.

          I'm happy to put third parties at the top of my preference list. Last election I did just that as did many other Australians. But realistically in the elections for the house of representatives, which is what will determine who governs us, the decision is going to come down to either Labor or the Liberal/National coalition. Thus the real choose when voting for
        • by caitsith01 (606117) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:57PM (#30450568) Journal

          I refuse to believe that there is a whole continent-sized country with two and only two political parties.

          Well, believe it or not, that's how it works in Australia, both practically and politically.

          We have a compulsory, preferential voting system here. This means that in most cases, you actually have to vote for one of the two major parties.

          The way this works is as follows: say there are three candidates, Labor, Liberal and Green. Every voter must put them in order, 1, 2, 3. Then all of the 1s are tallied up. The candidate with the least 1s gets eliminated (say, the Greens candidate). Then all of the votes for that candidate are re-allocated according to which of the remaining two candidates got voted 2. In this way, in a typical Australian electorate, 100% of the votes will ultimately be divided between the two major parties.

          So let's say I really, really don't want to vote for one of Labor or the Liberal party. Well, that's a shame for me, because at the end of the day I have to rank one of them last and one of them second last, and because of preferential voting the one I put second last will get my full vote after all of the other parties have been eliminated.

          On top of this, voting is compulsory. Even if a decent sized chunk of highly motivated people go out and vote for the Greens, the fact that all of the sheep will also be herded out of their pen to vote whether they like it or not means that the major parties inevitably get a very large default vote. Stick a non-political person in a voting booth and tell them they have to vote and chances are they go with what they know, which is either the government or the main opposition party. Compare with the USA where something like 40-50% of people don't vote, IIRC.

          Add to this that most Australian cities have one or sometimes two newspapers, and that we get serious political coverage on only one TV channel which many intellectually lazy Aussies wouldn't watch because it's the boring government channel. All of our newspapers are actually owned by either Murdoch (in which case they are sympathetic to the Liberal Party) or Fairfax (in which case they are sympathetic to the Labor Party on the whole).

          Politically, Labor and Liberal hate each other but not as much as they hate the minor parties. So they spend a lot of time either discrediting or outmaneuvering any small party they see as a threat. For example, they both demonize the Greens as a bunch of environmental crazies who all want to take heaps of drugs and have orgies in the forest. A few years ago there was a far right party with a bit of clout ("One Nation") which the government promptly dealt with by subsuming most of its policy positions on key issues. That party is all but dead now.

        • by fabs64 (657132)

          We have a third party and independents, until the last election we also had a fourth. These members generally reside in the senate and act as a check on the government which is decided by majority rule of the house or representatives.

        • Your refusal is well founded. There are many political parties in Australia but, just like the USA, there are only two horses actually in the race to govern the nation: Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party/National Party coalition. Votes for minor parties typically convert to a preference vote for one of the major parties (directly by voter choice, or indirectly). The only place that small parties or independent members hold any direct sway is in the Federal Senate where, by accident and not d

        • by Techman83 (949264)
          Indeed Pirate Party Australia who have quite a spiel regarding mandatory filtering in Australia on their home page.
      • by Gudeldar (705128)
        According to the Australian Election Commission there are a lot more than 2 parties.
        http://aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/Party_Registration/Registered_parties/index.htm [aec.gov.au]
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Ha! What good has it done in the US?

  • Conroy is a Traitor. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:42AM (#30443940) Journal
    The new leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, is an outspoken catholic. His party has opposed the ISP-based filter in the past, so it's just possible this nasty piece of trash legislation is an attempt to politically embarrass him.

    If he opposes the bill, the government can accuse him of hypocrisy. If he supports it, he faces rebellion in his own party.

    But if it is brinkmanship, Conroy is playing with fire. There could be a very serious electoral backlash from this.

  • 100% Accuracy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry but done with 100% accuracy? I think that is an internet filtering first. I'd love to know what filtering technology they are using because it is far better than anything I've used to date.

    • But all of people blocked from the site failed to reach the site, ergo 100% of those blocked were blocked.

  • You used to be cool.

    • by deek (22697)

      Politicians are not cool. It is universal.

      Anyways, we'll just have to wait until the next election. Then we can vote yet another douchebag in.

  • by Tei (520358)

    this is stupid, so i can make a cards game on the internet, and ignore aussia boards, and these isp are forced to block my game (maybe on sf.com?).

    guys, change this aus govern NOW

  • Of course... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @10:59AM (#30444140) Homepage Journal

    Everyone (or at least, most people) here at Slashdot knows that on a network as large as the internet, no blacklist method will achieve 100% accuracy.

    This, of course, means that Senator Conroy is either completely ignoring the technical results, or the technical results are being flubbed to match Senator Conroy's agenda.

    Are others in your parliament actually going to vote for this bill, or is he more of a rogue senator who isn't actually supported?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BlortHorc (305555)

      Guy is a fucking turkey. iinet only took part in the trial to prove how idiotic it was, anyone who has a ssh tunnel to somewhere in the rest of the world can immediately bypass this foolish plan, and that has been pointed out to him. Repeatedly. Should I mention the turkey thing again? Not even to mention stenography, gpg encrypted emails, etc, etc, etc. This guy is without a doubt the biggest dumbfuck in the current Labour government.

      Why don't we vote the other guys back in, I hear you ask? Why, because in

      • by walshy007 (906710)

        and those very few capable people with a strong sense of ethics tend to join a party with an ethical basis, such as the Greens,

        I hate the greens with a passion, primarily because of their two-faced reactions to certain freedoms. Half of what they do is alright, but they want to get rid of recreational shooting, all forms of camping, fishing, etc. Even when fishing permits etc tend to cost for the hatching of more fish than what is caught with them.

        What is the point of preserving nature, if people are not allowed to see it?

        • by Lunzo (1065904)
          The Greens are happy for people to see nature. I've never heard them suggest otherwise. I would, however, suggest that there is a difference between seeing nature and shooting it.
          • by walshy007 (906710)

            I should have been more specific, they want to ban target shooting as well as hunting. It is hard to argue target shooting on a range effects them at all.

            Point still stands why try to ban fishing when by people going fishing MORE fish are produced through the cost of permits to go do it?

            It's all the little things combined, that at least to me make it seem that they are two faced in regards to freedoms.

    • by Lunzo (1065904)

      Conroy is a minister in cabinet, and the communications portfolio he has is one of the higher profile ones. If he's pushing for net censorship it has the full backing* of the government.

      * Full backing = 51% or more of the Labor caucus.

  • I would love to see this filter of his. I've never seen a filter for *anything* that could truly be said to be 100% accurate.

  • by ajv (4061) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:11AM (#30444304) Homepage

    This is an EPIC FAIL.

    Australia has led technology trends and adoption for so long, and the Government is prepared to kill it and our children's future for a single lousy vote of a Senator who has the support of exactly no one.

    The Government is terribly misguided on this one. Conroy might be pushing this as a wedge policy, he might be doing it for Fielding's support, but this issue alone will lose the ALP the next election, as well as many for years to come.

    All of Gen i, Y and X will remember this and vote accordingly for years to come. The ALP will be in the wilderness for many elections, and struggle to form a strong government in their own right without doing the independent / Greens coalition tango that is working soooo well for them right now.

    Seriously, I could see the Greens take this to the election and coupled with effective climate change policies and no internet censoring, they could become the balance of power for years.

    Conroy is Public Enemy #1. He has committed electoral suicide for himself and his Government. I really do think they have no idea exactly how unpopular this policy will be.

    In short - how to fight this thing:

    * Ring your politicians tomorrow. All of them. Make the phones run hot.
    * Write them letters.
    * Ask to see them. Talk to them about this issue, and only this issue.
    * Write letters to the news sites
    * Blog and Twitter and Facebook away.
    * Attend rallies. Publish photos and write ups about same.
    * Join the EFA.
    * Sign up to Get Up if you feel inclined
    * Use #nocleanfeed religiously.
    * Do not do work for Conroy's department. Resign or transfer if you work there.
    * Support ISPs that are against this idea. Leave ISPs that support it or who have no position.

    If it becomes law, mass civil disobedience is required. I will be blogging about how to get around the filtering.

    • I will be blogging about how to get around the filtering.

      It seems that the URL to your blog was filtered out.

      They're at it already!

    • by mjwx (966435)

      If it becomes law, mass civil disobedience is required. I will be blogging about how to get around the filtering.

      That's when ISP's like iinet, node et al start offering VPN accounts in Sweden as standard with all of their plans, and routers pre-configured to use them. Smart people/companies work around stupid laws when they need to.

      Conroy is Public Enemy #1. He has committed electoral suicide for himself and his Government. I really do think they have no idea exactly how unpopular this policy will be.

      Th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:31AM (#30444558)

    "Why did the Government cease providing free PC filters when ISP filtering will not be available until 2011?
    The PC filter program experienced low take-up and very low ongoing use. It was therefore closed to new users six months earlier than originally planned.
    Only around 12.5 per cent of the approximately two million households with dependent children and an internet connection are estimated to have tried one of these filters, and less than one per cent of these households continue to use their filters."

    1% of the population still uses this filtering ...
    12% has tried it out ...
    this means:
      88 % of all people didn't even want to try it out,
    out of the remaining 12%, 90% of those who've tried it out dumped it afterwards ...
    conclusion: 99% of your population do not want filtering, the other 1% can still filter their own PC by installing the software on their own PC.

  • The report into the pilot trial of ISP-level filtering demonstrates that blocking RC-rated material can be done with 100 percent accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed

    Riiight...

    Protip: Darknet [wikipedia.org], tunneling proxy [wikipedia.org], EPIC FAIL [encycloped...matica.com]. ^^

  • I grew up knowing of Australia as this country that is about the same size as America - with a very free and independent spirit.

    Then, in the mid 90s they come down with drastic firearms legislation, and now all we hear about is how obsessed with censorship many in the government there are - censoring film, games, etc to that point that some games aren't available or have to be changed, and they are trying again and again depite heavy Aussie and worldwide opposition to censoring the entire internet.

    Is it jus

    • Then, in the mid 90s they come down with drastic firearms legislation,

      I smell the stench of rabid gun nut about your post.

      Frankly, the gun ban was the only decent thing the Howard Gov did!

      • by walshy007 (906710)

        I smell the stench of rabid gun nut about your post.

        *sigh* so you are all for drastic overhauls in legislation from single events? Over time the rules are getting tighter and tighter. The anti-gun lobby are slowly winning, only a matter of how long until we are like the UK and cannot privately own firearms.

        The one or two firearms I wouldn't mind owning, I cannot for various tiny reasons (barrel length 1cm too short etc etc) but never the less have found on the black market. I still don't have them entirely out of principle. To get one illegally is to give i

  • That Aussies will be able to sue their ISPs for spam?

    If they are taking control of the content being sent over their networks I think it's only fair.

    Hurray Australia!

  • I've seen a documentary about an Australian called Michael Dundee. He went to New York and just couldn't live in a civilized world.

    Basically the whole island is full of bad genes from all the old British criminals. Give them a bit of freedom and they live like animals.

    They have beer cans and knives much larger than any normal human would need. You just can't trust people like that.
  • This is not much of a surprise. Australia has more speed and stoplight cameras than anywhere else but England. You are not trusted. Why should we trust you with the series of tubes known as the intarwebs ?

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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