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Australia Censorship Google Your Rights Online

Will Australia Follow China's Google Ban? 280

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we-come-from-a-land-down-under dept.
gadgetopia writes "A news report in Forbes says that China has blocked Google with its great firewall; now the world waits to see if Australia's Minister for Censorship, Senator Stephen Conroy, will do the same following his outrageous attacks on Google."
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Will Australia Follow China's Google Ban?

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  • by quarrel (194077) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:07AM (#31672350)

    Politics might be stupid in Australia, like lots of places. But no, it won't go the same was as China.

    We have transparency and rule of law.

    However fucked out Communications Minister might be.

    --Q

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      >>>rule of law.

      "What's that?" - leader
      "No clue." - other leader

      • by copponex (13876) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:20AM (#31672584) Homepage

        >>>rule of law.

        "What's that?" - leader
        "No clue." - other leader

        "Well, fuck off then." -voter in next election*

        *only valid in literate and civically active cultures

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Most voters don't know what rule of law is either.
          Look how many of them think the Constitution is just a piece of paper,
          and therefore Parliament can do whatever it wants.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by copponex (13876)

            Most voters don't know what rule of law is either. Look how many of them think the Constitution is just a piece of paper, and therefore Parliament can do whatever it wants.

            The Tea Partiers seem to be stirring up some interest. If they ever discover the real cause of their tax burden [warresisters.org] and the reality of effective commercial tax rates [reclaimdemocracy.org], I'm afraid their loving relationship with the GOP and it's corporate outlets [foxnews.com] will quickly deteriorate. [debbieschlussel.com]

            • by copponex (13876)

              PS. Be careful - you could end up arguing for publicly financed, non-profit news sources.

            • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:06PM (#31673478)

              You're forgetting that the "tea partiers" are largely defined by Faux News. They are whatever Fox tells them to be.

              My favorite was Stewart's last-night moment of Zen - they had a clip from Fox with some woman going "well we need to fight this because he's a communist!". The commentator says "well, he's not a communist" and she says "well then he's a progressive which is the new code word for communist. Glenn Beck taught me that"

              I find it terribly hard to believe those people actually have any independent beliefs. If they really were annoyed about parliamentary procedures that circumvent the will of the people, how about the Bush tax cuts for big business that were done the same way?

              • That woman was Saturday Night Live alumna Victoria Jackson [wikipedia.org]. Made me wonder if she wasn't intentionally trolling Fox in some sort of lame attempt at guerrilla comedy to resuscitate her non-existent career.


                It's kind of sad that our country has that large a group of people dumb enough that their well-founded ire can be so crassly misdirected like that.
                • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:29PM (#31674892) Homepage Journal

                  Made me wonder if she wasn't intentionally trolling Fox in some sort of lame attempt at guerrilla comedy to resuscitate her non-existent career.

                  Unfortunately, it's no guerrilla theater. After Victoria Jackson left SNL and couldn't get any work, she went around the bend.

                  She's following the pattern of others that have failed in their chosen fields and have turned to right wing groups to try to resuscitate some sort of career. Dennis Miller is another. John Voight still another. I guess they figure the yahoos aren't all that discerning, so they can make a buck as long as they say bad things about liberals.

                   

                • I thought she was putting us on too, but it turns out she is a long time conservative and a genuine supporter of the tea parties.

              • by copponex (13876) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:25PM (#31673812) Homepage

                As any good democratic socialist, I believe that people will eventually arrive at the truth. Fox is damming a flood of people asking questions, and hoping that they will stick to the script. Throw in a few dark horses like Ron Paul, who doesn't toe the line on the narrative Fox likes to present, and Fox is only ensuring that they will be completely washed out once the dam breaks.

                The damage they are doing to our country in terms of the destruction of the middle class, our ability to manufacture our own goods, and our outright dependence on islamic fundamentalist states for our energy needs may end up catapulting the nation into a great period of misery. That's why I'm headed outside of the fallout line.

                China is scooping up every bit of available raw resources, and we're patting ourselves on the back for innovations like facebook and the iPad and air conditioned seats. Rome will fall, but how hard and how fast is largely dependent on how long people continue to delude themselves.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                >>>Stewart's last-night moment of Zen - they had a clip from Fox

                No they didn't. That was a comedy bit. It was fake. You can't tell the difference? As for the communist bit, I think Obama's policies are more simply: Anti-choice. And being I'm a Pro-Choice kind of guy, I find Obama's taking away of my choices ("buy healthcare or be fined!") to be objectionable. It makes me feel like I'm a serf rather than a free individual.

            • by MaWeiTao (908546)

              The tea partiers have no love for the GOP and are not comprised of only republicans. The thing is that the GOP is essentially trying to co-opt the movement.

              And some of those stats you provide are outright nonsense. I'd consider this [nytimes.com] a more legitimate source. The highest I've seen elsewhere was on CNBC where they report 42 cents of every dollar goes to the military, 28.7 cents to current spending, 10 cents to interest on past and present military debt and 3.5 cents to Veterans.

              I call BS on the story about co

              • by copponex (13876)

                I call BS on the story about commercial tax rates but I currently don't have the evidence to back up my claim.

                Fixed that for you.

              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                The tea partiers have no love for the GOP and are not comprised of only republicans.

                Rasmussen's polls have shown that nearly 80% of teabaggers identify themselves with the GOP.

                • Right now that's the only party they can even begin to identify with so I wouldn't read too much into that. The Democrat's philosophy is antithetical to what tea partiers believe in.

              • Wait, what?

                You refute his link that says ~51% percent of spending is on past and present military expenditures, and the details you give are:

                The highest I've seen elsewhere was on CNBC where they report 42 cents of every dollar goes to the military, 28.7 cents to current spending, 10 cents to interest on past and present military debt and 3.5 cents to Veterans.

                Funny... 5 minutes of googling via site:cnbc.com could not come up with anything to support your figures. Furthermore, if you actually bothered rea

            • >>>GOP and it's corporate outlets

              I have no great love for the GOP, but if they keep their promise to return to conservatism, they are still the lesser evil from the Tea Party point-of-view.

              After all, it's not the GOP that's trying to shove ACTA down our throats and the Mandatory Hospitalization Suppository up our ass. ACTA and this recent healthcare reform directly benefits the Democrats' buddies in Hollywood and the Insurance Corporations. Pople who think the Dems are not in bed with corporati

              • by Shakrai (717556)

                Please note I'm not saying military is okay; I'm antiwar and think Obama is an ___ for not ending it in 2010 as he promised

                He's also an ass for breaking his promise not to impose a health insurance mandate, his promise to support a filibuster of any bill containing telecom immunity, his promise not to raise taxes on those earning <$250,000, blah, blah, blah.

                Meet the new boss, same as the old.

              • by copponex (13876)

                it's not the GOP that's trying to shove ACTA down our throats and the Mandatory Hospitalization Suppository up our ass

                Yeah. They just suspended habeas corpus, cut taxes for the wealthy while leading the country to war, and reduced corporate income tax rates for every corporation, not just "Hollywood" and insurance companies. I can see how draconian copyright laws and mandating health insurance and requiring insurance companies to pay out - the same way we mandate car insurance - can really get on your nerves.

                I hold no loyalty to any political party, and I don't delude myself with visions of (D) fixing all of the problems.

                • The biggest reason SS is broke is because politicians starting with LBJ started robbing from it. Both parties have done it. My first personal memory of it was back in the 70's. I was sitting in my car eating a gut bomb for lunch and listening to the radio when the news came on and the main story was about politicians taking several hundred million dollars out of the SS "surplus" to pay for something else. I got mad because I thought then that I was getting ripped off, and time hasn't lessened the intens

              • by Zen Hash (1619759)

                From the paragraph immediately below the chart:

                Our analysis is based on federal funds, which do not include trust funds — such as Social Security — that are raised separately from income taxes for specific purposes."

              • by joggle (594025)

                I have no great love for the GOP, but if they keep their promise to return to conservatism, they are still the lesser evil from the Tea Party point-of-view.

                After all, it's not the GOP that's trying to shove ACTA down our throats and the Mandatory Hospitalization Suppository up our ass.

                Yeah, they only wanted to do that in the 90s (example: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/03/26/hatch [salon.com]). Now that it's 2010 it's armageddon to do it apparently.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Look how many of them think the Constitution is just a piece of paper,

            Yes, but look at how many of them believe the Constitution gives corporations the same civil rights as individual citizens, and look at how many believe that the 2nd amendment means everybody is allowed to own and carry handguns everywhere.

            You are right that many voters in the US don't know what the rule of law is. Even worse, there are 5 supreme court justices that don't seem to know what it is, either

            • I'd like to see you give evidence for the assertion that anyone thinks that the Constitution gives corporations the same civil rights as individuals. I know we now have a law that says it, but I have never heard of anyone ever saying what you are.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          *only valid in literate and civically active cultures

          Have any of those existed since Athens?

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:22AM (#31672632)
      At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, I should point out that Germany before the 1930's was almost unquestionably the most academically and intellectually sophisticated country in the world. If you had went back to Germany in the 20's and told them that within 20 years, their country would elect one of the most intolerant demagogues and world history as dictator and begin systematically committing the genocide of a sizable portion of their population, they would have laughed at the thought. We always like to think that we're above devolving into brutality, oppression, and totalitarianism; but things can fall apart amazingly fast once you start heading down a certain road. I wouldn't just dismiss it so casually.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        *phew* Good thing the US of A got off that path before it was too late!

      • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:49AM (#31673166)
        ...but things can fall apart amazingly fast once you start heading down a certain road.

        They sure do, but it is still by no means certain this legislation will pass. The Australian Government needs the support of the Senate to get its legislation through Parliament, and it has already had several setbacks in that regard, hence the likelihood of a double dissolution election this year.

        Conroy himself is an arrogant little shit, and apparently Kevin Rudd is being equally so by leaving the asswipe in that portfolio. But we can hope that the Opposition's taste for obstructionism might yet be put to some worthwhile use.
      • specifically (Score:4, Insightful)

        when your economy is trashed by greedy speculation then fear and hysteria. that's what sent germany to the dogs: the great depression, the collapse of the financial world

        aka, what the world just experiences in 2008 (on a much smaller scale, true)

        but this historical parallel leads us to four observations:

        1. the angry tea partiers, with their brick throwing and insane murderous anger, IS kristallnacht, on a smaller scale

        2. intolerant deluded propagandized fools hording guns in the woods are the seeds of fascism, NOT our protectors from fascism

        3. we need strong government regulation in the financial sector, and the assholes (greenspan and co) who dismantled the 1930s era (irony) protections need to be grilled a la congressional hearings and roundly castigated for their dangerous irresponsibility

        4. hopefully the world, and the usa, can weather this horde of angry morons out of work, the seeds of fascism, without them crystallizing around some modern day hitler-like demagogue and mounting a political (and visceral: they love guns) challenge to civilization. and then let the retards fade away into history

        interesintg note: many tea partiers receive government benefits (unemployment, medicaid)... while they rail against government aid. they go to tea party rallies... instead of looking for work. fucking ignorant hypocrites

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/us/politics/28teaparty.html [nytimes.com]

        • Re:specifically (Score:4, Interesting)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:53PM (#31674326) Journal

          >>>1. the angry tea partiers, with their brick throwing and insane murderous anger, IS kristallnacht, on a smaller scale

          You clearly don't know history. The destruction of Jewish stores/homes was perpetrated by government employees working for the National Socialist Party. Tea Party supporters are not government employees.
          .

          >>>2. intolerant deluded propagandized fools hording guns in the woods are the seeds of fascism

          No. Hitler banned private ownership of guns in order to prevent backlash, because he knew the danger if citizens finally got fed-up and started shooting back. (See the Jewish Ghetto uprisings for examples.)

          In a truly free society government does not need to fear the gun, because it is obeying the people's wishes rather than ignoring them.

        • Re:specifically (Score:4, Informative)

          by Totenglocke (1291680) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:54PM (#31674342)

          when your economy is trashed by greedy speculation then fear and hysteria. that's what sent germany to the dogs: the great depression, the collapse of the financial world

          Germany went downhill because of the brutal raping it received in the peace treaty after WWI. That is also what caused the overwhelming resentment of the rest of the world (or at least the rest of Europe and the US) which resulted in Hitler's rise to power.

          we need strong government regulation in the financial sector

          We need regulation - however, once you hit a certain point, regulation turns into control, which then harms the economy due to government officials not having the slightest clue about how to run a company, let alone an entire industry.

          the assholes (greenspan and co) who dismantled the 1930s era (irony) protections need to be grilled a la congressional hearings and roundly castigated for their dangerous irresponsibility

          Actually it was the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) that lead to the housing bubble / slew of bad mortgages. The CRA was started by Carter and strengthened by Clinton and it existed to put pressure on banks to give loans to people (specifically mortgages) who would normally be turned away by banks (due to the high risk of them defaulting) because the government thought everyone should own a home, even if they can't afford it. That resulted in millions of people getting mortgages when they never should have had one as well as ballooning home prices. Add on top of that the fact that the average American spends way more than they earn each year (usually on crap they don't need) and you have a recipe for financial disaster. If the banks had been left alone and the CRA never existed, then home prices would have stayed in check (look at historical averages, home prices always adjusted for inflation but in real dollars, they stayed essentially constant - once the CRA was strengthened, all of the sudden home prices started going up way faster than inflation) and there wouldn't be anywhere near as many people defaulting on mortgages. The current recession is about 60% the fault of average citizens racking up way too much debt (mainly on credit cards) and about 40% the government naively pushing banks to give risky mortgages (which exacerbated the problem of people racking up too much debt).

          I find it amusing that you demonize the Tea Partiers (who have no official group, it's a generic term given to anyone upset about government control of our lives and government taking away our freedom) for being "fascists" when the whole reason they're upset is because they don't want fascism.

        • Ummm.... Where's your proof of those assertions?

        • by WNight (23683)

          1. the angry tea partiers, with their brick throwing and insane murderous anger, IS kristallnacht, on a smaller scale

          Seems like that's the intent and they'll just keep throwing parties till it works. The demonizing of their opponents fits.

          2. intolerant deluded propagandized fools hording guns in the woods [...]

          Now who's an intolerant deluded propagandized fool? Not every believer in the purpose of the 2nd amendment lives in the woods, or hordes guns (one is enough).

          [...] are the seeds of fascism, NOT our protectors from fascism

          If you see them as your protectors you're undoubtedly wrong, yes...

          But I wonder why you see neighbors with the power to defend themselves as a threat? I know many hunters and treat them just like non-hunters. Most people I know have

      • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:59AM (#31673358)
        I am not sure if that is completely right. Sure, Germany in the 20s was on the one hand a academically and intellectually sophisticated country. On the other hand, it was a severely torn country, with large parts of the population not standing behind the transition from monarchy to democracy, a hugely polarized political scene with fighting between communists and fascists on the streets - a pressure cooker waiting for the lid to blow. That is probably actually one of the reasons for the vibrant cultural scene of the 20s, everything being overheated, everything being in overdrive. I am pretty sure that there was a significant percentage at least of the intellectual groups of Germany's society in the 20s who would not have dismissed your prediction, who felt that there was an explosion to come.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think you can claim to have transparency while having a Minister of Censorship.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        I don't think you can claim to have transparency while having a Minister of Censorship.

        The good thing is that the minister himself obviously doesn't believe in the effectiveness of his undisclosed blacklist. If the filter is any good, it shouldn't matter whether the contents of that list were made public or not, since the sites are supposed to be inaccessible in any case.

        Bring on a minister who understands his portfolio...

        [sigh]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the US they have transparency and the rule of law also. Problem is their government refuses to enforce the laws and claims national security trumps transparency.

      Good Luck to us all Mate

    • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail . c om> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:25AM (#31672686) Homepage Journal

      Ok, so Google has this "safe search" setting. Presumably if safe search is turned off at least some of what it returns will be material subject to bans in Australia. So it seems that is a perfect justification for banning Google, or at least requiring that Google queries pass through a government-controlled proxy server that can ensure that safe-search is always turned on.

      Furthermore Australia has not had the best record of transparency regarding censorship either. For example, 9 Songs was given permission for screening but Comstock Films' documentaries were not, despite those documentaries winning awards (both contain graphic, explicit sexual content). Given that the government won't let citizens see what they are banning, what makes you confident that this won't be exercised in arbitrary ways?

  • Only a matter of time until the former discredits himself like the latter did. His railing against Google makes him sound foolish.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      Let's hope that his "McCarthy" moment comes soon. Unfortunately these kinds of delusional windbags are all too often give far too much rope, and while their fall is spectacular, there are a lot of casualties along the way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Since slashdot doesn't link to the actual comments, here's what was said:

      Conroy went on television to take a shot at Google: "Recently the founders of Google have got themselves into a little bit of trouble because notwithstanding their alleged 'do no evil' policy, they recently created something called Buzz, and there was a reaction and people said, well look aren't you publishing private information?"

      "They said the following: 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place'. This is the founder of Google. He also said recently to Wall Street analysts, 'we love cash', so when people say, shouldn't we just leave it up to the Googles of this world to determine what the filtering policy should be...."

      Notice how this politicians ASSUMES that we want filtering (either by google or the government). We. Do. Not. I don't need my internet filtered either for me or my kids. Show me all the dirt and disgusting things that exist in the world. I can handle it.

      So fuck off Conroy. (Yes I'm angry - I'm tired of politicians treating adults like their children to be babied.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tcr (39109)

        The comments look a bit suspicious to me.
        If he's trying to spin it so the Eric Schmidt quote was _a reaction_ to the buzz privacy cockup, he's way off.
        The quote was in Dec '09, and Buzz was released in Feb '10.
        The Schmidt quote sounds inflammatory, but the gist is don't submit sensitive stuff to a public network that is constantly spidered.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:20AM (#31672592)

      It took around a decade to discredit McCarthyism, and there's a small but significant group of right wing pundits who still defend him. While waiting for people like this to self destruct, it's important do your part and give them a good shove in that direction whenever possible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968)

        It took around a decade to discredit McCarthyism, and there's a small but significant group of right wing pundits who still defend him. While waiting for people like this to self destruct, it's important do your part and give them a good shove in that direction whenever possible.

        A new generation of McCarthy sympathizers is possible, given that the Texas textbook requirements have now been revised to show McC in a positive light.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by einhverfr (238914)

          A new generation of McCarthy sympathizers is possible, given that the Texas textbook requirements have now been revised to show McC in a positive light.

          And then there are Andrew McCarthy's columns, which, for example, accuse lawyers who render services to Guantanamo detainees of treason.

          More likely we will just see a new McCarthyism rise up based on Andrew's work rather than Joe's....

      • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:53PM (#31675186) Journal
        It took a decade, but times have changed. Information moves a lot more quickly these days, so I don't think it would take nearly as long to discredit a modern-day McCarthy. Remember that a lot of the support for McCarthyism fell away after the McCarthy hearings were actually broadcast, and people could see what was actually going on. That's where we got the quote, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" It would be much harder for a modern day McCarthy to do something similar.

        McCarthyism was a matter of a power hungry person taking advantage of a real threat to increase his own personal power. It isn't a new thing, and has happened from time to time since the beginning of the country [wikipedia.org], and whenever it has happened, Americans have opposed it as soon as they realized what was going on. The solution is an alert and informed populace, and the result of the modern speed of communication can be seen in that Bush's attempt to consolidate power (based on the real threat of terrorism) was not nearly as horrible as McCarthy's or the federalists'.

        On the other hand, if the population supports the power-hungry, then no amount of information will limit them. Fortunately for the US, the vast majority of Americans oppose this sort of thing when they are able to see it for what it is. I suspect Australians are the same.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...one of the top google search results for "Stephen Conroy" being the less than flattering http://stephen-conroy.com/ [stephen-conroy.com]
  • More like Google decided to punch the guy in the face and get thrown out. I suppose this is more appropriate when the other team has taken a liking to unwanted groping of the cheerleaders....
  • Simply: No (Score:4, Informative)

    by bernywork (57298) <bstapleton@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:38AM (#31672934) Journal

    No infrastructure
    Nobody is going to enforce it

    No company wants all the phone calls saying "I can't access Google" broadband margins are that bad on a per customer basis, the moment they phone rings from a customer they are losing money.

    Not going to happen

  • I wanna see him do it, mostly to see what happens to him and how fast.
  • First they came... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foxylad (950520) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @03:15PM (#31676600) Homepage

    First they blocked the child porn sites,
    and I didn't speak up because I abhore child abuse.

    Then they blocked all gay sex sites,
    and I didn't speak up because I'm not gay.

    Then they blocked all the sites that support terrorists,
    and I didn't speak up because I forgot that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

    Then they blocked all porn sites,
    and I didn't speak up because I like my sex real.

    Then they blocked all the all political sites,
    and I didn't speak up because who reads those things anyway?

    Then they blocked all the web sites complaining about the blocking,
    and I couldn't speak up.

    (Apologies to Martin Niemöller)

  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jibjibjib (889679) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @04:28PM (#31677912) Journal
    Our Minister for communications etc. might be an idiot, but we're still a developed Western democracy in which the majority of the population have internet access and Google has most of the search engine market share. Blocking Google would be the end of this government and the internet filter; not a single voter would support it.

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