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Australia Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Oz Pirate Party Tells the Elderly How To Bypass the Net Filter 275

Posted by timothy
from the take-the-blue-pill-heck-take-them-all dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "When Exit International discovered it was earmarked for Australia's Internet filter blacklist, it wanted to ensure its members could access its pro-euthanasia material, but its members share an average age of 70 — not exactly from the tech generation. So Exit International turned to the filter-hating Pirate Party of Australia, which supplied a 'hacker' who taught a crowded room of grandmas and grandpas how to use proxies and advanced VPN tunnels to access Exit International's material — which the Australian government thinks breaches the moral compass of society. Computerworld has the presentation."
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Oz Pirate Party Tells the Elderly How To Bypass the Net Filter

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  • It sure feels odd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:50AM (#31786946) Homepage

    It'd feel odd to teach a group of old people how to access information about killing themselves.

    But that's the point of the freedom of information - anyone should have the right to seek it out and access it.

  • by xulfer (1368787) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:59AM (#31786992)
    The article says that each workshop lasts approximately five-and-a-half hours. It's taken me a half-hour just to explain how to properly navigate a website to some of my more elderly firewall. I'm not sure if the allotted time is enough to teach the various concepts and methods of VPN/ssh tunnels and proxies. I've worked with computer science graduates that didn't even properly grasp these concepts after a semester long course. I wish them the best of luck either way.
  • by anarche (1525323) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:00AM (#31786994)

    Yep, crazy world we live in.

    Mind you, these people all want to have their life's options explored. They are not all for killing themselves now, just may not want to be vegetable burdens in the future, much like many of us.

    How long until Capt. Kevin makes it a crime to either
    a) bypass the filter
    b) assist others to bypass the filter
    c) both of the above.

    bloody stupid steve!

  • moral compass? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sams67 (880846) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:01AM (#31787002) Homepage
    Currently, as a result of back room deals between the government and the Christian lobby, Australia has a moral anchor rather than a moral compass.
  • Crazy Australians. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz (573045) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:05AM (#31787018)
    I always thought Australia was a developed country, economically, and politically. This Internet filter craziness makes them seem very un-democratic. What's next? Filtering the opposition party websites? Filtering any websites that has an opposing view of the current government? I don't think that next step is such a big one.
  • Moral campass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pickyouupatnine (901260) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:08AM (#31787032) Homepage
    Hmm.. government trying to dictate to the elderly what is moral in society. One would think that the elderly would have the most conservative view on what is considered moral.
  • by mcvos (645701) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:13AM (#31787056)

    It'd feel odd to teach a group of old people how to access information about killing themselves.

    But that's the point of the freedom of information - anyone should have the right to seek it out and access it.

    Whether a controlled and dignified end to you life should be a moral right may be open to discussion, but at least people should be able to inform themselves on the issue, right?

  • by ultranova (717540) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:30AM (#31787126)

    Whether a controlled and dignified end to you life should be a moral right may be open to discussion, but at least people should be able to inform themselves on the issue, right?

    If people are able to inform themselves on an issue, they might make a choice that's contrary to your moral stance. This is especially likely if your moral stance can be summarized as "people should suffer greatly for my peace of mind". That's why places like Australia, China, Britain, Finland etc. want to restrict their citizens ability to access information.

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:32AM (#31787140)

    So, the government asks "do you want the Australian Government to block access to things only sickos would want to see like child porn?" and most people say "yes".

    Quite more likely, they ask, "are you ok with the Australian Government blocking access to websites which do not reside in Australia but which content is illegal according to Australian laws?", and they reply "yes" because it makes perfect sense to do so.
    Now why they filter things that are nowhere near illegal or why they can add sites without going through the judicial system that would determine whether it is illegal or not is beyond me.

  • Re:moral compass? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsurb (1484303) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:32AM (#31787146)

    Citation needed for these back room deals.

    I am a Christian and am opposed to this filter. In fact, many Christians are arguing AGAINST this legislation because we have potentially unpopular views which could be silenced through future use of this scheme: http://solapanel.org/article/conroys_internet_filter_full_of_contradictions/ [solapanel.org]

  • Re:moral compass? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:44AM (#31787206) Journal

    But... but... but... How else can we pigeonhole people who support censorship? Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that pinning the rest of our political problems on religion is also wrong!

  • by dorward (129628) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:46AM (#31787214) Homepage Journal

    The results indicate that a lot of people actually are in favour of the filter, but it seems to largely depend on how it's phrased and explained.

    See Yes, Minister:

    Sir Humphrey “You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don’t want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Do you think they respond to a challenge?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Ohwell, I suppose I might be.”

    Sir Humphrey “Yes or no?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can’t say no to that. So they don’t mention the first five questions and they publish the last one.”

    Bernard Woolley: “Is that really what they do?”

    Sir Humphrey “Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren’t many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result.”

    Bernard Woolley: “How?”

    Sir Humphrey “Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Are you worried about the growth of armaments?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?”

    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

    Sir Humphrey “There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample.”

  • by sco08y (615665) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:52AM (#31787244)

    People have been trying to block the spread of ideas since before the invention of the printing press.
    They've always failed.

    Really? In the States and other countries, there have been fairly extensive "campaign finance" laws. These basically restrict the flow of cash, and thus the ability to spread ideas, for non-incumbent parties. They have been extremely successful at shutting up difficult opposition.

  • by WinstonWolfIT (1550079) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:55AM (#31787264)
    Oz is a full on unapologetic nanny state. You wouldn't believe the shenanigans that go on here to save people from themselves, along with hand-wringing when people continue to take risks despite living in a nanny state. "OMG we lowered the speed limit to 36mph and yet young people continue to die in accidents even after we installed 17000 cameras." If a 20yo driver blows .01, it's a 1-year license suspension. It's disgusting. Any sane person on an empty straight 4-lane road will do 45mph -- why is that illegal here????
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:59AM (#31787296)
    well, i've lived in regional australia for 25 years and i've also traveled the southern states.

    your entire post is full of 1/2 truths.

    The cronulla riots were triggered by long standing tensions caused by gangs of australian born lebanese attacking people on cronulla beach. the outbreak of violence was sparked by a 13 yo life saver (life savers are an icon here in oz) being brutally bashed by such a gang for telling them to stop harrasing a female swimmer. just like your rodney king riots.

    the baby over board saga, that was blown out of all proportion by all involved. i wouldn't be throwing stones about illegal immagration if i was you with your countries stance on their southern boarder....

    you'll need to back up your claim about police treating aboriginal deaths the same as animal deaths. i've lived here my whole life and never heard such a claim.

    while i traveled the south i came across the most intollerent gits i've ever met. while i agree that australia is a fairly conservative country, compared to the USA they look like left wing hippies. the impression i got from america is that people like to think they are all freedom loving and open minded, when really they just want THEIR kind of freedom.

  • by Zumbs (1241138) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:04AM (#31787312) Homepage

    I think we have the same problem as pretty much every democracy: everyone gets a vote, but only a small portion of people actually care/know enough about an issue to make an informed choice. And the governments don't seem to be under much pressure to actually be open and honest about what the policies they're pushing will actually achieve.

    In an ideal democracy, the press would make the specialized information available to help the general public make an informed choice. Unfortunately, the press seems more likely to run with the pro-filter crowd, in the midst of articles on bloody murder and ads for the newest VW.

  • by Angua (1732766) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:09AM (#31787336)

    I understand the motivation for blocking interactive sites for paedophiles to exchange their revolting material, but a static public information service?
    Epic fail.

    I'm always skeptical when a relatively harmless activity gets banned in order to "prevent" another, more dangerous one. Child pornography is illegal, and rightfully so. But restricting an entire nation's access to the internet in order to make things more difficult for pedophiles? I don't see the benefits myself, but then I am neither a computer genius (understatement!) nor from Australia, so perhaps I'm missing something.

    Personally, I'd rather see increased effort in tracking down the bastards and throwing them in jail.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:10AM (#31787342) Homepage

    China's filter is also bypassable. I assume want it that way. The strategy is to ensure that the young and the very concerned have ways to protect themselves individually, to avoid having them motivated to look into organised ways. A classic way to take the wind out of people power.

  • Re:Moral campass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:28AM (#31787406) Homepage Journal

    This is Australia, we don't have lobbyists.

    We call campaign contributions "bribes" and we call politicians who take them "criminals."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:38AM (#31787438)

    How about, as a society, we take good care of our elderlys, make them feel that they are not a burden, make them feel they worked all their life and now it's time to take care of them.

    I mean, let's cure the root cause first, elderlys should never feel they are a burden. If they are ill, we should try to cure them, if they are sad we should cheer them up, if they feel useless we should remind them that just seeing them brings joy to them.

    Euthanasia is only a solution when the rest of society has failed to do the above. And let's be clear, it's a cheap cowardly solution for society.

    I'm not one to say we should artificially keep people with dead brains alive forever, but let's not use euthanasia as a cheap exit when there are other solutions.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:54AM (#31787504) Homepage

    People have been trying to block the spread of ideas since before the invention of the printing press.
    They've always failed.

    Always?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_books_and_burying_of_scholars [wikipedia.org]

    Plus generally, you wouldn't have heard about really succesfull such actions by definition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:58AM (#31787520)

    As NZ follows the same daft path it is especially awesome to see the exact slippery slopes being slid down across the ditch. First filter for the sake of the children. And apparently no real grace period is required before starting to block whatever else you want.

  • by taylorius (221419) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:01AM (#31787536) Homepage

    It was recorded you know, you can still watch it.

  • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:04AM (#31787544)

    I don't think it really matters. It's already illegal here to assist people to die, so it doesn't apply. No medical professional is going to assist a teenager or divorcee to end their life, and people who would assist with that aren't going to in any way be deterred by a censor.

    If someone wants to kill themselves, there's plenty of ways to do it and trying to deny access to anything that discusses it is going to be about as effective as denying sex education to kids in the belief that they'll not have sex if you don't tell them about it.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:12AM (#31787586)

    breaches the moral compass of society.

    Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't ... and besides, the end of a life is not a situation where you can apply too many absolutes.

    More to the point, however, I'd say Australia's government has been breaching their society's moral compass for some time now. So has mine, for that matter, and I'm American.

  • Tech Generation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:12AM (#31787590)

    But its members share an average age of 70. Not exactly from the tech generation.

    What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Somebody who is 70 would have been born in 1940. I'm pretty sure they would have grown up with technology their entire lives. In fact, somebody of that age would have grown up with one of the biggest technology expansions in history. They are almost the definition of "tech generation," and grew up under the influence of people like Albert Einstein.

  • Re:moral compass? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:16AM (#31787610)

    I am a Christian and am opposed to this filter.

    Well good for you. But the fact is that the idea for this censorship was partly intended to placate the Christian lobby, and there are plenty of public Christian figures in Australia who support it. Just because some Christians oppose it, is not evidence that no Christians had anything to do with it.

  • now, having its economy dominated by China, it is apparently more like a Southern outpost of the Middle Kingdom. funny though how Chinese cultural understandings of centralized thought domination and control has proven so quickly popular in Canberra

    we need to keep an eye on New Zealand, make sure down there all alone in the Antipodes that cabin fever doesn't make it lose it's marbles like Australia obviously has. plus New Zealand has that domestic situation with Mordor being inside its borders

  • by penix1 (722987) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:38AM (#31787732) Homepage

    How about if it was a group of recent divorcees or depressed teenagers?

    What about them? The whole idea that society should protect you from yourself has led to many an invasive, ineffective and inane law. Let me ask you, if a person is bent on suicide, do you really think a law is going to stop them? If someone is that committed to killing themselves then no amount of banning, blocking or outlawing information is going to stop them.

  • by Smidgin (912451) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:53AM (#31787816)

    That's not a knife...now that's a knife!

    No it's not, that's a spoon.

    Yes, I've played knifey-spoony before.

    As an Australian, I find it rather depressing that most Americans' "knowledge" of Australia is limited to that single Simpsons episode...

  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:09AM (#31787894)

    yes but take a look at the tech they grew up with

    Let's see - aircraft, cars, spacecraft, telephony, television, radio. All pretty advanced stuff.

    Computers: early days that meant guys/girls that could do math in their heads and later days meant huge things that took punch cards

    But people in their 70s or older were the ones who fucking made computing happen. For example: Seymour Cray: born 1925. Alan Turing: born 1912.

    Who is the "tech generation" supposed to be? People who are 20-30 years old? I wouldn't trust many of them to know the first thing about technology, unless you call "using Facebook" knowing about technology.

    Anyway, since when was technology limited to computing and electronics? I know a bunch of 65-80 year olds who could repair a car blindfolded. How many of today's youth can even change their car's oil? How many could debug a computer program?

  • by Samah (729132) on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:13AM (#31787914)
    In other news, where is not the same as were. Not even when you write it three times.
  • by athe!st (1782368) on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:25AM (#31787980)
    Comrade Kevin is only doing what is best for peace and harmony in the People's Republic of Australia
  • Re:DEBtastic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:30AM (#31788008) Journal

    Note that we already have web censorship (like Australia, allegedly for "child pr0n" - but see the Wikipedia case for how that works out in practice).

    But yes, it is particularly mad that any pretence of "only child pr0n" is being dropped, and now all it'll take is copyright infringement to get on the blacklist.

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:48AM (#31788702)

    Personally I'm worried about the following dilemma.

    As long as enough of my brain and body is functioning to be capable of taking action, I'd probably prefer to be alive. As long as I can talk or type and listen or read there are plenty of useful things I could set myself to.

    Once I lose that ability, I'd really rather just off myself.

    The problem is... at that point, I doubt I'd be very able to handle it myself. So you'd essentially be asking someone in your family and friends to go to jail for murder.

    Personally I'm leaning toward some kind of old folks home suicide pact, where we all agree to kill each other when the time comes. Because, hey, when you're getting close, what's the worst they can do to you?

    I watched my grandfather on his death bed beg his God to kill him for over a year. We need to stop this bullshit clinging to lives that aren't ours and allow people to die with dignity.

  • 70 means born in 1940.
    They came of age with jet Fighter, space ships, nuclear power and color TV.

    Not a computer literate bunch, but they weren't exactly from the dark ages.

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