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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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  • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:19AM (#31787080)

    Undemocratic? The Hungry Beast had a phone poll of 1,000 people conducted, the results are in this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]. 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.

    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. 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". The government doesn't mention the filter will only block unencrypted HTTP and therefore by absolutely trivial to bypass, or how much it will cost vs the amount of content it'll be blocking, or how effective it will be compared to installing your own filtering software.

    Various online polls show strong opposition to it, but that's pretty much as expected. People who have some idea of how the internet works are hugely opposed to it for technical as well as "freedom" related issues, but people who have no idea (which is most people) just hear "this will stop child rapists and not impact you at all" and are of course going to be for it.

    In a way, it's a lot like the "Free software" debate. Most people don't give a crap if their software is "Free" or not, and don't even think about how having a healthy Free software ecosystem may benefit them (regardless of what they choose to use themselves). But if it all disappeared and there was no alternative but proprietary software from big corporations, they'd realise what they'd lost. But explaining it beforehand? There's just no interest.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:20AM (#31787082)

    People have been trying to block the spread of ideas since before the invention of the printing press.
    They've always failed.
    If people want stuff from Exit, then they'll find a way; if not the internet, then via paper.
    How would the Oz Gov justify, for example, banning a site that gave out just the address to write to Exit?
    Or a site where you could leave your name and address to receive information?
    I understand the motivation for blocking interactive sites for paedophiles to exchange their revolting material, but a static public information service?
    Epic fail.

  • by stimpleton (732392) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:32AM (#31787142)
    My observations and several unprompted anecdotal stories from tourist friends suggest Australia is actually quite conservative. Robin Williams recently drew criticism for his comments about Australia and the Prime Minister even more so for saying they were not as bad a Rednecks(in the South of the USA).

    I am not famous so I can say what I am about to say with little fear of repercussion. I found southern US folks to be sophisticated compared to Australian Rural communities when I travel both the US and Australia. The Rosa Parkes seat-on-a-bus incident happened a long time ago in the US. While the Cronulla Beach Riots in Sydney happened but a couple years back where ordinary Australians fought pitched battles against foreigners. Politicians in Australia were found to lie about immigrants throwing babies overboard in ships, so that it would bolster their anti immigration stances. Aborigines were shot or hit by cars and killed and the attitudes of police were to treat it as an animal death up till the 1980's.

    Do not confuse a laid back attitude with conservative beliefs. Because Australia, averagely is very conservative.
  • by anarche (1525323) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:03AM (#31787308)

    the Cronulla Beach Riots in Sydney happened but a couple years back where ordinary Australians fought pitched battles against foreigners.

    They were fighting against first generation Aussies (kids of refugees from the Lebanese civil war 67ish), who "refuse" to Australianise.

    Aborigines were shot or hit by cars and killed and the attitudes of police were to treat it as an animal death up till the 1980's.

    1967 (that year again) we voted (by 97% popular vote) to recognise the indigenous popluation as people

    Do not confuse a laid back attitude with conservative beliefs. Because Australia, averagely is very conservative.

    This makes no sense. We are conservative, but moreso because ideas - like decent smartphones - take frikken ages to get to Oz...

  • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:40AM (#31787442)

    I agree parties wouldn't be needed anymore, but I don't see how it'd automatically make corporations and special groups any more powerful than they already are. I think it would make them less powerful, if the voters are reasonably well informed. If they're not, then it probably wouldn't make a lot of difference. And it would be more efficient, as you point out.

    We should be able to leverage modern communication technology to be able to vote online, and therefore have frequent, even weekly, votes on policies. Maybe spend 30 minutes a week to read about and vote on policies that you're interested in. It would be really fascinating to see something like this in action.

    I'd like to see something like this:

    1. people come up with a policy proposal and present it to parliament
    2. those opposed or with a different policy engage in a lively debate
    3. once a "party" comes up with an actual policy, they create a short summary of it, which will be given to the voting public at the time they go to vote
    4. such summaries are subject to argumentation by all and sundry, all statements must be proven to be true in order to be included (this process will probably take a while)
    5. eventually, one or more policies are presented to the voting public

    The "parties" referred to above would likely be temporary groupings of people who are backing a particular policy (because it's easier to make a workable policy without gaping holes if you work with others), not necessarily permanent parties like we have now.

    The "people" referred to in #1 are presumably politicians of some kind, although this kind of system would be pretty receptive to "single-issue politicians" who go in to argue for their favourite policy and then disappear back into normal life afterwards. Since having every single citizen arguing at once is probably not really viable, some kind of representation system like we have now would probably be needed (i.e. you need a certain amount of popular support before you can make a proposal that'll actually end up being voted on).

    So there you have it. I've fixed democracy in 10 minutes. Now to tackle climate change!

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:57AM (#31787514)

    What do you do for a population who votes against democracy?

    That's one limitation of democracy. It's self preserving.

    Is it legal in the USA, standardbearers of democracy, to create an Antidemocratic Party that has, as objective to eliminate democracy as soon as it wins?

If all the world's economists were laid end to end, we wouldn't reach a conclusion. -- William Baumol

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