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Censorship Australia The Internet Your Rights Online

Australian Government May Shelve Internet Filter 143

Posted by kdawson
from the making-enough-noise dept.
RobHart writes "It is reported that the proposed filters are seen as too toxic a policy to take to the next federal election — due later this year. This is according to a spokesman for the Greens party. A Labor senator has called for the filter to be opt-in."
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Australian Government May Shelve Internet Filter

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  • by Jeeeb (1141117) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:09AM (#32613284)
    I don't care if they keep or drop the policy at this point. I'm still not going to vote for them. They've shown their colours. Hopefully other voters who care about this issue are the same and show them that we care because Australia doesn't need both its major political parties appealing to the Christian right.
    • Precisely.

      There was a Democrat in my district who tried to vote against healthcare, against the stimulus bill, and so on to appease the increasingly anti-government voters. We didn't buy his sudden change. He lost.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        There was a Democrat in my district who tried to vote against healthcare, against the stimulus bill, and so on to appease the increasingly anti-government voters. We didn't buy his sudden change. He lost.

        So, now you've got a Republican in office. How does that make things better?

        • There was a Democrat in my district who tried to vote against healthcare, against the stimulus bill, and so on to appease the increasingly anti-government voters. We didn't buy his sudden change. He lost.

          So, now you've got a Republican in office. How does that make things better?

          We did have one of them [wikipedia.org] once and we may yet see him in Government.

  • And then after? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RivenAleem (1590553) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:10AM (#32613290)

    So when you go ask a politician if they intend on bringing the filter online after the election, they won't answer you?

    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      No, they'll answer you, they'll tell you what you want to hear.

      Then...they'll do whatever the hell they want. What? You elected them!

      (Sadly, that's how it seems to go all over the world.)

      • by Shakrai (717556) *

        It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those others that have been tried from time to time. -Churchill

        • It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those others that have been tried from time to time. -Churchill

          This is true, in the same sense as the assertion that "Gonorrhea is the worst form of venereal disease, apart from all the others".

          We should not blindly assume that the object of either sentence is something absolutely necessary or desirable in every aspect. In the case of venereal disease, it is clearly unwanted. In the case of government, it needs to be strictly limited, in ways which are not compatible with most implementations of "democracy" in the world today.

      • From a current government minister, Peter Garrett:

        once we get in we'll just change it all

    • Re:And then after? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 18, 2010 @11:06AM (#32613898) Journal

      Obviously there needs to be consequences for lying politicians. If I lie on a job application, at best I get fired, at worst I could get charged with fraud. If a politician lies during a campaign (what else is it but a job interview?), he should get the same treatment.

      • I find it funny that this is modded Funny. Also depressing.
      • Part of the problem is that it just isn't that easy, if you're being honest with yourself, to tell what is and what isn't a lie, even after the fact. The president doesn't control the world, he doesn't control the country, and he doesn't control congress; lots of things can happen that aren't easily forseen which can lead to promises being broken despite the best of intentions. Now, doubtless there are times that things are said, promises made that can't possibly be upheld, but I bet if you're being hones

        • Re:And then after? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 18, 2010 @12:11PM (#32614972) Journal

          Honestly, I don't really care. If you can't do the job you were elected to do, get the fuck out and let someone who can do it. For instance, Obama was elected in part based on his promise to get us out of Iraq in 16 months. He's not going to do it, and he hasn't even tried. The people deserve some recourse.

          • Anyone who believes a word out of any politician's mouth deserves whatever happens to them. Them problem is not politicians lying, that is what they do. The problem is the idiot people keep believing the lies. (They also seem to believe that the President is the only one in the country who can make any changes.)
      • by c++0xFF (1758032)

        We already get the chance to fire elected officials every few years (2/4/6 years, depending on the position). Just vote for the other guy next time.

        Of course, that just replaces one liar with another.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          That just gives them license to do whatever they want for n years. There should be a process to hold a vote of no confidence for any position in the government at any time.

      • I wholeheartedly support your platform. Where country/state/district are you running in?

  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:10AM (#32613294)
    It's pretty obvious that the whole internet filter plan was an appeasement move to secure support for some of the more batty parts of the politicum. Now that it's passed its use-by date, I think we'll see it tiredly retired after "public consultation" and "thorough analysis". To be honest, I think we'd have seen exactly the same thing under the Liberals.
    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Precisely. Every time Slashdot published a story on this over the last year or so, people hyped it up so much and responded (as you'd expect) with doom and gloom predictions. I always expected this would happen though - it was obvious from the start that this proposal (in its current form, at least) would never see the light of day. At the end of the day, we are still a very robust democracy, populated mostly by mostly secular, level-headed people. Blind Freddy could see that it would be political suicide t

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        >Some things I've heard have been ridiculous (e.g. comparisons of Australia to China and Iran - even the proposed filter, as abhorrent as it was, was not anywhere near the scale and scope of those countries).

        Pardon me, how are these so different? Mandatory censorship on a national level is exactly what countries like Iran and the UAE do. Heck, Australia might be even worse because it doesn't have the "backwaters Islamic nation" excuse. I also read that the blacklisting agencies this filter would use rou

        • by dangitman (862676)

          Wrong again. 62% of your are begging for the filter:

          Sorry, you're wrong. The question that poll gave made no mention of any "internet filter":

          To the proposition We need Government regulation of content on the Internet the same as we have Government regulation of content for other media

          "Regulation of content for other media" is nothing like the internet filter. There is no mandated filter in people's TV sets that automatically blocks certain content.

        • by Cimexus (1355033)

          Regulation /= censorship.

          TV and film and literature are classified so that people can make informed choices about what media the consume. That is not the same as mandatory censorship. The poll you cite is therefore not really relevant ... the question doesn't even mention the mandatory filter issue. How that turns in your mind into "begging for the filter" is beyond me.

          Any poll that DOES directly mention the internet filter, OTOH, generally has well over 75% in the 'against' category. And there have been ma

          • by Cimexus (1355033)

            Oh and incidentally, the Liberal Party is actually the more conservative major party in Australia. Confusingly named I know (there are historical reasons for this). So of course they wouldn't oppose the filter.

            The Australian vs. US political spectrums (very roughly, don't nitpick!) look like this:


            Greens --- Labor --- Liberal
            Democrats ------ Republicans

            I've left out minor parties such as Family First in Australia that sit to the right of the Liberals,

    • You wish!

      The ONLY purpose of this “possible” (but actually never happening) shelving is to win people like you over who are dumb enough to believe that “*cries* This time you won’t beat me after we’re back together, right? This time everything is going to be good! Promise me! *cries*”

      I think everyone who votes for a party, that EVEN ONCE before lied (even if it was 50 years ago and “everything changed(TM)“), should be shot on sight. Because the obviously have

  • Yeah you know, "Opt-in", so you are free to decline and accept a boot on your face when you download something outside of their guidelines.

    If they make it opt in, than any amount of people opting in will be seen as support for the filter and it won't be long before they say "If its good enough for your Grandmother its good enough for you"

    • I’m thinking more of, “Opt-in” like NetNanny is opt-in.

      As in, nobody in their right mind would use it on themselves but plenty of people will do it for the sake of their children.

  • by Tikkun (992269) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:10AM (#32613298) Homepage
    ...kids finding out about stuff on the Internet. I mean, we all turned out fine, didn't we? ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SirGeek (120712)

      ...kids finding out about stuff on the Internet. I mean, we all turned out fine, didn't we? ;)

      And we grew up with the ever present possibility of seeing the Goatse guy !

    • by genner (694963)

      ...kids finding out about stuff on the Internet. I mean, we all turned out fine, didn't we? ;)

      When you put it that way it makes me wonder why it's legal for a child to be within a 100 feet of a computer.

    • 1. we are all born vessels of purity, and the world corrupts us. the idea is to limit exposure to this corruption, and thereby remain a coherent person

      2. we are all born with the seeds of rape and murder in our hearts. the idea then is catharsis: express your asocial transgressive tendencies harmlessly on sexual and violent media, and therefore you feel no compulsion to visit those tendencies on real people in real life

      i mean its not like the ancient roman or chinese empires, with very little media, were places of calm and devoid of transgression. the opposite in fact is true. the history of mankind is LESS violence and transgression with more civilization (i'm talking domestically... in terms of war, population growth, the rise of nationalism, the march of technology has meant some spectacularly awesome killing fields). people are always talking about how we are all doomed, everyone is getting more violent, etc. the opposite in fact, is the real truth. people are just historically myopic. for every horrible story of murder and mayhem on your 6 o'clock news, human history offers far far worse, in much greater per capita bulk

      and you only need to spend 5 minutes in your average kindergarten to come to the undeniable realization that bad behavior is innate, not taught

      the fact is, if you took a psychologically normal human being and exposed them to 16 hours a day of violent pornography or violent fps videogames for 10 months, they will not become rapists or murderers. however, a psychologically problematic person might eventually rape or murder. anything could set him off, from his neighbor's barking dog or his boss's reprimands. such a psychologically unhealthy person might also seek out pornography and violent media, in a desperate attempt to get the catharsis most psychologically normal people take for granted. therefore, when violent videogames or pornography are found in the homes of rapists and murderers, someone somehwere will always say "see? that's the cause"

      when in fact, there's no causal relationship at all. do some people REALLY believe that if you waved a magic wand and removed all sexual and violent media that everyone would be tranquilized and crime would drop?

      in 100% honesty, i assert the opposite: we should ENCOURAGE people to use violent and sexual media. the result would be a LESS violent and sexually transgressive society. i say this with a completely straight face. i believe this wholly and thoroughly

      japan has one of the highest production rates of pornography in the world. it also has one of the lowest rates of rape in the world:

      http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap_percap-crime-rapes-per-capita [nationmaster.com]

      japan also has free and widely available access violently transgressive media. and it also has very low murder rates

      http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita [nationmaster.com]

      any country can emulate japan's enviable murder and rape statistics: just make pornography and violent media freely and widely available

      the simply truth is, if you are honestly interested in the reduction of real world rape and murder, you are also interested in promoting, yes PROMOTING, violent videogame and pornography consumption. i sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that

      it all gets back to the psychological notion of CATHARSIS

      and understanding that we are NOT vessels of purity that are corrupted. we all carry rape and murder in our hearts. the question is: do we eject these asocial tendencies harmlessly on a computer screen? or in the real world?

      access to violent and sexual media is the deciding factor, and MORE access to violent and sexual media results in LESS real world rape and murder

      • by Xaedalus (1192463)

        Damn it man, I disagree with you much of the time... and then you have to go and write this. Argh! Why can't I just paint you as a one-dimensional inhuman tool and hate my mind's psychological construct of you?

        And now for a serious moment, great summary and insight. Thank you. IMHO, in most multi-cultural countries in the world you'd never get those who are firm believers in Worldview #1 to commit because you'd essentially be asking them to destroy themselves for your sake, and vice versa. That's just re

      • by dangitman (862676)

        1. we are all born vessels of purity, and the world corrupts us. the idea is to limit exposure to this corruption, and thereby remain a coherent person
        2. we are all born with the seeds of rape and murder in our hearts. the idea then is catharsis: express your asocial transgressive tendencies harmlessly on sexual and violent media, and therefore you feel no compulsion to visit those tendencies on real people in real life

        Really, only two? Then I must be the world's third-greatest philosopher for having a view of humanity that is neither of those.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Speak for yourself, kid, I was 45 before I had internet access. But I will agree that the only thing I don't like about your generation is tattoos and piercings, especially on women. A Tattoo on a woman is like marking up the Mona Lisa with a magic marker. And piercings, why do you want to mutilate yourselves like that?

      Although from what my dad says, tattoos were popular with women back in the 1920s; I had great aunts with tattoos.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        A Tattoo on a woman is like marking up the Mona Lisa with a magic marker.

        You mean, like this guy did? [wikipedia.org] They call that art.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          It was art; or rather, anti-art. Duchamp was a Dadaist, and the Dada movement was an antiestablishment movement, and anti-art art. Duchamp made very good point about the art establishment when he hung an unadorned urinal on a gallery wall, and critics praised it for its form and beauty.

          And, of course, what he marked up was simply a copy of the ML. You can't copy people (yet).

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      ...kids finding out about stuff on the Internet. I mean, we all turned out fine, didn't we? ;)

      http://www.xkcd.com/598/ [xkcd.com]

  • Big surprise! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:14AM (#32613340)
    Who'd have thought that adults would possibly object to being treated like 5 year olds?
    • Ohhhh, You've been a BAD boy *cracks whip*

      • Ohhhh, You've been a BAD boy *cracks whip*

        If you're doing that to five year olds, then you've got a problem.

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          Yeah, seriously.

          You should be using a 2x4 with a handle cut in the end (ergonomics, you know).

          If your kids are particularly unruly, just drill holes of various size in the face of the paddle. This decreases the wind resistance as you swing, and also reduces the overall mass. This makes it easier to swing, hurt worse when it strikes, and less likely to bruise the fleshy parts of the body, namely, the ass (the universally preferred location to apply punishment).

        • Yes, you can't start using the whip until they're 7. You have to use a paddle before that.

    • Re:Big surprise! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thijsh (910751) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:25AM (#32613472) Journal

      Who'd have thought that adults would possibly object to being treated like pedophiles who rape 5 year olds?

      FTFY. Did you notice how anyone who voiced their concern regarding censorship or privacy was immediately 'against us looking out for the children' and thus 'for pedophilia'...

      • by OzPeter (195038)
        Except that one of the groups protesting the filter was actually a "protect the children" type of group - can't remember their name off hand but I dod remember their disdain for the proposed filtering.
        • by Sique (173459)

          It was "Save the Children".

        • by dangitman (862676)

          Except that one of the groups protesting the filter was actually a "protect the children" type of group - can't remember their name off hand but I dod remember their disdain for the proposed filtering.

          Obviously, that group is just a front for a pedophile ring, pretending to be "for the children" as a way of hiding their criminal activity. I hope the government investigates them.

    • >>>Who'd have thought that adults would possibly object to being treated like 5 year olds?

      The US FCC has been doing it for 60 years. "Ohnoes... someone flashed a milk-dispensing body part (breast) on television. We musn't let adults see that."

      • Yet they have no problem with bestiality. They have been showing completely unclothed animals on TV since the early days of broadcast. They even use milk-dispensing body parts to advertise Milk products, sometimes even in cartoon form to get the attention of Children.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        well, america was *actually* populated by puritans, their descendent have now their same mindset
        heck, they're still using with the afghani the old excuses of protecting and civilizing they were using with native american indians!
  • Sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:17AM (#32613376) Homepage Journal

    I still can't wrap my head around how anyone in a democratic country could consider a nationwide Internet filter a good use of taxpayer money and resources. I can understand authoritarian regimes like the PRC doing it--obviously, money is not nearly as important to them as control (but the money sure helps.) Implementing it somewhere like Australia is just such a gargantuan waste of time and money as to be utterly baffling to me. The Internet, in and of itself, is just not dangerous. It's also far too large for any country--or even all countries together--to police it proactively and censor things.

    Anyone who is *that* worried about what's on the Internet should perhaps "opt-out" of live in the developed world and go live in the Outback or something.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BakaHoushi (786009)

      That, my friend, is the nature of political parties anywhere. "We want all of the benefits, but none of the drawbacks."

      These people want to have full access to the Internet but don't want to have to come across things that they don't like or things they disagree with or have to monitor their children's surfing habits.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chowderbags (847952)
        No one supports censorship of their own ideals. Far too many support censorship of all other ideals.
    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      I can understand authoritarian regimes like the PRC doing it--obviously, money is not nearly as important to them as control (but the money sure helps.)

      Money comes to those who have control. And control comes to those who have money. It doesn't matter if it's a democracy or authoritarian regime.

      Censorship is a step in this cycle. While it doesn't make complete sense for a democratically elected official to try to censor the internet, there's still some logic behind it.

    • by tdelaney (458893)

      You have no idea how much most Australians agree with you. Senator Kate Lundy, who is very technologically savvy, was the Shadow Communications and IT Minister for a while when Labor was in opposition, and did an excellent job. Unfortunately, Conroy is very politically savvy, so while Lundy was doing her job extremely competently, Conroy was making back-room deals that resulted in Lundy being kicked to the back benches and him taking her job with almost zero knowledge of the field.

      The one single thing that

  • The bottom line is: in a democratic society, you always have the chance to vote for a government with an open internet policy, eg. the revoking of London congestion charges was immediately abolished by Boris Johnson. But for users in China, there is only one dominate party, which pretty much means no hopes for change, so AUS, CHN is two totally different situation.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Sure, you always have the chance to vote for a party with an open internet policy. That doesn't mean that that party has a chance of winning, even if the open internet policy has overwhelming public support. The media can simply ignore that any other parties exist, making it impossible for it to enter the mainstream.

  • From TFA:

    <embed src="http://puma.vizu.com/v4/swf/andes.swf?t=1"...

    Ok, I'm done OfftopicTrolling.

  • ... but they've already exposed what they intend to do if we vote them in.

    Kevin '07
    Recession '08
    Conroy '09

    GG Labor. Time to vacate office.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      To be fair, Australia never actually went into recession during the financial crisis. In fact we were the ONLY OECD country not to do so.

      Of course, this is mostly due to the good financial position the previous Government left us in. But we still could have ended up worse than we did. So I think a least a little bit of credit is due (and this is coming from a life long Liberal voter).

      Not that that excuses them for the rest of their abhorrent ideas re net filtering/monitoring. Good riddance if they lose the

      • by inflex (123318)

        The only reason why we had those cash reserves is because the previous govt cashed in assests and didn't spend a lot... we've got the situation where infrastructure lagged and we (tax payers) lost major assets for short term artificial gains.

        I think this was exceptional forward-planning by the Lib/Nat party, probably realising they were going to be likely ousted they set about a strategy that would ensure that the subsequent government would be in a less than envious position of playing (infrastructure) cat

  • Best part of the article:

    A Labor senator has called for the filter to be opt-in

    I love it! "Yes, please monitor my Internet use and filter out content I know you know I won't like. Or agree with. Can you pick out my next car and decide on a good meal plan too? Do these jeans make my ass look fat?"

    • by mjwx (966435) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:49AM (#32613708)

      http://tizona.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/fosters-beer.jpg Beer (for impotent wombats)

      No one in Australia drinks fosters (not even sexually challenged marsupials). Fosters is only for export.

      Nothing is too bad for the rest of the world.

      • by earls (1367951)
        "Nothing is too bad for the rest of the world." Except Internet filters and having your laptop searched for porn by customs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Except Internet filters and having your laptop searched for porn by customs.

          You (the US) have that too.

          If you can make up a fictional web filter then so can I. Also the Australian Customs Service is backpedaling the laptop searches so fast I'm going to have to check into Perth Customs before I leave Malaysia. Unlike the US's TSA who still have no accountability.

  • If they put that filter on the shelf, it'll just collect dust. Which, honestly, is the job of a filter. However, I hardly think that will provide maximum efficiency! Perhaps they can sell it on Craigslist and get some of that taxpayer money back.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      It never actually got implemented (indeed, the legislation was never even drafted, let alone actually introduced to Parliament). So there isn't really much to 'shelve' other than a plan. And the only taxpayer money spent would have been on a few feasibility studies.

      Not to say that was money well spent, of course. But at least they are shelving it now before anything serious was done/spent on it.

  • It's a joke. For the first time in my life, I won't be voting for either of the 2 parties. My vote will go independant, greens, or possibly in the bin (It's compulsory to vote here) The filter is a joke (and my primary reason for getting rid of the KRudd), and so is our current prime minister. (the opposition isn't any better though).
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday June 18, 2010 @11:14AM (#32613978)

    Opt-in is currently available from NUMEROUS commercial sources. And if you are opting-in, then those are certainly an option and a hell of a lot cheaper for Australians.

  • We know nobody wants this and if we do it now we'll be crucified in the elections. So we'll wait until after so we can jamb it up everyone's ass with impunity. OH! Vote for Meeeee!

  • Not again, Slashdot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coljac (154587) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:30PM (#32620670) Homepage

    This is at least the third time /. have run a story saying the filter is dead. Here's the definitive word: There aren't enough sitting days left to get the legislation introduced before the election. So they will introduce it after the election, assuming they win. They have said repeatedly it's still policy, so the election is merely a temporary reprieve. This battle is far from over.

    - Colin (from Electronic Frontiers Australia)

  • ask for them to put out a legislation that would BAN any such filters from being done by ANY government. dont buy the delay or 'opt in' bait. you opt in today,only to see it be mandatory tomorrow. go the 'stallman' way, ask for what you really want, push for it.
  • Ahhh the Sydney Morning Herald, still shit

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd...is expected to call the election before the end of the year...

    Really? Pretty sure the Constitution says we have to have an election by November

    • by deniable (76198)
      April next year actually. They came in in November/December 2007 and have to call the election in the period from 2.5 years to 3.5 years after that. Some say Kev will delay it as much as possible to try to dig himself out of the hole. I think it will only anger the voters.

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