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Censorship Australia Government The Internet Your Rights Online

Telstra Starts Implementing Australian Censorship Scheme 212

Posted by timothy
from the demonization-has-its-downsides dept.
daria42 writes "After four long years of debate about whether Australia will receive a mandatory Internet filter, finally some action has been taken. Yesterday the country's largest ISP, Telstra, started filtering all customers' connections for child pornography. The filter is DNS-based, meaning it's easy to circumvent, but you can't opt out of it — if you sign up to a plan with Telstra, your connection will be filtered for certain web addresses whether you like it or not. "
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Telstra Starts Implementing Australian Censorship Scheme

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  • Re:Blacklist? (Score:4, Informative)

    by thr13z3 (214476) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:16PM (#36639472) Homepage

    Servers are hosted in countries who lack laws to deal with those.

  • OpenDNS (Score:4, Informative)

    by MischaNix (2163648) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:27PM (#36639506)
    As a gentle reminder to anyone who doesn't already have these IPs on a sticky note, the OpenDNS IPs are:
    208.67.222.222
    208.67.220.220
  • Re:Opt-out (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Qube (749) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:30PM (#36639510)

    Nice try, but this has nothing to do with the Australian Government.

    Telstra and other ISPs are implementing a blacklist that is managed by Interpol [crn.com.au].

    The same system is in use by some ISPs in the UK and other European countries.

    And as far as the list goes, it is actually very conservative in its definition of child pornography, only classifying sites depicting minors under 13, not under 18.

  • Re:Blacklist? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:32PM (#36639516)

    They have the addresses, why can't they track down the servers and their owners?

    Many are located in Russia or the 'Stans. These are places where organized crime runs deep in the circles of power, and thus are difficult or impossible to snuff out.

  • by mtaht (603670) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:46PM (#36639552) Homepage
    Nearly every Linux machine ships with named (bind9) available and often, even turned on, in a caching-only configuration. To use it by default you just disable /etc/dhcp/dhclient's domain-name-servers request and point your resolv.conf to localhost. By doing this you get NXdomain back, too... and your local cache of dns entries is likely to be more performant than an ISPs 10s of ms away for cached entries. You can also run dnssec, if you so choose. Latest versions of bind can do dnssec, you can enable it with one line in the conf file. Ever since multiple services started messing with DNS a decade ago... returning broken queries, pointing to ad sites, not doing ipv6, not returning mx records, etc... I've run my own dns server. Now that dns is being mis-used for censorship, perhaps more will rebell. As servers go, in memory it's rather small...
  • Re:OpenDNS (Score:3, Informative)

    by moj0joj0 (1119977) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:52PM (#36639574)

    Google's are even easier to remember: 8.8.8.8 and 4.4.4.4.

    UltraDNS also offers an OpenDNS-like service with the IPs of 156.154.70.1 and 156.154.71.1 .

    Quick correction, Google's are: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/ [google.com]

  • by definate (876684) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:00AM (#36639592)

    Nice try, but you obviously haven't been keeping up with the local news.

    The current government (The Australian Labor Party) has been trying to push through this form of censorship, to gain support from the religious zealots in the country. They need the religious zealots support, because they do not have a large enough majority to ram through what they want. This censorship plan was developed by minister Stephen Conroy, and at the previous election they had to ditch this plan, because it was so amazingly un-popular.

    At the same time the Australian Labor Party has decided to "nationalize" (debatable as to whether the National Broadband Network is really nationalized or not) the internal internet infrastructure of Australia, by laying down billions of dollars, buying up a fuck load of fiber, and handing out a lot of contracts to roll out more fiber. This plan is being setup and run by minister Stephen Conroy, the exact same man who came up with the original legislative censorship plans, has now been given a fuck load of money, and authority. Telstra owns MOST of the infrastructure the government is looking to buy, as it was Australia's first (I think it was the first) telephony provider, which used to be nationalized, but was privatized in the late 90s.

    At the same time Telstra started to censor the internet, they were awarded a very large favourable contract, from the government, to purchase this infrastructure from them. Both of these were announced in THE SAME WEEK. This is a mighty fine coincidence.

    Now, you might say, but that's just a coincidence and doesn't mean anything. The company is just voluntarily deciding to censor the internet.

    Well, in the same week another company, Optus, which is Australia's second largest telephony provider, was awarded a very large favourable contract for the purchase of their infrastructure handed to them, and in the same week, that company also decided to announce that they would voluntarily censor the internet with this same list, under a similar time frame.

    So...
    There are 2 companies, selling a large amount of equipment to the government, for very large amounts of money, with very favourable terms, and they both decided to announce, in the same week that these contracts were handed out, that they will voluntarily censor the internet.

    That is FAR too great a coincidence.

    Additionally, ISPs like Internode, which are the nerds choice of ISP, who also own a significant amount of infrastructure, and were active in dissenting against the prior censorship plans, have been told flat out that they will not be offered such favourable contracts for their infrastructure, in the same week these were awarded.

    So yes, "technically", you're correct, but we all know that the government would have had a hand in this, especially because these plans were so wildly unpopular with the public, that any ISP that implements censorship of any kind, knows they will get backlash over it. In fact, Telstra knows it was going to get this backlash, and actually put off implementing it specifically because they were afraid of reprisals from LulzSec, AnonSec, Anonymous, and similar.

    What ISP do you know, that voluntarily does things like this, which don't improve its profitability, which expose it to reprisal, and targeted attacks, without being forced to by government?

    Not to mention, two of them at the same time.

    The Australian Government, and their currently "unlimited" spending account, has EVERYTHING to do with this.

    I have links for all the above, but there's too many, and I'm too lazy. Instead, just read Delimiter [delimiter.com.au] which has some of the best coverage on this.

  • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:19AM (#36639652)

    That's the most bullshit argument i've ever heard. My spam filter blocks some email, which means it isn't standards compliant. My browser redirects me to a warning page if the page i'm about to visit is known to have been compromised - that's not standards compliant either.

    And what's with all the blaming Telstra? Telstra might be a private company in theory but the government is still pulling it's strings. If Telstra wasn't around the government would be making another ISP comply, and that's exactly what will happen unless people change their focus from Telstra and look at who is really driving the blocking of their child porn in the first place.

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @02:08AM (#36639852) Homepage
    This is the database in question. [interpol.int]

    The Database is maintained by Interpol, and is available to any ISP upon request, not just in Australia.

    All Interpol member countries have given this project a green light and like "The Cube" is saying above, it is very strict in what constitutes a "Child Porn", i.e. age of 13, and the images have to show abuse.

    The ICPO database in already implemented in a lot of countries, they have just done it without telling anyone, so only those that are actively seeking Child porn on the Internet are aware of the blocking.

  • by definate (876684) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:44PM (#36642066)

    Ahh, I see you're not good at reading, let me help you out.

    You mean Conroy, not the Labor party.

    Completely wrong. The beginnings of these policies started with Kim Beazley [archive.org]. Additionally, if it's not a Labor party policy, then you need to tell the Prime Minister that [theaustralian.com.au], and you might ask them to update their pages [dbcde.gov.au]. While you can say the most recent ones are crafted and pushed by Conroy, it does have the support of "the party", where its leader and strategists speak for what the party supports.

    Deputy comms minister Kate Lundy has been an outspoken critic of filtering

    Partially wrong. She's been an outspoken critic of... THIS type of filter. She wants it to be an opt-out filter. [canberratimes.com.au] She was however an outspoken critic of ISP level filtering... when LIBERAL [smh.com.au] was in power [katelundy.com.au].

    The contract was to buy that.

    This is where the reading comprehension comes in. Even with the single line you quoted, in no way, can it be taken to mean 'they were paid to censor the internet'. Please re-read it. What it says is 'They censored the internet, at the same time as they were awarded a contract', not a contract for censoring the internet, but a contract for buying the infrastructure.

    Please, keep up.

    This is because they own 0% of the pits and ducts (or copper) that make up the last mile which is where the NBN is operating.

    Now this is reasonably true, except that Agile (Internodes infrastructure company) does supply last mile connections for many [zdnet.com.au] rural communities [theage.com.au]. On top of this, they own a significant amount of interstate fiber, which is something the NBN also had in its deal [delimiter.com.au], though to a lesser extent at this stage.

    You dont actually understand what's going on here and should never have been modded up.

    The thing I like about your post, is the arrogance it has, while being exceptionally wrong. It's almost like you're trolling me. Not sure if you're retarded, or trolling. I'm erring on the former.

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