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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:Opt-out (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday July 01, 2011 @10:53PM (#36639402)
    How's this stopping child porn. The hard core predators will simply go out and find a kid, or change their DNS settings. Maybe this impresses the think of the children demographic but it doesn't do anything.
  • by gavron (1300111) on Friday July 01, 2011 @10:55PM (#36639410)

    Domain Name System servers must conform to the standards. If Telstra is unable or unwilling to comply, they can be removed. Sure, they're popular in Australia... but you want to be ON the Internet, you have to work WITH the Internet.

    DNS is specified in RFC 1034, RFC 1035, covered further in the Hosts Requirements RFCs (1122, 1123).

    Telstra, if you can't be standards compliant, you will be worked around.

    Australian users: use any public DNS server that is standards compliant. You'll avoid the censorship, and you won't lose connectivity.

    Telstra -- Australian for "Censorship"

    E

  • Blacklist? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hjf (703092) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:12PM (#36639466) Homepage

    What the fuck? They have the addresses, why can't they track down the servers and their owners? Isn't that more useful (and easier) than doing all this theatre?

  • Re:Opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesh (87723) on Friday July 01, 2011 @11:51PM (#36639568)

    How's this stopping child porn. The hard core predators will simply go out and find a kid, or change their DNS settings. Maybe this impresses the think of the children demographic but it doesn't do anything.

    A bunch of cases recently have seen some people let off because it can't be proven that they didn't stumble across the child porn accidentally. Now apart from pictures of girls that looked like they might not have been quite 18 i've never stumbled across anything like child porn by accident so I find that a bit hard to believe, but if there is evidence that the person took steps to circumvent the filter it is harder for them to argue that they stumbled across it by accident.

    But you're right, there was child porn before the internet and there will be child porn after the filter is implemented. And while it might stop a few brainless idiots obtaining pictures, it won't stop anyone who is seriously motivated to find them and it definitely won't stop the images being produced in the first place, which is the real crime.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:10AM (#36639624) Journal
    I understand being opposed to child porn, hey, I'm opposed to it to. But if I knew of a child porn website, the first thing on my mind would be, "whose website is that, and how can we stop them?" and secondly, "who is hosting that website, and how can we get through them to the ones who are actually hurting the children?"

    Censoring websites does absolutely nothing for the victims of child porn, and does absolutely nothing to stop the ones who are participating in it. This is true even if the censorship mechanism worked. What are you Australians thinking? How do you let your politicians get this kind of power?
  • Re:Blacklist? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hjf (703092) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:16AM (#36639644) Homepage

    Then have the upstream ISPs (which are located in other countries, hopefully with laws that protect human rights) cut access to ISPs that host that kind of content. Block their ASNs and IP ranges. You will notice how quick they clean up their networks from that kind of crap. If they weren't answering before, they will be answering when they suddenly find themselves offline.

  • Re:Opt-out (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:17AM (#36639648) Journal

    ... but if there is evidence that the person took steps to circumvent the filter it is harder for them to argue that they stumbled across it by accident.

    Yeah, if there is evidence that they took those steps to circumvent the filter. Is there anybody on Slashdot who isn't already running his/her own DNS server at home? Didn't think so. I have two authoritative public DNS servers on my home network that also provide caching DNS for my intranet and DMZ, and I doubt I'm alone in that regard.

    The bigger concern here, at least in my mind, is that this might turn into a witch hunt. Let's say that Telstra suddenly decides to see which clients are using their DNS server, then reports the ones that aren't to the authorities because after all, they're probably doing it to download child porn, pirated movies, warez, or whatever else that Telstra is blocking this week. That could turn into a whole lot of hassle for a whole lot of people. And particularly when it comes to child porn, once accused, forever shunned, making it triply important that folks in Australia ensure that such witch hunts do not occur....

    Maybe I'm just being too paranoid.... Nah.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:54AM (#36639720)

    and how can we get through them to the ones who are actually hurting the children?"

    This has never been the goal in Australia. Most of the laws exist to punish the viewers of material not the people who produce it. Frequently people get dealt with larger jail sentences if they have child porn on their computers than they do if they are caught actually propositioning or grooming children for sex. The backwards nature of this is absurd in todays society and this has nothing to do with Australia.

    In the USA teenagers got prosecuted for girlfriend sending nude picture to boyfriend taken with a mobile phone. No one got hurt, and no children were "saved" due to the prosecution. You surfing a porn website and you accidentally end up with child porn? Well you can be held liable since your browser cache is counted as "downloading".

    I guess that would really fuck the entire 4chan readership of Australia then. How many times have there been the occasional sicko posting child pornography on that site only for the thread to be deleted a few minutes later. Didn't read it? Tough the picture was in your browser cache.

    By the way any Telstra user here confirm if 4chan still works?

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