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5 Concerns About Australia's New Net Filter 158

Posted by timothy
from the lovely-shade-of-black-don'tcha-think? dept.
daria42 writes "As you might have heard, this month Australia gets a new Internet filter, using Interpol's blacklist of 'worst of the worst' child pornography sites. In general, it seems like most people don't object to the idea in principle, but concerns are being raised around the transparency of the scheme, which so far has no civilian oversight, unclear backing legislation and an appeals process which does not exactly inspire confidence. Why is it those who want to implement this kind of filtering never quite address these sort of concerns up-front?"
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5 Concerns About Australia's New Net Filter

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  • The quick answer: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:58PM (#36708178)
    They're not network engineers. They just don't get it.

    Have you heard most laypeople give theories on how computers and the internet work? They assume it's all magic, which probably explains why things like transparency and oversight end up being an afterthought.
  • Why indeed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meshach (578918) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:00PM (#36708194)
    Because by flying the "We are protecting the children" flag they can be immune it criticism. Anyone who opposes is a supported of child porn.

    Just like any one who opposes the massive privacy breaches in the USA is in support of the terrorists.
  • A better question (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:01PM (#36708204)

    Why aren't the authorities using their resources to actually find, arrest, and confine the people who actually produce child pornography?

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:10PM (#36708256)
    They do not address the issues of oversight and transparency because they want neither. They are using the horrifying crime of child sexual abuse as a shield to deflect objections to censorship, and it has worked. Governments the world over want more oversight and control over what their citizens do. In some cases (China) they simply implement that control to their heart's content. In others, like the USA, I am sure our own government will be watching how the public reacts intently - with an eye towards similar measures here at home.
  • by tdelaney (458893) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:11PM (#36708260)

    Trust me - lots of us oppose this on principle. However, there is a massive amount of fatigue regarding this issue - every objection raised to it is either ignored or labelled as "supporting child porn".

    As a result, the only way we can see to oppose it is on technical and transparency grounds. It's still being ignored, but at least we're on unassailable technical footing here - the filter is useless for its stated purpose (preventing people inadvertantly finding CP) and is trivial to bypass in any case (as admitted by Optus). And because the blocklist is private, it could be easily expanded to cover anything (for those people not technically-minded or politically-minded enough to change their DNS settings).

    I chose my ISP (Internode) for several reasons - one of which being Simon Hackett's oft-stated position that they will not filter anything unless required by law.

  • Summary Inaccurate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Techman83 (949264) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:16PM (#36708294)
    Summary slightly inaccurate, this is Telstra/Optus and a few smaller operations (who already offered filtering) who are enabling voluntary filtering. There are plenty of ISPs refusing to implement the filter until it becomes legislation and will fight it with everything they can before then. This will do nothing but make many more customers go to the smaller operators who have better customer service, better pricing etc.

    The other stupid part of this is that it is DNS based and the work around is to use different DNS servers. Who actually uses their ISPs DNS servers? I haven't in years!
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:22PM (#36708314) Homepage Journal

    Why can there not be a public list of blocked websites?

    Because the web sites are not blocked in any effective way and such a list would just be advertising for their services.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:39PM (#36708394) Journal
    I suspect that it is rather worse than that:

    They aren't network engineers, true, so why did they skip all the politician-stuff that they do know how to do(legislation, process, etc.) and skip right to making demands on the network side?

    I'm just going to go out on a limb here and suggest that they have no interest in there being any sort of oversight, due process, or other such inefficient meddling with their precious little plan.
  • by TrumpetPower! (190615) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Saturday July 09, 2011 @09:20PM (#36708538) Homepage

    This is Interpol we're talking about, and the worst of the worst. And they've got a list of domain names they know to be serving this stuff up.

    Why on Earth are they blocking access to these domains rather than busting down the doors of the sites where the servers are located?

    I mean, really. It's Interpol. It's child porn. And the best tool they can think of is to set up a DNS filter?

    What gives?

    Cheers,

    b&

  • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @01:50AM (#36709404) Homepage Journal

    Any internet filter that filters out things like child porn and bestiality will be, except for some vocal small groups, quite popular here.

    It's the word "like" that should raise a flag. What, exactly, will be censored, and who decides it?

    This quote seems on topic:

    "The big problem with pornography is defining it. You can't just say it's pictures of people naked. For example, you have these primitive African tribes that exist by chasing the wildebeest on foot, and they have to go around largely naked, because, as the old tribal saying goes: "N'wam k'honi soit qui mali," which means, "If you think you can catch a wildebeest in this climate and wear clothes at the same time, then I have some beach front property in the desert region of Northern Mali that you may be interested in."

    So it's not considered pornographic when National Geographic publishes color photographs of these people hunting the wildebeest naked, or pounding one rock onto another rock for some primitive reason naked, or whatever. But if National Geographic were to publish an article entitled "The Girls of the California Junior College System Hunt the Wildebeest Naked," some people would call it pornography. But others would not. And still others, such as the Spectacularly Rev. Jerry Falwell, would get upset about seeing the wildebeest naked."
    -- Dave Barry

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