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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 @06:58PM (#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.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:39PM (#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 wvmarle (1070040)

        And, don't forget: no insight by the general public into which sites are actually blocked. They will not publish a list of blocked sites, with reason why they are blocked. Sure it will make finding such content easier for people that want to find it, but it's not that they won't be able to find it without the list. And besides, as it's on the block list already so can't be accessed anyway (at least that's the idea of being on the block list).

        It really troubles me why those blockers are always so secretive

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're assuming the lack of oversight and transparency is a bug, not a feature.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dov_0 (1438253)

      The other angle is that Australia has always had censorship. Radio and TV are censored. Video games were logically censored to keep things in line with alread excepted policy. I'm personally surprised that censorship of the Internet has taken so long. I used to run a PC repair business and every customer with children and some without were concerned about what is available on the internet and many asked me to install Net Nanny or some other similar service. Any internet filter that filters out things like c

      • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @12:50AM (#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

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Well then they should accept the reality of how best to handle it. Basically the internet as an adults only communication space and that a complete separate internet is required for minors. A different addressing system and protocol which does not require much rework of websites to be accessible.

        With a children's only internet you do not block sites (with IPv6 an impossible nightmare) you allow sites on. Basically initially all schools connected together with communications between minors being monitored

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          We really need to be protecting children from the worst paedophiles of all, marketing executives.

          And now it's related to the Internet this suddenly becomes an issue? It wasn't an issue before the Internet? If we really needed to protect the children against marketing execs so badly, we're a few generations too late.

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Just because we allowed previous generations of children to be exposed to the manipulative and destructive exploitations of paedophile marketing executives, doesn't mean we need to keep up the practice. Besides now we have a real opportunity to fix the problem, with the passive mass media idiot box losing to the interactive internet, we have the opportunity to make it a much more psychologically healthy experience for children.

        • by ewanm89 (1052822)
          Or that corporate interest groups buy off or purposely position a mole in whatever agency monitors and decides what is on this net to protect said corporate interests.
    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      '... 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?'

      Because the intent is to expand their censoring to other things they don't want anyone to access; this is much more difficult with clearly defined legislation - with clear limits - and a well defined appeals process.

  • Why indeed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meshach (578918) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:00PM (#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.
    • To those who use the child porn argument in discussions about censorship, I'll go so far as to turn the "we need censorship to fight child porn" argument around, and say that we should legalize the distribution of child porn, if that is what it takes to safeguard the Internet from censorship".

      Not saying of course that we actually should; there are far better ways to ensure our freedoms on the 'net. It's a statement to emphasise the fact that if freedom from online censorship and effective persecution of
    • by ewanm89 (1052822)
      And those that support such action support Nazi Germany. (Sorry Godwin, but in this case it's actually relevant).
  • A better question (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

    • Re:A better question (Score:5, Informative)

      by gerddie (173963) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:08PM (#36708240)

      A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you've got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything:

      "Child pornography is great," the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. "It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites". The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title "Sweden -- A Safe Haven for Pirates?". The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others... "One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close cooperation with IFPI and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand," Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.

      Source: http://boingboing.net/2010/04/28/music-industry-spoke.html [boingboing.net]

      • by errandum (2014454)

        damn, modded you down by mistake, just posting to clear

      • by NFN_NLN (633283) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:59PM (#36708458)

        A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you've got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything:

         

        The speaker has a point but it is misdirected. This censorship is really a thinly veiled attempt at shielding domestically produced child pornography from competition. Because child pornography in general is illegal, it is impossible to impose trade tariffs without raising the alarm bells. It is also well known that cheap overseas labour can out-produce more expensive Australian labour in most non-technical industries.

        Australian based child pornographers were finding their margins dwindling so they used "special interest" groups to penetrate government and introduce laws to protect their business. It is obvious that anyone in support of the "Australian Net Filter" is simply disguising their interest in strengthening domestic child pornography. :)

      • by genner (694963)

        A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you've got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything:

        "Child pornography is great," the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. "It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites". The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title "Sweden -- A Safe Haven for Pirates?". The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others... "One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close cooperation with IFPI and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand," Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.

        Source: http://boingboing.net/2010/04/28/music-industry-spoke.html [boingboing.net]

        This is great news assuming that politicians will actually realize that the filter isn't working with child porn and therefore shouldn't be implemented anywhere else..

      • by Ambvai (1106941)

        When do we get to start saying '"Child pornography is great." --Johan Schlüter, Danish Anti-Piracy Group' as an argument?

        • by toriver (11308)

          If child porn did not exist, they would have to invent it. Such is the might of the "in order to stop child porn" excuse.

    • Exactly. Rather than using thoughtcrime style legislation and expanding government powers like current legislation is doing, and using laws designed to protect children to stop victimless crime (for example the man jailed for possessing -drawings- of allegedly underage girls) they should be stopping the people harming the children and going after the real crime.
      • Rather than using thoughtcrime style legislation and expanding government powers like current legislation is doing

        This filter is not a legal requirement, parliment has repeatedly refused to legislate the various mandotory filters that have been proposed by both right and left wing governments since the mid-nineties. If the government were really interested in expanding their powers in this area we would have had mandatory filters over a decade ago.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly. Rather than using thoughtcrime style legislation and expanding government powers like current legislation is doing, and using laws designed to protect children to stop victimless crime (for example the man jailed for possessing -drawings- of allegedly underage girls) they should be stopping the people harming the children and going after the real crime.

        Virtual things aside, I used to think similarly about thought crime. A newspaper article I read described some of the stuff some guy who got busted had, and it was absolutely horrifying. To me, "porn" implies something pretty pleasant--I don't know, simple nudity for instance. Definitely not what they're going after. The stuff described sounded more like pictures of torture and abuse--not just pictures of suggestive poses or something seemingly innocuous. When the stuff is THAT bad, I think it transcen

    • by jamesh (87723)

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

      Along with "won't somebody think of the children?", statements like that are great for rounding up a posse to burn down the Museum of Natural History, but Telstra has no power to find, arrest, and confine people for any reason, and anything they do doesn't take resources away from "the authorities". By definition, the only thing a DNS block list is for is to stop you stumbling across the stuff on the Interpol block list accidentally. Telstra's media release may be a bit more fluffy than that of course but t

    • Re:A better question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BitterOak (537666) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:22PM (#36708544)

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

      Maybe the child pornography is being produced in a different jurisdiction than the authorities of whom you speak.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Re: Why aren't the authorities using their resources to actually find, arrest, and confine the people
      http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/224056/federal_police_anti-porn_operations_cut_by_razor_gang/ [computerworld.com.au]
      They cut $2.8 million from the Online Child Sex Exploitation Team in Australia....
      I guess the filter did better with a focus group?
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Because nobody cares about child pornography.
      What they do care about however is silencing any dissent that challenges the viewpoints of the current regime..

  • The whole point is to prevent free information flow so that directed information (aka propaganda) can be supplied. Any filter-list that can be scrutinized would fail to allow such use.

    He who controls the flow of information controls the world...

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:06PM (#36708234)

    Why can there not be a public list of blocked websites? And how hard is it to set up some sort of oversight that allows for an appeals process for wrongfully blocked addresses?

    I know the answer is most likely "because they don't care" but still, have they even tried to come up with a reason for these shortcomings? Or is it pretty much just going to be one of those "well, if you're against this you must be for child porn, because we live in a world that has no gray area whatsoever" that is so typical in cases like these?

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:22PM (#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.

      • 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.

        If it's not effective then what's the point of even trying?

        What I really don't get is if they have some list of child porn sites/torrents/IPs/ect. that need to be shut down, why can't Interpol go kick some doors in?

        Personally, I think the child porn thing is just an excuse to set up the infrastructure, which can then easily be converted into a system to filter out copyright violators. If there's no transparency, then this next step can be taken behind closed doors. At the very least it gets Australians accu

        • why can't Interpol go kick some doors in?

          Interpol don't kick doors in. Local police do that. In some parts of the world the local police have other priorities.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Known maliciously scripted sites/servers/hosts-domains & they DO have removal lists & ways to check on that too on many of them as well, vs. their databases (to see if any you are blocking should be removed). For example, I know of 17 reputable & reliable ones I use, & haul down on average 300++ sites per day to fortify my HOSTS file, & software firewall rules table with, every day (both in the forms of host-domain names & IP Addresses).

      In fact - I am blatantly ASTOUNDED this has not

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:10PM (#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.
    • The censorship that is going on here in Australia would never work in America. Here in Australia we have a consistent history of censoring all forms of media. Our constitution is partially based on the US one but it only protects "political" speech, so we have always followed the British model of comprehensive censorship of non-political subjects.

      Any kind of industry agreement in the US, which couldn't be "assisted" by the government like it is here in Australia, would last until one ISP figured they could

      • Any kind of industry agreement in the US, which couldn't be "assisted" by the government like it is here in Australia, would last until one ISP figured they could make more money selling unfiltered access.

        You do realise there are still plenty of unfiltered providers here in Oz, right?

        • Oh and BTW: There is no explicit right to free speech in the Australian constitution (political or otherwise), however the high court in the erly 90's did rule that it is an implied right.
          • by skegg (666571)

            We still don't have some of the protections afforded to US citizens by their constitution.

            Have a truecrypt volume? What would happen to you if you refused a judge's direction to hand over your password?

      • by macshit (157376)

        Our constitution is partially based on the US one but it only protects "political" speech, so we have always followed the British model of comprehensive censorship of non-political subjects.

        Sooooo... all one needs to do to get one's pr0n extravaganza past the filter is to liberally throw in jabs at the prime minister...?

        "I'm gonna beep you like prime minister has beeeeped this country... beep, beeep, oh, censor me, censor me....!1! ...BEEEEP..."

    • by FudRucker (866063)
      today it is to protect the children, they could very well have an add-on to the filter system that blocks criticism of the government or anything else they don't like...
  • by tdelaney (458893) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:11PM (#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.

    • 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.

      I'm a Telstra customer * - over the last few years whenever there's been an outage I've done a little digging and found that most of the time the outage co-incides with Telstra's DNS servers going down. The odd thing is that I haven't used their DNS servers in many years so I've been assuming that Telstra run a transparent proxy for http traffic and that the proxy is configured to use Telstra's DNS - therefore if the DNS goes down so does my ability to surf. I've cross checked this during outages by using o

      • by tdelaney (458893)

        A transparent proxy shouldn't involve DNS lookups as your local machine would be resolving the hostname and sending traffic to the IP address. A non-transparent proxy (i.e. one using the HTTP proxy protocol) does do DNS lookups on the proxy server.

        Of course, a transparent proxy could be doing reverse DNS lookups, but since it's impossible to determine what site you're intending to visit (machines may have multiple names) filtering based on that would potentially produce many false positives.

        I think it's mor

        • A transparent proxy shouldn't involve DNS lookups as your local machine would be resolving the hostname and sending traffic to the IP address. A non-transparent proxy (i.e. one using the HTTP proxy protocol) does do DNS lookups on the proxy server.

          Of course, a transparent proxy could be doing reverse DNS lookups, but since it's impossible to determine what site you're intending to visit (machines may have multiple names) filtering based on that would potentially produce many false positives.

          I think it's more likely that the Telstra DNS servers serving double duty as transparent proxies (assuming they have them) which would result in the same symptoms as you're describing.

          Doh! I'd never considered the possibility that the proxy software was on the same box/boxes as the DNS server. My understanding was that a "transparent proxy" was one that didn't require the end-user to explicitly configure its use (ie. in the browser settings) and that it operated without the consent or knowledge of the machine on which the browser was running. Obviously your definition differs from mine so the emphasis of my original post has been lost.

          I guess the point of my original post was to outline

    • by dbIII (701233)

      Simon Hackett's oft-stated position that they will not filter anything unless required by law.

      I remember hearing him say something along the lines of having to block some newsgroups but some stupid rules meant he couldn't tell us which ones and hear how petty it all is. All we have to go on is the leaked web block list from before which included by mistake a Dentist's website and a dog boarding kennel.

  • by zill (1690130) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:13PM (#36708274)
    Here's the interpol stop page. [contentkeeper.com]

    I can't seem to find the blacklisted domains on Telstra and Interpol's sites. Is my google-fu too weak or is the list kept secret?

    If it's latter, how am I supposed check whether my site hasn't accidentally ended on the blacklist? Use an Australian proxy?

    I found it deeply ironic that the list of censored sites is itself censored.
    • Its kept secret so the government can discount any site that disagrees with it as containing banned material and has indoctrinated the masses and made their thoughtcrime-style legislation so broad that anyone who disagrees with it is labeled a pedo and shunned.
  • Summary Inaccurate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Techman83 (949264) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:16PM (#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 thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:33PM (#36708582)

      Mod parent up. There is a lot of scaremongering on Slashdot about this internet filter as of late. It's almost like people think this is the same as the proposed filter introduced by the Labor party in the last election. It's not.

      The Labor party's proposal was an Australian wide scheme. The Labor party's proposal would never pass the senate [greensmps.org.au] with too many people opposed to it in power. Finally most critically of all the Labor party's group dedicated to the implementation of this filter has been disbanded.

      This is an implementation of a DNS blocklist by a few ISPs. Optus has been on the record that you do not need to use their DNS servers and doing so would b-pass the filters. iinet, Internode, and TPG all are not implementing this filter with iinet (Australia's third or second largest subscriber depending on how you read the numbers) is on the record as saying they will never implement a filter unless forced to by law.

      • by bmo (77928)

        You seem to be missing the strategy that has been used over the past couple of decades.

        Come out with something objectionable but aimed at what you want. Indeed, make sure it's objectionable. Get everyone up in arms.

        Then roll it back to what you really wanted or slightly less, but an acceptable amount. This is called "compromise" but not really. Now you seem "reasonable" and your goal is achieved. Now the only thing left is to ramp it up and test the tolerance limits of everyone.

        It's a cynical strategy,

    • by mgiuca (1040724)

      Let me clarify your post so it is absolutely clear to people reading it: when you say "voluntary filtering", you are referring to a filter that ISPs may voluntarily enable, for all of their customers. In this respect, I can join an ISP that has elected not to enter the trial, but I cannot opt-out of the filter without changing ISPs.

      It is extremely dangerous to assume everything is okay at this point. Implementing a voluntary DNS filter is a clear first-step "foot in the door" towards implementing a mandator

  • The government is there to protect you, whether you want it or not.

  • Arrogance (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2011 @07:37PM (#36708390)

    Arrogance might be a factor. Here in Finland the ministers responsible never really even wanted public interest groups like Electronic Frontier Finland to participate in any discussions regarding laws like internet filtering or the infamous Lex Nokia that gave companies rights to monitor their employees' message traffic headers. In Finland all this culminated in a local Internet activist who publicly criticized shortcomings in the preparations of internet filtering getting filtered, labelled a paedophile and punished. This in turn led to a court case that ended in a decision that the police had greatly abused the rights given to them.

    In Finland, the ministers seem to get more and more convinced that they don't need to listen to the citizens; that's when they're not completely bought or led like the minister responsible for our new, stricter, iPRED compatible copyright law...

  • by jonwil (467024) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:00PM (#36708468)

    The only ISPs to have signed up to the filter so far are the 2 big boys (Telstra and Optus).

    A number of big ISPs (including the #3 provider iiNet as well as Internode and TPG) have specifically said they will not filter anything unless they are legally required to do so.

    Anyone smart enough to care about the Internet filter should be smart enough to know that Tel$tra and Optarse are junk and should be avoided if alternatives are available (if you can get DSL from BigPond or Optus, you can also get DSL from better options like Internode, iiNet and others)

  • Opponents of this can't easily beat the media vibe it'll get. So the solution, I think, is to make it a felony to falsely block a site. Do it one better, make it so that no actual intent is required. If a government official even mistypes the domain name, they do a few years in prison. Absolutely not a single ounce of leniency for even the slightest human error.

    When asked why being so harsh, just smile and say how important the filter is. Spin it as a way of assuring the public that the list really will be

    • Just one minor flaw with your plan. - The list is supplied by interpol, there are no government officials maintaining the list. The best way to fight this is with your wallet by simply moving to an unfiltered ISP such as iinet.
  • by TrumpetPower! (190615) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:20PM (#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 rust627 (1072296)

      Mod parent up

      Interpol (international Police), have a list of websites that are known to be the worst of the worst child porn websites.
      All DNS is in a central registry
      somebody must have paid for the website to exist
      follow the money trail to who owns the website and who hosts it
      close down the hosting service (should not be too much problem here, International Police, and yes i know they do not have jurisdiction all around the world, but for areas they do not, they have sufficient political connections to be a

      • by xnpu (963139)

        Just like the DNS filter being a bogus thing, so are many of the other anti-CP efforts, including actual laws. E.g. in Japan CP is banned since 1999 but only because of international pressure. Not because Japanese society was ready to ban it. The law is just theater. There are other cultures as well where CP, while illegal, is still accepted or at least tolerated to a point where Interpol's clout becomes meaningless.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Well as far as I'm aware (which is not that far), Japanese "CP" can involve consenting 15-year olds. This consent is not recognized as valid in places like the US. However I'm sure that most 15-year olds in the US have had some sexual experiences. This is quite different from someone who kidnaps a 5-year old kid and forcibly abuses him.

          The definition of child differs around the world and while abuse of anyone of any age should be illegal, I am not convinced that images of teenagers willingly fucking should

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A lot of child pornography either comes from, or is hosted in former soviet states. Places like these are really out of the reach of Interpol and often the level of corruption in these countries is equal to the level of investigative incompetence. You can follow the money trail back, but if the police cannot or will not knock down front doors and make arrests, it's ultimately futile.
        You could revoke the DNS, bit you have a cat-and-mouse situation similar to that of the copyright cats in Washington. They'll

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        You can probably do it even easier.

        Find list of offending sites. Optional: verify listed sites are indeed serving up offending material.

        Check IP address from site; look up who this IP belongs to (which ISP). Build up a nice portfolio, find out which country hosts the most offending sites, and have some national news papers publish that. Shouldn't be too hard if you can get a nice, fact-supported story.

        That alone should start some diplomatic channels working. I'm sure there will be enough outcry from the

    • Everyone assumes that child pornography, especially the "worst of the worst", consists of pictures of children being forced into sex. We are seldom allowed to see the evidence for ourselves, because of course it is strictly illegal for a member of the public to see it.

      However, occasionally failed prosecutions for possession of Jock Sturgis or David Hamilton photos, or best-selling sex education books, gives us an insight into what prosecutors think child pornography is, and when one realizes that even ph

  • Basic logic here. If you take all adult porn down from the internet then magazine sales would go up. If you block all child porn then where would all those pedophiles go besides parks, book stores and schools.
  • by the_raptor (652941) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:27PM (#36708558)

    Anyone who is against this filter needs to see the long game. This filter is great for the following reasons:

    1) It is a CP filter. Any argument in future for a government backed filter because "think of teh children!" can be defused by pointing out we already have a voluntary industry filter. This is why the US movie industry has a self-regulated rating system.

    2) It is trivial to get around. Even my mum could follow directions to circumvent this filter. It isn't going to cause traffic slowdowns or require expensive VPN's to foreign countries to get around.

    3) There is no issue about the list being secret because anyone who tries to visit a blocked website will get a redirect telling them that it is on the block list. If this website is innocuous this information can be spread via social media and the like and used to harass the ISP's into unfiltering it. Corporations are a lot more responsive to public complaint then government departments.

    4) The law IS unclear. This is great, as it means the authorities have no real ability to force ISP's to comply with this "industry" filtering agreement. Which means they can't just block new categories of content on a whim, or increase the sophistication of the filter.

    In summary people against censorship should be for this filter because it is such a house of cards AND defuses the main argument the pro-censorship people use "do you want people to be able to view child porn?". Things will go to shit if the government is actually allowed to get really involved, because both main parties here have shown no fear of incredible infringements of civil rights (here in NSW we only just got our right of association back after legislation was struck down that prevented members of criminal motorcycle gangs associating with each other).

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:41PM (#36708598) Homepage

    The problem with these kinds of filtering schemes is the fact that they rely on allegations of illegality rather than on judgments which establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the website's operators are doing something illegal according to local or international law. The latter calls for the government to make its case against the website's operators in a proper venue, allowing the website's operators to mount a proper defense. At that point the government may as well seek to shutdown the website altogether, which shouldn't be a problem if those accused are truly engaging in illegal (and unethical) behavior.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Here are just a few of the contentious issues that the Internet filter proposal raises...

      What are we actually trying to achieve? What do we really want to block? Stopping kids getting to a few naughty titty pictures is quite a different proposition from preventing all Internet users from accessing pornographic content. Are we trying to just protect children, or are we trying to prevent adults from seeing things that they ought to be able to have the right to choose whether they see or not? The approaches f

      • Sorry, that was my post above... I didn't realise I wasn't logged in... I'm not really an Anonymous Coward. Well, not in this case, anyway.
  • Because of this, there appears to be nothing to stop the Australian Federal Police from issuing much wider notices under the Act to ISPs, requesting they block other categories of content beyond child pornography, which are also technically illegal in Australia (‘Refused Classification’) but not blocked yet.

    Awesome article. 5 concerns which are the opinion of some random guy who knows nothing about Australian law.

    There is nothing illegal about Refused Classification content. NOTHING. There is no reason to block it. It is illegal to put on sale in Australian stores. It's not illegal to acquire, import, or even purchase online from another country. It is just illegal to sell in Australian stores.

  • by cyrus0101 (1750660) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @10:09PM (#36708880)
    My top 5 concerns about the new net filter:
    1) _______________everything______________.
    2) _____________________________________________________
    3) _______________________________is ______going________
    4) _____________to ___________ be ____________________________
    5) _______________ fine ____________________ .
  • Politicians do not like web sites exposing their activities, they've been wanting to shut this down for years. By using "the four horsemen of the Internet" they've managed to convince people that making sites disappear is to "protect the children".

    The big clue: the secrecy surrounding the list of blocked sites. If they know which sites source child porn then they would be using existing criminal law to deal with them. No, it's other kinds of information they want to censor.

  • It may seem like there's no good solution. You can:
    1. leave that kind of content unblocked.
    2. block stuff and don't give anyone the list which causes severe suspicion and probably abuse of the filter.
    3. block stuff and give out the precise filtered list, which obviously gives pervs an extensive list of illegal sites that they can visit when they get around the filter.
    So it's a no win situation, right? It doesn't seem that way to me. How the hell do they just have a list sitting around? Shut the sites d
  • and participate in political censoring.

  • I know a lot of people on Slashdot might think that this is the thin of the wedge and the first step on the slippery slope towards a more comprehensive censhorship scheme the likes of what labour tried to bring in recently but to be honest I think that as long as this filter remains voluntary and restricted to hardcore CP then it wont get any airplay in the wider media at all because the average member of the public will be pretty much fine with it. The real question is a) will its current authority be expa

  • Just publish the list and let societies extremists do their job. They'll accomplish what authorities can't - one way or the other.

  • Why is it those who want to implement this kind of filtering never quite address these sort of concerns up-front?

    Because NONE of this is EVER about achieving the worthwhile goals which are stated up-front.

    These things are ALWAYS a behind-the-scenes attempt to deploy *government mandated censorship* of what is (currently) an uncontrolled medium.

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