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Australia Government Piracy Your Rights Online

Australian Govt Censors Notes From Secret Anti-Piracy Talks 177

Posted by samzenpus
from the need-to-know-basis dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It looks as if the Australian Government really doesn't want the public to know what's going on in its closed-door talks with ISPs and the content industry. The Attorney-General's Department has applied the black marker to almost all of the information contained in documents about the meetings released under Freedom of Information laws. The reason? It wouldn't be in the 'public interest' to release the information. Strange how the public seems to have a high degree of interest in finding out what's being talked about."
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Australian Govt Censors Notes From Secret Anti-Piracy Talks

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  • by niftydude (1745144) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:09AM (#39400575)
    Maybe Stephen Conroy can win internet villain of the year a second time.
    • by bmo (77928)

      Conroy needs to die by having a rack of telecoms equipment fall on him.

      --
      BMO

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Absolutely sickening, and yet we are helpless to do anything. That Stephen Conroy is the biggest clown but the Australian public are too stupid to realise. Truly saddening,
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Ghaoth (1196241)
      Conroy is not the biggest - he is one of many. Only 30% of the population support Labor (an organisation that can't even spell its own name correctly). A large percentage of the population dispise and detest them. However, short of civil inssurection, how the hell do you get rid of them? The people can't call an election and they have taken away our guns.
      • Sickening, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mjwx (966435) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:40AM (#39400677)

        Conroy is not the biggest - he is one of many. Only 30% of the population support Labor (an organisation that can't even spell its own name correctly). A large percentage of the population dispise and detest them. However, short of civil inssurection, how the hell do you get rid of them? The people can't call an election and they have taken away our guns.

        This person doesn't live in Oz.

        We can call an election, it's just that no-one wants to. We dont need guns to do that, I suspect the GP is not Australian and doesn't realise Aussies can sort out their problems without violence. To get an election called, all we need to do is prove to the Governor-General that the current government is unfit, then she dissolves parliament. The thing is, no-one wants to, elections are a pain in the arse, a waste of a good Saturday and the Liberals are even worse then Labor.

        The Labor party is actually preferred over the Coalition in the two party preferred poll, add the popularity of the Greens and they will retain control next election (ALP with the help of the Greens). If anything, I expect more votes to go to Green and independent candidates. The Coalition will never get in because Abbott's just a patsy for the Liberal power brokers and their economic policies are insane ($70 Billion dollar black hole the shadow treasurer cant account for).

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          You mean that same governer general who is appointed by the GOVERNMENT! besides which what the hell country are you living in if you think labor are the preferred party in two party preferred, I suggest you go look at the polls, Labor/greens would get absolutely annilated if an election was called anytime soon.
          • by mjwx (966435) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:59AM (#39400733)

            besides which what the hell country are you living

            Australia, which is clearly very far from your location.

            Labor/greens would get absolutely annilated if an election was called anytime soon.

            They said that in the last two elections. As long as it's Anyone v Abbott, Labor is practically guaranteed to win. The liberal policy is to say "No" to everything that Labor does, this will lose them a lot of votes. Its far more likely Abbot would be massacred in any election as Julia Gillard is preferred PM, but as I said before it would just end up like 2010 with the balance of power being held by Greens and/or Independents because Australians are simply sick of the two major parties ruling by fiat for four years.

            BTW. look up how polls are done and how inaccurate they are at election time. They go out and ask random people to answer a questionnaire, this is easily biased by going to specific areas. This is why Morgan polls look different to Nielson polls. The only semi-reliable polls are exit polls (basically the same thing, they ask people who they voted for on their way out, hence they are called "exit" polls).

            • by bloodhawk (813939)
              ok, please show me ANY poll that currently shows labor ahead. Sorry but you are living in a dream land if you think they have actually increased in popularity since the last election rather than decreased and that is the only way they can be ahead. AS for Abbott, I could not agree more, he is a terrible choice and I hope to hell he never gets in, but right now he would be a certainty unless something significant changes between now and the next election.
            • by microbox (704317) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:50AM (#39403029)

              The liberal policy is to say "No" to everything that Labor does, this will lose them a lot of votes.

              Seems to have worked pretty well for the Republicans. Congresses approval is around 10%, yet half the population still supports this now reactionary political philosophy. Who's to say that Abbott cannot make ground out of contrarian hatred. After-all, plenty of people hate the Labor and the Greens, and Abbot has a large media complex that will back him all the way. A lie said enough times... just saying.

          • by rjmx (233228)

            > You mean that same governer general who is appointed by the GOVERNMENT!

            November 11, 1975.

          • by whoever57 (658626)

            You mean that same governer general who is appointed by the GOVERNMENT!

            I doubt that the GP does. I think that he means the same Governor-General that is appointed by The Queen.

        • by mgblst (80109)

          As an Aussie, I wish what you said is true, but it is not. You are ignoring the recent small elections, where there was a huge shift to the Libs. You are kidding if you think Labor will stay in, despite Abbott being a complete loser and religious zealot.

          There are plenty of people who want an election called, the opposition, and the opposition supporters. The opposition and their supporters ALWAYS want an election called, since they can only lose again, and might win. It is very ignorant to ever pretend othe

        • by Hatta (162192)

          I suspect the GP is not Australian and doesn't realise Aussies can sort out their problems without violence.

          Then do it.

          The thing is, no-one wants to

          Sounds like you can't fix anything at all then.

      • Re:Sickening (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Capsaicin (412918) * on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:24AM (#39400793)

        However, short of civil inssurection, how the hell do you get rid of them? The people can't call an election and they have taken away our guns.

        You wait until the next federal election when we all get to vote. That's how we like do it round here.

        I thought the conservatives really overreached when they banned almost all guns (even though 85% of my fellow Australians supported Howard on this issue). When I read posts like yours, however, I wonder whether my loss at having my piddly 22 taken away isn't, after all, outweighed by my gain from having any firearm kept out of the hands of folks like yourself.

    • by crutchy (1949900)

      but the Australian public are too stupid to realise

      at least some of us are smart enough not to give a shit about all this impossible-to-implement and enforce internet censorship garbage, and our pollies are smart enough to have a bit of fun giving the SOPA retards a good butt fucking before sending them home to their mighty "home of the free"

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:21AM (#39400613) Homepage Journal
    Most people know that corporations in general and the copyright industry in particular are out to anally rape them. What the government doesn't want you to know is just how much they support the copyright industry in their quest to anally rape the citizens the world. Politicians have to be elected, and people tend not to want to vote for politicians who help others anally rape them. However politicians also want money, and anal rape is a lucrative business. So politicians both try to help their corporate friends anally rape regular citizens and at the same time try to hide the fact that they're doing so. This really should come as no surprise to the citizens of the world.

    You'd think people would get tired after being anally raped for so long (Really, you can only rape someone for so long before it's just sex...) and found a "No Anal Rape" party. I think most people would agree that not being anally raped by corporations and politicians is a cause worthy of getting behind.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:27AM (#39400633)
    Hollywood
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:35AM (#39400661)

    The Australian government has "a special room" in almost every single ISP with a machine capable of taking a full duplication of traffic for almost any customer. This applies to phone networks as well.

    I know someone who installs this equipment, he will not even TALK ABOUT it online, he literally won't type it in an email, IM or messaging system of any kind. Offline it's difficult to get info regarding it out of him.

    Those boxes, to my knowledge do not require a warrant, the government can just remotely log in and start recording. Obviously they can't use the data in court without some kind of warrant but the equipement is there.

    Posting this anonymously I will assume is enough - I don't have much more information than that unfortunately. If anyone else does, please feel free to reply.

    • by bug1 (96678)

      More than a few years ago worked for a company who made this sort of equipment (claimed to be of the two best), the story at the time was that not much sold in Australia (as opposed to the US and Europe). The issue was if there wasnt much deep packet inspection in Aus, or maybe they bought equipment from someone else.

      But it doesnt really matter what nation the equipment is in, the internet doesnt respect borders. That means they can capture your data as it goes through the US/Europe, and with their "Intelli

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You're assuming my traffic is going through US / Europe. With equipment at the ISP level they can capture the entirety of my traffic to and from multiple places.

        Admitedly my information is anecdotal but a second network engineer who worked for a different company funnily enough reacted when the first one made mention of it, they both kind of had "ooooh" and "ahh" comments and nodded etc, a few things were said which sadly I forget but I'm quite confident one worked for the company manufacturing equipment,

        • by bug1 (96678)

          If you really want privacy use encryption, vpn (to a "safe" country?), tor, whatever, pay for it with bitcoins.

          There are benefits to pervasive surveillance;
            - Its hard to have a false identiy if you dont have a real one, try and throw away the false identity, not the real one.
            - If you looking for a needle dont put it in a haystack, the more "normal" traffic they capture, the further the target sinks into the noise.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Posting this anonymously I will assume is enough ...

      No sorry mate, it won't help at all. You forgot about the government's "special room." Expect a knock on the door at any moment, there's another kind of "special room" where you are going.

      Posting anonymously so the government won't ... oh damn!

    • Yeah I overheard a similar conversation at linux conf au in January. No idea who the guy was, or who he worked for, but Jacob Appelbaum seemed fairly interested for some reason...
  • Public interest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kingturkey (930819) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:41AM (#39400679)

    Not that I disagree with their view here, but the summary makes the mistake of conflating 'the public interest' with what is 'interesting to the public'.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:59AM (#39400731)

      I can understand how you can redact portions of documents where release of information might lead to physical harm, like planned locations of troops or identities of informants.

      But how on earth can there be ANYTHING not releasable in a talk on copyright? There is nothing that could be talked about that would cause physical harm to others.

      This absolutely stinks and I hope the courts can be brought into release the information attempted to be hidden from the public.

      So what has been hidden? My best guess is that the document shows a terrifying contempt for the common citizen in regards to rights they have, and they are really worried about how that would come across in the press.

      • by AgNO3 (878843)
        umm every heard of ANNONYMOUS? Maybe they are afraid that they won't like it and cause damage.
        • by microbox (704317)
          lol! That is the worst argument that I've ever heard. And I've been on the interwebs for years now.
      • This absolutely stinks and I hope the courts can be brought into release the information attempted to be hidden from the public.

        More likely to be left to whistleblowers/Wikileaks.

      • by Namarrgon (105036) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:58AM (#39400899) Homepage
        Remember, corporations are people too, and if the public gets an interest in these talks, that could seriously damage the corporate bottom line, which is about as physical as you can get.
        • by freaker_TuC (7632)

          No, corporations ain't people, they are businesses. Entities with people responsible for its running.

          There is no such thing as privacy in public negotiations. If such would damage a corporation, they apparantly are aiming for the wrong income.

        • by 0-9a-f (445046)

          Remember, corporations are people too, ...

          Not in Australia, they're not. That's an (almost) uniquely American artefact.

      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        There is nothing that could be talked about that would cause physical harm to others.

        I think they're more concerned about "physical harm to the conspirators."

      • by muuh-gnu (894733)

        > This absolutely stinks

        What absolutely stinks is that the electorate is voting in the same people turn after turn after turn. Not only in Australia but in all western "democracies".

        After a certain number of cycles, the policians realize that _whatever_ they do, they'll be voted in anyway, so what exactly is stopping them from making a little bit of money by catering to special interests? The electorate doesnt seem to be mentally able to defend themselves anyway, so why not fuck them a little bit?

        The roo

  • by sixtyeight (844265) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:58AM (#39400727)

    From the brief: "It wouldn't be in the 'public interest' to release the information. Strange how the public seems to have a high degree of interest in finding out what's being talked about."

    We get a lot of that disagreement between the citizens and the government here in the States as well. And when tax time comes along, I apply the same reasoning to whether or not paying them would be "in the government interest". Or the public's.

    If everyone did that, governments would shape up PDQ out of sheer necessity. Even if the politicians and the courts don't work, the People still have recourse. Which reminds, tax time is almost here in the U.S.. Pay them any non-negative amount you think they're worth.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:59AM (#39400735) Journal

    In a briefing issued to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon regarding the meeting, the department noted that it continued to prefer an industry-negotiated solution to the issue of Internet content piracy.

    Industry-negotiated "solutions" are the antithesis of a democratic process.
    It's amazing that governments not only allow this to happen, but actively facilitate the process.

    If the government had to step in and set up rules, they'd be forced to accept input from those annoying citizens they're supposed to represent.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      can you imagine a government entity first coming up with a drm solution and then enforcing that drm solution on people? it would be so obviously the stupidest thing in a century so that government would be finished no matter what.. these two solutions are the only things they're thinking of, a drm solution mandated and dictated either by the government or by the industry. shows how clueless they are trying to put the cat back in the bag. some drm company is going to make a boatload of money for a few years(

    • by microbox (704317)

      Industry-negotiated "solutions" are the antithesis of a democratic process.

      Doesn't this just hit the nail on the head when it comes to neoliberal philosophy. You can thank von Mises, Hayek, Rand and their legion of followers for "freedom" disguised as an anti-democratic breakdown of sovereignty.

  • Reason: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by no-body (127863) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:05AM (#39400743)

    They are chicken - afraid that people find out what they are up to.

    Any public servant doing this kind of stuff should be penalized.

    William Binney: ...after he realized that the NSA is now openly trampling the constitution, says as he holds his thumb and forefinger close together. "We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state."

  • The delimiter page is not loading. Is our government blocking the story now?? This sucks in every way. Time to write to the local MP.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      works from finland..
      the general jibe of the article is that for some reason, the government considers that it's negotiating(!!!!!) with an industry/foreign power that could withhold something from it!! it's fucking entertertainment industry! they won't stop shipping shows to .au if you don't do as they want.

      the real reason is probably some bullshit drm company not wanting other bullshit drm companies to get a hint that they're trying to push their bullshit drm for some pie in the sky dream. and network insp

  • Governments represent Corporations not people.

    The government will KILL every human being if it means satisfying a corporate interest.

  • Passing laws for big businesses and not letting anyone know the details? Why would he be doing that? Obviously it is corruption. Put this man in prison.
  • Why do various governments and government institutions feel it's necessary to hide and keep secret these kinds of talks?

    Just think - they have no issues talking about defense spending, health-care and so on in public, but when it comes to anti-piracy at all of a sudden has to be secret.

    It's obvious that they're hiding things because they have to. They're doing things that violates both basic democratic rules and their mandate, maybe even taking bribes in the process. They gotta be stopped! - and fast!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I neither a lawyer, nor Australian, but it's surprising that it's possible to redact because something relates to the "deliberative or consultative processes of the government", or for a right-to-privacy is invoked by a public servant *conducting business in their capacity as a public servant*. How can their be accountability without information?

      Here in the US, there was a flap about Vice President Cheney's secret "Energy Task Force" talks, involving the oil industry he has such close ties to. Not sure wh

  • If they're redacting the information from the talks, they must think "pirates" are terrorists.

    Because the only excuse that's even vaguely valid for redacting government information is "national security", and even that gets applied with too broad a brush in most nations.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:19AM (#39402657) Journal

    As always, an important facet of any informed debate is comprehending all sides to a given issue. With that in mind, you can download the decision, as well as the rest of the documents, here [slashdot.org] (warning: 11.3Mb, pdf wrapped in rar). I'm assuming the following is the controversial bit:

    Subsection 11A(5) of the Act provides that if a document is 'conditionally exempt' it still must be disclosed unless the decision maker is satisfied that, on balance, its disclosure would be contrary to the public interest. I have decided that disclosure of these documents, in absence of any solution or agreement, would be contrary to the public interest. My reasons for so concluding are, essentially, that the discussions that are taking place are at an early stage involving various industry representatives. The discussions, therefore, are at a very delicate, sensitive and important stage. Disclosure of documents while the negotiations are still in process, would, in my view, prejudice, hamper and impede those negotiations to an unacceptable degree. That would, in my view, be contrary to the interests of good government - which would, in turn, be contrary to the public interest.

    (Copied manually and quickly, so don't take as gospel)

    I see her point. As I'm sure we're all aware, there is a very vocal group of people who are against the idea of these talks occurring in the first place. The early stages of the talks could (and most probably do) contain aspects that are unreasonable and will not be present towards the resolution. These points could well be exploited by people who would like to see these talks not go ahead.

    Think of it like couple counselling. The couple might start out angry and at each others throats, but that doesn't necessarily reflect how they feel about each other, and the compromises they're willing to make. If someone were to make the initial proceedings public, it would potentially send completely the wrong impression out to everyone. Anyone who is genuinely interested in the outcome of the counselling would prefer to hear about the latter stages.

    Anyway, now you have the information, make up your own minds.

  • What does the Australian government fear? And informed public?

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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