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Australia Censorship Government The Internet Your Rights Online

Australia Scales Back Internet Blacklist, Nixes Full-Scale Censorship 51

Posted by timothy
from the now-with-less-poison dept.
littlekorea writes "The Australian Government has officially abandoned plans to legislate a mandatory internet filter. The news ends a four-year campaign by the ruling party to implement legislation that would have compelled ISPs to block a list of URLs dictated by Australia's telecommunications regulator, the ACMA. ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL." Also at ZDnet.
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Australia Scales Back Internet Blacklist, Nixes Full-Scale Censorship

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  • Just block? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srussia (884021) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:22AM (#41918621)
    FTFS: "ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL."

    I say make Interpol shut them down!
    • by TWX (665546) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:26AM (#41918681)
      Why the hell is INTERPOL running child pornography sites in the first place?!
    • Re:Just block? (Score:5, Informative)

      by djl4570 (801529) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:31AM (#41918763) Journal
      INTERPOL cannot just shut down a site. It has to be shut down by law enforcement where the server resides. INTERPOL can work with local law enforcement but it can be difficult to get local law enforcement to cooperate. Look at a timeframe here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Ukrainian_child_pornography_raids [wikipedia.org] to see how long it took to shut down these notorious sites.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        the joke is that the summary makes it sound like INTERPOL is "maintaining" the sites.

      • Re:Just block? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by just_a_monkey (1004343) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @11:51AM (#41919849)

        So if there is copyright infringement going on the US readily twists other countries arms so they shut down the sites and extradite the owners, but if there is child pornography going on there is wringiing of hand and "so sorry, nothing we can do, must have cooperation of the locals, incidentally we have this censorship thingy so that we can hinder our own citizens from seeing what we don't want them to"?

        It's almost as if fighting CP wasn't the real priority here...

        • by Firethorn (177587)

          I'd dispute the US 'readily' twisting other country's arms over mere copyright infringement. It's rampant overseas, far more widespread than child porn.

          The Ukranians will eventually bust the child porn servers. They'd laugh at any efforts to shut down equivalents to megadownload and piratebay.

      • I'm straying far from what we're talking about here, but just shutting down the sites doesn't do you much good, you need to find the people responsible for actually abusing the children and bring them to justice. Stopping the pics from flying around just makes you look like you're "tough on crime" (TM) but doesn't really help anyone.

    • So instead of dictatorship by local government possibly abused to censor unfavorable political ideals, they have dictatorship by the International courts possibly abused to censor unfavorable political ideals? (Yeah, okay, child pornography IS an unfavorable political ideal; but I mean things other than stated, under the guise of being related to what is stated in some way.)
      • I'd worry more about the prospect for expansion. Law aside, this means that ISPs have to have a filtering system in place - somewhere, there must be a configurable lists of forbidden sites or servers, and the routers must be capable of comparing against it. Once it's established that blocking a site is just a matter of updating a list, it becomes much easier for either future acts or just judges to order that sites be blocked for other crimes - like copyright infringement, or libel, or whatever Australia's
  • Weird. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Still sounds like a mandatory internet filter to me. If anything, a worldwide blacklist of websites seems more troubling than an Australia-wide blacklist.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Still sounds like a mandatory internet filter to me. If anything, a worldwide blacklist of websites seems more troubling than an Australia-wide blacklist.

      It wasn't just a an Australian Wide block of sites in Australia it was going to be a Block of any site worldwide deemed unsuitable by the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) from porn to torrents to radical politics anything they wanted and the blacklist was to be secret (well until wiki leaks got it) at least now it is only kiddie porn sites and not anything else they wanted to block. FWIW I am in Australia

  • The censorious nature of this Labor government has puzzled me. It isn't part of their heritage. I'd have expected it from the opposition a few decades ago, not from this government now.

    Perhaps blame senator Conroy or his hairdresser.

  • by GiantRobotMonster (1159813) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:45AM (#41918905)

    While this seems like a small victory for common sense, don't forget that Conroy wants the ISPs to store years of traffic for every customer.
    Rather than prevent a site from working (via blocking against a secret government list), they want to be silently collecting "evidence" instead.

    • Damn, just as I was feeling good free speech battles had been pushed back to where they should be, child porn, rather than something actually encroaching on freedom.

  • Ideally an illegal activity should be dealt with in person, not by any blacklist. Apart from that +1 Australia!
  • Govt: "Give me all your URLs"
    ISPs: "No"
    Govt: "OK, will you give me half?"
    ISPs: "OK"

    This is not a win. It is true that the government is no longer proposing new legislation. This is because they seem to be getting much of what they want without new legislation. In particular, it appears there will be a new industry "Code of Practice" which will then have force under current legislation (think of it as like changing a regulation). There is also going to be a 'police request' to the ISPs. It isn't clear t

    • Seriously folks, filtering the internet is like trying to filter the air.

      Are you absolutely certain that you filtered ALL of it, ALL the time, in EVERY circumstance?

      It's also kinda like locking your door to prevent burglary. A skilled and determined burglar will find a way in, locks just keep only slightly dishonest people out.

      For example: if this is based on DNS lookups then what happens when $USER runs a local caching DNS server rather than "pointing at their ISP"? What happens when $KIDDY_PORN_ADDICT

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