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Australia Censorship Government The Internet

Internet Censorship Back On Australian Agenda 109

Posted by timothy
from the top-down-under dept.
New submitter aberglas writes "The conservative government's George Brandis wants to force ISPs to block sites that might infringe copyright. Brandis said he stood firmly on the side of content creators (a.k.a. Hollywood). Ban gross violators today, obscure ones tomorrow, porn sites, far left sites the day after..." From the article, too, this snippet: "The federal government is also considering implementing a "graduated response scheme" that could lead to consumers' internet accounts being temporarily suspended if they ignore notifications to stop downloading illegal content." Shades of the Copyright Alert System.
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Internet Censorship Back On Australian Agenda

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  • What have we done! We've created a monster (aka Tony Abbott). I voted the Pirate Party, myself. /Stolzy
    • by GloomE (695185)
      Block ALL the things!
      • by dbIII (701233)
        That's what putting Ziggy in charge to the axing of the NBN was about. Stop that fast internet. No stuff to rival Foxtel cable TV.
      • just ship the criminals off to some unused continent...I heard New Zealand is sparsely populated...

        • New Zealand is far more densely populated (16.8 per sq. km) than Australia (3 per sq. km). That said, we would only have to ship a couple of hundred "criminals" from the Federal and Queensland State parliaments. There is a supply of lifeboats we could use to transport them (they will understand not getting first class flights due the financial "crisis" we find ourselves in), and we could adapt some of their recent "law" to outlaw their organisations, any gathering of three or more members or associates of

    • by mjwx (966435) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @01:28AM (#46253121)

      What have we done! We've created a monster (aka Tony Abbott). I voted the Pirate Party, myself. /Stolzy

      Yeah, they told me that if I voted for the Greens Australia would be screwed. Well I voted for the greens and look what happened.

    • Re:Creationalist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @02:56AM (#46253361) Journal
      Previous attempts to push this stuff have come from opposition or independents with "balance of power" votes. Both major parties for the last 20yrs have used this issue as "bait" for independents, the promise of "inquiry" is normally enough to buy the independents vote, all reasonable observers know the inquiry will go nowhere. This time the push is coming from the federal attorney general, this is something very different and more credible than all the other failed attempts combined. Brandis makes Cheney look like a socialist, his push breaks the 20yr long good/bad cop routine the majors parties have played to screw independents out of their vote (an enemy of my enemy and all that...)

      The last mob were merely incompetent, this lot are malicious and openly hostile to anyone who earns a wage or has a science degree. The "Abbot faction" of senior ministers in this government are all riding the same ideological wrecking ball. They are that far from "reasonable" that even Barnaby is sounding sensible in comparison. Turnbull is not one of the inner circle, when Tony falters, Malcom will eat him alive, when that happens we can go back to the normal incompetence we have come to expect from both sides.
      • Scare the hell out of them by dumping half onto the street the next election.

        That's easier said than done, though. Here in the US, the kinder, gentler Democrat is in lockstep with supposedly authoritarian Republicans over Internet iss...well, you read it every day here.

      • (Where are my mod points when I need them?)

        If/when there is a leadership spill (and let it be soon) I would bet that Malcolm would step forward. I'd also bet he'd quickly do a backflip on the NBN. I believe he's smart enough to know FTTP is a better option, but he's being wheel-clamped by Tony, Rupert's Boy.
         

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:17PM (#46252413) Homepage

    The conservative government's George Brandis wants to force ISPs to block sites that might infringe copyright.

    And since all sites 'might' or 'could' infringe copyright, the demand is only to get to an approved list operated by the media companies for everything, but further entrenching their revenue stream -- because then they'll know all ad content and subscription services belong to them.

    These clowns are destroying the internet, and the rights of everyone in order to ensure their rights could never possibly be violated.

    And I fear there's no sign of governments pushing back and telling them to piss up a rope.

    • by amiga3D (567632) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:32PM (#46252491)

      Lately there have been so many shitty movies out of hollyweird that I can't find anything worth downloading. It's a massive waste of bandwidth. I finally figured out that is how they are combating piracy now. The films suck so bad that no one wants to watch them even if they're free.

      • by lucm (889690)

        The real solution is Netflix. By the time new movies show up on Netflix the hype is already gone and everybody know they aren't worth watching, so instead you can spend time watching uninteresting documentaries about the price of water in Detroit or terrible British series.

        The fun part with Netflix is the rating system. I keep putting 1 Star ("hated it") to everything I watch because the recommendations are always bad anyways and this allows me to feel like one of those people in House Hunters who are never

        • by dryeo (100693)

          The real solution is Netflix

          Not in most countries probably including Australia.

          • Correct, no Netfix here mate.
            • by lucm (889690)

              That sucks. I guess you also don't have Pandora then. This must be a totally different internet experience; since Netflix and Pandora I haven't bothered with P2P, dvds and mp3 collections.

            • by Pseudonym (62607)

              We have QuickFlix, but it's not the same.

      • by donaldm (919619) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:38PM (#46252751)

        Lately there have been so many shitty movies out of hollyweird that I can't find anything worth downloading. It's a massive waste of bandwidth. I finally figured out that is how they are combating piracy now. The films suck so bad that no one wants to watch them even if they're free.

        I fully agree, I have not watched a Hollywood movie in years.

        Actually from the article Attorney-General George Brandis is the one who has flagged the changes, however he appears to agree and criticize the Copyright Act stating

        "I firmly believe the fundamental principles of copyright law, the protection of rights of creators and owners did not change with the advent of the internet and they will not change with the invention of new technologies."

        then

        He described the Copyright Act as "overly long, unnecessarily complex, often comically outdated and all too often, in its administration, pointlessly bureaucratic".

        In the article there is a statement:

        Australians are among the most avid users of pirating websites in the world. For example, Australians accounted for 16 per cent of all illegal downloads of television program Breaking Bad.

        Having never watched "Breaking Bad" I did a quick search and found it is a TV series which anyone with a Personal Video Recorder can actually copy if they wish to do so however this show is not a so called Hollywood movie and many people who have missed one or more episodes can actually catch up by going on-line and watch the shows at selected legitimate sites (a quick search will find them).

        Of course you can download via torrent (no money changes hands) which I think the government would like to stop but there lies the problem, without snooping programs which can determine if a torrent download infringes copyright you have no way of knowing and ISP's would not be happy running this type of software since it would take up resources all for the sake of possibly catching an "illegal" down-loader. This type of thing would not be a vote winner.

        The problem is that many TV shows can be caught up by going on-line and watching them at "legitimate" web sites. Bringing in legislation to block so called illegal torrent downloading will have an enormous voter backlash which no sane government in their right mind would want.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          Australians are among the most avid users of pirating websites in the world. For example, Australians accounted for 16 per cent of all illegal downloads of television program Breaking Bad.

          Having never watched "Breaking Bad" I did a quick search and found it is a TV series which anyone with a Personal Video Recorder can actually copy if they wish to do so however this show is not a so called Hollywood movie and many people who have missed one or more episodes can actually catch up by going on-line and watch the shows at selected legitimate sites (a quick search will find them).

          Of course you can download via torrent (no money changes hands) which I think the government would like to stop but there lies the problem, without snooping programs which can determine if a torrent download infringes copyright you have no way of knowing and ISP's would not be happy running this type of software since it would take up resources all for the sake of possibly catching an "illegal" down-loader. This type of thing would not be a vote winner.

          The problem is that many TV shows can be caught up by going on-line and watching them at "legitimate" web sites. Bringing in legislation to block so called illegal torrent downloading will have an enormous voter backlash which no sane government in their right mind would want.

          While it may be true that Americans can go to "legitimate" web sites, it is not true in most countries and in most countries you can't get it any other legal way either, at least in a timely manner, so no using a PVR to record.

          • It sounds odd to me. Breaking Bad was aired on ABC here in Australia - (think BBC), I didn't see it, but it was very popular. The ABC make most of their programs available for streaming via their (excellent) iView website for about 2 weeks after screening. The ABC famously released a long awaited Dr Who episode on their website before airing it on TV, the show has finished for good now so I suppose the owners are about to release an overpriced boxset or something. It seems to me that that people are downloa
            • by Pseudonym (62607)

              Breaking Bad season 5 has not yet screened on the ABC. If you wanted to watch it while the global conversation about it was still happening, you needed Foxtel with a Showcase subscription, which will set you back $72 a month. (For comparison, the DVD box set for season 5 costs less than half that, and you get to keep it.)

              There was no other way to legally watch it in Australia. Most people can't justify spending $72 a month for one or two TV shows (say, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones), and companies like

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So this is what is +5 insightful on slashdot? A circlejerky comment about movies being so bad that you won't even steal them? Fap fap fap. Fap fap fap. lets all circlejerk about how our taste is so great that we wouldn't even watch movies for free. Fap fap fap. People complain about the beta site, but the circlejerking is far worse than the beta could ever be.

  • Follow the money... (Score:5, Informative)

    by uradu (10768) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:23PM (#46252443)

    My gut instinct says that very rarely do people in the public eye follow totally altruistic agendas, particularly when it comes to issues like this that have little to do with the common good. If you dig deep enough you can find special interest trails that more often than not uncover these people's true motivators. Just follow the money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My gut instinct says that very rarely do people in the public eye follow totally altruistic agendas, particularly when it comes to issues like this that have little to do with the common good. If you dig deep enough you can find special interest trails that more often than not uncover these people's true motivators. Just follow the money.

      Sen. Brandis is a blustering, bullying, buffoon who just parrots what his advisors tell him. He wouldn't have the intellectual capability to realise that blocking websites is an exercise in futility. Even the previous government figured that out - eventually.
      Last year the US Ambassador to Australia complained to the government about the amount of Australian piracy of "Games of Thrones". This year's season of Games of Thrones will only be shown on Foxtel (pay/cable TV). So, who owns Foxtel - News Ltd, aka Ru

    • by lucm (889690)

      Your gut instinct is basically telling you what lobbying is. And it's not very difficult to follow the money because in most countries lobbyists have to put their name and purpose in a public register before they meet with elected officials to offer them money in exchange for their support on various topics.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Huge pressure from US media interests.
      Huge pressure from established Australian distribution cartels.
      Huge pressure from new firms offering ISP level deep packet inspection and other ip to file tracking in Australia.
      Someone has convinced the Australian gov that they can now track ip (the user) and files without slowing ISP plans without any privacy/legal considerations.
      New tracking and logging equipment costs will have to pass onto consumers.... some nice expensive hardware and software contracts in that
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Admittedly I haven't followed the money, but I'll put A$100 on the fact that this goes back to Murdoch and possibly Fairfax (now Fairfax is pretty much controlled by Gina the Hutt).

  • Fuck Tony Abbott. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YukariHirai (2674609) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:32PM (#46252489)
    I was never at all fond of Tony Abbott, but since he's come into power I've come to fucking detest him and everything he stands for. I hope he gets knifed for the Liberal leadership before long.
    • by bug1 (96678)

      He wont get knifed.
      Libs are a Tall Poppy Party, they want their leader to get all the heat so none of it lands on them. If there leader gets burnt by the public and they find themselves in charge they know they can get away with anything and the party will back them.
      ALP are driven by the caucus, the leader cant just do what (s)he wants like in the Libs, the team comes first. That why the leader an ALP leader is more likely to get kniffed (which sounds wrong). But now the ALP leader is voted in by members th

      • by dbIII (701233)
        It was musical chairs for a while some time back. The went through so many leaders that even the member for Woodside, Alexander "I didn't really bribe Saddam" Downer, got a turn at leadership.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        He wont get knifed.
        Libs are a Tall Poppy Party, they want their leader to get all the heat so none of it lands on them. If there leader gets burnt by the public and they find themselves in charge they know they can get away with anything and the party will back them.
        ALP are driven by the caucus, the leader cant just do what (s)he wants like in the Libs, the team comes first. That why the leader an ALP leader is more likely to get kniffed (which sounds wrong). But now the ALP leader is voted in by members the leader will have more power over caucus.

        I agree that Abbott wont get knifed by his own party. But not for the reason you've stated.

        The reason Abbott wont get knifed is because he's a toady. A spineless, brainless, gutless marionette. He's just a face and a voice for the power brokers of the Liberal party (AKA the faceless men). So as long as he remains a good little toady, he's safe.

        Abbott and the Libs may get knifed by the independents and minor parties in the senate though. If the same bill fails to pass the senate twice (the Libs control

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      I was never at all fond of Tony Abbott, but since he's come into power I've come to fucking detest him and everything he stands for.

      Ummmm... pardon me, but... Tony Abbot standing for something? I know he stand against boat people, carbon tax, NBN, unions, helping local industry... I didn't quite get what he stands for: can you help me this?

  • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:45PM (#46252543)

    For those of you not familiar with Aus politics...

    A mainstream conspiracy theory is that News Corp promoted regime change at last year's federal election due to the previous policy on a National Broadband Network. Conservatives successfully argued that the only people needing the bandwidth of a fibre-optic network would be downloaders of illegally-sourced movies. So with ageing copper ADSL, the only hope of accessing 2160i content in the next two decades would be through Murdoch's cable service.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      It's not really a conspiracy when the proof of a concerted campaign is splashed on the front page nearly every day for two or three years.
      • by jonwil (467024)

        Anyone who thinks that Rupert Murdoch using his Australian media empire to influence politics in this country is something that has only recently happened clearly knows nothing about the relationship between Murdoch and politics in this country.

        Murdoch has been using the Australian newspaper to influence politics in this country in his favor right from the very first issue.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          I only meant the most recent campaign. It's also not just in Australia, he likes to play similar games in the UK and USA too.
  • We're going to try it again even though anyone who knows about IT has said the internet is designed to route around exactly this sort of problem. But, there is money to be spent on it, so that counts as job creation.

    What will Clarke and Dawe say?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Come on Aussies! Your ancestors fought Crocodiles, Spiders, and Aboriginals so that you would have a reasonable amount of "freedom" on your prison continent. What would Mel Gibson think of you now? Now imagine Mel with his face painted blue, and he's riding around on a Wallaby, and he's instructing you to march to Sydney, your capital.

    Mel (with an Irish accent):

    "You are not slaves to the American media machine! You are better than that! Hollywood doesn't benefit us! We gave them Mad Max, and they gave us Sp

  • My Dear Antipodean Friends,

    Please stop taking advice from Americans, or that horrible cable lich of yours, and try electing somewhat less dangerous animals to office. Maybe one of your horrid spiders, with the lethal venom and all the hideous staring eyes. It may have somewhat draconian positions on voter envenomation; but I assure you that it will be substantially stronger on civil liberties and copyright issues.
  • Why is everyone in such a rush to spend huge wads of money and violate privacy to protect American Copyright industry interests? When will the world stand up to the US?

    Seems to me that simple proxy or encryption usage will prevent this anyways. Don't the Aussies have better things to spend money on, like sourcing more fresh water or expanding internet coverage? Seems priorities are screwy if they are willing to go through all of this effort. I guess the corruption knows no boarders.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Why is everyone in such a rush to spend huge wads of money and violate privacy to protect American Copyright industry interests

      It gets written into trade agreements. There's leaks about current negotiations and a lot of articles about it in past negotiations where the agreements have been published. Personally I think it's due to rampant bribery, OK then "lobbying", of the US government officials that draw up proposals for such agreements.

    • To me this begs the question: what if the site is using a reverse HTTP proxy (HAproxy or the like) to prevent DDoS? They can just changing to different services (in countries where hosts don't give a f**k), and change their IPs.

      What if they just buy a bunch of IPv4 addresses? That shit is cheap for another year or so.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Think back to the Vietnam war protests. It started with a few 10's, 100's of students and then with conscription led to
      Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      Once the upper middle class court cases start and very expensive, well educated Australian legal teams go to work on any new laws - the laws will be shown to be legal junk or more people in the public will start to ask questions.
      No amount of ASIO/police infiltration, tame gov press, internet sock puppets can keep n
  • by Sasayaki (1096761) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:48PM (#46252777)

    I'm a self-employed fiction writer, and an Australian, my answer to this is:

    No. Fuck off.

    My longer answer is:

    Why copyright infringement, and why Hollywood? Why do they deserve protection?

    I'm David Adams. I've written and published 30+ books across various pen names and platforms, including compendiums, omnibuses, etc. I self-publish and it's been my livelihood for 17 months. I'm no Hugh Howey but I do okay.

    Every single time that copyright infringement comes up, it's always in the context of Hollywood. Indie writers, singers, artists, producers... we never get a single mention. It's always all about Hollywood. Every time a tariff is discussed, a new law is proposed, it's always protecting a US industry explicitly. I would never see any money from any of the protection schemes suggested by my elected representatives, and if there's not direct funding involved, the suggested courses of action would only ever hurt me.

    My questions for Mr. Brandis, not that he gives a flying fuck about me, are:

    - Why Hollywood? Why are you not helping out our local artists? Is it because we don't donate flaming dump-trucks full of money to your re-election campaigns, and if so, don't you feel that you're actively selling out your local entertainment industries? Shouldn't you be representing *my* interests?
    - Why are you focusing on copyright infringement, something I give zero fucks about and even actively encourage? if you don't buy my book, I'd rather you got it from The Pirate Bay than passed on it, and I make lots of books free to encourage their proliferation anyway. Why fix something that's not broken?
    - As TFS and TFA indicate, this power is sweeping and applies to a lot more than just copyright. The last time the Federal Government tried this, under the banner of child pornography, it was shown (when the list was inevitably leaked) that many more websites were being blocked than simply child fiddling. Innocuous, offensive (but legal), personal grudges... the works. I struggle to believe that this time would be any different, and such blocks are trivial to bypass anyway. Why would you support a system that's fundamentally broken?

    • by kestasjk (933987) *

      .. content creators (a.k.a. Hollywood)

      I don't think this is / will be specifically aimed at Hollywood (we Australian's do have a small film industry).. I think that was just a rabble-rousing association made by someone who wants to whip up opposition.

      That you're a content creator who wants his work protected and you oppose it because of an implication it's for Hollywood shows how effective this tactic is.


      FYI I am also a content creator (software dev), but since I write business software that isn't distributed and my personal software i

  • Is any part of this effort to censor the Internet driven by the will of a majority of citizens? How about the effort to create massive surveillance regimes? Is that supported by the consent of the governed?

    Make no mistake, censorship is a mechanism for redistributing wealth and power upward. That seems to be the reason the governments of superpowers do anything these days.

    And also, be aware that if the merger of Comcast and Time Warner goes through, it will have the same effect. For the same reasons.

    • by T-Bucket (823202)

      It's cute that you think that ANYTHING done by governments these days is driven by the will of a majority of citizens.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Is any part of this effort to censor the Internet driven by the will of a majority of citizens?

      Nope, but this is par for the course with the Liberal government (note big L, they're actually our conservatives, well our bigger conservatives, much like the US we dont have any real left wing parties to speak of).

      Since taking office on the slimmest of majorities that was only granted due to a series of dodgy preference deals, the Abbott government has been acting like they've been crowned kings and pursuing their own agenda regardless of what people want. They've started conducting a military operation

  • I can never imagine a day where voting in a Liberal government will be a good idea. Just thinking about the proportion of Australians who could actually bring themselves to do so makes me sick. Friends don't let friends vote Liberal.
  • Did the Australian government stop to ask why they might be pirating so much? Perhaps the country has gotten a little tired of paying $100 (AUS) a month watch American TV shows 6 months to a year after their release.

    Lack of legal access to content at a fair price in this globalised world isn't working. Australia is a diverse nation, I have friends living there and I'm from Britain. I would imagine that they're getting annoyed having to wait all the time for new releases. I've heard of serie

  • You are dreaming if you think censorship is not already happening. On return from another country a friend tried to access sites he routinely used in China and found they are blocked in Canada. Freedom of speech is dead.
  • To insure that people have access to great entertainment, we insure that the creators of great entertainment are fairly compensated - so we must destroy the greatest means of distributing content ever invented.
    ------
    Or, we could design a system of tagging content that allows it's distribution to be monitored and recorded, making it easy for creators of edited content to incorporate a fair tagging of how much of others' content went into their work. Any new content for which the creator wishes to be paid wou

  • It's probably worth noting that at one point (and probably still), Australia was the number one downloader of TV shows in the world.

    That being said, we're constantly delayed waiting for current seasons of shows to be played on our free-to-air stations.

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