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Censorship Government The Internet News Politics

Nation-Wide Internet Censorship Proposed For Australia 424

sparky1240 writes "While Americans are currently fighting the net-neutrality wars, spare a thought for the poor Australians — The Australian government wants to implement a nation-wide 'filtering' scheme to keep everyone safe from the nasties on the internet, with no way of opting out: 'Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material. ... According to preliminary trials, the best Internet content filters would incorrectly block about 10,000 Web pages from one million."
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Nation-Wide Internet Censorship Proposed For Australia

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  • by Greymoon ( 834879 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:05AM (#25410049)
    Apparently from all this 'filtering' news I have heard recently, governments/corporations have discovered that the internet and it's corresponding freedoms is something to 'save the children from', be feared and controlled ASAP. Stop electing these people, people.
  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by srjh ( 1316705 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:05AM (#25410057)

    This is very real, and very scary. []

    I'm not sure why you think we're immune from this stupidity in Australia, or why Labor would be any better in this regard. Australia's censorship laws are some of the worst in the Western world.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by davros-too ( 987732 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:20AM (#25410123) Homepage
    I don't know if its true but crikey ran with this earlier today: []
  • Re:WTF?! (Score:1, Informative)

    by skegg ( 666571 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:22AM (#25410143)

    can anyone with sources verify if this is real?

    Sadly, it is []


    working with Australian Internet Service Providers (ISP) to make a filtered internet service available to all homes, schools and public internet points accessible by children-a laboratory trial of ISP filtering, followed by a real world live pilot, will inform implementation

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:28AM (#25410171)

    Wrong on at least two counts. IWF isn't the same thing at all, because it doesn't filter anybody's content, it just provides a hotline for reporting illegal content, and secondly it doesn't focus entirely on child porn. Had you followed your own link you would have seen that they are concerned with "Child sexual abuse content hosted worldwide and criminally obscene and incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK".

    AC because modding

  • Re:10,0000? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bundaegi ( 705619 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:29AM (#25410177)
    If you are Korean, this makes perfect sense as they have a numeral system based around 10^4. "man" stands for 10000 (10^4). 10,0000 would be "sib man". By the way, listen to a Korean convert a big number (say a house price) from a 10^4 based system to a 10^3 one and hilarity ensues...
  • Re:WTF?! (Score:2, Informative)

    by AlanNew ( 981673 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @06:40AM (#25410223)

    I might expect this from Liberals - but from Labor?

    Remember that it was Kim Beasley that first came up with this a few years ago

  • Re:Freenet? (Score:3, Informative)

    by nyctopterus ( 717502 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:00AM (#25410317) Homepage
    I've played around with freenet. I don't know how secure it is, but in any case that was irrelevant, because it was unusably slow (on my 2mb up/20mb down ADSL2 connection). And we're not talking 56k slow here, we're talking 5-10 minutes for a page of text with a couple of little pictures. It's meant to get faster the longer you leave it on. It didn't in the four days I had it running.
  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MindKata ( 957167 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:16AM (#25410425) Journal
    "Coherent arguments against filtering also greatly welcome."

    I would start with Article 12 from this... []
    i.e. "Article 12 : No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

    As for governments trying this sort, the UK is probably in the lead :( ... []

    Its interesting how so called free countries are rushing towards censorship, control and out right Big Brother, faster than so called bad countries. The power seekers in each country seem to be treating technology as their dream come true. They can use it to fight for powers previous generations of power seeking leaders couldn't have dreamed possible.

    We all need to speak out against this sort of thing before its to late... []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:20AM (#25410445)

    It's not quite a perfect match, but RMS's The Right To Read [] explains quite a bit.

    You just *know* that tools for circumventing censorship will be made illegal- much like tools for circumventing DRM- and it's not the courts who are going to be deciding what's OK and what isn't. It'll be pollies and censors, and you CANNOT trust them with the power to block criticism of their policies online. I'm just waiting for the Ruddbot to announce his new Ministry of Truth and Ministry of Love.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:22AM (#25410453) Homepage Journal

    Also, with a superquick Google not turning up anything obvious, does anyone have links to good case studies where other governments have attempted something like this with disastrous results?

    You're looking for the wrong kind of evidence. What you want is proof that it works....

    ... And works too well.

    Everybody has something to hide, something they'd rather not share with their neighbours, their colleagues, even their chums. Make it clear that all of this will be visible to their government. Government censorship necessarily means that they can monitor everything.

    Then work the problem from the bottom up. This is how Canada's anti-DMCA movement has done it: With loud, credible voices like Michael Geist backed by legions of well informed and activist people. It's no accident that the Canadian bill has died on the order table at least 3 times so far.

    It's hard to imagine how a measure like this would be possible without enabling legislation. Get people organised, inform them about the exposure this creates for them as individuals, then target those few senators that you need to keep this from ever seeing the light of day.

  • Re:Hypocrisy anyone? (Score:4, Informative)

    by kaos07 ( 1113443 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:28AM (#25410495)

    100% right. It was most noticeable during the Olympics.

    During the Olympics, the Australian media were in uproar about the "Great Firewall of China". Being a Slashdot reader, I knew all about it but for most people the fact that there's mandatory internet censorship in China was a completey new and abhorrent idea. What they apparently didn't know was that our government was actually testing how to do the exact same thing whilst they were banging on about how bad China is.

    I wrote many letters to all the papers on that very topic but alas, they were all ignored.

  • by kaos07 ( 1113443 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @07:30AM (#25410507)
    100,000 / 1 million is 10%, not 1%.
  • Re:WTF?! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @08:26AM (#25410867)

    I'm still hoping that technical infeasibility and resistance from ISPs will win out, but it's a worry that it has gone this far.

    As far as feasability, (and probably ISP resistance) are concerned, your hopes are in vain. This technology has been in place for a few years in the UK, also under the name 'cleanfeed'. It's *not* mandatory but AFAIK all the major ISPs are using it 'voluntarily' and they probably decided that this was better than having the gutter press brand them 'friends of the pervs' if they failed to do so.
    On the (slightly) positive side, although my ISP (Virgin Media) apparently uses it, I've never seen any evidence of its presence. Also, I've never heard of anyone having problems or false positives (which obviously doesn't mean this doesn't occur). Also they *don't* try to block TOR or open proxies.

  • Re:Freenet? (Score:3, Informative)

    by svallarian ( 43156 ) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `nairallavs'> on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:22AM (#25411339)

    Tor is your friend. Much, much faster than freenet ever was. []

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by master_p ( 608214 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:23AM (#25411359)

    And that's a reason many people believe that 9-11 was not orchestrated by Muslims, but by the secret services of western countries.

  • Re:Sich Heil! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ubercam ( 1025540 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:09AM (#25412731)

    I believe you meant to say:

    Sieg Heil zum neuen Fuehrer...


  • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:49AM (#25413387)

    Back when the 2nd amendment was created, that was EXACTLY its intent (even though it ws not publicly acknowledged as such). In order to establish a stronger federal government than had been allowed under the Articles of Confederation and get the new Constitution ratified, the Federalists had to give the public and states some assurance that the new government would not set itself up as a new quasi-monarchy. One of those assurances was that the government could not divest states and citizenry of the weapons they had used to overthrow British control a few years earlier (an implied right to rebel if the new government proved as heavy-handed as the British government).

    Now practically, it's true that it would be a lot more difficult to rebel today than in the late 18th century with mere firearms. But if there are enough people equipped with small arms in a guerrilla insurgency, they can hopelessly mire down any government attempting to control them (just look at what simple insurgents were able to do in Vietnam and Iraq with just rifles and simple explosives). Tanks, large bombs, and airpower are overpowering in conventional warfare, but not nearly as useful against a massive citizen-based insurgency.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:26PM (#25414017) Journal

    I've seen a lot of posts from you, I guess it's your sig that I remember. Anyway, you're pretty hard line, I'd consider you as someone at the extremities on most topics. Don't be offended though, it's just an observation gleaned from a few hundred lines of text and subject to stereotype and various inaccuracies.

    If you check GP's posting history - he is a fundamentalist Muslim. So don't be surprised.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:2, Informative)

    by wifiwaves ( 1093635 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:33PM (#25414989)
    It is south of the equator...everything is reversed.
  • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mibus ( 26291 ) on Saturday October 18, 2008 @12:46AM (#25422035) Homepage

    1% is wishful thinking. []

    "# Overblocking (the proportion of content that was blocked that should not have been blocked) was between 1% and 6%, with most falling under 3%. The median overblocking rate was significantly improved from the previous trial."

    Read the other dot-points at the end - performance hit was between 2% and over 75%... All to block "between 88% and 97%" of "bad" content.

    Somehow, the tradeoffs don't seem worth it to me.

    (Disclaimer: personal opinion; I work at an Australian ISP; ...)

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.