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Australia's ISPs Speak Out Against Filtering 262

daria42 writes "The leaders of three of Australia's largest internet service providers — Telstra Media's Justin Milne, iiNet's Michael Malone and Internode's Simon Hackett — have, in video interviews with over the past few months, detailed technical, legal and ethical reasons why ISP-level filtering won't work. Critics of the policy also say that users will have no way to know what's being filtered."
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Australia's ISPs Speak Out Against Filtering

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:21AM (#25592353)

    I take comfort in the fact that once typical people are aware their internet is being filtered and monitored they will start blaming every internet slow down and disconnection on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:29AM (#25592393)

    You didn't say anything when they took your guns. You won't say anything when they take your voices, either.

  • by Jacques Chester ( 151652 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:38AM (#25592451)
    You have managed to make Telstra into one of the good guys. This is an unnatural state of affairs. Reality will snap back to normal, and as the man defying it, you may be in for some serious harm.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:39AM (#25592455) Homepage Journal

    The purpose of this filtering is not to keep child porn away from pedophiles. It's not to keep hard-core porn away from people who wanna whack off. The purpose is to stop Mum and Dad and the kids from stumbling upon this stuff. Sure, if they can stop people who want this stuff from getting it, they'll do that too, but they're happy that they've put some effort into stopping it. Having Customs officers review the contents of video tapes does not stop people from getting this material through the mail, but it does stop some of this material from getting through the mail.. and the slowdown caused by Customs officers is considered acceptable.

    Filtering websites with this material is easy. You just force the ISPs to blacklist certain addresses from their DNS, and hire some puritans to maintain the blacklist. No, it isn't perfect, but neither are Customs officers. And it won't even result in much of a slow down.

    These technical arguments are being raised by people who are against filtering in principle. They are against censorship and, frankly, so am I! The technical arguments are being raised because these people don't want to enter into a censorship debate. Why? Because they perceive that this ship has already sailed. We've had censorship in Australia for decades, and arguing now that censorship is wrong and the government shouldn't be doing it, is considered by many to be futile.

    I disagree. I believe we should be speaking out against censorship. I believe we should be ignoring censorship laws and fighting to have them overturned.

    NC = censorship. End censorship now!

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:47AM (#25592495)

    Just like DRM, all this filtering will do is cause trouble with the honest users.

    The real criminals will just use a VPN, perhaps a VPN over port 80 so it can't be distinguished from SSL traffic without deep packet inspection.

    Does the Aussie government want to try to play this arms race? There is little to be gained, assuming they want to remain an open society.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @01:24AM (#25592627)

    And yet Slashdoters are screaming for government regulation of the Internet, via the Net Neutrality.
    The problem with that is Net Neutrality is the spoonful of sugar to make the regulation go down.

    Government regulation for net neutrality will allow government regulation of what you can do or watch/read/write.
    It will allow regulation of political opinion, much like the Fairness Doctrine.

    Censorship, and you're screaming for it.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:12AM (#25592837) Journal
    "People should ask for a personal refunds from the morons who devised this scheme"

    IaaA and yes this is a complete waste since there is already an ISP sponsered option for filters and everyone knows this mandatory crap will get nowhere. KRuddy is pandering to this guy [] who (under certain circumstances) holds the balance of power in the senate, this dick sells his vote to whoever will "do something about the internet" - so KRuddy is doing "something" in order to gain Fielding's support to get certain more serious legislation passed through the senate. KRudy and Conroy are doing their best to weaken Fielding via "Conroy's" plan. The ISP's are already foaming at the mouth so I would say it seems to be working and come next election the senator may get booted out and the FF party may just find themselves in a political desert, it's just like the simarly rediculous "One Nation" party - it's highly likely many of their supporters are the same nuts under a different flag.

    The mandatory thing will come to naught (as it has done every other time for the last 10-15yrs), the money is being wasted and will continue to be wasted by both major parties in an effort to appease and curry favour from a pro-censorship minority that, no matter how irksome, do have a right to be heard (now that's irony!).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:41AM (#25592917)

    Why do so many American think that their government can be easily overthrown by a rabble with guns? If it all goes downhill, either the army will be on the people's side (meaning that it will be them providing the fire-power for any coup), it will be split (civilian militia would not likely do well against even half an army), or it will be on the government's side. I'm not sure how deluded you'd have to be to think that an a couple of boom-sticks could take on armoured helicopters, tanks, bombs (both nuclear and regular), planes, sophisticated tactics and organisation, armoured vehicles, high explosives, heavy machine guns and snipers, but I can assure you that for all the good any civilian owned arms would do, you may as well have rocks and knives. The fact that you believe you have any sort of military power is more dangerous than not being under any illusions of such - you think you have a bargaining chip that doesn't exist, so you'll more happily go along with something you disagree with, because you think the government fears you and won't abuse it's power. But if it makes you feel better, please continue clinging to your gun - I'm sure you can single-handedly destroy the army.

  • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:47AM (#25592935) Journal

    "also say that users will have no way to know what's being filtered."

    Well jeeze! Isn't that the intention? Why would the government want anybody "watching the watchman"? Supreme authority is the preferred idea here, no? "Turn off that camera!"

  • by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:58AM (#25592987)

    You didn't say anything when they took your guns.

    some of us were too young to have any say in it at the time (1990) and while even more strict and limiting laws have been applied since then, the general public's view of firearms is only what they see in cop shows and action movies

    It's those views that really harm shooting as a sport, and I know people who want all firearms in the country banned except for police.

    Their view is nobody needs them, nobody needs to go rock climbing either, but should we ban it because some people like to be idiots and hurt themselves every few years? I have no qualms about requiring licenses for people who own firearms, hell even the whole requiring a safe over x kg or permanently bolted to a building foundation, but some of the limits are just too much.

    as an example, I've always wanted a walther ppk, something just reeks of class about it, anyway I have no chance in hell of ever owning or using one in Australia, because it's 'too small'

    granted, my other favourite firearm is justified in the limiting of civilians having access to, the aug steyr, it's a semi/fully automatic assault rifle, however being in the military solved that problem. I'll never own one, but using and practising with them all the time is nice.

    Former prime minister John Howards irrational fear of firearms was clearly evident on one of the few times he went to speak to concerned firearm owners, he wore a bulletproof vest...

    that pretty-much sums it up I guess. But the biggest problem is the general public's lack of knowledge of firearms, and lack of experience, that which people don't know they fear.

  • by doktorjayd ( 469473 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @03:58AM (#25593201) Homepage Journal


    the _vast_ majority of us didnt want guns fucking over our stable society as they do in the USA.

    alas, the proposed filtering scheme will not ( aside from slowdown of networks ) affect the _vast_ majority of people at all - and the ones that it seems to be intended to foil ( kiddie porn fiends, copyright fiends ) will very quickly and easily be able to work around the filters.

    i've written to the relevant senator here [] ( and of course got no reply ), trying to point things like ssh tunnels and proxy servers, but to no avail. ( not to mention https or any other transport layer security schemes )

    it should also be noted that the project was started by the previous government, and looks more to be the relevant body (ACMA - australian communications and media authority ) following through on the original direction.

    all up, it is pretty sinister as it really does imply someone will be watching over what you see, and i presume there will be a need to capture and analyse all request and response data in order to let someone consult a little red book of sanctioned content.

    what is really obvious in all of it is that the people directing this really dont have much of a grasp on how the internet works.

    in my comment to the minister, i even used a car analogy: to prevent the spread of unauthorised material, police will be required to stop and inspect every vehicle on every trip, and to keep a detailed inventory of everything on board.

  • by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @06:26AM (#25593661)

    I think the previous two posters are correct. Here's how it will be reported by the television media:

    >>> Australia's ISPs Speak Out Against Filtering

    "Once again the mega-corporations are putting profit before morality, said Politician Joe Smith. Added his collegue Senator Sarah Jane: "What do they care if your children are exposed to pornography, or child molesters post their smut online? We need this filtering in order to protect our youngest citizens from corruption, and we can not allow corporate greed to derail us from out goal."

    Our reporters than spoke to a few average people on the street, including a mother of two: "I don't know much about the internet, but I know I don't want that filth coming in my home! I'm glad our leaders are acting to stop it." And a businessman: "Clearly we can't allow open access; the government needs to regulate for the benefit of all." Later we spoke to a college student who felt the internet should not be censored: "Yo dude, don't be censoring my internet, that's bogus!"


    You can't count on either politicians or the television media to do accurate reporting. They will twist the events in order to fit into their own preconceived notions. What Babylon 5's "The Illusion of Truth" for an example of this.

  • by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @06:36AM (#25593697) []
    The hated whiskey tax was repealed in 1803, having been largely unenforceable outside of Western Pennsylvania, and even there never having been collected with much success.

    They ended up getting what they wanted, even though they could not prevail militarily. Similar results were obtained in Australia from the Eureka Stockade [] where they were overcome, but within a year had achieved most of their goals, the leader even being elected into the Victorian Legislative Assembly (one of their grievances was not having the right to vote, taxation without representation).

    Resistance to the government doesn't have to mean "fight to the death of the last man standing". Even the Magna Carta didn't happen as a result of deposing the King, this is something you ought to know about for someone who claims that people with a different view to you lack knowledge of history.
  • by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @07:25AM (#25593839)

    funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s).

    or rather, the more stable people who want firearms know that anyone who speaks up about it is automatically regarded as at best a bit out there, at worst psychopath by people, as you clearly demonstrate.

    I already know nothing I say will ever be taken into consideration by an anti-firearm person, because I will have already been written off as one, no matter how good the arguments are.

    as for the 'sport' of it - i've always thought it a stretch at best to call it that - how much of a sweat do you work up pulling a trigger?

    None to perhaps a little, but how much sweat do you work up playing chess? should it also be disregarded completely as a sport also?

    If you think shooting is so easy, assuming your australian, try competing against one of our olympic athletes in their class of shooting, if you can beat them you will moot my argument that it is not a sport. Just because you don't break a sweat doesn't mean it can't take tremendous amounts of skill to do extremely well.

    ... and if you dont do what i say i'll shoot you. thats pretty much why the _vast_ majority of australians dont want guns in our society - there simply isnt a need, and the risk that a fuckwit with a short fuse and a .22 can kill with little more than pulling a trigger far outweighs the benefits of ' ohhh but i really want a gun'.

    come on now, that's just fear mongering, we all know that the 'bad guys' don't follow the laws anyway, all you are doing is taking it away from people who obey the law, and, if you think it lessens the availability of said firearms to people who want them, I sincerely disagree, it is not terribly hard to acquire an illegal firearm, but most people have the morals to not do so.

    The only reason I don't own the ppk I mentioned I'd like is for moral reasons, letting the government make everyone who likes shooting be a criminal is fine with them, don't let them have their way.

    Perhaps your wondering why I still argue even though I know my opinion will be discounted by the anti-firearm people, it is simply because by completely giving in and not objecting clearly and concisely why for the reasons they bring up, the people who want to take our freedom to enjoy a sport away win.

    That is all from me, I look forward to your reply, it has been rather long so if I was unclear on anything please ask :)

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:12AM (#25593985) Journal

    thats pretty much why the _vast_ majority of australians dont want guns in our society - there simply isnt a need,

    And the vast majority of Australians are so apathetic that they don't recognise *why* there is a need. The series of laws that were passed after Port Arthur and justified as useful for the 2000 Olympics have yet to be sunsetted. As they are no longer neccessary is an extremely unsettling development considering Australia does not have a bill of rights like UK or US citizens but, 'she'll be right mate'(???).

    That's why I credit the designers of the American constitution, they knew that the constitution was flawed enough let it slip into despotism, that's why Americans are armed. At the same time the rampant stupidity that is allowed with American weapons laws is the reason it needs some regulation and review.

    funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s).

    So did you write to a politician protesting any of the terrorism laws that were passed? I actually think Australians would be better off with a few more weapons because our laws were very pragmatic about the way firearms licences were issued and, therefore, who could own a firearm. I don't recall the massacres that occured in Australia were conducted with 'legal' firearms, and Port Arthur has some uncomfortable facts connected to it. So considering that the illegal firearms used in those terrible events were a policing issue not a licencing issue, the premise of deregistering firearms owners in Australia was a political issue.

    Of course, once you learn how to handle firearms you respect them, and are very careful with the grave responsibility you posess. It's the extreme of any safety based culture that you find in industry.

    as for the 'sport' of it - i've always thought it a stretch at best to call it that - how much of a sweat do you work up pulling a trigger?

    Hunting is a skill that goes beyond shooting a target and being a sport.

    The ecology of firearms in Australia is the protection of native species. Humans introduced foxes, feral cats and dogs, pigs, goats, buffallo, camels, horses and rabbits that decimate the native population of animals, well over 500,000 species. Yellow tailed rock wallabys (a small, and very cute version of a kangaroo) don't stand a chance against a 60kg feral cat that some careless individual decided to irresponsibly dump in the bush once upon a time.

    So it's also stewardship of this continent to protect native species by balancing out the damage humans have done by introducing those species in the first place.

    If a farmer has to kill the animals he raised because they were severely burnt in a bushfire a firearm is the most merciful way possible. Below a certain calibre of weapon you are just prolonging the suffering, for the farmer as well. All of that takes skill.

    I doubt that events now unfolding in the congo would be the same if thier population was armed. Firearms, owned, maintained and used responsibly with the proper training represent more than just a hunters weapon or a farmers tool. It also represents a long forgotten aspect of the civil rights movement that was maginalised by the 'shooters party' clumsy attempt to retain ownership of thier firearms in Australia.

    An armed population is a symbolic counterpoint to a government becoming a dictatorship. It also says that government should fear law abiding citizens, not the other way around.

  • by Canberra Bob ( 763479 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:01AM (#25594487) Journal

    "... and if you dont do what i say i'll shoot you."

    Where in the previous post was this ever mentioned? So you have made up something the previous poster never said, then use your made up statement as proof that gun owners are unstable. I would laugh if I did not see this used time and time again.

    "funnily, the more an individual wants guns the less stable they come across - furthering the argument against them having said weapon(s)."

    Here we go again

    There was nothing unstable in that previous post. And yet again we have a repeat of the usual. Make up something about the previous post that was never there.

    Read the study by Melbourne University. To quote the abstract of the study "The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths"

    "The results of these tests suggest that the NFA did
    not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates."

  • by afxgrin ( 208686 ) on Sunday November 02, 2008 @11:47AM (#25602843)

    "Once again the mega-corporations are putting profit before morality, said Politician Joe Smith. Added his collegue Senator Sarah Jane: "What do they care if your children are exposed to pornography, or child molesters post their smut online? We need this filtering in order to protect our youngest citizens from corruption, and we can not allow corporate greed to derail us from out goal."

    LOL corporate greed. These people are hilarious. This isn't like TV, where you go to a channel and you get content delivered to you. The Internet basically gives you what you want - information - and if you go looking for corruption, you will likely find it. Instead, this Aussie government wants to piss away tax dollars trying to control the multi-tentacled information beast.

    Oh no, parents needing to be with their children when they use a computer, having to make sure they aren't looking at pornography! Oh no, people needing to take at least minimal care of their children.

    Holy shit, I think I get it now ... the Australian government should spend BILLIONS trying to regulate the Internet, so that parents can simply plop their children infront of a computer, and not have to interact with them any longer. So that their children will never be exposed to the interaction of the body parts that basically provided their means of existence!

    The child molester issue is worth fighting, but trying to censor content is a giant waste of time and money. No one likes the idea of adults trying to lure children.

    Maybe someone can find some dirt on Mr. Joe Smith, see what mega-corporations he's ok with making a profit. Such as ... the recording and movie industry, who already want content control ...

    And if you want to make sure your kids aren't lured in by random internet creepies, don't let them use public chat rooms, exchange private email with strangers, don't let them talk using in-game VoIP ... the level of censorship required to provide 99.98% protection against internet based sexual predators would be far too high (bankrupting any company implementing it), because they would need censors/monitors in every public chatroom, on every teamspeak session, in every online video game ... good luck with that.

    How long must we wait before most politicians are reasonably competent about these issues?

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.