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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 Jacques Chester ( 151652 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:48AM (#25592505)

    The technical arguments are not counter-productive. If filtering is technically unviable and the government tries to proceed anyway, then it exposes with great clarity that the motives are not about filtering per se.

  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:57AM (#25592543) Journal

    That is exactly what I was thinking. This arms race can escalate pretty damned fast, and at little cost to the user's fighting the filtering. Every time the Australian government has to rebuild or reinforce their great firewall/filter it will cost them money.

    Judging from what they decided to implement, it's painfully clear that they won't have the savvy to keep up with the arms race. In effect they have created a great money pit. Some wise Australians should watch to see where the contract money goes and how much is sunk into this steaming pit.

    I'm sure some enterprising tech savvy Australian already has set up a tunnel to some other country and is slowly spidering the Internet to see what is being filtered. Hopefully this/these person(s) will find a lot of false positives with which to complain vociferously about the problem.

    There are likely to be quite a few sites willing to host the comparison results from such activity including caches of pages that are filtered, which should in turn make many of them viewable again inside Australia's filter system. OOoooops, guess that might be illegal? hmmmmmm Wonder if anyone will do it?

  • by digitalchinky ( 650880 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @01:20AM (#25592619)

    Michael Malone personally banned me from iinet after I said I didn't want his spam sent to my iinet email address any longer. According to him I was the only one out of his entire customer base who complained about the advertising. He even drove up country to come visit me at my home because, in his words, I was 'causing them a lot of costly problems' (In the form of a simple 'opt-in' switch to continue receiving their corporate propaganda)

    Meh, I call bullshit to this little pony show video anyway. The ISP's will cry a river saying it'll never work, the government will say 'ok, we'll pay for it then you frigging cry babies.'

    The end result will be the federal government shoving in a few Sun boxes at public expense in various little choke points across the country, the ISP's keep their mouths shut about it all, and ASIO suddenly has a lot less need for their employees to be chained to federal crime authority as they run around swinging warrants and subpoenas - DSD will then recall all their worker drones from the ASIO basement, and life goes on. New overlord laws are set in motion never to be repealed, government gets to spy on its populous and live happily ever after.

    I no longer live in Australia.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @01:37AM (#25592679) Homepage Journal

    All ISP traffic used to go through the University of Queensland's Prentice Hall. The ASIO office there was the biggest in the state. They're mandated to monitor all communications in and out of the country. Only naive people think they don't.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:02AM (#25592789) Homepage

    What is really odd about all this, is it was launched by what is now the opposition party, the Liberal party (think of a fairly even mix between the US libertarian party and the Democrats, Australia doesn't really have anything like the Republicans except for fringe political parties). So normally you would expect them to back away from this, one can alone think that the proprietary creators of the filtering have done a truly spectacular and likely very 'generous' snow job, just think millions of licences, annual update costs, filtering updates, and the inevitable targeted biases in accidental filtering.

    There seems to be this growing paranoia amongst those that perceive themselves as the ruling class, that the internet is truly taking their power away and redistributing amongst the masses. The reality is the mots radical and destructive ideas tend to filter themselves out of the internet through lack of 'genuine' interests, sure a lot of people will review them for a bit of a chuckle but that is all they get out of it. Filtering is pointless at the general access level, keep it out in the open, where the problem can be readily identified and where laws are being broken, the perpetrators prosecuted. Burying underground solves no problem and can leave the general public a bit naive when it comes to some of the problems out there that they via their government need to deal with.

    You don't block people from viewing hate messages on the internet, you simply prosecute those who are inciting the violence and so controlling the guilty and not the innocent.

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:07AM (#25592815)
    maybe i'm wrong, and Australians are more receptive to the voice of reason than Americans are. but then again, a rational society would not be facing this dilemma, since they wouldn't put anyone in power who'd even be considering this kind of nationwide internet censorship. i mean, the Chinese at least have an excuse since they don't really elect their government officials. but Australia?

    Unfortunately, America doesn't have a total monopoly on stupidity. Australia didn't really have much choice at the last election. The incumbent Prime Minister was an outright fascist who was so in love with himself that he refused to accept the value of anyone else's point of view, and his replacement is an insufferable narrow-minded suburban prig with as much imagination as one might expect from the glorified parking attendant that he is.

    Sure, the Prime Minister's office will no doubt spin this any way it likes, but when it comes down to it, the policy is still driven by the so-called "moral panic" imperative. We never voted for internet censorship (that idea wasn't mentioned in the run-up to the election) but that won't stop them trying to get it through.

    The silver lining is that they have to sweet-talk a lot of MPs to get the policy through Parliament, so there's hope that they might still get the kick in the pants that they deserve.
  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @04:44AM (#25593337)
    funny it's anti gun types like you who go straight for the do as we say type policies. you are also always the ones claiming to speak for EVERYONE.

    has the last 10 years of anti gun policy in this country lowered the murder rate? [] i think not

    there is an old saying "an armed society is a polite society". perhaps this is why the streets are full of little thugs, because there is no danger of anyone fighting back and the cops are laughably under resourced. and no before you go off on some tangent about the wild west, it's not gun battles in the street that stop crimminals, the mere fact it MIGHT happen to be them that gets blown away that stops them.

  • by mabinogi ( 74033 ) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:18AM (#25594555) Homepage

    They need the Greens too, and they're not interested.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:21AM (#25594573)

    I've lived in parts of the US that are most pro-gun (ie, Texas), and in parts of the US that are most anti-gun (ie, Massachusetts). Areas of the US with gun bans or excessive restrictions generally see higher levels of violent crime. Areas that enact shall-issue license laws see lower violent crime. However, removing legally owned guns does make the victim more vulnerable. This is reflected not just in the murder rate, but for other types of violent crime as well (rape, armed robbery, etc).

    Violent crime is not deterred by gun bans. Removing legally owned guns does not remove the underlying reasons for the violence. Either the perpetrator obtains a gun illegally, or they resort to another weapon of choice. I live in a US city whose police chief has declared an all-out war on private gun ownership. The result? Knife crime is through the roof. Their reaction? Let's ban the knives! [] The proposed law would ban knives with a blade over 1.5 inches.

    From a city Councilor:

    We have a zero tolerance for these weapons in our schools and now we need to extend it out into the community.

    Mind you, this same "zero-tolerance" policy in the schools has been a miserable failure.

    From the District Attorney:

    We need to treat knife violence as serious as violence with guns because it is a more personal crime and sometimes can be more lethal. (Emphasis mine)

    As long as we disarm the sheep, the wolves will prosper.

    Posting AC because I have already modded in this thread.

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