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Nation-Wide Internet Censorship Proposed For Australia

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the unarmed-populace dept.

Censorship 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."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Always remember: (5, Funny)

cosmocain (1060326) | about 6 years ago | (#25410007)

Your local government knows best.

This bill was brought to you by your local censors.

WTF?! (5, Interesting)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 6 years ago | (#25410009)

Okay, seriously, can anyone with sources verify if this is real? I mean, I might expect this from Liberals - but from Labor? Who decides on the black list? What sort of appeals process is there going to be? Is there 24/7 tech support?

I want answers, damnit! I'm Aussie, and not used to fighting these sort of things - Americans, what's the best way forward to make my voice heard?!

Re:WTF?! (1)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 6 years ago | (#25410055)

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? Or, at least, they gave up? Coherent arguments against filtering also greatly welcome.

(Aside from China, I suppose!!!)

Re:WTF?! (5, Informative)

MindKata (957167) | about 6 years ago | (#25410425)

"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... []

Re:WTF?! (4, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | about 6 years ago | (#25410453)

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:WTF?! (5, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | about 6 years ago | (#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?! (1, Insightful)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 6 years ago | (#25410105)

Thanks for the link - very useful! Mod parent up.

Re:WTF?! (4, Funny)

vikstar (615372) | about 6 years ago | (#25410401)

Hmmm, I can't get to that link. It just says "Blocked by EFA".

Re:WTF?! (5, Funny)

plankrwf (929870) | about 6 years ago | (#25410067)

We are sorry, no appeal is possible. You see, in order to verify that your website - - is actually 'safe', we would have to visit it. However, as the black list is of the 'no opting out' type, we are unable to do so, as temporarely removing it from the black list is not an option: think of the children! Kind regards, your government.

Re:WTF?! (5, Interesting)

james.mcarthur (154849) | about 6 years ago | (#25410071)

You been living under a rock since the last election? It was a Rudd policy for ages. Now they're in power they're going to implement their scheme.

Have a look at [] for some more background.

Re:WTF?! (1)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 6 years ago | (#25410097)

Hey, don't get me wrong - I was one of those who saw it, disapproved, but knew I would opt out the second it came in. Still a ridiculous waste of money, but fine, whatever. Thinkofthechildren.

But not being able to opt out - that's new, AFIAKnew. Thanks for the link - very useful.

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410079)

The internet monitoring program was under trial when the liberals where in power. Labour is more socialist so one would more expect it more likely to be actually implemented by them.

Re:WTF?! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410081)

Why wouldn't you expect this from Labor? This is the party who made taking photos of the rehersal of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony illegal (for the greater good of course).

No, sorry, the Labor party is not about individual freedoms, far from it. Maybe you should read policy and have a think about who you are voting for next time.

Re:WTF?! (3, Insightful)

Whiteox (919863) | about 6 years ago | (#25410331)

There are other political parties out there that will fix the issues: Try the LDP: []

I'm sure I can get a policy statement from them if I try hard enough...

Re:WTF?! (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 6 years ago | (#25410393)

From the LDP Site:

Lifestyle Choices

Adults must be free to make their own decisions without interference by the government or requiring its approval. Adults are not like children and do not need anyone to make their choices for them. They can choose where to live, which job to take, where to go on holiday and what to do with their money, and live with the consequences. Similarly, they can choose their particular lifestyle including such things as how to live, whether to live alone or with others and who to live with.

You don't need to vote for a major party. Getting a libertarian senator into gov. will make a difference. And no, I'm not a member of the LDP.

Re:WTF?! (5, Insightful)

wrmrxxx (696969) | about 6 years ago | (#25410085)

It's a real plan alright. It was an election promise/threat made shortly before the federal election last year, but it got surprisingly little attention. At the time I figured it was just an empty attempt to look tougher than the Liberal party (with their taxpayer funded filters for everyone's PC) program, and I hoped it would go the way of most election promises. Here's an EFF article about this from the beginning of the year, including links to Stephen Conroy's media releases: [] .

My understanding is that this has progressed as far as some technology demonstrations. 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.

Re:WTF?! (5, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25410099)

Tell your legislator that you are watching them very closely on this issue, and if they vote in favor of it, they won't be your legislator for much longer, because you will organize a campaign to de-elect them in two, four, or however many years it takes. Add that you won't allow your right to free speech to be trampled. That written speech should NEVER be censored no matter what it might be, and that anybody who supports censorship of webpages deserves the label "book burner" and include a picture like so: []

Here in the States there are certain persons who want to block internet downloads of "Huckleberry Finn" because they think it's racist. Well, anybody who's actually read the book knows it is the exact opposite of racist, and in fact teaches a lesson about how blacks are no different than whites. Fortunately for us, our government agrees and does not censor Mark Twain's greatest novel.

Unfortunately for Aussies, your government doesn't have the common sense God granted a jackass. They are the 2000-era equivalent of book burners.

Re:WTF?! (2, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25410109)

>>>Tell your legislator

Actually don't write just yours. Write ALL of them. With actual letters if you can afford the postage.

Re:WTF?! (5, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 6 years ago | (#25410315)

So what if Huckleberry Finn were a racist book? That wouldn't be a reason to censor it either. Nothing should be censored, ever.

Re:WTF?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410129)

Mate your an idiot. Labour has only ever made the worst decisions regarding Australia. I was surprised they were even voted back in at all after how well Australia's economy was going thanks to the Liberal party... especially after Labour left Australia in massive debt the last time they were in and completely f*cked everything, trouble is too many people don't read or remember. They are going to f*ck Australia up more now. Great.

Re:WTF?! (2, Informative)

skegg (666571) | about 6 years ago | (#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

They told me if George W. Bush was elected.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410145)

They told me if George W. Bush was elected.... we'd see increased censorship on the Internet and a monitoring of all our activities on the Internet.

This is a left-wing Labour government?
Well I am sure it is OK then.
After all they are "good people" (tm).

Re:WTF?! (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#25410197)

Uh, start voting out every incumbent till you get ones you like.

Re:WTF?! (2, Informative)

AlanNew (981673) | about 6 years ago | (#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:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410285)

Well considering Michael Atkinson, who is Labor, was soley responsible for preventing an R18+ rating for games (to protect the children...) I would definitely expect this from them.

Re:WTF?! (1)

wilder_card (774631) | about 6 years ago | (#25410335)

The best way to fight it is to adopt an amendment to your Constitution that says something like "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Re:WTF?! (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25410345)

Don't ask us, the UK is farther down this crapper. We're going to be as hosed as you are when they come for us in a few months or so (by my reckoning):-(

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410369)

Switzerland, here I fucking come.

Oh wait, I only speak English.

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410383)

todays labor is not the same traditional labor. the party seems to have a centrist-right view these days with fundamental policies being quite similar to the liberals. They havent rolled back jack all of john howards IR laws yet as far as im aware, which is what they won the election on...but then big business complained and PM Rudd caved in like a bear in hibernation. Its not entirely their fault as they were hammered at previous elections with more left leaning policies. Im ashamed as an australian that labor had to give up on the policy of reducing funding for elite schools (to win more votes), which get more tax payer funding that public schools do, because there was a backlash against them over it. Jealous Australians were quoted saying "why did I have to work so hard to send my kid to private school if the kid down the street will get it for free?" Which is a disgusting thing to say, Its directly saying "I dont want poor people to have a good education". The point to this slashdot story is - Labor would very much do something like this these days because they will pander to the electorate even if its completely against core party values.

Re:WTF?! (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | about 6 years ago | (#25410429)

Write to your News Papers, Write to your representatives, Talk with everyone you can about this. Make this an issue not just for your self but for everyone you come into contact with. Physically go to what ever meetings they have any where they may be to discuss this and talk about it. Don't be an ass about it, be respectful and humble, but above all get out there and get stuff like this known to the general public. Let everyone know this is a make or break issue. Hell if you can personally meet some of your representatives and talk with them that'd be great. Exhaust every option you have. Express that this technical solution can be, and will be worked around. Find some people who can demonstrate how easy it is to work around it. Show everyone how futile it is. Demonstrate how this will filter out good websites as well as bad ones.

If this gets through then some civil disobedience is in order. Circumvent the filter your self. Show everyone you can how to do so as well. Encourage everyone you can to circumvent it. Don't do it in secret, that kind of defeats the thought of civil disobedience. Take your governments punches. As horrible as this sounds, Make your self a martyr for free speech. Be as loud as possible.

Talk to those in power, talk with newspapers/media people, talk with every common person you can.

But That's Just My Opinion, I Could Be Wrong

Re:WTF?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410451)

Now do you see what happens when you first lose your right to own firearms? You're a subject, not a citizen, and there's not a thing you can do about it. Yeah, you can vote new people into office, but they might just enjoy the power you've given them even more than the bums you threw out. Told you so.

Re:WTF?! (3, Interesting)

g0es (614709) | about 6 years ago | (#25410465)

Americans, what's the best way forward to make my voice heard?!

1.) Form a political party
2.) Take lots of money from special interest groups.
3.) Sell soul
4.) Profit!
5.) Rule the country with all the money you have made. Profit even more by making sure the special interest groups feel special.

But really your best chance is to form a group and get your message out, write your politicians and cross your fingers.

10,0000? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410011)

Is this some new scheme to confuse use by putting commas in the wrong place?

Re:10,0000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410035)

It's the metric system v2.0. It's how we distract everyone from the fact that the stock market is currently being funded by the neighbor's dog turds.

Re:10,0000? (2, Funny)

plankrwf (929870) | about 6 years ago | (#25410151)

No, this is a clever test.
It is aimed at a certain type of slashdot readers:
the readers in the following groups:
- Americans. Or at least: they who are used to using a "." as a seperator. I.e.: "1/2=0.5"
Beware: there are those who would write the above as "1/2=0,5"!
- Non Americans, of the 'not enough geek' type.
They wouldn't fall for the '0,5' thing, but would balk at a sentence 'about 10,0000 in one million'.
Beware: those in the stock market (non US) would say that 10,0000 in one million is not very precise: better is of course 10,00000 in one million. I mean: 10,0000 is really between 9,9999 and 10,0001 which is not really precise.
- Those who think that the world is NOT directed by mathematics. Indeed, these people would disbelieve a number of 10,0000 in one million (but would believe something like 12,9078).

All-in-all, as I read my own thoughts: it cannot be but a lure to try to trap those slashdotreaders who are in the stock-exchange outside of the USA, and who ARE of the opinion that all riscs in the stock exchange can be put in a mathematical formulae.

This off course in the best slashdot tradition:
1. Identify a specific group of slashdot readers
2. ...
3. ...
4. Profit!
(They just haven't yet come to steps 2 and 3)

Re:10,0000? (4, Informative)

bundaegi (705619) | about 6 years ago | (#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:10,0000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410277)

"10,0000" isn't wrong, it's "ten myriad". Which was everyday English back in the 16th century.

We already have this in Britain (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 6 years ago | (#25410019)

Whilst to be fair as far as I understand it does a good job in that it focuses entirely on child porn and hasn't as I'm aware stepped out of this remit I am a little concerned that it came into play without anyone ever really noticing or anyone ever really being told.

Can we be sure this organisation does only do what it says it does? Can we be sure it doesn't ever abuse it's powers? Would we ever know if it did?

It is not run by the government and is an independent organisation, so not having a connection to the government increases my confidence in it a million fold at least however.

Re:We already have this in Britain (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#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:We already have this in Britain (1)

Nuskrad (740518) | about 6 years ago | (#25410387)

While the IWF doesn't filter content, it DOES provide the blacklists to those who do - notably the Cleanfeed and Webminder systems (which are used by BT and Madasafish respectivly), and possibly others

Hypocrisy anyone? (4, Interesting)

redscare2k4 (1178243) | about 6 years ago | (#25410025)

And let me guess, the Australian guys in the government that want this, are the sames that scream "dictatorship!!" any time Venezuela, Cuba, or China is mentioned. Hypocrisy

Re:Hypocrisy anyone? (1)

deniable (76198) | about 6 years ago | (#25410153)

Yeah, our PM is really tough on the Chinese. He talks tough to them, or so the translator says.

Waste of money (1, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25410027)

Seems a waste of money since different parents have different ideas of what is appropriate for their children.

I think it would be better to spend 125 million instead on teaching parents how to domesticate/train their children properly.

Not saying they should all train their kids to be exactly the same , but if you look at the training programs for dogs, even if you're training a dog to do different things, the concepts and methods are pretty much the same, even if the desired results and objectives might be different.

And too many parents are clueless on the basic concepts.

Maybe they should force parents to pass a basic parenting test before they are allowed to have children. If they have children without a license then they get fined.

Only 10,0000 ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410029)

Maybe that's the metric system!

I thought *we* had it bad in SA (0, Offtopic)

Henkc (991475) | about 6 years ago | (#25410033)

Jeez, I thought we had it bad in South Africa with our ex-minister of health (Doctor Beetroot - so named because of her stupid approach to combating HIV/Aids).

Not only do we beat the ozzies in rugby, but now they have another reason to feel oppressed :-)))))

Blame China (1)

m_maximus (750318) | about 6 years ago | (#25410041)

They proved this was possible, and now th rest of the world's governments are going to give it a try. It doesn't have to work 100% of the time, just 90% of the time for 90% of content. The main problem will be when they start blocking content that they just don't like, rather than stuff which is 100% illegal.

10,0000? (1)

g253 (855070) | about 6 years ago | (#25410043)

That's not how you write "100,000", by the way.
So it has a 10% error rate? Isn't that pretty huge?

And please, since I arrive early in the discussion, can we avoid posts like "meh, just use opendns", because that's missing the point completely. It's like telling a brit concerned about the proliferation of CCTVs to just wear a mask on the street.

The Krudd Filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410045)

Fuck you Conroy! Who is paying you?

Re:The Krudd Filter (1)

deniable (76198) | about 6 years ago | (#25410167)

Yeah, we want our tame idiots like Alston and Coonan back. They were much better. (Holy crap, we're looking under the barrel for ministers.)

Freedom scares the governmemt (2, Informative)

Greymoon (834879) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

1% false positive? (4, Interesting)

NoNeeeed (157503) | about 6 years ago | (#25410087)

I'm actually surprised that it is that low.

What I particularly object to (in addition to the whole concept) is the capricious nature of many blocks. BoingBoing [] has been blocked by a number of blocklist companies, not because of anything rude or illegal, but because they had articles about filtering companies

At the end of the day, you have a human organisation making decisions, and even in the best of worlds that will be open to abuse.

As a brit, I welcome our Aussie friends to the panopticon of fear.

Not entirely (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | about 6 years ago | (#25410293)

As a brit, I welcome our Aussie friends to the panopticon of fear.

Britain has had two suddenoutbreaksofcommonsense recently. Remember the -- incorrectly reported on Slashdot [] -- 42 days detention? The House of Lords bitch-slapped the government down [] over it. Worst defeat in the Lords in living memory, according to that BBC article.

The Lords also got the government to back down over secret inquests [] . Which are just as evil, if not moreso, than the 42 days detention (the idea is certainly straight out of Kafka's The Trial).

People whinge about the Lords being unelected, but from where I'm sitting the score is: Meritocracy 2 - Democracy 0. I believe the Lords would also smack-down something as stupid as this Australian Internet filtering too, on cost and futility grounds alone.

Hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410101)

Finally my lazy fellow Australians will get off their bums and implement SSL on their websites, like I already have.

Please CmdrTaco, can you set slashdot up so it actually responds to an https request with something that is encrypted? Sites such as wikipedia, wikileaks and technocrat already do it, why not slashdot?

So its 100000 of one milion (2, Interesting)

Dreen (1349993) | about 6 years ago | (#25410125)

What dos it exactly mean?

Is it: It blocks 100000 websites per every 1m (10% of the internet?)
or: It simply blocks 100k (what does 1m mean then?)
or: It blocks 100k of the 1m and this 1m is all you can get in australia anyway
or: It blocks 100k attempts to access a blacklisted site per 1m of such attempts (that would be very inefficient wouldnt it)
or: It blocks 100k illegal/harmful websites of 1m known. But if they know 10 times more why include only 10%

Help me Im lost

Re:So its 100000 of one milion (2, Interesting)

Terrasque (796014) | about 6 years ago | (#25410199)

It could also mean, that for every 1 mill blocked, 100.000 of them shouldn't get blocked..

Starting to get a bit confused myself when I start thinking of it.

Of 1 million requests, it blocks X of them, where 100.000 of those shouldn't get blocked? Who knows..

Things I don't object too (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 6 years ago | (#25410137)

I don't object to an XXX domain. Parents can block it, and people who want it can find it.

I'm for mandatory tags on adult webpages. Again parents can block it, people who want it can find it.

I don't mind so much black lists. At least real people maintaining them can correct mistakes. And a black list is good advertising for those who want that sort of thing.

But mandatory government blocking program, that's just asking for trouble. At least with opt-in problems you can get away with "just don't use it".

Vote ALL of Them out of office if you can!!! (0, Offtopic)

itsybitsy (149808) | about 6 years ago | (#25410157)

Before it's too late VOTE OUT ALL the elected members of the government of your country who support such draconian big brother mythologies.

All countries, such as Austrailia, based upon English Common Law may have many defences and rights given a long time ago that can't be overridden by the fiats and power hungry wims of those who are deluded into thinking that they can take such dragonian steps to control society.

The power elite are now the terrorists (yet again) against the masses. Not only that in many countries they are implementing the New World Order of Socialism for the Rich and capitalism for the not rich. Nationalization of the debts of banks and corporate follies while allowing them to keep their profits.

Could the bail out be a scheme to keep the wars going with mercenaries instead of with national militaries? Pull out the troups and double the private contractors and presto no chango - the war machine grinds up more people from around the world.

Enough is Enough. When will you and the rest of the people realize that those in power are not doing any of us any favors by imposing these draconian systems of control? Likely after it's too late.

Vote out your leaders if you can. Say NO to their Big Brother Systems! Dismantle them.

What mechanism are they going to use... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#25410159) prevent people from opt-ing out on their own? Router based IP filtering?

Re:What mechanism are they going to use... (1)

g-san (93038) | about 6 years ago | (#25410221)

Maybe they are buying firewalls from China. This is not unprecedented by any means. But luckily, since a lot of the internet is across an undersea cable, you won't notice an extra 10ms of latency while all your data is filtered.

You do have a distinct geographical disadvantage, being a continent and all. Avian carriers could make a comeback though.

Re:What mechanism are they going to use... (1)

deniable (76198) | about 6 years ago | (#25410441)

What, Chinese knock-off copies of Cisco firewalls? It was good, freedom loving Americans who built the great firewall.

What could possibly go wrong? (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25410161)

"We have buttiduously canvbutted the industry, [] buttessed what is available and buttembled the finest selection of PFI contractors for this buttignment. The filters will buttociatively clbuttify all communications and filter then, I can butture you, rebuttemble them with surpbutting exacbreastude in any quanbreasty. Consbreastuents can be rebuttured that a mulbreastude of industry compebreastors will butture quality and keep our clbuttrooms safe. EDS Capita Goatse will not embarbutt us."

The plans have attracted wide criticism. "It will only give supersbreastious rebutturance to medireview thinkers. Automated systems won't solve human problems like loveual harbuttment. Mbuttacring the written word into a Picbutto painting is not the anbreastank missile of Internet safety."

Unions also butterted that such close buttessment of staff in the workplace would hamper efficiency and could verge on workplace harbuttment. "Watermeloning cranberries."

The government was unfazed. "Butterting free speech is one thing, but a triparbreaste committee considers that that does not justify mere pbuttive breastillation at the expense of others."

The first filtering offices will be set up in Arsenal, Penistone and Scunthorpe.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | about 6 years ago | (#25410187)

Nice one - I'm going to have to dig out the 'Not the 9 O'Clock News' video again :)

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

The_Chicken_205 (723443) | about 6 years ago | (#25410245)

clbuttic :)

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25410265)

Inspired by The Daily WTF [] .

Freenet? (3, Interesting)

femto (459605) | about 6 years ago | (#25410189)

What's people's real world experience of Freenet [] ? Does it work and is it usable? Is it truly secure from government intervention and monitoring? If this proposal goes ahead it will be the thing that prompts me to install Freenet and badger all my friends into joining too.

Re:Freenet? (2, Informative)

nyctopterus (717502) | about 6 years ago | (#25410317)

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:Freenet? (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 6 years ago | (#25410385)

What's people's real world experience of Freenet?

Tried it every time a new major version is released.

Does it work and is it usable?

It works, yes. Is it usable? No, because compared to the standard net, it's horribly horribly slow. Besides that, due to the nature of Freenet, all sites are static and because there are so few sites there, and a high percentage of grey area or plain illegal content, almost all sites link to sites which link to sites which link to child porn.

I2P [] is a much more promising project. It's basically an encrypted, anonymizing IP-layer on top of IP so the web sites that are running there are normal fully interactive web sites running PHP, Rails or whatever. There is also BitTorrent, IRC and many other things running on top of it. The only difference from the normal net is that there is no way to tell the real IP or location of neither the server nor the user connecting to it.

Re:Freenet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410417)

There is also AnoNet [] , which scales a bit better than Freenet

Where is the Article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410205)

Went to read the linked article, but is no longer there. Hoax? or has it been Censored?

**evil music begins**

As a parent... (5, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | about 6 years ago | (#25410213)

I would not be in favour of this at all.

The system we have in our home is simple, the computer is in the kitchen where everyone else is. To my mind that is the only sensible way to keep your children safe on the Internet. If they come across something that is unsuitable then we talk about it. That means they know what's dangerous and how to deal with it, and we know what they're getting involved in.

Blocking access is just wrapping your kids in cotton wool - and when you can't do that any more, they suddenly become very vulnerable.

Re:As a parent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410283)

No doubt the next step will be to require all households to sign up for the more heavily censored feed, and if they sign up for anything else to charge the parents with child abuse.

Re:As a parent... (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | about 6 years ago | (#25410333)

Probably. However, I would consider the opposite, assuming you child is safe because of the censored feed, to be child abuse.

It's exactly the same as letting your child play on the street. My kids play out on the street (in a cul-de-sac) every day, but we keep a close eye on them - that's what you're supposed to do. They know to get off the road if a car comes down, they look out for each other and they know how to deal with strangers. This Australian idea is the same as leaving the kids in the front yard with the gates closed while you go out for the day. It's negligent parenting at best and it certainly should not be encouraged by the Government.

Re:As a parent... (1)

deniable (76198) | about 6 years ago | (#25410457)

Or leaving them in the carpark at the Casino. Very Australian.

Actually, I've found open-plan offices work well in a business. It's the guys in corner offices that get away with looking at porn all day.

Rudd scares me (1)

noigmn (929935) | about 6 years ago | (#25410219)

Unfortunately Australia went from one control freak to another at the last election. This one actually worried me a little more even though I voted for him. John Howard was so concerned with control and self image that it ended up being a pretty lame government. Most complaints about him were for underhanded politics, dirty election tactics, racism and neglect. He never looked far enough beyond himselfthe impact on him to do much damage.

Whereas Kevin Rudd has the potential to actively destroy things by being idealistic. He's got that Mao streak in him, where he believes so strongly in his ideals that he can justify taking liberty for them. And he does it in such a no fuss, detached, almost autistic way. As I said I voted for him to remove Johnny, but he has always scared me a lot more.

Why is censorship bad? (4, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | about 6 years ago | (#25410229)

Why is censorship of illegal material bad? If the material is illegal, why shouldn't it be censored?

Can anyone make this argument? Because if the material is illegal in the first place, meaning you would normally get in trouble for accessing it, period, then a preemptive measure shouldn't harm you, logically.

Cast aside the argument that it will make the Internet sluggish, because that argument will be nullified if technology and such improve enormously. Also cast aside the argument that it will be expensive to do, because what if we make it incredibly efficient?

Also cast aside the false positives occurring, because what if they get it so refined that a false positive is a one in a million occurance. In such a way that the system works exactly as proposed, with no drawbacks (concerning false positives, network lag, etc.) whatsoever.

I'm not defending censorship. I want someone to make a good argument.

Re:Why is censorship bad? (2, Insightful)

richie2000 (159732) | about 6 years ago | (#25410295)

Can you, assuming we are living in a modern democracy which purports to champion freedom of speech, tell me exactly what kind of material that should get someone in trouble for simply reading or watching it? Who would be trusted with deciding where to draw this line?

/ The Gestapo thought Anne Frank was a terrorist, producing illegal material.

Re:Why is censorship bad? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | about 6 years ago | (#25410365)

Child pornography featuring actual children. (Not computer generated.)

Re:Why is censorship bad? (2, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | about 6 years ago | (#25410395)

Age of consent varies from one country to another. Who's rule is right?

Re:Why is censorship bad? (4, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | about 6 years ago | (#25410351)

Simple. Illegal information = Thought Crimes = A very bad thing!

There is nothing wrong with information, it is what you do with that information that is crucial. Just because somebody get stabbed with a knife, you don't bad all steak knives do you? A screwdriver can be used to steal a car or build a house, it is a TOOL; just like information.

Then that brings us to to the fact that no filtering software works 100% so you get:

(A) legit websites get blocked too
(B) "Bad Stuff" still gets through

When this happens, what is the point of filtering it anyway?

Another issue with all laws: People and opinions change, so what is illegal today, might be perfectly acceptable in 40 years. We don't think twice about letting women vote, or mixed-colour couples getting married, or even in some places same-sex marriages. Public opinion changes, but only with information.

Re:Why is censorship bad? (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#25410361)

Its not what they want to censor now, its just that such laws and methods tend to get misapplied later. For example, sites which criticize the current administration in a not too nice way could be added to the list, or sites which recall 'uncomfortable truths' about a countries past. All they have to do is justify it to themselves.

Laws and government policies which cover such wide topics often get misapplied. Here in the UK, laws passed to fight terrorism just got used to impound money from failing Icelandic banks. Didn't take long to justify using them out of their intended area, nor will it take long to misuse these blacklists.

Re:Why is censorship bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410409)

What you write is entirely true, no one with a brain here would say you're defending censorship.

The real issue here is the possibilities that could arise from the implementation of this system. Who decides, implements, corrects and/or supports? How much would the public be involved in this process, since this is to "protect" the public?

Re:Why is censorship bad? (2, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 6 years ago | (#25410431)

Are you ignorant or just playing devils advocate?
All the reasons you "cast aside" can't just be ignored. There will always be false positives, and it will always cost the tax payer money.

First off, what is so sacred about legality? The law is not set in stone, it's constantly being updated, and varies wildly from location to location. I believe all knowledge to be ultimately good, and censorship will necessarily trample on that. It's digital book burning plain and simple.

Information about illegal Drug, bomb construction, racism all blurs into legitimate subjects because there are no real boundaries. That's why the law making process is difficult, and why censorship will always have side effects and is never acceptable.

Re:Why is censorship bad? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#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:Why is censorship bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410459)

Who gets hurt when someone accesses illegal material? That's right, nobody.

Why should it be the Government's business who accesses what on the internet? Its not like murder or rape, you're just looking at stuff.

Schemes like this is just another step towards having a monotonous population under Government supervision.

Re:Why is censorship bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410463)

Why is censorship of illegal material bad? If the material is illegal, why shouldn't it be censored?

"oops, sorry there mate. We thought your website was trafficking in illegal material instead of being a new democratic party attempting to discredit us by exposing our rampant corruption. Sorry about that, we'll see about unblocking you asap."

"oops. look at that. We did it again. Someone must be adding the site improperly, we'll try to locate that person asap." *1 year later* "Yeah we're still looking into that. Seems every time we unblock it, it's blocked again within a day! Yes, it's a shame how it messed up your campaign a few months back but it's not our fault!"

Once they have the tools, they can use them however they see fit. Unfortunately greed and corruption go hand in hand with humanity. If you think only illegal material will be censored, how the hell would you know? You won't see it.

i have one word for any aussie reading this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410231)


They're the Internets greatest loophole and they can run circles around ISPs.

While i was a Rep for Time Warner cable i helped countless Chinese-Americans defeat china's overzealous Great Fire Wall.

Censorship is a tool of the moronic and the Internet has already transcended its limitations.

As long a encryption exist so will free speech, so please all you Government Officials of the world that THINK we the people need to be protected from the Evils of the Internet; Fuck off.. Because there's no way your or ANY one for that matter can protect me. Only I the random mass of the Internet can Protect my Self from the Rigors of an Unforgiving environment containing the foulest and most rancid underpinnings of Humanity.

Scary Shit happens here and if you can't accecpt it or don't know better on how to ignore it then please don't even both to force me into your Limited and Finite view upon the Greatest, Worst, and Most Encompassing Invention that Humans have yet to even completely envision its limitations

Riddle Anonymous Dastardly Invention Onomatopoeia (1)

tqft (619476) | about 6 years ago | (#25410233)

How much bandwidth can you get over Ham radio channels?

Text chat should be do-able and plain text email.

I could go and look it up and someone somewhere is probably already doing it.

Phew (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#25410251)

Thank God I live in good old England where this surely won't happen.

I might be forced to lead a healthier lifestyle! (1)

mfearby (1653) | about 6 years ago | (#25410255)

If this thing works as advertised, and no way is found around it, then I might be forced to lead a healthier lifestyle, and perhaps even become a more productive member of society!


Sarcastometer: 50% (this really could make life rather dull and boring)

something worth exporting... (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 6 years ago | (#25410261)

At least we'll have something worth exporting. I'm sure lots of other countries will be only too happy to buy our blacklists which we have meticulously researched.

except... we'll probably just be importing them from somewhere else...

General encryption (1)

kvezach (1199717) | about 6 years ago | (#25410269)

The more I read about these things, of how internet access is being limited, the more I think there should be a general encryption protocol that could be applied to data traveling on the internet. Sort of like SSL, but without the certificate authorities (webs of trust instead, perhaps? Or some magic P2P technology).

The point of such a protocol would be to make opaque all traffic going on so that it's impossible to say what it's getting (and perhaps with proxies, where it's going or where it's coming from). Then censorship would fail.

This needs to be done, because stories like these show that governments won't practice self restraint when trying to rein in the internet or tame its wilderness.

Re:General encryption (2)

nyctopterus (717502) | about 6 years ago | (#25410329)

Err... freenet [] ?

censorship thriving, not to mention spying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410289)

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Not Good. (1)

amdpox (1308283) | about 6 years ago | (#25410307)

I did some research earlier in the year and decided that the filtering would either be ineffective due to humans attempting to maintain blacklists, or would result in a ridiculous amount of false positives (as quoted in the summary). And no opt-out? Yipes. I certainly hope this is the hand-picked blacklist that was the original proposition... but I really don't think they'll get anywhere with it. After all, it's alt.binaries you really have to worry about. On a more serious note, Rudd was in China jabbering Mandarin at a mysterious group of people a few months ago. Now we know who they were - Golden Shield sysadmins. Flee to the parts of Europe that aren't Sweden, the UK, Russia or Germany! Flee now!

Think of the children! (1)

YellowMatterCustard (1277360) | about 6 years ago | (#25410353)

Honestly. I lost count of the number of times I saw the word "children" in TFA. How many thinly veiled schemes will it take before we quit falling for the "but think of the children" argument?

No more pantomimes (1)

ribuck (943217) | about 6 years ago | (#25410359)

No more pantomimes in Australia - well, not "Dick Whittington" anyway.

The true reason for the current economic crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25410389) to distract the public in order to curtail the free internet.

Think about it. *The* most important thing of a living system is its neural circuitry. If you can control that, then you can implement garbage in, garbage out, helping you achieve what you want. The most far reaching development of our times is the free internet. It is a societal neural circuitry that can bypass the former GIGO manipulation. It is the most dangerous development by far to the powers that be, and so it must be eliminated.

Time to move to china I think........ (2, Funny)

fester2001 (1051032) | about 6 years ago | (#25410397)

Time to move to china I think........
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