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Largest Aussie ISP Agrees To "Ridiculous" Net-Filter Trial

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the may-you-get-what-you-desire dept.

Censorship 231

Klootzak writes "Michael Malone, head of Australia's largest ISP iiNet announced today that his company would sign up to the Government's live trials of the Great Firewall of Australia. In an article published by The Age, Mr Malone is quoted calling Stephen Conroy 'The worst Communications Minister we've had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed.' Despite at first giving the impression that iiNet is rolling over like a good Government puppy the article quotes Mr Malone saying that the reasons for participating in this trial is to show how unfeasible and stupid it is — Quoted from the article: 'Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we'll be publicizing it and every time it blocks legitimate content, we'll be publicizing it.' Let's hope that in typical fashion of government-instigated Internet-filtering that this stupid idea is just as useless, inefficient and ineffectual as the last one, and that the Australian Government realizes this before wasting more taxpayer dollars on it (seeing as the first attempt only cost taxpayers $84,000,000)."

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iiNet (-1, Offtopic)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719649)

I guess we can blame apple for popularizing the whole iWhatever concept. Now, we have an ISP that has taken it one step further - iiNet. I can imaging the advertising slogans now: "Why get your internet service from just one puny i, we've got two!"

Perhaps it will become like razor blades. Will I soon get an iiiiiiSlurpie at the KwikEMart?

Re:iiNet (5, Informative)

hopejr (995381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719769)

iiNet has been around longer than the iMac. They started in 1993. As an aside, it is commonly known as iiBorg, as it has bought out (assimilated) many smaller ISPs.

Re:iiNet (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721303)

As an aside, it is commonly known as iiBorg, as it has bought out (assimilated) many smaller ISPs.

This is true, and I shunned them for many years. But they were the first kids on the block with ADSL2+ when it first came out (at least where I live in Perth), and I took them up on it. I can't say I've had any complaints - the service has been great. Which, coming from a confirmed cynic, could be taken as an endorsement.

Re:iiNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721397)

You are a professed cynic, not a confirmed one.

Re:iiNet (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721609)

You are a professed cynic, not a confirmed one.

I don't think so. This is confirmed by a plurality of independent persons. And (BTW) I stand by the definition of cynic as a "disappointed idealist".

[let the flames start...]

Re:iiNet (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721937)

You can't be that cynical, you still expected fire...

Re:iiNet (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721945)

You, on the other hand, are a confirmed skeptic.

Re:iiNet (1)

bluie- (1172769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723713)

iBorg was the worst episode of all the borg-related episodes. First of all it was the cheesiest with all the BS morality. What idiots. Compassion for a borg?! Secondly they missed their chance to destroy the entire collective. Which means that all future borg-caused deaths are on their shoulders.

That's what you get for listening to doctors.

Re:iiNet (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724947)

iBorg was the worst episode of all the borg-related episodes. First of all it was the cheesiest with all the BS morality. What idiots. Compassion for a borg?! Secondly they missed their chance to destroy the entire collective. Which means that all future borg-caused deaths are on their shoulders. That's what you get for listening to doctors.

I never understood how that would work...The borg were masters of assimilating unassimilated people without causing problems. Why would reassimilating one be much different?

I mean, I could bite on the "infected laptop inside the firewall" theory, but you'd think the borg would be smarter than that.

Re:iiNet (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719777)

At least with the latest Gilette they sell with the slogan "Now we've added so many blades it's a pain to use, so, guess what? We've added a single blade on the other side! Enjoy!"

Improvements!

12 blades 'ought to be enough for everyone!

Re:iiNet (4, Funny)

imamac (1083405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719861)

12 blades 'ought to be enough for everyone!

I know a lot of companies who use more than just 12 blade servers...where have you been?

Re:iiNet (2, Funny)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720121)

"Why get your internet service from just one puny i, we've got two!"

The UUnet already invented this idea back in the 1980s. Not just one "you" but two "yous" for that extra-special focus on the customer. ;-) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uunet [wikipedia.org]

Re:UUnet (2, Funny)

andyh3930 (605873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720307)

So UUnet is not the Intranet at Discworld's Premier Thaumatological Institution?

Re:iiNet (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719901)

Hah! You buy at the KwikEMart?

Everybody knows the KwiikEMart is much better.

Re:iiNet (5, Informative)

sc4ry4nt (1331937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719909)

Actually iiNet was formed (and named as such) in 1993, which was eight years before the first iPod release. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IiNet#History [wikipedia.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod#History_and_design [wikipedia.org]

Re:iiNet (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720031)

Actually, the iPod wasn't the gagdet which popularized the iSomething. The iMac predates it for about three years.

Re:iiNet (1)

sc4ry4nt (1331937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720079)

I just found that myself having remembered about the iMacs... was going to post in reply to my own but thought the point was irrelavent because iiNet still predates the iMac which was introduced into Apples desktop offerings in 1998 - five years after iiNet was formed.

Re:iiNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720823)

You fail at math, he said iiNet was formed 8 years before the iPod, you said the iMac was 3 years before the iPod, that's still 5 years AFTER iiNet.

Re:iiNet (1)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721809)

And you fail at reading comprehension. The GP didn't claim that the iMac predates iiNet, only that it came before the iPod.

Re:iiNet (2, Funny)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721987)

Actually, the iPod wasn't the gagdet which popularized the iSomething. The iMac predates it for about three years.

Surely Asimov's "iRobot" predates those. 8-P

Re:iiNet (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720039)

Before the first iMac too, or was I just trolled?

Re:iiNet (0, Redundant)

frglrock (992261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720773)

Umm, actually iiNet was founded in 1993 [wikipedia.org] .

The first iMac was in 1998 [wikipedia.org] .

I think they won :)

As an aside, the title's a bit off. From the wikipedia link above - iiNet is Australia's third largest ISP, not the largest.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Pajlada (1310449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719655)

first!

Oh no... (4, Interesting)

hopejr (995381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719683)

... iiNet is my ISP!!! It will be interesting to see what happens, and what sites get blocked. I like Mick's idea about doing it to show how unfeasible it is, just hope it won't sour iiNet's reputation. Their already overrun support lines may end up getting worse.

Re:Oh no... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719803)

If iiNet are a local monopoly for you then forgive the redundant comment.

If not then isn't this an excellent reason to bail on them right now?
When I switched away from virgin media, I made a list of why they had become worse than a Hitler/Mao/Stalin hybrid and I was asked for this info as part of the quitting procedure.

Often smaller ISPs have far more enlightened policies.

Re:Oh no... (1)

hopejr (995381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719873)

Unfortunately there's no other decent ISP to bail to. You've got Telstra (Bigpond) which is expensive, got useless plans and support, Optus which is not much better, Internode and iPrimus which don't suit my needs, and then all the others are little ones that don't have much to offer or have been bought out by iiNet anyway. Besides, I like my big quota and VOIP too much

What about TPG? (2, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720067)

If TPG have ADSL2 DSLAMS in whatever exchange you are on, you should consider giving them a go. They have decent download quotas on their ADSL2 plans and VoIP service. Customer support is good too

Note that I have no relationship with TPG other than being a satisfied customer of their ADSL1 plan (there is no ADSL2 available in my area from anyone I would give any money to)

Re:What about TPG? (1)

hopejr (995381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720083)

Hmm, I honestly forgot about them. Thanks for the tip.

Re:What about TPG? (3, Informative)

skaet (841938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720339)

TPG was bought out by iiNet a few years ago but has retained the brand name and the control to operate independently of iiNet. This is great because I like TPGs plans after being with iiNet some time ago.

Though TPG did outsource its support lines to an Indian/Asian/Whatever company I've still got very good support from them. Only very occasionally do they had some DNS issues but it's easy enough to use iiNet's instead :)

Re:What about TPG? (1)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721013)

TPG was bought out by iiNet a few years ago but has retained the brand name and the control to operate independently of iiNet.

Sorry to doubt, but do you have a source for this? I've been OS for a couple of years, but keep in touch with geeky goings-on in Australia, and though I would have heard about this. Furthermore a quick google for 'TGP iiNet ISP [google.com.au] ' doesn't show any stories about them being bought out...

As I say, not trying to sound rude, just would like confirmation of this.

Re:What about TPG? (5, Informative)

frglrock (992261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721685)

You are correct to doubt. TPG isn't owned by iiNet.

The only company that has been bought out by iiNet that has retained its own name is Westnet and that happened earlier this year [whirlpool.net.au] .

TPG merged with Soul [whirlpool.net.au] earlier this year as well but that's about it

Re:What about TPG? (1)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720373)

Yup, TPG are pretty solid. Only issues would be the transparent HTTP proxy (which is now turned off for Sydney and Melbourne) and if your exchange has ADSL2 you can't get an ADSL1 plan with them. Other than that...

Re:What about TPG? (2, Interesting)

Malekin (1079147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725243)

Moving from iiNet to TPG has proved to be one of the worst decisions I've made with my ISPs.

Their support is not good. It's terrible. It seems whenever I call I get put on hold and forgotten about. I once made the mistake of admitting I was using a Mac and the problems I was having with the TPG-supplied modem not registering with the SIP proxy for VoIP were suddenly because I wasn't using Internet Explorer.

They have accidently made charges to my account I had to have them revoke.

TPG use transparent proxies in some areas - thankfully not where I am anymore - which don't re-write the IP address properly, and (for the six months I was in their proxying pool) I'd find sites would tell me I was banned because someone else on the same proxy had incurred the wrath of the moderators and they'd banned the IP. You'd have similar problems with sites like RapidShare.

Finally, there are a lot of ways they get money out of you. Their contracts are long and their disconnection fee is very high. You have to buy one of their modems for many of their plans. Perhaps most annoyingly changing plans resets the contract period.

My experience with TPG has been one of pain and suffering I would only wish upon child molesters and people who talk in the theatre. As soon as my contract is out I'm dropping them for iiNet, Internode or Netspace.

Re:Oh no... (1)

kingturkey (930819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720705)

Surely there's more than those 3 alternative ISPs on your DSLAM. It's quite surprising (and ridiculous) how many different small ISPs there are when you use Whirlpool's Broadband Choice search. I'd bet you could get Exetel and I know their prices are much better than iiNet's, I just wish I'd seen them before I signed my contract with iiNet.

Re:Oh no... (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725485)

www.supernerd.com.au Id be superised if iiNet was significantly better than them. If they are, Im sure to be changing soon.

Re:Oh no... (5, Interesting)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720289)

I'm with iiNet and I fully support Malone's plan to continue with the trial. Reading his comments, it's perfectly clear that he is opposed to the filter and that he doesn't think Senator Conroy is playing with a full deck. The internet industry has been telling him all year that his plan will never work, and he continues to ignore and harass them. The only way to bury the plan once and for all is to get it out in the open and let the spectacular failure of the filter be visible to all.

At the moment, 90% of the politicians don't understand the issue (clearly including Senator Conroy), 90% of the public hasn't heard of it, and the Labor party just keeps parroting the same bullshit about protecting children whenever someone objects to the filter on technical or censorship grounds. Nevermind the fact that even if the filter is a perfect list of kiddy-porn websites, when it leaks, they've just provided the most comprehensive list of such websites to the entire online community.

When the test goes live, I'll opt-in to the kiddy filter and complain when I still see some naughty bits. I'll find the sites that have been accidentally blocked (there is no doubt that there will be some, the government's own tests showed that between 2% and 8% of the internet will be accidentally blocked), and complain when I can't reach them. I'll complain when the ~30% speed penalty hits. I'll find every flaw that everyone in the industry is predicting, and complain at every step.

The government is conducting a test, and we need to let them know it failed by demonstrating the failure ourselves. If the only people participating in the test are people naive enough to want ISP-level filtering to begin with, the problems won't be revealed and Conroy gets his pet censorship project through.

Re:Oh no... (4, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720683)

if they have a list of all the kiddie porn sites on the web, why don't they just go after the site owners? even if the sites are hosted overseas, there are very few countries in the world that tolerate that sorta thing, and with a little international pressure it shouldn't be too hard to get their own governments to shut them down.

if the RIAA can get the Swedish government to illegally shut down the pirate bay and seize their equipment, i'm sure it'd be no problem for the Australian government to pressure other governments to go after their own kiddie porn sites.

Re:Oh no... (5, Insightful)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721027)

why don't they just go after the site owners?

Because this isn't, and never has been, actually about protecting the children.

Re:Oh no... (2, Interesting)

SuluSulu (1039126) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723183)

why don't they just go after the site owners?

Because this isn't, and never has been, actually about protecting the children.

No, it's far more likely that the kiddie porn site operators themselves are much harder to find even if their sites aren't. They would have to be pretty stupid to run their sites with real names and addresses. Not to mention that they are likely to operate in countries that have different laws about what is illegal (like the age of consent).
I think that it would be better to go after the credit card processors. Make it more difficult to get peoples money.

Re:Oh no... (5, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721111)

The simple answer is that it isn't about kiddie porn, it's just the rhetoric that is about kiddie porn. There's actually very little kiddie porn out there floating around on HTTP (just about the only thing that the filter will block), because no-one is stupid enough to host it when it's highly illegal pretty much everywhere. Really, if they wanted to actually remove the kiddie porn, they'd cut it off at the source - the only way that it is even possible to do. Instead, we have to wait for the content to be classified, then listed on an updated blacklist, then we have to wait for the updated blacklist to filter through to all the ISPs in the country.

It's a complex situation, but there are a few points:

The balance of power in the Australian Senate is held by a Senator from a party called "Family First". That party pioneered the concept of mandatory filtering of internet pornography, and the current government needs this one Senator's support in the Senate to get any legislation through. So it definitely wants to be on friendly terms with said Senator.

Originally it was going to be a filter at the ISP level that every ISP had to offer, but that adults could opt out of. Unfortunately the idiot in charge of telecommunications in Australia decided that the technology could also be used to ban "unwanted" content (his words) for everyone. He's confirmed that unwanted content would include topics such as euthanasia, and other politicians have been pushing for gambling and anorexia websites to be added to the mandatory filter.

The severe technological obstacles that would be obvious to over 99% of the posters here at slashdot are being repeatedly ignored, and opponents are being accused of peddling child pornography (I wish I was joking, this is literally what the minister is saying to his opponents). Never before have I seen a minister and his industry have such a fundamental contempt for one another.

Re:Oh no... (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722083)

other politicians have been pushing for gambling and anorexia websites to be added to the mandatory filter.

Seriously? Anorexia websites? What purpose could they possibly have to ban anorexia websites, other than to prevent mentally ill people from getting help? 15 years ago, I would have said that's even too ridiculous for government, but there is no such thing anymore. Still, are you sure you didn't mean something else, though?

Re:Oh no... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722457)

I'm not the Grandparent, but it's sort of different. There are (so the media like to tell me) a number of facebook groups and so on for people who are quite happy to be anorexic, and offer self-help in sticking to your extreme "diet choices", rather than in getting off them and back to a less dangerous level of malnutrition. It's those which the Government wish to make disappear.

How to block membership of a particular group without cutting off every social networking site on the whole series of tubes is one of those technical matters that legislators don't wish to concern themselves with.

Re:Oh no... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722695)

While I don't agree with the censorship. He isn't talking about recovering from anorexia sites. He is talking about sites that help people BECOME anorexic. They do exist, and it is creepy.

Re:Oh no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722829)

I think srjh is referring to pro-ana and pro-mia websites. Forums that promote a anorexic and/or bulimia lifestyle.

Re:Oh no... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722529)

The balance of power in the Australian Senate is held by a Senator from a party called "Family First". That party pioneered the concept of mandatory filtering of internet pornography, and the current government needs this one Senator's support in the Senate to get any legislation through.

Actually, you're wrong.

The balance of power in the Senate is held by the Greens (5 seats), who are strongly opposed to internet censorship.

Family First only holds one seat, as does Nick Xenophon (independent).

Great... (2, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723195)

He's confirmed that unwanted content would include topics such as euthanasia, and other politicians have been pushing for gambling and anorexia websites to be added to the mandatory filter.

Now that you have mentioned those words, this is going to get slashdot blocked from Australia. Let me see what these two words mean, oh heck wikipedia is probably going to be blocked now ;)

Re:Oh no... (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721305)

if they have a list of all the kiddie porn sites on the web, why don't they just go after the site owners? even if the sites are hosted overseas, there are very few countries in the world that tolerate that sorta thing, and with a little international pressure it shouldn't be too hard to get their own governments to shut them down.

If you're talking about shutting down sites with 5 year olds, you're probably right - Not many countries would refuse to cooperate. But if you're talking about sites featuring 13-18 year olds, the lines get a little blurry from one country to the next (I think IANAL nor a pedophile). So, like the TPB shutdown, the "best" they could do is illegally shut down the sites temporarily before they returned as strong as ever (along with some extra publicity) and possibly try and convict the site owners in absentia so that you can arrest them if they ever decide to visit your country.

And, like the other posters point out, this isn't really about shutting down kiddie porn. It's about giving the government the ability to filter the Internet as they see fit. The kids are just a convenient launching point because, as everyone knows, opposing censorship == supporting child abuse.

Re:Oh no... (2, Insightful)

janrinok (846318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721565)

there are very few countries in the world that tolerate that sorta thing

It depends on what you mean by 'sorta thing'. If you mean fully clothed children posing for a camera seen on the kind of site that has been frequently banned in the US then many other countries do NOT have a problem with that. The problem is with the individuals who get some kind of sexual pleasure from those sites and, even then, if they don't actually do anything then what crime has been committed? The problems with this type of filter is who gets to choose what is kiddie porn and what is not? We might have different but equally valid views both of which comply with the laws of the country under which we live. But having another country tell us we have to change because 'they' don't approve doesn't usually go down well with us. Take for example the cartoons that so offended the Muslim community. Why should my country - which is Christian and considerably more tolerant than many others - be dictated to because what we believe to be acceptable is not the same as their belief? I think that if a country tries to tell other countries how they should behave then they ought to mind their own business. By all means open a channel of discourse and debate but I don't believe that one country has more right than another to decide what is acceptable and what is not.

Re:Oh no... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721739)

> if they have a list of all the kiddie porn sites on the web, why don't they just go after the site owners?

Kiddie porn is like warez and fraudulent spam-marketed junk products (e.g., online prescription drugstores without a prescription requirement). The sites migrate so frequently, by the time you call the ISP to complain the site's already moved on somewhere else. Most of it's hosted without permission from the owner or operator of the system it's hosted on. It's like trying to stop spam by calling the spammer's ISP and asking them to shut down the mail server.

Not that filtering is going to work a whole lot better.

Re:Oh no... (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722391)

I'll find every flaw that everyone in the industry is predicting, and complain at every step.

So what you are saying is you'll conduct an unbiased test?

IMHO we need to be careful not to swing farther away from people we disagree with just because they say or do something that we don't like. I'm guilty of it at times. If you disagree with censorship you should fight that issue. Those that like censorship might not care that your internet is 30% slower or that you can't get on Facebook anymore.

Anyways, I just think if you are for censorship you should be helping people make a "better mousetrap" so what is deemed valid material isn't getting blocked. If you are against censorship fight that issue not technical problems in its implementation. The argument shouldn't be "censorship makes my internet slower therefore it is wrong".

All that will happen is someone will come out with a better technology and you won't be able to notice the difference (other than the lack of access to censured material of course). Eventually those that care about censorship will end up having to fight that issue, and not the technical difficulties of implementation.

Re:Oh no... (1)

NightRain (144349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724457)

If you are against censorship fight that issue not technical problems in its implementation. The argument shouldn't be "censorship makes my internet slower therefore it is wrong".

Why would you do that? If you're against censorship you're never going to convince someone who is for it, making the whole exercise futile. If the one thing you can potentially convince people on is the technical limitations of the pro censorship suggestion, then it's only common sense to use that angle

Re:Oh no... (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723953)

When the test goes live, I'll opt-in to the kiddy filter and complain when I still see some naughty bits. I'll find the sites that have been accidentally blocked (there is no doubt that there will be some, the government's own tests showed that between 2% and 8% of the internet will be accidentally blocked), and complain when I can't reach them. I'll complain when the ~30% speed penalty hits. I'll find every flaw that everyone in the industry is predicting, and complain at every step.

That isn't the best part...the best part is when you publicize blocks on political groups.

If you are going to get people riled up, at least target the ones that will vote.

Re:Oh no... (3, Interesting)

phyrz (669413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720355)

iiNet is a good ISP. They were the first to support ADSL2 by installing their own DSLAMs (at least in West Oz), they were the first to trial naked DSL. They help push the industry forward. If it wasn't for these types of ISPs we would still be paying $50 / month for 512k / 5gig.

Also I appreciate the fact that MM built the company from his garage like a true geek. Also they were the first to offer TCP/IP.

Not to say that iiNet doesn't have some bad moments, but they are far from the worst in Australia.

They really hate this firewall crap, and have been one of the biggest voices against it.

What a scam (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719687)

Good way to get the people to accept it, ' look we are just trying to disprove it' ' its for your own good '.

I bet a buck it doesn't get shut down and seen as a success.

Re:What a scam (4, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719799)

I especially like how they seem to suggest they will be able to tell when someone breaks around it, and even more impressive who did it!

Re:What a scam (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720051)

Anyone that has traffic on lets say... port 22 is *obviously* getting around it and will have their name paraded as a violator.

Re:What a scam (1)

ch33zm0ng3r (1266976) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720259)

Well, I'll be damned... The road to hell IS paved with good intentions and in this case it's in the form of a placation. "Oh, right we don't even think it's a good idea we'll be on your side saying I toldja so." 10 years later the Aussies will be forwarding all "dissident" information to /dev/memoryhole

Re:What a scam (5, Informative)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720799)

Posting will undo some moderation, but I have to do it here...

I know that in general we look on ISPs as evil pricks, but in this case, iiNet is actually stepping up to stick it to Aussie government. iiNet isn't the perfect ISP, but they've consistently taken steps to push the Aussie ISP market in the right direction. For example, they were the first (I think) to introduce ADSL 2+ and their ADSL 2+ connection has been the fastest I've ever had, beating out connections in the US, Singapore and Australia. They also pioneered naked ADSL (which is great). When I had ADSL issues with the local telco's lines they helped diagnose and get the problem resolved.

Then there's the quotes that have been coming out of iiNet's staff about this filtering, which are leave no doubt about their thoughts about the whole thing.

They're going into this kicking and screaming and only volunteering because they know they'll kick and scream the loudest.

Full disclosure: I'm currently posting from an iiNet connection, and have been a happy customer in the past. (Though I also rate TGP's connections.)

Re:What a scam (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720839)

You have more faith then i. For your fellow citizens sake, lets hope I'm wrong.

Re:What a scam (5, Interesting)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721201)

The thing is there's no motivation for them to screw us over. iiNet are out to make money, and filtering is just going to be a massive problem/money hole for them. Sucking up the government won't get them anything because of the telco situation here.

So iiNet are taking the long term view that being seen as 'the guys who stopped the filtering' will be seen as a positive for their brand and mean when people ask their local geek who they should get their interwebs from said geek will be more likely to suggest iiNet.

Re:What a scam (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721369)

Let us stipulate, then, that iiNet's aboveboard and that agreeing to this trial is, essentially, a demonstration of the futility of the government's proposal. Even with iiNet's principled and participatory opposition (i.e., not just sitting there pouting, but doing something about it), this may have unintended consequences.

[Comms Ministry]: The trial was a smash success; iiNet's endorsement guarantees we have good PR and can steamroll this out. All we have to do is invoke the name of our ally in the industry.

[iiNet]: "Endorsement"? WTF are you talking about! We signed up to prove just how stupid the idea was.

[Comms Ministry]: You signed up. That's endorsement. Your participation gives us all the credibility we need, and the rollout will proceed on schedule.

Trying to change stupidity from the inside has risks, one of which is that you get stupidity all over yourself.

Re:What a scam (5, Informative)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722371)

I know it's bad to reply to your own posts, but someone posted a link to a thread on Whirlpool [whirlpool.net.au] that Michael Malone has replied to. I just had to include the link because it shows you what kind of company you're dealing with. The managing director replies to a thread on a consumer advocacy forum and uses language like:

... It is not sensible to stay out of the trials. If we do that, then the government will sign up a couple of pissant ISP's from some small regional location. They will run the trials there and then say voila, it worked, perfect results, no slowdown. Then it will be legislated and enforced. That's stupid.

...

There is no point sticking our heads in the sand on this. I want real data that demonstrates why this is dumb, even to someone as slow as this minister.

Now, perhaps this is part of grand scheme to get this filter in place, but if so, it's so masterfully orchestrated that I think we may as well give up, they're too good to fight. :P

Credit to ghmh's comment [slashdot.org] for the link the Whirlpool thread.

"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (5, Interesting)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719899)

Mark Newton (of Internode, not the same mob as this story is about) has an opinion piece on the ABC (which I submitted to Slashdot, but still pending...), entitled Filter advocates need to check their facts [abc.net.au] .

In my observation, it's obvious that the debate has polarised into two camps. One of them is largely populated by people who know what they're talking about and who mostly oppose the ALP's censorship plan;

The other camp includes people who just make lots of mistakes; including Senator Conroy, who claimed that Sweden, the UK, Canada and New Zealand all have similar filter systems as are being proposed.

----

Anyway, if Conroy is the worst minister, that's pretty damn bad. After all, Richard Alston [wikipedia.org] , Daryl Williams and Helen Coonan [wikipedia.org] were all communications minister under Johny sticken Howard.

According to Wikipedia, Alston tried "to ban online gambling, and make email forwarding illegal, he was dubbed 'the world's biggest luddite'. [1]".

Maybe this "representative" thing isn't all it's cracked up to be? Anyone up for some Demarchy [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720003)

You're a pretty funny guy. I like you.

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (1)

phyrz (669413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720425)

Ah Richard Alston and the 4 Million Dollar website.

http://bc.whirlpool.net.au/news/?id=1107 [whirlpool.net.au]

Why do we put people with arts and law degrees in positions like this? surely some degree of technical education is required?

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720555)

degree != expertise
no degree != lack of expertise

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (1)

Maguscrowley (1291130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721015)

That's a poor form of argument. It assumes that the person was establishing direct causation

person has a degree ==> person has expertise.

However, the intended logic is,
It is more likely that someone with a degree, or observable qualifications will have expertise.

Please be careful about assuming strong qualifiers in the persons logic. Most often, people are speaking in soft terms in order to be terse and avoid extremes.

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (2, Funny)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721435)

Okay, I don't know what this website is, and maybe it actually needed $1.2 million to develop, and $956,000 for hosting and support services.

But how the hell do you spend $928,000 spent on software and $661,000 on hardware?

Yes, not everyone uses free software for web hosting, but last I checked the most expensive version of Cold Fusion was under $10,000. I don't know how much the most expensive version of Oracle costs, but I'm rather doubting it's six fucking figures. (Remember, that doesn't include support.)

Likewise, for $661,000, you could build a damn hosting building. (And what was the $956,000 for if you've got your own building?)

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723297)

But how the hell do you spend $928,000 spent on software and $661,000 on hardware?

Solid gold urinals powered by super-computers?

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (2, Interesting)

NoisySplatter (847631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720449)

I'd never heard of Demarchy before. Thanks for the lesson.

I can see where a lot of reelection pressure would be removed, but I think it would lead to even worse corruption than we have now, or at least less expensive corruption.
A randomly selected segment of the population would be likely to have far less personal wealth than current politicians and thus be easier to influence with current lobbyist practices.

Add to that there would definitely have to be some way of ensuring that the person selected could actually fill the capacity they're supposed to. Perhaps a competency test and the appointee is chosen randomly from that pool.

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721391)

so you think that only appointing rich people while keeping poor people out of government is the best way to combat government corruption?

part of the reason why government corruption exists is because there's little incentive for politicians to represent the interests of the people. there's such a big cultural/socioeconomic gap between the political elite and the common man that government officials don't even share the same realities, much less the same political interests, as the average working class person. worst yet, if a political leader fucks up, they'll just be replaced with more of the same. so there's no real democratic recourse for the constituency.

the rich simply don't play by the same rules as the working class in most societies. they are willing to pass draconian laws because they know they aren't going to be held to those laws like everyone else. a rich person will never be wrongly executed under capital punishment laws. they will never be thrown in jail for drug possession (and don't tell me that it's because rich people don't do drugs) and have all of their property seized by the government.

now, if all government officials were came from the working class, not only would they be more in touch with their constituency, but their interests would also be aligned with the people they are supposed to represent. that's why it makes no sense to pay civil servants more than the national median income. if most citizens can't afford to own a house, then neither should politicians. that way, they have some incentive to fix the situation.

things like bribery and illegal corruption are a separate issue. those problems can be solved once you have a government that truly represents the electorate and have dealt with legal corruption. for instance, you can start placing heavier penalties on illegal corruption. and if politicians are working class citizens, then they would be bound by the same legal code/punishments as everyone else. laws against political corruption are useless when politicians can buy their way out of any legal problem.

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (2, Interesting)

NoisySplatter (847631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721875)

I think you misunderstood where I was trying to go with my rambling.

I wasn't trying to say that working class people are bereft of morals or less fit to govern. I was speaking directly about the separate issue of bribery and illegal corruption that you spoke about in your last sentence. Basically I skipped a few steps in between and assumed oversight would stay as it is now, allowing lobbyists to work their magic on an equally impressionable but less wealthy group of people.

I'm all about getting rid of the "rich" requirement to be in public office. I'd like to be involved in politics myself, but don't feel I have the time or background to have a chance.

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (2, Interesting)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725533)

I agree with your POV on the prospect of bribery effectively shifting from the elected to the electorate. And you are right that it may be cheaper because it is going on at the moment, in the form of advertising.
Extreme example - and at risk of taking the thread in an unwelcome direction - oil industry ads are very "green" these days. Surely the goal of those ads is to make us feel better about the product we are buying into?
There are a lot of things I like about the "Demarchy" idea (new to me) but I think it runs the risk - like any system - of becoming self-serving. Demarchy's goals need to be aligned with citizens', i.e. mankind's (etc., etc. - easy to say, but what are they?). I imagine it could be a very "responsive" system, given current technology.
I also agree with your "competency" point: maybe citizens might be allowed to nominate "proxies" to opine on their behalf on various topics (different proxies for different areas of expertise) and veto their proxy's (possibly explained?) vote instead of trying to understand subject matter 100% themselves. Of course, that idea opens another means for external interests to "game the system"; I don't think that kind of thing can go away until "the game" bans bots ;-)

Demarchy (1)

ghjm (8918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724499)

I had never heard of this before. Wasn't there some old science fiction series where the king was selected at random, then beheaded at the end of his term?

I wonder how it would work, though. Wouldn't there have to be a permanent bureacracy to form the committees, perform the random selection, provide information and data, and implement the resulting decisions? Wouldn't this bureacracy have a tremendous amount of power, for example, to influence when and on what topic the decision committees should be formed? And if poor people are to be appointed to the committees, what happens to their livelihood while they spend time deliberating on some policy matter? Or what's to stop a newly appointed committee member (rich or poor) from approaching the subject of the regulatory decision and offering to be bought?

-Graham

Re:Demarchy (1)

Plunky (929104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725079)

I had never heard of this before. Wasn't there some old science fiction series where the king was selected at random, then beheaded at the end of his term?

It doesn't mention it in the Wikipedia article but the book A Far Sunset [wikipedia.org] by Edmund Cooper features this, in that the last survivor of a starship crew becomes ultimate ruler of a remote civilisation and although he does work towards modernisation he is still killed at the end of his reign.

full disclosure: my username came from an Edmund Cooper short story.

Re:"Filter advocates need to check their facts" (1)

kiwilad (1405051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724877)

Mark Newton (of Internode, not the same mob as this story is about) has an opinion piece on the ABC (which I submitted to Slashdot, but still pending...), entitled Filter advocates need to check their facts [abc.net.au] .

In my observation, it's obvious that the debate has polarised into two camps. One of them is largely populated by people who know what they're talking about and who mostly oppose the ALP's censorship plan;

The other camp includes people who just make lots of mistakes; including Senator Conroy, who claimed that Sweden, the UK, Canada and New Zealand all have similar filter systems as are being proposed.

----

Anyway, if Conroy is the worst minister, that's pretty damn bad. After all, Richard Alston [wikipedia.org] , Daryl Williams and Helen Coonan [wikipedia.org] were all communications minister under Johny sticken Howard.

According to Wikipedia, Alston tried "to ban online gambling, and make email forwarding illegal, he was dubbed 'the world's biggest luddite'. [1]".

Maybe this "representative" thing isn't all it's cracked up to be? Anyone up for some Demarchy [wikipedia.org] ?

Just to correct everyone and say that Senator Conroy is completely wrong, New Zealand has NO, I repeat NO Government Filtering/Firewall system on our Internet Services. Yes New Zealand is thinking of having it added to stop downloads of Music and Movies, but the difference between New Zealand Government and Ozzie Government is Our Government listens to it's nation. Our country will only add these so called filters if Ozzie adds them, but then again if NZ wont have it then chances are the government wont add it.

Obligatory Dilbert (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25719943)

It was just as bad an idea 12 years ago:

[dilbert.com] http://www.dilbert.com/fast/1996-01-23/ [dilbert.com]

It's not a firewall, it's more like a dam (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720381)

I know it's popular on slashdot to look at things based on its technical proficiency, but this isn't about whether or not it works. It's based on satisfying certain luddites that think that free access to information is evil because free access to information means free access to things that they disagree with. Things like abortion, religion, sexuality, human rights, protest, recipes for unhealthy food, and government/corporate oversight. And it doesn't matter whether it can be bypassed or not, what matters is whether the majority of the population cares enough to.

It's like peer to peer filesharing. Geeks like us will always be able to make it work because we know enough about the network to make a connection from any one point to another point. It's a decentralized communications network and by design and very nature it cannot be fully compromised. You can't stop the signal. But very few of us that use the internet are geeks and they use common tools like Google and Shareaza and if they don't work then they just give up. They don't have the proficiency to make it work. And so the luddites win, because the literacy is so low.

They don't care if it works... They just want to stop enough people that they don't lose their political clout. It's not a firewall, it's a dam; And while there's always water flowing through a dam, it's not all the water and that's what makes a dam useful.

Re:It's not a firewall, it's more like a dam (1)

Leonard Fedorov (1139357) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720817)

+1 Insightful

An inconvenient truth as they say.

Re:It's not a firewall, it's more like a dam (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721357)

Geeks like us will always be able to make it work

I wish I had your faith, but they seem to be moving toward trying to turn the internet into TV or radio - a completely closed platform. As long as we have some way to communicate, we'll still be able to set up some form of a network (even if we have to fall back to connecting modems to phone line), but I wouldn't put it past them to start working on closing the telephone network as well. Of course, geeks could bypass the restrictions... if they were willing to risk getting arrested if they got caught.

No, I fear that the internet of tomorrow (and public communication networks in general) will not be like what they are today. I think you vastly underestimate what the general public is willing to give up for the sake of "protecting the children".

Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (5, Insightful)

glamb (191331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721753)

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people," Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf. "As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." (sorry, pinched from an earlier thread)

Re:Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (1)

Ifandbut (1328775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722067)

Dam I wish I had mod points today. +1 Interesting

Re:Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (3, Funny)

ahankinson (1249646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722557)

I'll go for +1 Godwin

Re:It's not a firewall, it's more like a dam (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723131)

computational super -- It's not faith that makes me say this. It's the knowledge of human nature and statistics. No, I don't underestimate what people are willing to give up; The everyday person will sacrifice almost anything except themselves to have a little temporary safety (however illusory it is), to believe in the promise that the government, or the church, or some institution can somehow build some framework to hold back the chaos. But there will always be people either too smart, too stupid, or too "insane" to subscribe to whatever theory. Every institution, every law, advantages one group by disadvantaging another. Sometimes it's fair, sometimes it's horribly inhumane, but by the very act of disenfranchising one group to advantage another they have therein created the impetus to find the holes in the framework.

There is no such thing as a perfect institution, law, or way of living. There will always be holes. And there will always be free radicals, and so there will always be a way. It might be dangerous, illegal, and ill-advised but somebody's going to do it, and because of the social nature of people, they will eventually organize into groups and build on this, making it less dangerous, less visible, and easier. It's the eternal struggle between building better mice, and better mouse traps. And even supposing the system is morally perfect, advantaging everything, giving no reason to question it... There will still be people who will test it, by nature.

And technology is blind to morality. It is an extension of us all... And so... There will always be a way. Technology cannot solve social problems... People will always be evolving, trying to find some other way of doing things... And this fact alone guarantees that there will always be a way to live outside the system. There will always be a way for me to find others like me, and ways to find others like you. It's part of the human condition.

As long as YOU want it, there will be a way. And with over six billion other people on the planet, the odds are very good there are others who also want it, and they will find a way to find you, even if you don't believe they are there.

Re:It's not a firewall, it's more like a dam (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721655)

I believe that all of what you said applies to intelligent people versus those in power as well.

It's no accident that most U.S. public schools are a complete disgrace in terms of education quality. (And also happens to be the biggest customer of net filter software.)

Content (4, Funny)

fireheadca (853580) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720423)

If they filter conte

Kiddie porn... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720537)

Shouldn't Australia look into why so many people there like kiddie porn than try to just block it. I know it is peopled by criminals, but they could do some kind of rehab to get them off the kiddie porn.

Re:Kiddie porn... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724057)

It occurs to me that the population of Australian sits at only about 20 million, less than 1 percent of the human race, couldn't we just coordinate a barrage of nuclear bombs and just kill them all? So few people wouldn't be missed. They are descendants of convicted criminals anyway. Besides, what have they contributed to the rest humanity lately? And if there is one thing I hate, it is a goddamn pedophile. Surely an entire country full of them deserves to die.

Just my 2 cents.

Largest ISP?? (3, Informative)

kingturkey (930819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720605)

How is iiNet Australia's largest ISP? That's ludicrous. Telstra Bigpond is by far the largest due to their former government monopoly, Optus would be a 2nd and then perhaps iiNet would be there along with a dozen other medium sized providers.

Re:Largest ISP?? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721531)

Telstra Small Puddle(TM) might be (partially) government owned, but that doesn't make it the largest ISP. And who uses Optus except for mobile access?

Re:Largest ISP?? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724899)

The other ones are Internet Disservice Providers.

"Great Firewall of Australia" . . . (3, Funny)

mmell (832646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720765)

Y'know, I understand the "Great (Fire)Wall of China". Shouldn't this be the "Australian Great Barrier Firewall"? And - isn't that in danger of being destroyed by people poking and prodding at it, punching holes in it, etc.?

Re:"Great Firewall of Australia" . . . (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720949)

The Great Fire Barrier?

Re:"Great Firewall of Australia" . . . (3, Funny)

lec8rje (1078775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721125)

Surely it must be "the smut proof fence" ...

Related Whirlpool Thread (4, Informative)

ghmh (73679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721471)

Is here [whirlpool.net.au] , in which an iiNet user pleads with them to not go ahead with the trial, and is replied to by Michael Malone (the head of iinet). Whirlpool is the main news / forum site on Australian broadband news and information.

I concur with the original poster, and that the ulterior motive is not about blocking child pornography, but instead about:

  • Trying to keep the independent senators who hold the balance of power happy, so they can get them on side to help push their other legislation through, (specifically Mr anti-gambling and Mr christian)
  • Give the government the ability to control access to information - there is no opt out. (Remember - we're not allowed to know what's on the blacklist). This is largely encouraged by:
  • Big media, who are slowly losing control over information as most of what they publish gets republished on the internet in some form, rendering their traditional distribution channels obsolete(and thus potential advertising revenue falls in a big way)

Australian censorship has always been pretty hopeless... - We still don't have an R18+ classification for games (although we do for movies, and print media), so games that would fall into that category are refused classification (and therefore can't be sold). This mandatory internet filtering would take things to a whole new (unwanted) level.

Unfortunately, despite Michael's best (and appreciated efforts), there's still nothing stopping them from continually moving the goalposts... and when challenged they'll continue with the "If you're not with us, then you're against us, which means you're pro-child porn" rubbish. Sounds kind of like the always attack never defend strategy endorsed by a certain science fiction author [wikipedia.org] .

Why DIY? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721639)

They could just buy one from China and get them to manage it too (at half the price).

fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722367)

fuck

Ben Franklin gets it why don't you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723303)

This is by far the stupidest fucking idea ever.
"the reasons for participating in this trial is to show how unfeasible and stupid it is"
By all means then let's also instate a totalitarian government system that gives federal officals the ability to spy on, and regulate every little thing we do just to show them that it wouldn't work as well.
That's OK.
I wasn't using my civil liberties anyhow...

"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."
"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security."
"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."
"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."
"If we restrict liberty to attain security we will lose them both."
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
"He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither."
"Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither."
"Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security."

Anarchy_Creator

New ministry (1)

fugue (4373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723311)

I like this guy. Here in the we need a government branch for granting honorary citizenship to people who go around publicising how stupid our various government branches are.
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