Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Oz Pirate Party Tells the Elderly How To Bypass the Net Filter

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-the-blue-pill-heck-take-them-all dept.

Australia 275

mask.of.sanity writes "When Exit International discovered it was earmarked for Australia's Internet filter blacklist, it wanted to ensure its members could access its pro-euthanasia material, but its members share an average age of 70 — not exactly from the tech generation. So Exit International turned to the filter-hating Pirate Party of Australia, which supplied a 'hacker' who taught a crowded room of grandmas and grandpas how to use proxies and advanced VPN tunnels to access Exit International's material — which the Australian government thinks breaches the moral compass of society. Computerworld has the presentation."

cancel ×

275 comments

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

It sure feels odd (5, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786946)

It'd feel odd to teach a group of old people how to access information about killing themselves.

But that's the point of the freedom of information - anyone should have the right to seek it out and access it.

for the young ones also (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786970)

The presentation was short and simple enough that almost anyone should be able to follow its instructions. If motivated to do so, even the technologically ignorant could have a good chance of bypassing the blocklist.

Gone... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787134)

Link comes up with a blank page. I think Auntie Steve has already had it censored... :-{

Re:for the young ones also (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787226)

And if anyone is going to look up information about euthanasia on the internet, people who are technologically ignorant get my vote :)

Re:It sure feels odd (5, Insightful)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786994)

Yep, crazy world we live in.

Mind you, these people all want to have their life's options explored. They are not all for killing themselves now, just may not want to be vegetable burdens in the future, much like many of us.

How long until Capt. Kevin makes it a crime to either
a) bypass the filter
b) assist others to bypass the filter
c) both of the above.

bloody stupid steve!

Re:It sure feels odd (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787122)

Maybe he can license some filtering technology from China.

He already copied China (4, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787342)

China's filter is also bypassable. I assume want it that way. The strategy is to ensure that the young and the very concerned have ways to protect themselves individually, to avoid having them motivated to look into organised ways. A classic way to take the wind out of people power.

Re:He already copied China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787506)

That is a very interesting viewpoint. i haven't thought about it like that before.

Re:It sure feels odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787492)

Can't see how he could make it illegal. Anyone who uses a off shore VPN will bypass it. As I work for a US based company I could not log into work legally. As as they won't tell us what URLs I can't access then I won't know.

Re:It sure feels odd (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787630)

Can't see how he could make it illegal

They're the government - give them time. They think that passing laws to make it illegal should be good and sufficient to keep the riff-raff and the great unwashed masses in thrall.

That's why Australia is the New "Hotel California" [slushdot.com] - you can try to check out any time you like, but you can never leave ...

Re:It sure feels odd (4, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787652)

In fact, it's such a heinous crime against the moral compass of society, it should probably carry the death penalty.

Re:It sure feels odd (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787056)

It'd feel odd to teach a group of old people how to access information about killing themselves.

But that's the point of the freedom of information - anyone should have the right to seek it out and access it.

Whether a controlled and dignified end to you life should be a moral right may be open to discussion, but at least people should be able to inform themselves on the issue, right?

Re:It sure feels odd (3, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787126)

Whether a controlled and dignified end to you life should be a moral right may be open to discussion, but at least people should be able to inform themselves on the issue, right?

If people are able to inform themselves on an issue, they might make a choice that's contrary to your moral stance. This is especially likely if your moral stance can be summarized as "people should suffer greatly for my peace of mind". That's why places like Australia, China, Britain, Finland etc. want to restrict their citizens ability to access information.

Re:It sure feels odd (4, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787408)

You're obviously missing the point of what Australia's doing here. Their internet firewall is for blocking child pornography, this is what they said and this is what it was sold as. Obviously then blocking this website reduces child porn... I mean, with sufficient amounts of people taking up this option, it does mean that children will become a larger % of the population, which means they're even more of a target!!!

If you think people should be allowed access to information about getting "youth in asia" to old people in Australia, then you're a pedophile.

Re:It sure feels odd (2, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787434)

You're obviously missing the point of what Australia's doing here. Their internet firewall is for blocking child pornography, this is what they said and this is what it was sold as. Obviously then blocking this website reduces child porn... I mean, with sufficient amounts of people taking up this option, it does mean that children will become a larger % of the population, which means they're even more of a target!!!

If you think people should be allowed access to information about getting "youth in asia" to old people in Australia, then you're a pedophile.

Maybe Exit International should make a page called "Euthanasia for Child Molesters." That'd help reduce cp AND provide pro-euthenasia info, right ?

Re:It sure feels odd (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787690)

Not if they're updating the firewall over the phone... then it becomes "a website for getting the youth in asia to child molesters here?!! Yes block it!!!! .... goddamn immigrants will try anything to get in here!"

Re:It sure feels odd (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787520)

As NZ follows the same daft path it is especially awesome to see the exact slippery slopes being slid down across the ditch. First filter for the sake of the children. And apparently no real grace period is required before starting to block whatever else you want.

Re:It sure feels odd (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787330)

It'd feel odd to teach a group of old people how to access information about killing themselves.
But that's the point of the freedom of information - anyone should have the right to seek it out and access it.

My feelings are opposite, in a certain way.

The freedom of information, as most freedoms, is one of those things you want to always have because there are some cases where it's important. A breach that reveals my (secret) vote is a severe problem, not because I care the least, I wouldn't mind my choice to wearing a tshirt with my choice, but because I might care, and that case is more important than all others.

This case is not an example of the "generic use of this freedom" as you seem to be implying. This is one of the other kind. This is one of the reasons we want freedom of information in the first place. The right to control our own lives comes above most others.

I can't express in words how important, how serious, this very example is for me.

Re:It sure feels odd (1)

vidnet (580068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787360)

How about if it was a group of recent divorcees or depressed teenagers?

This is an extremely cynical way of selling a $75 book, but as you say, freedom of information means for everyone.

Re:It sure feels odd (3, Insightful)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787544)

I don't think it really matters. It's already illegal here to assist people to die, so it doesn't apply. No medical professional is going to assist a teenager or divorcee to end their life, and people who would assist with that aren't going to in any way be deterred by a censor.

If someone wants to kill themselves, there's plenty of ways to do it and trying to deny access to anything that discusses it is going to be about as effective as denying sex education to kids in the belief that they'll not have sex if you don't tell them about it.

Re:It sure feels odd (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787564)

We should improve awareness so that the people who live with them can recognize the signs and get them proper help. Denying them access to that kind of information won't fix the underlying problem.

Re:It sure feels odd (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787438)

How about, as a society, we take good care of our elderlys, make them feel that they are not a burden, make them feel they worked all their life and now it's time to take care of them.

I mean, let's cure the root cause first, elderlys should never feel they are a burden. If they are ill, we should try to cure them, if they are sad we should cheer them up, if they feel useless we should remind them that just seeing them brings joy to them.

Euthanasia is only a solution when the rest of society has failed to do the above. And let's be clear, it's a cheap cowardly solution for society.

I'm not one to say we should artificially keep people with dead brains alive forever, but let's not use euthanasia as a cheap exit when there are other solutions.

Re:It sure feels odd (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787556)

Come back when you've actually dealt with the issues at hand, or at least graduated from high school.

Re:It sure feels odd (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787586)

breaches the moral compass of society.

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't ... and besides, the end of a life is not a situation where you can apply too many absolutes.

More to the point, however, I'd say Australia's government has been breaching their society's moral compass for some time now. So has mine, for that matter, and I'm American.

Re:It sure feels odd (1, Offtopic)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787594)

It'd feel odd to teach a group of old people how to access information about killing themselves.

Yes, it would.

And yet technically we do that every day. Our media glamorizes things like fast food... okay, perhaps McDonalds isn't so popular anymore, but there seems to be an abundance of advertisements for food that can be cooked in 5 minutes flat. I'm sure eating that food for years and years and years is going to have an effect. The media used to favour smoking - it was huge in both ads and TV shows. These are just two ways of slowly killing yourself, which could knock decades off your life.

Well... a car crash, a gun shot to the head, and an overdose on drugs are also ways of knocking decades off your life. You just see the result a bit sooner.

Is it the abruptness of it? I don't know. Technically we should be just as disturbed by an obese diabetic person looking up dutch recipes(Mmmm!... sugar and butter!), as an elderly person looking up euthanasia. They're both killing themselves, because they want their lives to be more enjoyable. And yet if they had pills in their hand, you'd stop them - but if they had candy, you probably wouldn't. :/

I'm not sure what I'd do, but I try not to be a hypocrite about such things. It's your life - just be aware there's no reset button, and the choices you make do affect everyone left behind.

What is Australia thinking? (2, Funny)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786966)

Do they just want everyone to live forever? I'm not sure if I, for one, would welcome our new immortal, large-knife wielding overlords.

Re:What is Australia thinking? (4, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787024)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your highlander.

Re:What is Australia thinking? (5, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787072)

Too bad, there can only be one subscriber.

Re:What is Australia thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787130)

That's not a knife...now that's a knife!

Re:What is Australia thinking? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787232)

That's not a knife...now that's a knife!

No it's not, that's a spoon.

Yes, I've played knifey-spoony before.

Re:What is Australia thinking? (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787254)

I for one welcome our new, Zimmer-frame wielding overlord!

Seriously? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31786980)

Keep on telling us in The States how to be, and we might just keep laughing. Seems very "open minded" and "progressive" to censor these kinds of things!

DEBtastic (3, Informative)

mdsharpe (1051460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786984)

We may soon need similar lessons here in the UK when we want to access those filtered sites suspected of potentially hosting copyrighted material. Damn, that sounds sad.

Is this even possible? (2, Insightful)

xulfer (1368787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786992)

The article says that each workshop lasts approximately five-and-a-half hours. It's taken me a half-hour just to explain how to properly navigate a website to some of my more elderly firewall. I'm not sure if the allotted time is enough to teach the various concepts and methods of VPN/ssh tunnels and proxies. I've worked with computer science graduates that didn't even properly grasp these concepts after a semester long course. I wish them the best of luck either way.

Re:Is this even possible? (5, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787026)

Elderly firewalls?

Like, Norton 1.0?

Re:Is this even possible? (2, Funny)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787028)

I'm quite impressed you're able to teach ANY of your elderly firewalls how to properly navigate a website. My firewalls just filter packets! I guess it's true, they don't make 'em like they used to.

Re:Is this even possible? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787582)

You don't really need to teach them the concepts, only "take these steps and you'll be able to access the blocked sites". Of course, if anyone is actually interest in learning how the system works, I'm all for teaching them.

moral compass? (3, Insightful)

sams67 (880846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787002)

Currently, as a result of back room deals between the government and the Christian lobby, Australia has a moral anchor rather than a moral compass.

Re:moral compass? (4, Insightful)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787146)

Citation needed for these back room deals.

I am a Christian and am opposed to this filter. In fact, many Christians are arguing AGAINST this legislation because we have potentially unpopular views which could be silenced through future use of this scheme: http://solapanel.org/article/conroys_internet_filter_full_of_contradictions/ [solapanel.org]

Re:moral compass? (5, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787206)

But... but... but... How else can we pigeonhole people who support censorship? Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that pinning the rest of our political problems on religion is also wrong!

Re:moral compass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787392)

It's called back-room because it's not in the open. That'd be mighty silly of them

Re:moral compass? (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787464)

"many Christians are arguing AGAINST this legislation"

But not all... and it's the fundamentalists of any religion that have that extra "get up and go" that drives them to achieve things... bad, bad things. Once you open the door to saying it's a good thing for people to believe stuff without reason you're going to find people fighting for more and more "extreme" views. It doesn't matter if it's in the bible, or the koran. The more something is preached, the more people will follow it, look at catholicism. Condoms sending you to hell is no more unbelievable than the entire concept of heaven and hell, and once you rule reason out, and faith in... they're just as believable as each other too.

Re:moral compass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787538)

Maybe you should call it Christianity 3.6 Mrsurb Version. Just so we know to distinguish it from the rest of the ignorance spreading pack.

Re:moral compass? (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787610)

I am a Christian and am opposed to this filter.

Well good for you. But the fact is that the idea for this censorship was partly intended to placate the Christian lobby, and there are plenty of public Christian figures in Australia who support it. Just because some Christians oppose it, is not evidence that no Christians had anything to do with it.

Slashdotted (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787012)

Thanks for crashing this slashdotters! Now the grandmas and grandpas would not be able to access this. Sincerely, Stephen Conroy Minister of Doublespeak

Crazy Australians. (5, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787018)

I always thought Australia was a developed country, economically, and politically. This Internet filter craziness makes them seem very un-democratic. What's next? Filtering the opposition party websites? Filtering any websites that has an opposing view of the current government? I don't think that next step is such a big one.

Re:Crazy Australians. (5, Interesting)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787080)

Undemocratic? The Hungry Beast had a phone poll of 1,000 people conducted, the results are in this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] . The results indicate that a lot of people actually are in favour of the filter, but it seems to largely depend on how it's phrased and explained.

I think we have the same problem as pretty much every democracy: everyone gets a vote, but only a small portion of people actually care/know enough about an issue to make an informed choice. And the governments don't seem to be under much pressure to actually be open and honest about what the policies they're pushing will actually achieve. So, the government asks "do you want the Australian Government to block access to things only sickos would want to see like child porn?" and most people say "yes". The government doesn't mention the filter will only block unencrypted HTTP and therefore by absolutely trivial to bypass, or how much it will cost vs the amount of content it'll be blocking, or how effective it will be compared to installing your own filtering software.

Various online polls show strong opposition to it, but that's pretty much as expected. People who have some idea of how the internet works are hugely opposed to it for technical as well as "freedom" related issues, but people who have no idea (which is most people) just hear "this will stop child rapists and not impact you at all" and are of course going to be for it.

In a way, it's a lot like the "Free software" debate. Most people don't give a crap if their software is "Free" or not, and don't even think about how having a healthy Free software ecosystem may benefit them (regardless of what they choose to use themselves). But if it all disappeared and there was no alternative but proprietary software from big corporations, they'd realise what they'd lost. But explaining it beforehand? There's just no interest.

Re:Crazy Australians. (2, Informative)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787096)

Oh yes, the other problem we share with most democracies is that we're normally limited to voting for a party, not particular policies. This works okay if there's a party which has policies you mostly agree with, but not so well otherwise. Since both of the major parties seem to be in favour of the Great (But Ineffective) Firewall of Australia, all you can do is vote for one of the minor parties (e.g. the Pirate Party) and hope they get the message about why you didn't vote for them. However, that only makes sense if the filter is a major issue for you -- but more likely, the Liberal party might actually come up with some kind of Health policy before the election and a lot of people will choose to vote based on that, since most people don't care one way or the other if the filter goes ahead (it may not achieve anything worthwhile, but it won't affect me, so what do I care?).

And of course, whichever party wins will believe it has a mandate to put in place a national internet filter with no public oversight.

IMHO, democracies really need to start leveraging technology to provide voting on policies, not on parties. Parties are popularity contests that no longer provide a benefit to the democratic process, IMHO.

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787204)

Just a thought: if what you're proposing becomes reality, the whole idea of "parties" will not be needed any more. Corporations and special interest groups will just get away with their party proxies and directly engage in legislation and policy-making, and get their policies, rather than representatives, voted.

Welcome to democracy 2.0, with less overhead while maintaining exact bug-to-bug compliance with democracy 1.0.

Re:Crazy Australians. (2, Interesting)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787442)

I agree parties wouldn't be needed anymore, but I don't see how it'd automatically make corporations and special groups any more powerful than they already are. I think it would make them less powerful, if the voters are reasonably well informed. If they're not, then it probably wouldn't make a lot of difference. And it would be more efficient, as you point out.

We should be able to leverage modern communication technology to be able to vote online, and therefore have frequent, even weekly, votes on policies. Maybe spend 30 minutes a week to read about and vote on policies that you're interested in. It would be really fascinating to see something like this in action.

I'd like to see something like this:

  1. people come up with a policy proposal and present it to parliament
  2. those opposed or with a different policy engage in a lively debate
  3. once a "party" comes up with an actual policy, they create a short summary of it, which will be given to the voting public at the time they go to vote
  4. such summaries are subject to argumentation by all and sundry, all statements must be proven to be true in order to be included (this process will probably take a while)
  5. eventually, one or more policies are presented to the voting public

The "parties" referred to above would likely be temporary groupings of people who are backing a particular policy (because it's easier to make a workable policy without gaping holes if you work with others), not necessarily permanent parties like we have now.

The "people" referred to in #1 are presumably politicians of some kind, although this kind of system would be pretty receptive to "single-issue politicians" who go in to argue for their favourite policy and then disappear back into normal life afterwards. Since having every single citizen arguing at once is probably not really viable, some kind of representation system like we have now would probably be needed (i.e. you need a certain amount of popular support before you can make a proposal that'll actually end up being voted on).

So there you have it. I've fixed democracy in 10 minutes. Now to tackle climate change!

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787284)

And of course, whichever party wins will believe it has a mandate to put in place a national internet filter with no public oversight.

This is the worst bit. Once upon a time, having a "mandate" to force through a certain issue in Australia meant a referendum. Impossible to pass in Oz, so Governments now assume that voting for them is a "mandate" for all issues even those they consider after the election.

We need more options!

Re:Crazy Australians. (3, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787140)

So, the government asks "do you want the Australian Government to block access to things only sickos would want to see like child porn?" and most people say "yes".

Quite more likely, they ask, "are you ok with the Australian Government blocking access to websites which do not reside in Australia but which content is illegal according to Australian laws?", and they reply "yes" because it makes perfect sense to do so.
Now why they filter things that are nowhere near illegal or why they can add sites without going through the judicial system that would determine whether it is illegal or not is beyond me.

Re:Crazy Australians. (5, Insightful)

dorward (129628) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787214)

The results indicate that a lot of people actually are in favour of the filter, but it seems to largely depend on how it's phrased and explained.

See Yes, Minister:

Sir Humphrey “You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don’t want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Do you think they respond to a challenge?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?”

Bernard Woolley: “Ohwell, I suppose I might be.”

Sir Humphrey “Yes or no?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can’t say no to that. So they don’t mention the first five questions and they publish the last one.”

Bernard Woolley: “Is that really what they do?”

Sir Humphrey “Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren’t many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result.”

Bernard Woolley: “How?”

Sir Humphrey “Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Are you worried about the growth of armaments?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?”

Bernard Woolley: “Yes”

Sir Humphrey “There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample.”

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787474)

They should remake that show. I was too young to understand it the first time.

Re:Crazy Australians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787526)

They did - it's called The Thick Of It

Re:Crazy Australians. (3, Insightful)

taylorius (221419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787536)

It was recorded you know, you can still watch it.

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787234)

In a way, it's a lot like the "Free software" debate. Most people don't give a crap if their software is "Free" or not, and don't even think about how having a healthy Free software ecosystem may benefit them (regardless of what they choose to use themselves). But if it all disappeared and there was no alternative but proprietary software from big corporations, they'd realise what they'd lost. But explaining it beforehand? There's just no interest.

Hell, can drop the "free software" part of that and just leave in the "healthy ecosystem" and it would still be just as true.

Re:Crazy Australians. (2, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787312)

I think we have the same problem as pretty much every democracy: everyone gets a vote, but only a small portion of people actually care/know enough about an issue to make an informed choice. And the governments don't seem to be under much pressure to actually be open and honest about what the policies they're pushing will actually achieve.

In an ideal democracy, the press would make the specialized information available to help the general public make an informed choice. Unfortunately, the press seems more likely to run with the pro-filter crowd, in the midst of articles on bloody murder and ads for the newest VW.

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787460)

In an ideal democracy, the press would make the specialized information available to help the general public make an informed choice. Unfortunately, the press seems more likely to run with the pro-filter crowd, in the midst of articles on bloody murder and ads for the newest VW.

You're only worried about the censorship implications if you're already informed, a very small group, if you're part of the unwashed masses however then you are likely uninformed and can be whipped into an anti-pedophilia hysteria. Which group can you sell more papers to you think ? Unrestrained capitalism: profit over ethic.

Re:Crazy Australians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787084)

Not really. I recall back when I was in college, about a decade ago, they banned "reckless" driving in car commercials. That was pretty much a sign of things to come.

And I'm sure we all know about their stance on video game ratings. They've been even more of a nanny state than the US for quite some time.

Re:Crazy Australians. (4, Interesting)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787142)

My observations and several unprompted anecdotal stories from tourist friends suggest Australia is actually quite conservative. Robin Williams recently drew criticism for his comments about Australia and the Prime Minister even more so for saying they were not as bad a Rednecks(in the South of the USA).

I am not famous so I can say what I am about to say with little fear of repercussion. I found southern US folks to be sophisticated compared to Australian Rural communities when I travel both the US and Australia. The Rosa Parkes seat-on-a-bus incident happened a long time ago in the US. While the Cronulla Beach Riots in Sydney happened but a couple years back where ordinary Australians fought pitched battles against foreigners. Politicians in Australia were found to lie about immigrants throwing babies overboard in ships, so that it would bolster their anti immigration stances. Aborigines were shot or hit by cars and killed and the attitudes of police were to treat it as an animal death up till the 1980's.

Do not confuse a laid back attitude with conservative beliefs. Because Australia, averagely is very conservative.

Re:Crazy Australians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787208)

As an australian, im going to agree with you, it is a conservative nation. Curiously enough, the more conservative political party is called the liberals. go figure. Do keep in mind though that 80% of australians live in cities. These city dwellers arent so much conservative, as they are uneducated. We're an Island nation, one significantly removed from other 1st world nations. I've had the benefit of free air travel for all of my childhood, and have managed to see the likes of hong kong, paris, frankfurt etc. The majority of australians will never go overseas, and if they do it will be to denpasar or suva. Not exactly the height of enlightenment. We simply dont know what normal is, we think we have it great because we havnt seen better. I'd describe myself as a semi-conspiratist. I do believe there are ulterior motives behind almost every move the government makes, but i dont see them as crazy conspiracies like lizard people. This internet filter, to me, is a conspiracy to maintain this 'fog of war' that the country has, so that the government doesnt have to worry about actually bringing themselves into line with actual first world nations.

Re:Crazy Australians. (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787296)

well, i've lived in regional australia for 25 years and i've also traveled the southern states.

your entire post is full of 1/2 truths.

The cronulla riots were triggered by long standing tensions caused by gangs of australian born lebanese attacking people on cronulla beach. the outbreak of violence was sparked by a 13 yo life saver (life savers are an icon here in oz) being brutally bashed by such a gang for telling them to stop harrasing a female swimmer. just like your rodney king riots.

the baby over board saga, that was blown out of all proportion by all involved. i wouldn't be throwing stones about illegal immagration if i was you with your countries stance on their southern boarder....

you'll need to back up your claim about police treating aboriginal deaths the same as animal deaths. i've lived here my whole life and never heard such a claim.

while i traveled the south i came across the most intollerent gits i've ever met. while i agree that australia is a fairly conservative country, compared to the USA they look like left wing hippies. the impression i got from america is that people like to think they are all freedom loving and open minded, when really they just want THEIR kind of freedom.

Re:Crazy Australians. (2, Interesting)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787308)

the Cronulla Beach Riots in Sydney happened but a couple years back where ordinary Australians fought pitched battles against foreigners.

They were fighting against first generation Aussies (kids of refugees from the Lebanese civil war 67ish), who "refuse" to Australianise.

Aborigines were shot or hit by cars and killed and the attitudes of police were to treat it as an animal death up till the 1980's.

1967 (that year again) we voted (by 97% popular vote) to recognise the indigenous popluation as people

Do not confuse a laid back attitude with conservative beliefs. Because Australia, averagely is very conservative.

This makes no sense. We are conservative, but moreso because ideas - like decent smartphones - take frikken ages to get to Oz...

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787220)

Filtering opposition party websites is undeniably undemocratic, but at the same time, so is denying a filter to a population that is in favour of it. What do you do for a population who votes against democracy?

Re:Crazy Australians. (3, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787514)

What do you do for a population who votes against democracy?

That's one limitation of democracy. It's self preserving.

Is it legal in the USA, standardbearers of democracy, to create an Antidemocratic Party that has, as objective to eliminate democracy as soon as it wins?

Re:Crazy Australians. (4, Insightful)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787264)

Oz is a full on unapologetic nanny state. You wouldn't believe the shenanigans that go on here to save people from themselves, along with hand-wringing when people continue to take risks despite living in a nanny state. "OMG we lowered the speed limit to 36mph and yet young people continue to die in accidents even after we installed 17000 cameras." If a 20yo driver blows .01, it's a 1-year license suspension. It's disgusting. Any sane person on an empty straight 4-lane road will do 45mph -- why is that illegal here????

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787278)

I always thought Australia was a developed country, economically, and politically.

I think we are, for the most part. The problem is that we have a shitty Government, and the opposition isn't much better either. I can't say it's any better or worse than any other developed nation. Every nation has its problems; the key is that the voting public should be able to educate themselves about what's important in their lives and choose representatives which reflect those ideals.

Currently, there is a massive backlash against the Internet filter, and I think it's going to have a significant impact on the party people vote for come election time later this year. At least I hope it does.

Re:Crazy Australians. (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787358)

Of course we are. This proposal has been written to the specification of the [irrelevant] Christian right who donated loads of money to both major parties. Most in office are still on their payroll.

Re:Crazy Australians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787560)

Australia is a strange place. They style themselves as affable jokers. Are quite racist and indeed redneckish as evidenced by the superb over-reaction to being called so by Robin Williams. In Australia you can be as racist as you want and claim the tongue in cheek Aussie joker defence and accuse anyone who is offended of being "too PC" while being concurrently hyper sensitive to any allegations (even jokingly) of being rednecks.

Filtered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787020)

Hmm it looks like the website is 'filtered' out of order...

Moral campass (4, Insightful)

pickyouupatnine (901260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787032)

Hmm.. government trying to dictate to the elderly what is moral in society. One would think that the elderly would have the most conservative view on what is considered moral.

Re:Moral campass (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787070)

Hmm.. government trying to dictate to the elderly what is moral in society.

It kind of does with every law created, when you think of it.

Re:Moral campass (2, Informative)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787114)

"Good" to current governments when applied to a particular view (and the laws which stem from that view) is a function with the following variables, in order of importance from most to least:
1. Ability to reduce power of the people relative to the government;
2. Value of income from lobbyists;
3. Number of votes from people;
4. Adherence to locally established ideological principles.

1 and 4 are often confused by dabblers.

Remember, boys: we're sufficiently democratic that we got to choose the representatives with these priorities. We Australians, British, Americans, French alike need to stop blaming "them" and start blaming ourselves. Our people want these governments. "I didn't vote for them!" perhaps, but your brother, your mother, your neighbour, your boss and your co-worker did, by and large. Why do you tolerate the people in power, but have nothing to say to or about those who put them in power? Are you worried to speak up at a personal level, where it matters and where you can make a difference?

Re:Moral campass (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787246)

Attn mods: if you disagree with a post, reply to it with a counterargument. Don't abuse the system by assigning "Overrated" to an unmoderated post - itself a cowardly act because you're meta-modding to avoid the possibility that your mod privileges will be reduced.

Re:Moral campass (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787406)

This is Australia, we don't have lobbyists.

We call campaign contributions "bribes" and we call politicians who take them "criminals."

Re:Moral campass (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787596)

Our people want these governments

At best that's true if you believe that democracy is working - I no longer believe this. There's little real accountability - we periodically elect dictators who are largely and often financed by corporate agendas. The political bribe (re-branded as "campaign contribution" to legalise them) is more powerful than the vote.
We're allowed to choose between a couple of bad choices.
We're ordering our laws like Chinese food combos: no substitutions, pick a slate of views and order..errr, vote.
We have laws foisted upon us by these politicians with little regard for what the people want.

I've been a growing fan of direct democracy. At least if the people really had a say on issues then I could agree that we got what we asked for. Right now, I'm not convinced we're getting anywhere near what we want.

Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call when you are unable to speak?

Re:Moral campass (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787418)

That might have been the case in the past, but today it's the baby boomers who are into their '60s and starting to think "I've spent 5 years watching my mum slowly lose her mind to Alzheimers|die horribly of some age-related disease|sit for hours in a piss-soaked cushion in a nursing home somewhere. 10 or 15 years from now that could be me."

We're living longer than we ever have, and in so doing we're finding that the things you tend to suffer from when you get old can be a lot nastier, much harder to treat and take a lot longer to kill you. 50 years ago, far fewer people lived long enough to see that.

already slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787036)

Computerworld already slashdotted?

Re:already slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787088)

Yes, We Can!

Any copies? Would be interesting to see this.

You cannot block information; firewall=fail (3, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787082)

People have been trying to block the spread of ideas since before the invention of the printing press.
They've always failed.
If people want stuff from Exit, then they'll find a way; if not the internet, then via paper.
How would the Oz Gov justify, for example, banning a site that gave out just the address to write to Exit?
Or a site where you could leave your name and address to receive information?
I understand the motivation for blocking interactive sites for paedophiles to exchange their revolting material, but a static public information service?
Epic fail.

Re:You cannot block information; firewall=fail (2, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787244)

People have been trying to block the spread of ideas since before the invention of the printing press.
They've always failed.

Really? In the States and other countries, there have been fairly extensive "campaign finance" laws. These basically restrict the flow of cash, and thus the ability to spread ideas, for non-incumbent parties. They have been extremely successful at shutting up difficult opposition.

Re:You cannot block information; firewall=fail (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787304)

A static public information service is win win.
It show the electorate you care and have kept a core promise.
The problem with the hunt for online the online paedophile exchanges is it can have blow back.
As http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ore [wikipedia.org] showed once you start tracking real people in suburbia via CC numbers it can be political difficult as the degree of separation to sitting politicians may have approached zero.
Best just to filter the everbody.

Re:You cannot block information; firewall=fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787306)

Well, playing devil's advocate, if it's an illegal activity and this site is offering information on how to commit it, then it's probably no different to any other site advising users how to commit various crimes. The issue I have with the filter is not that it's being used to block sites which advise on illegal activity, but that it's a slippery slope to govrernment then blocking sites that disagree with your opinions or question your decisions. If the site is offering illegal information there are plenty of existing channels to force them to remove it or to have it blocked by ISPs (we know, because this already happens with other sites hosting illegal content), the filter isn't necessary unless you plan to take it to the next stage. To me, this smells like a test to see how the public would accept a filter on a morally ambiguous subject which they can ultimately play the criminality card on. The next stage will be sites which just have morally ambiguous information but are breaking no laws.

Re:You cannot block information; firewall=fail (2, Insightful)

Angua (1732766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787336)

I understand the motivation for blocking interactive sites for paedophiles to exchange their revolting material, but a static public information service?
Epic fail.

I'm always skeptical when a relatively harmless activity gets banned in order to "prevent" another, more dangerous one. Child pornography is illegal, and rightfully so. But restricting an entire nation's access to the internet in order to make things more difficult for pedophiles? I don't see the benefits myself, but then I am neither a computer genius (understatement!) nor from Australia, so perhaps I'm missing something.

Personally, I'd rather see increased effort in tracking down the bastards and throwing them in jail.

Re:You cannot block information; firewall=fail (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787504)

People have been trying to block the spread of ideas since before the invention of the printing press.
They've always failed.

Always?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_books_and_burying_of_scholars [wikipedia.org]

Plus generally, you wouldn't have heard about really succesfull such actions by definition.

Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787148)

You're reading Slashdot.

Huh, how did you know that?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787166)

Good grief, I'm in Australia and I can't access the presentation site already!!!! What can I say....the filter works!!!

8/10 for the name. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787186)

"exit international" fucking hilarious name for self help on killing yourself.

Re:8/10 for the name. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787376)

One member suggested "DIAF Pty.", but peers quickly roasted him for the mere thought.

Re:8/10 for the name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31787616)

Kick-the-bucket international

another step in Australia's euthanasia saga (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787196)

The federal government of Australia, due to some sort of religious-conservative influence, has been really, really anti-euthanasia for some time now. The last major time the issue came to a head was in 1995-97, when the Northwest Territory passed the Rights of the Terminall Ill Act 1995 [wikipedia.org] , which allowed euthanasia for the terminally ill, under certain conditions and with a lengthy process. The federal government attempted to pressure NT into repealing the law, and when it refused to do so, in 1997, the federal parliament amended NT's territory charter to specifically remove its ability to pass laws relating to euthanasia (this was possible because NT is a territory, not a state, so its powers of self-government can be reduced by simple legislation).

Australian Opposition may back Web Filter (4, Informative)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787224)

Whoa Slashdot! Why are you running stories like this? Do you want to get this site *BANNED* in Australia? Better tone it down. I suggest the only Aussie news you consider running are positive stories about the Rudd Government:

Like the one how Conroy gave a plum job for the Governent's Broadband network to Mike Kaiser, a Labor Party stooge who was previously convicted of electoral fraud. A $450K a year job without an interview for a guy who knows nothing about IT or comms and who should be sitting in a prison.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/i-recommended-mike-kaiser-for-nbn-job-says-stephen-conroy/story-e6frgczf-1225827983520 [theaustralian.com.au]

Submitted this next story to Firehose but it never ran:
"Stephen Conroy's Internet Filter has received an unexpected boost from the Australian Opposition. Instead of voting down the Filter in the Senate, the Opposition Party Leader Tony Abbot refused to articulate a definitive position on the Filter saying he would "await the final legislation and seek technical assurances from the government on the operations of the filter". Both Tony Abbot and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy who is implementing the Filter have affirmed their strong Christian faith, overwhelming anti-censorship moderates. This raises the question for those opposed to the filter: How can a Democracy work if the only two viable parties both offer the same thing?
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/web-filter-splits-opposition-20100406-rpf7.html [smh.com.au]

At least Conroy recently got a taste of his own medicine when Trend Micro's parliamentary web filter blocked politicians from accessing news commentary and train timetables."
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/parliamentary-services-to-probe-trend-micro-filter/story-e6frgakx-1225850540731 [theaustralian.com.au]

In related news ... (2, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787256)

All Australians paying for privacy.io using Australian based credit cards where raided.
Australians where raided after isp's where required to submit logs of users frequenting known 'proxy' sites.
The office of Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy announced a new partnership with Nokia Siemens and Narus to better understand https and onion routing.
The only way around this "wall of faith" is an encrypted tunnel to a end user in the USA.
As most Australian ISP's limit all usage to 10's of Gigabytes per month your donation of left over bandwidth could help millions of Australian net users gain access to life saving literature and multimedia.

Snappy title for The Great Barrier of Australia? (1)

evilandi (2800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787390)

China has a snappy title for its "Great Firewall of China", based on the Great Wall of China.

Australia's censor system needs a snappy title too. They've got the Great Barrier Reef [wikipedia.org] , the world's largest coral system and the largest organism visible from space, how about the "Great Barrier of Australia"? Hmm, maybe that needs more work.

Conroy ... (1)

thephydes (727739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787486)

Conroy is a moron .....or maybe he has to toe the party line. Whichever, the government of oz is delusional if they think a filter can block "unacceptable" sites. I bought my copy of The Peaceful Pill online despite the fact that it is banned here on oz - it arrived in a cardboard package with "book" written on the customs sticker, and no doubt the customs Xray confirmed that it is in fact a book. The other huge con (short for Con-roy) is "think of the children" - well please tell me Mr Conroy how filtering my internet will stop pedophiles making kiddy porn. That's right it wont!

Alternatives to blocking (1)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787496)

The problem with blocking content is that there is no way to deduce what someone intends to do with information merely from the fact that they have it. Am I reading that suicide website because I want to commit suicide, or because I'm gathering research on why not to do it?

Instead of blocking information, make it easier to hold the authors of information accountable for any bad usage. Provide streamlined ways for people to lodge complaints about specific mis-uses of information so the author has an opportunity to rewrite the material or put up better qualifiers and notices about proper use. If an author refuses to respond, provide an escalation path to legal action.

We need laws that are much closer to what's happening on Internet time. We need better legal definitions of culpability, more reasonable penalties, and different standards of evidence that will work for the Internet. An entire court system built just for Internet-related suits -- and which would be run itself on the Internet, of course -- would not be amiss.

At core, we need to be reactive, focusing on real harm done, rather than on harms only imagined. We must preserve the principle that people are presumed innocent, until proven otherwise. But we also need a way that will truly suppress the criminal use of information.

Tech Generation? (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787590)

But its members share an average age of 70. Not exactly from the tech generation.

What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Somebody who is 70 would have been born in 1940. I'm pretty sure they would have grown up with technology their entire lives. In fact, somebody of that age would have grown up with one of the biggest technology expansions in history. They are almost the definition of "tech generation," and grew up under the influence of people like Albert Einstein.

Australia used to be part of the Commonwealth (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787640)

now, having its economy dominated by China, it is apparently more like a Southern outpost of the Middle Kingdom. funny though how Chinese cultural understandings of centralized thought domination and control has proven so quickly popular in Canberra

we need to keep an eye on New Zealand, make sure down there all alone in the Antipodes that cabin fever doesn't make it lose it's marbles like Australia obviously has. plus New Zealand has that domestic situation with Mordor being inside its borders

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?