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Australian Government Delays Internet Filter Legislation

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the by-that-time-the-frog-will-be-asleep dept.

Australia 255

An anonymous reader writes "It seems the Australian federal government is being forced to delay the introduction of its proposed and much-hated, much-maligned Internet filter. It will not be introduced in the next two sittings of parliament, which realistically delays it until after the next election. News on withdrawing the filter, which was a promise from the previous election, has disappointed lobbying groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby."

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255 comments

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Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040124)

The Australian Christian Lobby can go fuck themselves sideways with a 40-foot barge pole. Fucking morons.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040180)

The Australian Christian Lobby can go fuck themselves sideways with a 40-foot barge pole.

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I believe they've already banned that.

Fucking morons.

Ooh, that one too. Sorry, but thanks for understanding.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040228)

Fucking morons.

Ooh, that one too. Sorry, but thanks for understanding.

Actually I thought that was how we got into this situation.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040498)

Fucking morons.

Ooh, that one too. Sorry, but thanks for understanding.

Actually I thought that was how we got into this situation.

No, that was morons fucking.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (1)

lordharsha (1101875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040716)

Fucking morons.

Ooh, that one too. Sorry, but thanks for understanding.

Actually I thought that was how we got into this situation.

No, that was morons fucking.

It takes two to tango.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (5, Insightful)

Illogical Spock (1058270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040530)

A brazilian writer told once that the problem with humanity started when stupid people realized they were the majority...

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (3, Interesting)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040662)

Speaking as a Christian, Lobby groups can go fuck themselves. It is ludicrous that any tiny minority that is good at fund raising, or has deep corporate pockets, can be allowed to go around parliament and have private "chats" with legislators. The way people should influence their representatives is via letters and local meetings (and the representatives should be required to keep office hours in the non-sitting season that allows workers to visit them).

Groups like the ACL don't even represent most Christians just a tiny vocal minority.

What is likely to happen here is that Rudd and Conroy will pull a Howard and pass the legislation once returned to power because they now have a "mandate". Honestly we should bring back the Greek/Roman practise and try elected officials once they have left office.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040864)

If you are a Christian and oppose to this maybe you should apologize and then fight it. That or leave the religion.

Honestly, it is like a sibling breaking a window. Instead of apologizing and getting him to not do it again you say that he isn't representative of the family and anyone saying the family is bad can fuck off.

You are eager to put political leaders on trial but wish for people to ignore religious leaders.

Groups like the ACL don't even represent most Christians just a tiny vocal minority.

Possibly true depending on how you describe them. But the vast majority of these crazy groups ARE religious (or are made up of highly religious people). That should be an indicator to you. (Think if the vast majority of broken windows in your town were caused by your siblings, would you do something about it then? Would you even wonder why?)

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040894)

I have a better idea, how about giving us the ability to kick them out of office if they break their promises? Sure, we'd vote every other month for a while, but in the long run I think we are better off.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040764)

they did this internet filter to placate steven conroy, who holds the balance of power in the senate. and delaying it until after the next election means in all likelyhood he will lose that, and then the government can safely tell him to fuck off, and drop the legislation.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (2, Informative)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040918)

err... Conroy is a member of the Labor party and does not hold the balance of power... you might be thinking of Senator Fielding, from the Family First party.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (2, Informative)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040948)

Not quite.

Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding are the two useless crackpot lunatics in the Senate. Fielding has the added bonus of being a serial god-botherer (oops, I mean Family First party member). Xenophon is an independent, so likely doesn't even have anyone (not even imaginary) to help him identify when he is being a tosser.

Conroy is the whackjob pushing the filter to satisfy the other two dickheads and get government policy through the Senate.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children!?!? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040886)

Considering what's going down with the RCC in Europe, I'd much prefer if they would NOT think of the children when considering fucking something with a 40foot pole.

Niggers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040152)

This is what happens when you let niggers rape our Aryan princesses. Fuckers should be lynched like in the good ol' days.

Promises, Promises (5, Insightful)

double07 (889350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040156)

With the election looming and the popularity of the Labor party taking a dive the Government is dumping all sorts of unpopular policies including their much touted Emissions Trading Scheme, the disastrous Insulation Scheme and of course this ridiculous Internet filter. Of course if Australia votes them in again, they'll say they have a mandate for this filter but the opposition is pretty much a joke. *Sigh*

Re:Promises, Promises (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040184)

How about a write in campaign? Write No Internet Filter on the ballot papers for both houses.

Re:Promises, Promises (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040358)

Sorry dude, it won't work.

I can promise you that no-one keeps track of what is written on ballot papers -- all the AEC staff and party scrutineers care about are whether a ballot paper is formal or not and the way the vote is cast.

(I speak from extensive election night experience)

Re:Promises, Promises (2, Informative)

JuzzFunky (796384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040702)

Agreed. I've counted votes. Writing on the ballot papers is not only useless, it increases the risk of your ballot paper being declared invalid.
If you feel strongly about this, or any other political issue then you might want to watch this TED talk by Omar Ahmad on Political Change with Pen and Paper [ted.com] .
He talks about the best way to get your voice heard by politicians, which turns out to be a hand written letter once a month.

Re:Promises, Promises (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040556)

Donkey votes help no one.

Re:Promises, Promises (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040314)

This is why I'm thinking: "Too little, too late" for them to count on my vote

Too little - because they didn't dropped it, simply postponed it

Too late - I've already made my mind on the matter - won't trust them

PS. in the context, nice CAPTCHA - is extort

Re:Promises, Promises (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040838)

Of course if Australia votes them in again, they'll say they have a mandate for this filter but the opposition is pretty much a joke. *Sigh*

Not if they don't have a majority in the Senate - while that leads to frustrating inaction on some fronts, the best advice here is to vote for a local member whose individual or party policies best reflect the interests of the local community, and then ensure that you don't vote for the same party as your primary vote in the Senate, or only do so if you're clear that you want to go with that party's whole platform.

Get more independents like Senator Xenophon in there and we'll get some accountability and independent questioning of policies.

Re:Promises, Promises (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040876)

your forgetting the failed "education revolution", where the taxer payer was footing bills of 1.5 mil for demountable dongers worth 100k. your also forgetting the health system overhaul that was supposed to take place in the first 12 months which is still not happening (thankfully, because the current plan is a disaster).

and lets not forget the explosion in boat people heading for australia, which the Rudd government has failed to do anything about beside let a bunch of them escape.

this is what happens when you get a new generation of voters i guess. they forget the lessons of past labor governments and get all caught up in this change the world bullshit.

Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040172)

The opposition Liberal Party are finally getting their act together and the Labour Government doesn't want to feed them any issues to debate, so filtering is on hold.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (4, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040350)

The opposition Liberal Party are finally getting their act together and the Labour Government doesn't want to feed them any issues to debate, so filtering is on hold.

Frankly the Coalition scare me more then Conroy. Both the leader of the Liberals and the Nationals are ultra conservatives (not in the good way, they are religious nutbars) so voting them in would be just as bad, probably worse then another 3 years of Rudd. Personally my vote is going to a minor party (likely the greens) who, if given enough power can keep out bad legislation, just like the last filter vote.

Also Rudd and Conroy are getting a lot of heat from the Labor back bench, even Kate Lundy has openly questioned the filter after towing the party line and defending it. The prospect of Rudd facing revolt from his own party this close to an election is not a good one.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040434)

See, I voted for Labor at the last Federal Election, and I want to like them, I really do. But it's the stupid stuff like this that means I'm going to vote for the Greens, which is something I swore I'd never do.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (2, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040476)

See, I voted for Labor at the last Federal Election, and I want to like them, I really do. But it's the stupid stuff like this that means I'm going to vote for the Greens, which is something I swore I'd never do.

The greens are turning out to be less environmentalists and more insane policy blockers of late which is kind of scary. As for the environment, Rudd should never have put Garrett there, nothing against the guy but he was definitely not qualified, minister for the environment should be occupied but someone with an understanding of chemistry or biology (OK, wishful thinking).

Personally I think we didn't really have a choice with Rudd, if Howard had of been permitted to keep Work Choices things would have been a lot worse for the average worker in the GFC, fairness test or not, wages would have fallen through the floor and mass lay offs would be the norm.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040806)

Care to elaborate on "insane policy blockers"?? Sure they helped defeat the ETS bill on environmental grounds.

The current make-up of the Senate is: Coalition 37 seats, Labor 32 seats, Greens five seats, Family First one seat, and one independent, Nick Xenophon. To be "insane policy blockers" would mean that Lord of sensible, grounded in reality and not even slightly influenced by his invisible sky wizard, policy Stephen Fielding and Nick Xenophon agreeing with policy being put forward by the Government and that the Greens are blocking those every single time.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040900)

Care to elaborate on "insane policy blockers"?

You answered this question yourself.

The current make-up of the Senate is: Coalition 37 seats, Labor 32 seats, Greens five seats, Family First one seat, and one independent, Nick Xenophon.

Coalition 37, Labor 32
Coalition wins any vote, in case you haven't been keeping up with politics, the coalition votes against Labor on almost any issue that they can without losing votes.

Geeens 5, Family First 1, Xenophon 1.
Now with preferential voting in the two party system the balence becomes,

Coalition 37, Labour 39.
Now in order to pass anything at the moment Labour needs the support of the Greens and both independents. The Greens and Xenophon both voted against the filtering scheme in parliament. Now you see how they are "insane policy blockers".

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040872)

We're lucky enough to have a system of Preference voting in Australia - whole in 90% of electorates it boils down to Labor vs Coalition for a representative, you can still express your dissatisfaction by directing preferences rather than voting directly for Labor. It indicates a swing against the party in their "primary vote" and if enough people around you do the same you'll push your electorate to a marginal, getting it that extra special attention.

And remember you can balance it out with a vote for an independent in the Senate - Senator Xenophon is a positive example of a non-party independent who made it. (Of course, you could always end up with a Fielding and his fledgling Family First, but again, preferences!). If it's a double dissolution, the Senate is wide open and every vote counts since it's proportional representation.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040908)

I don't think Rudd will use the Double Dissolution trigger unless he's doing significantly better in the polls than he is now. And I agree- Preferential voting is a good system (Instant Run-off voting, for US readers).

Also luckily, I'm in SA, so I can vote for Xenophon.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

tuomoks (246421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040564)

A question, not knowing how the politics work in Australia. Why do people vote the same old? And I know - it's happening everywhere but isn't there a way to vote someone outside the parties? Someone from your peers? If not - is it really a democracy as democracy is defined - if the parties rule, what do you call it?

Now about Internet filtering - anyone, anybody, any entity, any company or corporate, any political party, etc which supports the filtering has taken a page from where? Maybe from Germany (you know when), maybe from current / crumbling china government, maybe from (any orthodox) religion, maybe tries to follow the US trends for whatever reason, maybe just tries to hide their own behavior (actually the most know reason trying to limit other people of anything!)?

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040854)

is it really a democracy as democracy is defined - if the parties rule, what do you call it?

Uh, democracy as we've got it is representative, for the simple fact of expedience - if we asked for people to vote on every matter of legislation, we'd get nowhere. And the "parties rule" mode of democracy we have in Australia is the Westminster system; it's worked for a fair while in a fair number of places.

Maybe from Germany (you know when),

I'm sorry, did you just Godwin a debate on internet censorship? You don't need to refer to the Nazis to provide examples of abhorrent internet censorship - just say the filter would put us in the same basket as China and Iran, right now, no need to refer to the past.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040700)

ultra conservatives (not in the good way

Well, that begs the question: What good way?!

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040762)

Although Abbott is religious I don't think he'll force it down everyone's throats, as he tolerates dissent in his own family with good humour. Rudd is also very religious (when he's not getting kicked out of strip clubs).

Lundy has been very active fighting against Telstra's continued installation of (non-ADSL2+ compatible) RIMs for new subdivisions, and seems to be internet-savvy.

Conroy is easily the worst of the lot apart from the Christian^wFamily parties. He is a religious nut with a learning disability.

(but they all pretty much suck)

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

HUKI365 (1113395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040786)

Yes Abbot is a very Catholic person and his personal beliefs have influenced government policy before, I'll think you find if you approach any of your local Liberal candidates that they do not favour internet filtering.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040930)

I'll think you find if you approach any of your local Liberal candidates that they do not favour internet filtering.

Yes, until they get into power. What they oppose is a Labour-initiated internet filter. The party has gone on record as supporting the principle of of internet filtering and censorship. If anything, the Liberal Party's problem is that the filter doesn't go far enough.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040880)

The worst possible scenario for Australia is a dripping-wet, semi-naked Tony Abbot being elected Prime Minister. This is something we fear deep in our hearts.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040890)

Ha! do you know what the liberal/national filtering scheme was??? free filtering software. cheap and about as reliable as a national filter without the lack of an opt out.

another 3 years of Rudd will be much MUCH worse then just about anything. the greens in government would be worse, because an environmental single issue party simply isn't capable of running a resource based economy. thankfully greens will only ever be a senate-take-one-seat-and-milk-it party.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040496)

The opposition Liberal Party are finally getting their act together and the Labour Government doesn't want to feed them any issues to debate, so filtering is on hold.

Try greens (if you dare): at least, in regards with Internet Filtering, they seem more reasonable to me

Sure, less likely they'd win the election but maybe, while passing their votes to labor, they'll also pass their point of view in regards to Internet filtering.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (1)

Joakal (1317443) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040582)

The Liberals and Labor party actually want an internet filter [shockseat.com] in Australia.

The Liberals only want a more stricter filter and are against Labor's filter because it's not strong enough. It's even found that the Greens don't say whether they wish for a better/weaker filter than Labor's current filter.

Re:Looking slightly dangerous for Rudd (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040746)

That's incorrect, never have they said they wanted a stricter filter (Even their actions whilst in government when they implemented a host based filtering solution say the opposite), their position is that no filter is going to be effective enough thus the idea is flawed and wants to focus on law enforcement and education programs. I've actually spoken with Stephen Conroy in Feburary about this issue and discussed the technical feasibility. Unfortunately it actually may be possible to do network based filtering without dramatically impacting network performance, though he does not have any plans to do a proper cost-benefit analysis and when I asked him why he simply went on about the impact seeing RC material can have on a child. For him he is only concerned with classification consistency across different mediums and has automatically assumed this solution will be effective disregarding ACMA's own advice saying that education is a more effective solution.

Disclaimer: I'm a Liberal Party Member

GOOD! (5, Insightful)

BluRBD!E (627484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040178)

With any luck we can get this farcical idea shot down somehow before then... I just wish every day Joe and Jane understood the slippery slope that is censorship. Unfortunately the government lackeys and christian rights groups continue to scream "CHILDREN!!!" and "PEDOPHILIA!!!!" and no real logic ever comes into play. Oh well, I already have a remote box in Europe anyway... this won't effect me. I just feel bad for the technical illiterate folk who suffer. I wish it was OPT-IN.

Re:GOOD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040332)

Opt-out would be tolerable, too. The problem is that it would be neither.

Re:GOOD! (1)

Karsaroth (1064806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040364)

Conroy has said in interviews that something which blocks illegal content shouldn't be opt-in, since accessing illegal content is...well...illegal.
However, I think the likely reason that it isn't opt-in is that the last internet filter provided by the government that was opt-in was a miserable failure.

Re:GOOD! (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040500)

> With any luck we can get this farcical idea shot down somehow before then...

Our automatic intelligent filter has detected an attempt to masquerade the idea of a "facial shot" and intercepted your message. It won't be delivered.

Aussie network admins.

Dead and buried (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040188)

Either way after the election Conroy will be shuffled off elsewhere to make life hell for others and nobody else on either side of goverment cares enough to put this through. A peace offering to a Godless pseudo-Christian NIMBY to get votes to pass has backfired with this filter and it won't be needed for grubby political numbers games soon.

Not actually an election promise (3, Insightful)

aaron552 (1621603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040194)

Of course, the "election promise" wasn't actually mandatory. It required ISPs to offer a "clean feed" to their customers. The ACL are a bunch of moralizing extremists and shouldn't be given any more notice than the guys who believe George Bush is a space alien.

Re:Not actually an election promise (3, Interesting)

clockwise_music (594832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040222)

I wonder if this decision was related to the protest that had been organised?

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=100265633350951 [facebook.com]

Seems like a bit of a co-incidence.. especially because this is the second time it has happened. Last time there was a protest organised about shutting down the Tote due to insane liquor licensing - but the protest was a waste of time as a decision had already been made.

I guess politically it's a lot less damaging if they stop the protest from happening.

But maybe they've started doing next years budget and realised just how expensive this filtering nonsense will be.. and that they can safely cut it because no-one wants it. They can save face by saying "it's just been delayed".

Re:Not actually an election promise (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040388)

The ACL are a bunch of moralising extremists and shouldn't be given any more notice than the guys who believe George Bush is a space alien.

You mean to tell me George Bush is not a space alien?

I....

Everything I believe in.

so wrong...

Re:Not actually an election promise (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040488)

I always think of ACL as Access Control List. Works quite well in this case.

Some obvious observations (3, Interesting)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040254)

1) Stephen Conroy is spot on when he says the internet shouldn't be treated any different to any other forms of media. It isn't a magical beast, it's just another form of media (albeit more accessible and chaotic).

So there's nothing fundamentally wrong with filtering it. I mean hell, it's already illegal to *host* this sort of content in Australia.

2) It might be abused, or it filter stuff you disagree with.

I disagree with filtering material on euthanasia. However this isn't an objection against the filter itself (I mean, I agree with filtering stuff on graffiti or terrorist), but simply against the choice of application.

3) The reason it will fail is exactly the reason it will work.

It will fail miserably because anyone can circumnavigate it.

But this is exactly what makes it hard to abuse. With oddly-moralized hackers up in arms, you can bet they'll seize on any abuses of the filter and plaster them embarresingly over the internet. So the government has a strong incentive to stick within their declared uses of the filter.

So the worst objection to the filter is simply that it could mostly be a waste of time... that said, it will evolve and change and may prove useful.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040274)

The fundamental problem with filtering and censorship now in all media is that it only draws attention to the blocked material, so the filtering can't be done transparently. You have to pretend the stuff isn't there at all to have a hope of filtering it.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040392)

Correct, so we can say that Conroy's plans automatically incur some of the problems of other forms of media, which is a pretty trivial concession in the context of the debate.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040710)

Well okay but how can you seriously propose to filter porn, when a major distribution mechanism is email? The proposed system which uses a database of "bad" URLs just won't work.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040794)

I wouldn't propose we filter emails. I mean email filtering technology is already pretty advanced (probably easier to filter than the web)... plus it's hardly idea for videos anyway lol

Re:Some obvious observations (2, Informative)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040562)

That's true, but it shouldn't be about the content, it should be about toning the internet down so we have far less crime on the internet. It was never looked that way and the "pr0n" card was played.

Mess with peoples porn expect failure (which it has) but talk about the real issues like china and some of the nasty stuff that's happening there at the moment.

I urge you to watch this, story on the Australian News. It is 40mins long, but trust me when you get into the thick of the story you'll love it.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20100419/cyber/ [abc.net.au]

I recon the filter was being pushed because this shit started showing its ugly face here in Australia, just the pollie who was trying to pull it off took the wrong path and pissed everyone off in the process.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040400)

Lol this got modded "troll"? You gotta be joking.

Re:Some obvious observations (0, Troll)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040526)

Yeah, only a misguided geek or a member of NAMBLA would of modded this as Troll. Don't get me wrong though Mr Troll-Flagger, I hate Conroy with a passion but I do get what brendan_hill is saying, and that is filtering is fundamentally a good idea.

Lets look at it this way, how great would it be to have a safe internet? At the moment its like walking down the streets of a bad neighborhood, if your not familiar with the area, you'll most likely get robbed, literally.

And having those looming DDoS attacks from organized crime groups is a kin to the old fashioned bank robberies we had in the wild west. Extorting businesses to hand over cash or they'll shoot someone, in these days its now threaten to kill their IT infrastructure.

Ideally a filter would give us a foundation to eventually build facilities and technology to trump these things but Conroy's attitude was far misguided to create a valuable tool to the internet and was in-turn looked upon as a restriction of freedom.

We still have IP6 to look forward too and the technological benefits it _could_ bring to internet security, but again its something too far off and I'm sure someone is bound to stuff that up to (I know I'm a cynic).

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040920)

yeah dude. you totally get it. why, i was walking down the internet the other day, and someone totally shot me in the face. idiot.

Re:Some obvious observations (2, Insightful)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040592)

you forget number 4

4)It will cost a fuckton of money which will ultimately be passed on to the voting customers that already pay a fuckton of money for sub-par internet.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040778)

Yes, it's a valid objection.

Re:Some obvious observations (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040628)

1) Stephen Conroy is spot on when he says the internet shouldn't be treated any different to any other forms of media. It isn't a magical beast, it's just another form of media (albeit more accessible and chaotic).

So there's nothing fundamentally wrong with filtering it. I mean hell, it's already illegal to *host* this sort of content in Australia.

Nope, Internet is not quite like other media, at the extent that all the other media require a physical support for the information. Thus, any censorship of other media will result in somebody, not affiliated with the government, in Australia knowing about the censorship: in extreme, the censorship of that item may be made public and, possibly, debated if necessary.
By contrast, Conroy's scheme assumes censoring the Internet without anyone's knowledge (at least no one affiliated with the gov, or law enforcement), letting you defenseless in the matter of exercising your control over the power. Not that the power one simply citizen would be quite remarkable, but if you give it away - so small as it would be - you remain with what?

The above letting aside that I take pride of being able to take care of what I'm doing or suffer the consequences. I don't need my own mother to take care anymore of my actions, why should I trust the government to do nanny me???

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040770)

I've only followed it loosely, however my understanding is that the blacklist has been reviewed by independent bodies. (I'll happily be corrected on this.)

And like I said, the government virtually can't get away with censoring outside their stated intentions because we'd inevitably find out anyway.

Why do you trust the government to nanny you in the press, in CD-ROMs, in books, in radio, in advertising, on television, and on any other form of media?

Assuming your answer is, "I don't!!", then your position is essentially that there should be no censorship in any form of media.

Re:Some obvious observations (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040910)

Assuming your answer is, "I don't!!", then your position is essentially that there should be no censorship in any form of media.

I don't and indeed I'm on the position that there should be no censorship on any form of media. That's because I don't know (more precisely, I don't admit as valid the existence) any kind of media that can cause harm by itself. Either:

  • the harm was done before (or with the purpose of) creating the media - and then the people that have done it need to be found/prosecuted (except of possibly acting as an evidence, the resulted media is of no relevance to the matter) or
  • no harm was done before the publishing and the (potential but not guaranteed) use of the media/information in a harmful way (as a consequential action) would need – only if/when occurring – be prosecuted

For me, censorship is like the government/law enforcement bodies coming to me with the lame excuse that "I cannot do anything to protect you if you don't allow me to censor you - as well as anybody - the way I think and this without your knowledge, much less your approval". Of course, my non-acceptance of being nanny-ed by the gov would have the logical consequence of me replying to them "Did I ever asked you to protect me from information published on media? Let this be my responsibility, mate, I'm mature enough to handle it!"

Please note that I'm referring to "information published in/on media" and not about personal information - I still consider the right to privacy as fundamental, even if neither the Australian constitution nor the Universal Declaration of Human Right mention something about its protection.

Re:Some obvious observations (5, Insightful)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040632)

1. The filter is not restricted to illegal material - RC material is not ilelgal in itself, no matter how many times Senator Conroy repeats the line "including material such as child pornography".

2. It is certain to be abused. Even before the filter has been created, the blacklist is intrinsically abusive in its abandonment of due process and legal recourse.

3. Ineffective laws are bad laws. If everyone breaks the law, everyone is a criminal. Is that what you want?

The filter is an abomination of human rights. Everyone should be opposed to it. If you're not, you're wrong.

Re:Some obvious observations (1)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040748)

1. OK, so you object to one of the intended uses (so do I), but not the principle of filtering itself? This is a much weaker objection.

2. Yes but as I said, it's virtually impossible for the government to get away with it, which is a strong disincentive.

3. Huh?

It's when people start objecting to it on a moralistic, human-rights basis that my brain starts turning to porridge. They're probably just worried about losing their porn... lol

Re:Some obvious observations (4, Insightful)

TwistedPants (847858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040660)

This angers me significantly: this is not a debate about the theory of filtering.

This is a tooth and nail fight against a specific proposal put forward by the current government.

Every variation of the filtering plan that has been put forward in the media has been savaged by opponents, who are entirely correct in their criticisms. What Conroy has failed to do is provide a convincing counter-argument. In media interviews, when grilled, he often struggles with defining just exactly what it is he is proposing.

One moment it's a URL blacklist to protect children from accidental porn; another moment it's to prevent access to abhorrent material which is currently RC content. Conroy has not listened to one iota of the overwhelming feedback from members of the public; and is utterly clueless as to how to move forward from here.

I absolutely cannot tolerate such a waste of time and money on an unworkable solution driven forward by an individual who does not listen to reason for entirely political purposes.

Brushing this off as "filtering is ok in theory" is a red herring: the currently publicised intentions of the government are not ok; and all efforts by Conroy to implement such should be fiercely resisted.

Re:Some obvious observations (0)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040752)

OK, so you don't object to filtering the internet per se, you simply believe the proposed methods will be detrimental to performance, or that the government has sneaky intentions they aren't telling us, or that it will be ineffective and a waste of tax payers money?

Re:Some obvious observations (5, Insightful)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040730)

1) Stephen Conroy is spot on when he says the internet shouldn't be treated any different to any other forms of media. It isn't a magical beast, it's just another form of media (albeit more accessible and chaotic).

No, I see one crucial difference in the way these two mediums are being treated that I haven't seen brought up anywhere else yet.

In other forms of media the censoring applies to the creator of the media. What the filter proposes to do is censor the audience, not the creator.

Now I'm of the opinion that total freedom of speech isn't necessarily a right I feel everyone needs. The greater good of our society trumps the rights of the individual when it comes to banning things such as child pornography, hate speech (at its most extreme), and shouting fire in a crowded cinema. I have no problem with these things being illegal, and the authorities coming down on those responsible for such things.

But don't persecute the audience. (with the exception of child pornography, where there is a clear link between the creator and the consumer)

Freedom to listen is a much more important right than freedom of speech

Re:Some obvious observations (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040914)

1) Stephen Conroy is spot on when he says the internet shouldn't be treated any different to any other forms of media. It isn't a magical beast, it's just another form of media (albeit more accessible and chaotic). So there's nothing fundamentally wrong with filtering it. I mean hell, it's already illegal to *host* this sort of content in Australia.

The point to walk away from this with is not that internet filtering is alright in principle, but rather that state filtering is wrong in principle in ALL forms of media.

Re:Some obvious observations (0, Troll)

brendan.hill (1218328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040958)

You think the state censoring racial hatred or child pornography in various forms of media is WRONG? I assume you're joking.

my filter proposal (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040954)

I for one am against any sort of filter because it is necessarily a regulation on ISPs and I prefer the government stay out of my private business transactions. However, I can imagine some people would like a filter and the best way to supply that filter may well be to do it at the ISP level. A government "mandated" filter should be a mandate on ISPs, not on end users. If I want to opt out, it should be as simple as calling my ISP and saying "I don't want that", or better yet, a web interface to turn it off.

Consider an analogy. Here in Australia we have beaches, and people go to swim in them. They even take their kids to swim in them. Long ago it was decided that putting up nets to stop sharks from eating the little kiddies was a good idea. The adults didn't mind either. For a while there was even a mandate that all beaches have shark nets. Eventually this was determined to be too much work, so the shark nets are only available on some beaches and they're clearly marked as such. There's no law against going swimming on a beach that doesn't have a shark net, and there's no law against swimming out past the shark net.

How can we implement a shark net for the Internet that is cheap and effective for people who want it? That's incredibly easy. For a start, you can blacklist via host name.. just distribute a list of "shark" hostnames to everyone who runs a DNS. You can even mandate that any DNS which is run for the benefit of the public have the list installed, but allow ISPs to run a DNS which is not filtered for those who don't want it. If you really want the list to be secret (and there's arguments on both sides for why it should or shouldn't be secret) then the government should run the filtered DNS servers. Depending on load, there could even by just one filtered DNS server, and all the ISP-level DNS servers would be for local host resolution, and they just set their upstream resolver to the government's servers.

If that sounds complicated to you, don't worry, it's not. This is so simple to set up that I expect it was originally suggested as the way to go and refused... because governments can never do anything simple.

Elections are coming, Labor wants votes. (4, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040298)

Elections in Australia happen every three years, no four. That means they will be this year.

Rudd knows just how unpopular the filter is, even if it only loses him 10% of the votes it's enough to scare him as he got in by a gnats wing in 2007.

The question is will Rudd shelve the plan or just carry on regardless after the next election. Personally I don't want to find out but I cant vote for that hyper religious nut-case, Tony Abbott as he'll probably turn around and do something worse so personally my vote is going either to the Greens or an independent against the filter.

Re:Elections are coming, Labor wants votes. (1)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040456)

There's the idea that Labor are "clearing the decks" at the moment- we've seen the Emissions Trading Scheme, the replacement insulation scheme and the internet filter all go within the last week. Rudd can then ride the GFC, hospitals and education through to the next election and reintroduce some of these proposals come next year

Re:Elections are coming, Labor wants votes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040538)

vote for http://www.pirateparty.org.au/ [pirateparty.org.au]

Re:Elections are coming, Labor wants votes. (2, Interesting)

Onetus (23797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040568)

By hyper religious, I assume you mean that earlier on his life he entered Seminary, intending to be a priest but changed his mind. Or did you mean to refer to the fact he has strong catholic based beliefs. This is important because the term hyper-religious has massively different connotations to our American colleagues, where it could/would imply that he was a member of the literal truth of the bible pentacostal brigade. At least he's been honest enough to say outright was his beliefs are, and cope with the spin/misunderstaning - http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/27/2802389.htm [abc.net.au]

But if you really, really care - have a look at your local candidates and think who will do more for your area. We elect our representives, not our prime-minister. You can go and approach the candidates and ask them - "My friends and I want to know where you stand on Internet Filtering because it's major factor in choosing who we'll vote for" or "Will you oppose/support the internet filtering even against the rest of your party's position?"

Mate - If you don't tell them that this is an issue, then all they have to go off is the Media - and they really treat Internet comments with sooo much respect.

Re:Elections are coming, Labor wants votes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040574)

You might want to do a bit of research before casting your vote. Don't the Greens give preference to Labor anyway? You'd be voting for Kevin Rudd regardless.

Rudd won the last election via a popularity contest which consisted of Kevin07 t-shirts and television appearances. Despite the Labor government not being able to float a single thing, they'll probably get in for a second term. Why is this government popular with the youth vote when they display such utter incompetence?

Re:Elections are coming, Labor wants votes. (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040950)

You might want to do a bit of research before casting your vote. Don't the Greens give preference to Labor anyway? You'd be voting for Kevin Rudd regardless.

Yes I know but...

The greens do not always vote with Labor on all issues (note: this greens did not vote for the filter or ETS, which buried them both), this means that labour cannot force through unpopular policy as the Greens are more afraid of losing my vote. So we get Kevin back in but he is still beholden to the minor parties. This is traditional conservatism and works on the idea that change will only be approved if it is in the best interests of the majority of a disparate group. If the coalition gets back in they will not need to listen to independents or minor parties when getting policies put in.

I care less about the leader and more about maintaining that uneven balance of power so that one party cannot rule by edict for three years. I think democracy just died a little when I proof read that.

no fair australia (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040330)

the usa has long been a world leader in hypocritical simplistic moralizing "christians"

don't be nosing in on our turf and our monopoly now

Re:no fair australia (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040416)

the usa has long been a world leader in hypocritical simplistic moralizing "christians"

I know you're a yank but please, as a sign of respect switch your Spool Chocker to En_AU for this thread.

kthanksbye.

Re:no fair australia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040842)

you're probably the dumbest person I've ever met on the internets.

Re:no fair australia (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040724)

the usa has long been a world leader in hypocritical simplistic moralizing "christians"

don't be nosing in on our turf and our monopoly now

It's not turf nosing, it's a franchise. They have one in Canada too!

Another piece of legislation delayed? (2, Interesting)

hopejr (995381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040370)

Though I'm far from disappointed, this is the 3rd one this week! Last week it was the Emissions Trading Scheme nonsense, then the Health Care stuff, and now this. Seriously, what's up with the Rudd government?? It's turning out to be a "Dudd" government! Bring on an early double dissolution election and get this idiots out (not that the alternative is much better . . . ).
<rant>
Oh, and as to the Australian Christian Lobby and all those other extreme conservative political groups - don't mix religion with government! I'm Christian, but I don't think that should have anything to do with running a country. One of these days we'll end up like certain European countries and be forced to go to church every week!
</rant>

Re:Another piece of legislation delayed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040474)

Er, what?!

Which European country forces you to go to church every week?

Signed

A European

Re:Another piece of legislation delayed? (2, Interesting)

hopejr (995381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040646)

Sorry, I was going on slightly old and incorrect news. Basically, it was Croatia, having shopping banned on Sundays because of church pressure. Thankfully, this pre-historic, religious-related law was deemed unconstitutional 6 months later (according to Wikipedia), and repealed. The information I had, which seemed to be from news sites, though I can't find it now, stated that shops were shut because the Catholic church wanted people to go to mass, or something like that.

Perspective (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040490)

I'm not from Australia, but TFA really makes it sound like this is a disappointment to Australians. I'm hoping that this is actually GOOD news to most of you guys down under ?

Re:Perspective (1)

hopejr (995381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040610)

It is good news. The article is biased, as usual.

Re:Perspective (2, Insightful)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040904)

TFA is published by a Murdoch newspaper, so you can imagine where the bias is.

The sad thing is... (5, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040534)

Last week I was discussing the filter with a friend who is an intelligent and sensible, non-religious person. Unfortunately he had swallowed the whole "think of the children" argument and thought the filter was a good idea. When I put the standard negative arguments to him, he agreed that it wasn't as simple as he'd thought. Problem is, he's probably representative of a large majority of ordinary people with voting rights in Australia. It's imperative that the debate about the filter is kept up and every Australian citizen is brought up to speed, otherwise I fear that we'll end up having it simply because nobody really bothered to give it much thought.

Re:The sad thing is... (3, Informative)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040614)

What is worse, I asked about 5 friends that frequently use the net and are quite intelligent what thye thought of us having a filter and they had no idea one was coming.

Other issue on table: software patents (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040622)

I hope this doesn't overshadow the upcoming legislative changes regarding software patents. There's pretty much no activism on this right now:

swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

Hi (-1, Offtopic)

lydiacanaan (1801034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040672)

This angers me significantly: this is not a debate about the theory of filtering. Hotels in Bol [bolcroatia.com]

Re:Hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040754)

Moderate Parent down due to link spam.

The who? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040784)

>Australian Christian Lobby

You mean the Australian Taliban.

We have the same here. They call themselves Southern Baptist and Dominionists.

--
BMO

voting green (2, Interesting)

z3d4r (598419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040828)

A few of the Aussies here have mentioned their disappointment with Rudd and greater dislike of the opposition, and have expressed their intention to vote dreen or independant.

If you wish to keep legislation such as this from passing its important to understand how the Australian government works.
firstly there is the Upper House: parliament. Here you find the Prime minister, Ministers and back benchers. Voting for anyone other than either of the two major parties here is basicly a wasted vote. In most cases the winning party will always have enough seats here to propose anything they like and see it pass. I suggest voting for the major party you find least objectionable.

The Lower House: The Senate, is where the postions of minor parties/independents are most powerfull. It is here that legislation such as the internet filter stand the best chance of being stopped. Many years ago the Australian Democrats held a significant proportion of seats here. Never aiming for the upper house, they focused on the senate with the tag line of 'keeping the bastards honest'. Today that power is held by the Greens and the Family First party, each equaly scary depending upon your own personal views (damn hippies vs Christian nutjobs). If you are disillusioned with Labor, and intend to vote Green, doing so in the senate will have the greatest impact.

Re:voting green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040892)

One of these things

If you wish to keep legislation such as this from passing its important to understand how the Australian government works

is not like the others.

firstly there is the Upper House: parliament
The Lower House: The Senate

Re:voting green (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040932)

err, you got the Upper & Lower the wrong way around. And remember you have options such as voting for independents and directing preferences; the Greens are partly to blame for blocking the ETS because it didn't go far enough rather than working to improve it, which goes to show they're still very much an absolutist party.

Most Australians want a filter (2, Interesting)

solanum (80810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040952)

I'm against internet filtering as much as most Slashdotters, but the evidence is that most Australians want a filter. Have a look here: http://hungrybeast.abc.net.au/stories/internet-filter-survey-results [abc.net.au] This was a survey carried out by a program aimed at young hip tech-savy viewers and yet their survey showed that 80% of responders agree that filtering is a good idea. The filter would be democracy in action, it is we who are the vocal minority in opposing it not the Australian Christian Lobby in supporting it.

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