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Conroy Still Hell-Bent On Internet Filter

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the different-word-for-everything dept.

Australia 254

lukehopewell1 writes "In an interview for the ABC's PM program yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that there would be no conscience vote on the Australian government's proposed mandatory internet filter. 'Conscience votes go to matters to do with life and death in the [Australian] Labor Party,' Conroy said. The minister said that the filter debate was not about censorship, rather it centred around refused classification material — an issue up for review in parliament. 'I'm not sure that the censorship claim stacks up. This is about classification systems. At the moment in Australia, there is no conscience vote on refused classification for movies, TV, DVDs or book stores,' the minister said. Conroy then called on the newly installed Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to justify his position on the filter to families concerned about child pornography. 'According to the latest information I have here from the [Australian Communications and Media Authority], there are 430 child pornography sites on the [World Wide Web] ... that are accessible to anyone...[Malcolm Turnbull] has to explain to Australian families that he is prepared to do nothing about blocking access to those sites,' Conroy added." I hope some Australian and UK readers can help the rest of us understand the significance of conscience votes, though Wikipedia helps.

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254 comments

Still depends on Fielding? (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33607934)

Fielding will be gone in six months [heraldsun.com.au] so maybe the policy will change then.

Re:Still depends on Fielding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608040)

Fielding will be gone in six months [heraldsun.com.au] so maybe the policy will change then.

Yeah, to be replaced by John Madigan of the Democratic Labor Party -- which is just another social conservatism party.

Different party name, basically same policies. We managed to replace one crazy with another just like him.

And what's even funnier is that both Fielding and Madigan are only getting voted in on preference deals. Virtually no one actually voted or wanted them. I will sleep better if the Green's get their way (which hopefully they should given they now have the balance of power) and change the rules related to preferences in the senate.

Re:Still depends on Fielding? (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608100)

While I will rejoice in Fielding being dumped, I'm sceptical that Labor will backflip over this issue without being pressured. We'll see.

Maybe you should have held a 'conscience vote' (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33607938)

... before you let them take your guns.

It's a bit late now.

Re:Maybe you should have held a 'conscience vote' (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608054)

Give me a copy of netbsd over a gun any day. The gun will just get you killed.

Re:Maybe you should have held a 'conscience vote' (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608520)

Give me a copy of netbsd over a gun any day. The gun will just get you killed.

Tell it to Peter Lalor. It's deplorable how many Australians are so ignorant of our history. While armed conflict is something sane people prefer to avoid, it ought not be avoided at any cost. From time to time in our history ("our" being people with common law justice systems) we have found it necessary to resist the government with force. We tend to keep the (newly constrained) government rather than overthrow them, which is what gives us the continuity of common law. Our legal rights such as Habeas Corpus and our Constitutional monarchy with Westminster parliament was won by force of arms. Hopefully we've come far enough to never need to resort to that again, but it seems foolish to bet your life on it.

David Hicks was held for 5 years without trial with the approval of our government. Conroy wants to censor the internet. The ABCC has overturned the right to not incriminate yourself so you can be punished for silence. The "anti-biker" legislation is destroying the right to freely associate and also to know the evidence used against you and the right to face your accuser. With these legal changes in place it seems to me that some future government may very well use them to implement tyranny, regardless of any good intentions current politicians may have. Some time in the future it may very well require armed force to address this problem although the vast majority wouldn't say we are at that point now.

Re:Maybe you should have held a 'conscience vote' (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608670)

In an armed conflict with out own Government the very best we could hope for is a disaster like Afghanistan. There are many things bad in that country but two things which stand out for me are the direct impact on civilians, and the polarising of domestic politics (ie, the Taliban).

The Government side would with walk all over the armed opposition, or fight it out in the streets for years. I don't want to be around when either of those things happen, so I believe an armed conflict is the worst possible outcome.

Re:Maybe you should have held a 'conscience vote' (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608686)

Speaking as a US citizen, I'm sure glad our founding fathers weren't such bleeding whiners.

430? (3, Insightful)

YoshiDan (1834392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33607940)

430 sites? Surely there are more. It's not like a child porn site is going to go around advertising itself is it? God he's stupid.

Re:430? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608022)

Never ascribe to stupidity that which can be explained by religion.

Re:430? (5, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608072)

Well since the blacklist contents is blacklisted itself, there's no way of knowing. When the list was leaked last year, there were about 1300 sites and not a single one of them contained any child pornography. Most of it was plain old adult content, with dentists, dog boarding kennels, caterers, poker websites, and anti-abortion sites making up the balance.

We know that most of the worst stuff on the net is much further underground, with P2P and private trading via email.

What limited child porn there is on the web specifically falls under only a handful of categories.

* Hacked websites. Supposedly this is why some of the sites appeared in error in the leaked list - they were "hacked by the Russian mob". An Aussie dentist website with a known hosting company had some child pornography buried under several "backslashes" (as Conroy put it) after being hacked. Instead of contacting the owner/host and getting their co-operation in removing the content and prosecuting those responsible, the whole site was just blacklisted without notifying anyone. The guy running it only found out when the list was leaked. A "just ban it" filter will only encourage laziness such as this when we should be policing it.

* Trolling attempts. There was a rather unfortunate case a few months ago of a certain imageboard trolling the facebook memorial of a murdered eight-year-old girl by flooding it with gore, bestiality and child porn. Not a lot really needs to be said about the perpetrators here, I think most will reach the same conclusion. It was jumped on by the censorphiles in Australia, but even in the best case, classification of websites takes months (I know, I've tested the submission process). Legislation is probably years in the future, and certain to fail with the current parliament. Sites like Facebook would actually be exempted because "high traffic" websites would break the filter and embarrass the government. Rather than the filtering approach, Facebook removed the images themselves in a matter of hours (and the police would have if they didn't), and the guy who did it was eventually prosecuted. Good riddance.

* Honeypots/sting operations. I think Conroy's even said he'll exempt sites from the filter if the filter would interfere with a police investigation. People dumb enough to access/post child porn on the open web deserve to be caught. With the proxying of the filters making online forensics more difficult, and policing resources being diverted to an idiotic waste, this is yet another example the filter will only make worse.

And that's without even mentioning the fact that the filter is being sold as a child-safe filter. The government has already dumped its "voluntary filters for parents" program, and has left almost all hardcore material accessible under the filter because blocking it all is obviously impossible.

Every time I think about this plan, it makes me furious. It's the main issue I voted against the government on last month, and I wouldn't be surprised if enough people joined me to have cost them their majority. But the independents hand the reins back to the ALP and it's full-steam ahead with the filter despite no-one outside of the ALP supporting it, the ALP being in minority in both houses of parliament, significant elements within the party opposing it, and ALP members only likely to vote for it because they will be expelled from the party if they don't. (That's basically what a conscience vote is for those who aren't familiar - a "we won't kick you out of the party if you don't vote for this" vote. By refusing one, anyone who doesn't toe the line is out of the party. The ALP is extremely strict on this.)

Re:430? (-1, Flamebait)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608200)

We know that most of the worst stuff on the net is much further underground, with P2P and private trading via email.

How would you know this, unless you are a child pornographer yourself? Your use of the word "we" also implies that you are a member of some kind of ring of child pornographers.

Re:430? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608274)

Did you have something to actually refute the arguments made or did you just want to say "please think of the children"?

My guess would be that he's right, not in his assessment that real child porn web sites don't exist -- I'm sure they do -- but in saying that most of the stuff gets delivered via other means than www..

Re:430? (-1, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608328)

Did you have something to actually refute the arguments made or did you just want to say "please think of the children"?

Of course we should think of the children, particularly the price we can get for them when we sell them for food. [wikipedia.org]

Re:430? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608756)

We also know that most of the worst drugs on the street are sold much further underground.

How do we know this? Clearly the only explanation is that I am a member of some king of drug distribution racket.

Re:430? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608330)

Most of it was plain old adult content, with dentists, dog boarding kennels, caterers, poker websites, and anti-abortion sites making up the balance.

I got some accidental inside information from a religious political lobbyist some years ago when this furor began... he was happy to get anything done to filter the net. But the religious lobbyists don't have that much clout .. he pretty much provided his perspective on legislation that happened to fall into his area of knowledge or got laws tweaked here and there to fill loopholes, that sort of thing.

The real reason that the lower house members listened to this suggestion was because the casino operators sided with the religious lobbyists to try to stop off-shore internet gambling, which is of course losing them loads of cash and losing the government loads of tax revenue.

If this filter were to be implemented (which appears to be next to impossible at this point) the first additions to the list would be every identifiable offshore gambling website. The 'child porn' is just to raise public outrage / support and imo the rest of the sites just added to the list as white noise to hide it's purpose. I'm guessing here that the secure gambling connections to offshore sites would be a damn site more difficult (impossible?) to pass through a proxy and that the average on-line gambler may not even bother to try ... just hop in the car, and go to the casino.

Re:430? (2, Insightful)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608436)

I'm guessing here that the secure gambling connections to offshore sites would be a damn site more difficult (impossible?) to pass through a proxy

No harder than any other site; but obviously the people who think the proposed filter will do anything at all are banking on the majority of people never trying to circumvent it.

Re:430? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608408)

"That's basically what a conscience vote is for those who aren't familiar - a "we won't kick you out of the party if you don't vote for this" vote. By refusing one, anyone who doesn't toe the line is out of the party. The ALP is extremely strict on this."

But exactly how strict can they afford to be at this stage? If they kick any ALP member out for not towing the line, they'll lose government. (Even with the support of the greens and all independents the ALP holds government by 1 seat.) And the independents and the greens have not given support to the filter AFAIK. They have merely stated their intention to side with the ALP on budget and no confidence votes. But a mandatory filter system would require enabling legislation.

Re:430? (4, Interesting)

TwistedPants (847858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608458)

Also - think of the cost! I believe it was around $42 million set aside to implement such a filter - a hair over $100k per site. Are you really telling me that there is value in this? Are you really telling me that you could not put $100k under a police investigation per site in order to shut some of them down? I'm aware there was already funding for the AFP included in the initial proposals; but if you are going to do something, why not do it right? Give $42 million to those that can actually prosecute the offenders in some % of cases.

Re:430? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608632)

If you have the time available then please take what you have said in your post above, formalise the writing, and post/email it to the opinion section of every major newspaper in Australia..

It would go a long way to help educate the public.

I'm curious (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608708)

Considering the way you say you voted, I'm curious as to what you think what the opinion of Abbott is on the filter. I know the Joe Hockey was opposed but his word count for as little as they did on environmental policy.
I think Conroy should be in another job with no responsibility where nobody has to listen to him, but with the filter he's a symptom of trying to catch fringe votes and not the actual problem.
I'm pretty happy that we didn't end up with both the Liberal party AND the filter, and for at least the next term we'll get neither.

Darknets (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33607942)

If this scheme ever gets off the ground, I'm going turn every machine I have admin privileges on into a Freenet node, just to spite them.

Boo! Hiss!

Don't filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33607948)

Let the pedo's login in so you can catch the fuckers!!!

Total control (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33607950)

I swear child porn is the big boogyman to control the internet just as 911 was the big fear monger event to justify totally immoral wars against countries that had nothing to do with the event....

Re:Total control (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33607992)

oil is not very different from riaa ppl swimming in money both only lasts so long and need to be replaced with clean energy and artists swimming

Re:Total control (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608236)

It works because it is a real problem. Child porn is a bad thing. 9/11 was a bad thing. There are real terrorists out there who want to kill Americans. Whenever there is a threat, or a serious problem, there will always be hucksters and power-seekers trying to take advantage of other's misery for their own benefit, or to push their own agenda. That's what happened during the McCarthy era: there were actually Russian spies, and McCarthy played on that fear.

That's why it's so important to not believe every person who can describe the problem, but rather look at their proposed solutions and see if they actually help, or will take you somewhere you don't want to go. Because for any given problem, someone who is offering a solution is trying to twist it for their own benefit.

Re:Total control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608518)

Why not just go all the way and require all Australians to hide under their beds all day long? Who knows, they might witness a car accident, or get mugged, or get hit by a meteorite...

But it does help (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608674)

If you censor the entire net, then you DO shutdown the pedo sites. If you lock up everyone who isn't a right wing american KKK card carrier, then you do lock up the traitors. If you ban all Muslims and Muslim symphatizers from the US, you ban the Muslim terrorists as well (you still keep the abortion clinic bombers and seperatists and other home grown nutters).

THAT is the problem. The holocaust and WW2 did solve the German unemployment problem.

The REAL question is NOT to ask wether a measure will solve the problem but at what cost it comes.

Simply put. More kids are killed in traffic then by pedo's. Solution, ban cars. Why doesn't this get proposed? Because nobody wants to surrender their SUV with cattle bar for those hellish suburban roads.

We CAN hunt down pedo websites. BUT what is the price? Is the loss of freedom of speech and freedom of information worth saving a few kids? Yes? Then hand in your cars keys today... AH, thought so. You want to save a handful of kids from predators but not thousands from car accidents.

Same with 9/11 and the war against terror. We CAN stop the terrorists, but is it worth the total collapse of privacy and ruining internation trade and exchange of ideas?

Is the war on drugs worth Mexico being the latest country to slide into civil war? Locking up people who are just addicted enough to risk life in jail for smoking a joint for the 3rd time?

With extreme measures, we can solve all the worlds problems. But is it worth it?

So "That's why it's so important to not believe every person who can describe the problem, but rather look at their proposed solutions and see if they actually help, or will take you somewhere you don't want to go."

It is that last bit that is the important thing. Not wether it will help. That is easy enough. But do we want to life in that kind of world.

And that is hard. It requires people who value freedom of speech to defend smut peddlers like Larry Flynt. Not because they are pro-porn but because you either stand for freedom of speech for all or for none. Because if you allow stuff to be banned because it upsets people, you end up banning everything because everything upsets someone.

But that is VERY hard to sell. It is like argueing about the evils of various religious institutions in a religious country. Once a mere questioning of religious practices could get you in serious trouble. Thank god the Catholic and other churces have lost a lot of power and you can't simply be put to death for questioning the pope.

Right now you can just be cast out for daring to question the wrongness of child porn crusaders. Question this minister and you are automatically pro-pedo. A brave man/woman who dares to risk that. And so he gets away with it.

so? (0, Redundant)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33607976)

if the internet gets censored a 2nd underground one would pop up one with heavy encryption and no police power

Conscience votes (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33607982)

Normally in Australia, party discipline and solidarity is such that any member going against the party line on a vote is taboo and noteworthy - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_floor#Voting_against_party_lines . If the party allows a conscience vote, then they don't lay down a policy on how they expect members to vote - so they can vote whichever way they want.

Re:Conscience votes (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608010)

In a parliamentary democracy, non-conscience votes are an abomination, IMHO.

You vote for your local representative, they are supposed to represent the needs of their constituents to parliament. In the UK there's the Whip, in Aus a similar party line thing. what this means is that a few people at the top decide policy and it then gets pushed through on the threat of kicking dissenters out of the party.

It's so anti-democratic it hurts.

Re:Conscience votes (2, Insightful)

Slotty (562298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608070)

Worst part is policy isn't even dictated by representatives. It's dictated by media frenzy or party hollowmen. The ABC's hollowmen is actually a very realistic representation of governance.... Just not as funny

Re:Conscience votes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608090)

Not that I agree with non-conscience voting but the parties expect your reasoning for choosing your local member is different to what you say.

People, in general, vote for one party or another. Not for the personal beliefs of their local member. Most people have never met or even seen significant campaigning from their local member. Therefore, if a person is voting for a party, they expect their member to believe and vote the same as their party (rather than the other way around).

If you truly want someone in parliament to vote based on local issues, you should vote for an independent. This is the key difference an independent holds over party-aligned politicians.

Re:Conscience votes (2, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608214)

Where I live, people most often vote for a party, not a person. It is quite seldom that they know that much about the personal beliefs of the local members on the party list. It should also be noted that the only thing stopping someone from breaking party line is that they can be excluded from their party. Depending on the situation their career in politics may also end at the next exection, but they do not lose their seat until a new parliament is elected. Indeed, since the last parliamentary election 3 years ago, 3% of the elected representatives have left their party for another (or for being independent).

Re:Conscience votes (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608454)

I can't speak for Australia, but in the UK there's generally no sanction [wikipedia.org] for voting against your party unless a three-line whip is issued.

I think most votes are covered by single-line whips, where the party line is spelled out but you don't have to vote that way, vote at all or even attend. The Public Whip [thepublicwhip.org.uk] logs the incidence of rebellion for each MP.

The fact is that most MPs vote with their party of their own free will, rather than under duress.

Re:Conscience votes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608732)

To be fair, it's no more anti-democratic than the two party system itself. The vast majority of ALP voters don't want the filter, and voted ALP simply because they believe in its other policies (eg against the conservatives' "WorkChoices" policy).

Re:Conscience votes (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608738)

Especially in states like Australia, where you vote by ranking a list of maybe 50 candidates, it's ridiculous to expect citizens to study the individual preferences of every single candidate. Candidates join parties (of which Australia has pretty much as many as they care to) in order to signal where they stand on the issues. The parties also implicitly say which issues are "conscience issues" to them, in which case it's the voter's responsibility to research the individual candidates' position.

Compared to the US/UK, in Australia, politicians can choose their parties very freely. So the opportunity for party leadership to push policies on unwilling representatives is pretty limited.

Not really unexpected (4, Insightful)

glowworm (880177) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608012)

It has always been the case where Senator Conroy has desired this filter, he has long been a pawn of the Australian Christian Lobby. Before the recent elections the party he belongs to, Labor (a middle left party), could have passed it on their numbers alone, however the recent election puts Labor into a minority government position. Even with the Labor parties internal rules saying that all members must vote to the party line they are simply outnumbered, everyone else in government is on record as being against the plan. Now there is nothing to say that Labor can't strike a deal with the opposition party and the independents who make up the majority of the government, say tie it being passed to not putting a price on carbon, but I think the chances of that are slim. A minority government is a very tenuous hold on power. As far as a conscience vote, all other parties are free to vote how they like, members of the Labor party are the only ones tied to the official party line, however for things like Gay Adoption (recently passed) and Abortion (passed quite a few years ago) those rules are relaxed.

Re:Not really unexpected (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608028)

members of the Labor party are the only ones tied to the official party line

Thats not true. Every party tries to keep their members voting the party line.

Re:Not really unexpected (4, Informative)

glowworm (880177) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608080)

Yes tries, but Labor is the only one where the members need to agree to always support the caucus decision upon joining.

The Liberals and Greens and of course the independents are able to step outside the party line if they really need to, when they do this it is called crossing the floor.

Quite recently Liberals have been crossing the floor to vote for climate change laws.

http://www.google.com.au/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=liberal+cross+the+floor [google.com.au]

No matter matter what the issue a Labor MP is not allowed to cross the floor unless he has been given a conscience vote. He must vote as caucus directs or lose membership.

Re:Not really unexpected (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608660)

Conscience votes from the Liberals and Nationals are very rare. While they can in theory cross the floor on any issue, in practice they get disendorsed so that somebody else will take their seat next time or they get thrown out of the party entirely. Consider how many ex-coalition independants there are in both State and Federal Australian politics. Don't you think they would have stayed in a party that let them speak their mind?
It's ironic that the only other conscience vote I remember in the last decade was to tell Tony Abbott to stop playing pretend Catholic games to raise his profile with religious voters and instead do his job as health minister.

Re:Not really unexpected (3, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608622)

"Before the recent elections the party he belongs to, Labor (a middle left party), could have passed it on their numbers alone"

No, before the election the libs + greens had the numbers and the inclination to block it in the senate, that situation has not changed. When the libs were in power they were the ones pushing for a mandatory filter and labor + greens were blocking it in the senate. It's never really been a serious proposal, it's a political distraction aimed at certain independent senators, an endless "Yes Minister" style inquiry that has been going on now for a decade with the libs and labor occasionally changing roles from good cop to bad cop.

There is no chance in hell the inquires will ever come to a conclusion since that would mean both major parties would have to give up the carrot/stick they use to placate the christian right and their nutjob senator(s).

I'm actually looking forward to Downer's answer, he's more than a match for Conroy.

Scare Mongering (5, Insightful)

muphin (842524) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608018)

Child Porn is the new "terrorist" if you dont attack them you support them.
considering the ISPS are VOLUNTARILY blocking these sites, there is no reason for the filter.
Filter is just an excuse for a hidden agenda for slow and gradual control of information, if its there people will abuse it, ask any psychologist.

No Conscience? (4, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608030)

Senator Conroy is a religious fanatic, according to any modern definition of the term. This is POLITICS BY FAITH, and if that's what I want well there are OTHER countries for that.

This policy is ABSOLUTE INSANITY, and if I wanted a country run by a religious NUTBAG then there are also other countries for that.

His policy of deliberate insanity *almost* lost his party THE ENTIRE ELECTION, and now we have a government balanced on a knife-edge (ie more than likely, crippled beyond your worst nightmares).

This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

Re:No Conscience? (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608124)

I would say this policy was net-neutral and potentially net-positive at the election for the government. The number of people who voted for the Liberals rather than Green with Labor preference or Labor outright because of this policy would be miniscule. The number of christians who were swayed to stick with Labor because of it would be very small but likely larger than the first group.

It's a stupid policy and it's dead on the water, just quit with the hyperbolic screaming, you already won.

Re:No Conscience? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608164)

This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

Because shooting people would make crazy people less crazy? Or because shooting other people would make stupid voters not be stupid?

There's something missing from your statement, and I believe it's "logic".

Re:No Conscience? (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608224)

This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

In the USA everybody has (or is able to have) guns, yet we have much more rampant lunacy going on among our politicians. I've yet to see guns stop any of it.

Re:No Conscience? (0, Flamebait)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608348)

Re:No Conscience? (4, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608364)

And how did that stop any of the lunacy in politics? Many of the assassinations are the direct result of lunatics.

Re:No Conscience? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608400)

Do you have ANY idea what would have happened if William McKinley had been allowed to live? Dear God man! Think of the colonial empire we would have amassed! Won't someone think of the irradiated atolls?!?!

Re:No Conscience? (3, Insightful)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608228)

This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

What the fuck has that got to do with anything? Unless you would resort martyrdom to stop this filter; in which case need to redo your cost benefit analysis :).

Re:No Conscience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608470)

Yeah no one has ever thought freedom of speech was worth fighting to the death for. At least I haven't read about it if they did...

Re:No Conscience? (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608570)

This is POLITICS BY FAITH, and if that's what I want well there are OTHER countries for that.

This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

Are you trying to say that faith-based politics and gun ownership are mutually exclusive? Because I can think of a few notable exceptions.

Why not shut the sites down instead? (4, Interesting)

pesc (147035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608036)

'According to the latest information I have here from the [Australian Communications and Media Authority], there are 430 child pornography sites on the [World Wide Web] ... that are accessible to anyone...[Malcolm Turnbull] has to explain to Australian families that he is prepared to do nothing about blocking access to those sites,' Conroy added.

Maybe Conroy could explain to Australian families why hanging a blanket in front of the sites is better than shutting the sites down and prosecute the operators? Especially since it is so easy to peer behind the blanket by using a proxy, or alternate DNS resolver, etc, etc.

Are all those sites operating from countries where child pornography is legal? Which countries and sits are we talking about?

Re:Why not shut the sites down instead? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608086)

Because the sites are not in Australia. Having said that free webmail services seem to be major channels for hosting porn so maybe a filter will have to block billions of yahoo mail URLs.

Re:Why not shut the sites down instead? (4, Interesting)

pesc (147035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608186)

I think that "430 child pornography sites" is a bluff. I'm calling it. What sites? Which countries? Did the Australian authorities contact the police in those countries? What happened? Did they give up and are calling for blankets?

It needs to be asked since international lobbying groups are exploiting "child pornography" to establish censorship as being normal on the internet.

Read this:
http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/ifpis-child-porn-strategy/ [wordpress.com]

Do these lobbying groups operate in Australia?

What do Australian families think about commercial entities exploiting child pornography?

Re:Why not shut the sites down instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608672)

It's not a bluff, but please, let's get real.

430 out of how many BILLIONS of websites around here?

Re:Why not shut the sites down instead? (3, Informative)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608584)

It's still a lousy excuse for not doing the actual work.

When the Finnish block list leaked (for the first time) it turned out a lot of the sites were actually hosted in countries where child porn is illegal (and where you could actually assume the police might act on it). Guess what the Finnish police did? They just slapped the sites on their secret list, and did not inform the police in the countries where the crime was being committed.

Re:Why not shut the sites down instead? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608092)

Some would be protected under US/EU free speech laws??
Others would have been 'used'/'hacked' servers noted in the past??

Dear Australian government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608044)

I have reason to believe that a computer in the office of one Mr. Stephen Conroy is connected to child pornography. Mr. Conroy himself claims to know of 430 sites "that are accessible to anyone", and it is likely that his computer contains a list of these sites. People accessing his website might stumble across links to these sites by mistake, and be exposed to disgusting images.

As a strong opponent of child pornography, I implore you to add his website to the blocked list. Thank you in advance.

Signed,
A Concerned Netizen

Fix it, don't hide it! (5, Interesting)

freman (843586) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608058)

He's hell bent on hiding sites that contain child abuse material...

That doesn't prevent a child getting abused.
That doesn't help the child already abused to create the content.

Who the fk knows what these sites are anyway?

Sick bastards are going to work around his filter quicker than he can think.

How about, policing, work within the international community to have these sites removed and keep up the pressure.

If he put half the budget and pressure on law enforcement as he is putting on stringing a tarp over the crime scene he'd actually have a hope of getting somewhere!

FIX IT! DO NOT HIDE IT!

Fix the murders problem by banning news on murders (3, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608736)

Would forbidding the press to report on murders stop people being murdered?

'Cause that's equivalent to what Conroy is suggesting: hide the problem not solve the problem.

It seems to me that if he is so concerned about the problem of sexual abuse of children he should support going after those that do the abuse, not hiding it.

This angle could be used to pry open his argument.

Hasn't got the Numbers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608066)

Who cares what he still thinks? He hasn't got the numbers in either House of Parliament to get any Bill passed.

Re:Hasn't got the Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608108)

> Who cares what he still thinks? He hasn't got the numbers in either House of Parliament to get any Bill passed.

Well, his party has made deals in order to form a minority government. If a consensus can be reached over any particular Bill, then indeed it could be passed.

Fortunately, for the case of the utter insanity of Conroy's Internet Censorship Bill, such consensus is wildly unlikely.

Conroy's Internet Censorship Bill is as good as dead for the forseeable future.

Re:Hasn't got the Numbers (3, Informative)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608130)

Neither the Greens or all of the Independents support the filter. He does not have the numbers.

Re:Hasn't got the Numbers (2, Informative)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608234)

And the opposition are busy "opposing", so they aren't going to support anything the government wants to do.

Re:Hasn't got the Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608120)

Agreed. Conscience vote or not, they won't have the numbers. They're only pushing this simply because they can't backflip because it'll make them look bad, they'd rather go ahead and fail and blame the Coalition then to stop prematurely citing not having the numbers. Now, I'm Australian but I'm started to feel for non-Australians on Slashdot about this reoccurring story. Nothing new has occurred other than confirming that a Conscience vote won't be done (which any Australian political half wit already knew, I don't even know who brought it up quite honestly) why is this issue still an issue given he hasn't got the votes? Let it die already or at least die until he decides he announces the Bill at least.

Re:Hasn't got the Numbers (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608500)

Mod parent up.

Conroy can scream at anyone who will listen and stamp his little feet as much as he likes. He's made it clear that he basically knows the policy is doomed, but it's like a personal crusade to him and he won't let it go.

The filter is dead for a number reasons, not least of which is that it is now a mathematical impossibility for it to pass either house of Parliament.

Strongly recommend that people (especially those outside of Australia who aren't up to speed on things here) read this: http://michaelwyres.com/2010/09/another-nail-in-the-filter-coffin/ [michaelwyres.com] - good article summarising why, although we should remain vigilant, the anti-filter side has won (admittedly since the anti-filter side comprises >90% of the population this isn't surprising!)

No speed impact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608094)

In the the interview in question [abc.net.au] , he claims that the filter will not have any impact on speed (he names a few countries as examples):

"In Finland, in Sweden, in a range of western countries, a filter is in place today and 80, 90, 95 per cent of citizens in those countries when they use the internet go through that filter. It has no impact on speed and anybody who makes a claim that it has an impact on speed is misleading people. If you want to be a strict engineer, it's 170th of the blink of an eye but no noticeable effect for an end user. So there is no impact and the accuracy is 100 per cent. "

Anyone got any stats on this?

Re:No speed impact (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608448)

I think this came up before and I believe that in those countries the blocked site returns a page saying that it has been blocked, just like bluecoat in my workplace. You can use information on that page to find out why the page has been blocked.

The proposed Australian system seems to be set up to pretend that the blocked page doesn't exist. This makes it hard to distinguish between bitrot and censorship, so nobody really knows what is censored.

Re:No speed impact (3, Informative)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608516)

For Finland:

"No impact on speed": true, there's no effect (it's usually just a simple DNS blocklist at ISP, or sometimes a http proxy).

"80-95% of citizens are censored": False, as far as I know. Some large ISPs did start enthusiasticly but it seems most have now gone back to not censoring, or offer both censored and uncensored access. The three large ISPs I am in contact with (Elisa, Sonera and Welho) all offer uncensored DNS.

"Accuracy is 100%": True if you define accuracy as "how many sites on the block list get blocked when using a blocking DNS server". No-one knows how many false positives the list contains or what percentage of all child porn sites are on the list -- there's no possibility of knowing this for sure as the only time citizens get to see the list is when it happens to leak (check wikileaks for the most recent ones). There have been some fairly high profile false posititives though: www.w3.org was blocked for a time -- and the police had no other explanation than "human error".

Cool, a new bullshit unit (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608598)

"If you want to be a strict engineer, it's 170th of the blink of an eye"
That will cut the speed by a significant number of libraries of congress per second.

Conscience vote (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608126)

I hope some Australian and UK readers can help the rest of us understand the significance of conscience votes,

      It's like when in America Nancy Pelosi tells you how to vote.

maybe it's not about censorship at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608134)

a bird told me (and i've been unable to verify) that Conroy is a major figure in AFACT (Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft), a cartel of twats that are responsible for the "you wouldn't steal a handbag" trailers on every goddamn DVD.

the OFLC (now called COB - the classification board) is a nice money-spinner for the government, but tends to be hugely biased toward bigger distributors (the american ones...).

this seems to me like if the filter is implemented, no child porn will be filtered - rather torrent sites will be.

it's a massive conflict of interest if true...

of course, the NBN is a reason to keep this idiot where he is. the filter will be kept at bay at least until the other side gets in.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608168)

I really think that anyone who is so "gung ho" about an issue, that is so unreasonable about change is a "me-thinks he protests too much"- a cupboard paedophile, a child pornographer himself. Anyone who unable to listen to reason has his issues.

Classification IS Censorship (4, Insightful)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608170)

"'I'm not sure that the censorship claim stacks up. This is about classification systems."

The Australian Classification system is a system of government-run censorship. Media which is refused classification is not allowed to be sold in the country.

The debate is fundamentally about censorship.

It is legal to possess and view unclassified and refused-classification material in most of Australia, provided that it is not material which is actually illegal (child porn, for example). What Conroy wants to do is circumvent the ability for adults to decide what they can view. To make it illegal to view online things which are legal to possess in reality. It is censorship. To argue otherwise is completely dishonest.

Re:Classification IS Censorship (2, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608372)

Different debate. Most governments censor their citizens; that debate is only over how much.

The debate going on here in Australia is about how to implement that censorship. Currently it's done at a legal and retail level. Conroy wants to extend that to ISPs too, by means of a URL blacklist.

The problem is, any attempt to explain that it'll only block < 0.001% of the RC content on the net, or that it's trivially bypassed by altering the URL (e.g. adding a "?" to the end), or that it's far too open for errors/abuse, gets either ignored or re-framed as "against filter == pro child porn".

Re:Classification IS Censorship (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608502)

he's just trying to change the debate into one he can actually argue. Why should we spend millions on a system that slows down the internet and does nothing else even mildly effectively? this is a question he cannot answer.

Re:Classification IS Censorship (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608746)

The debate is fundamentally about censorship.

Yeah but I think the actual agenda is the National Broadband Network. Basically the TV network owners don't want competing, free content bypassing their networks and going directly into the home. The idea behind filtering is that reasons will be found to block this content, thus preserving a revenue stream for the TV networks. Its just a way to encourage them to keep paying their license fees to the federal government.

Anonymouse Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608196)

Conscience votes are where the member are supposed to vote with their hearts, not with their parties.

It won't go through. Stop worrying. (1)

ohzero (525786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608198)

This will never happen, if only for the reason that the Australians are afraid that we'll start comparing them to the Chinese.

Sorry, thats not how internet works. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608206)

We have built this information highway to transport "raw" information. This raw information is packages that have inside packages that have inside packages of other information. Some of these packages can be encrypted, the final information encrypted.
You can't really censor internet on topic X for people that really want X, since theres no absolute way to stop all X on the internet, more than theres to stop it on the real world.

Re:Sorry, thats not how internet works. (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608392)

oh but we want to stop them cause reason y for the children/country/economy, the fact that they dont believe in reason y proves that we are morally better then them, and as they say "anti-reason y straw man quote" is so clearly wrong that the straw man must be to dumb to be able to get x w/o help from drug-lords/terrorists/mafia/opposing political party/Russians

Vatican (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608350)

I may support the block list if they would put the Vatican and the rest of the Holy Roman Child Abuser Church on it.

what a useless bastard (2, Insightful)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608480)

[Malcolm Turnbull] has to explain to Australian families that he is prepared to do nothing about blocking access to those sites

Conroy has to admit that he's not prepared to do anything to prosecute the creators or help the children being abused in the creation of this material, but really just wants to pretend it doesn't exist.

Overreacting maybe? (4, Insightful)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608528)

430 child pornography sites. You got to be kidding me. That like what, 0.000000000000001% of the websites worldwide? And for a hand full of sites they have to filter 100% of the traffic and spend millions of Australian $ for it?

How about a total filter on the catholic church, after all there are 10% of Catholic Priests Were Pedophiles [alternet.org] . How about spend more money to protect real children in Australia? There was 5,591 sexual abuse and 11,789 physical abuse in 2008 [aifs.gov.au] . There were 339,454 notifications but only 162,259 investigations, that's only 48% coverage. How about dropping this stupid filter and spend more money on protecting real children, living in Australia right now?

But what will happened is that Australia is going to spend millions to block 430 child pornography sites but then they have to cut spending on education and on child protection services.

Call the cops on the 430 instead of hiding them (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33608578)

Once again Conroy is full of made up bullshit. It's a pity that the alternatives such as Barnaby Joyce are far worse.

he lies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608610)

'Conscience votes go to matters to do with life and death in the [Australian] Labor Party,'

The table in this link states what both Labor and Liberal have had conscience votes on in the past. Clearly there are matters that Labor have had votes on that aren't life or death.
http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/cib/2002-03/03cib01.htm#table2

The dude is just making shit up.

I'd like to see Conroy justify his position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608682)

I'd like to see Conroy justify his position to both the victims of child pornography and to subjects of oppressive regimes. It's not like his policy does anything to help the victims, nor has it been proven that availability of footage correlates in any way with child abuse. If anything, you could argue that having material available reduces the need for a paedophile to go out and find a new victim.

On a side note, I'd like to see his 430 sites. How come he gets to see them and we don't? Why are the sites still operational? How much effort has been spent on finding the people that run the site? You can't go on arguing that we need a change of law if you haven't spent at least the same amount of effort working with the current laws.

Conroy is Inspirational (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33608704)

If I go into politics it will be because of inspirational Senators such as Stephen Conroy.

If not his enormous lack of understanding of his portfolio I wouldn't feel so compelled to go into politics and protect Australia from the cost of his ignorance.

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