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Telstra Starts Implementing Australian Censorship Scheme

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the demonization-has-its-downsides dept.

Censorship 212

daria42 writes "After four long years of debate about whether Australia will receive a mandatory Internet filter, finally some action has been taken. Yesterday the country's largest ISP, Telstra, started filtering all customers' connections for child pornography. The filter is DNS-based, meaning it's easy to circumvent, but you can't opt out of it — if you sign up to a plan with Telstra, your connection will be filtered for certain web addresses whether you like it or not. "

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212 comments

Opt-out (2, Interesting)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 3 years ago | (#36639378)

Even if you could opt out of this, the Australian government would just know who to put on their watch list.

Re:Opt-out (3, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 3 years ago | (#36639402)

How's this stopping child porn. The hard core predators will simply go out and find a kid, or change their DNS settings. Maybe this impresses the think of the children demographic but it doesn't do anything.

Re:Opt-out (2)

thr13z3 (214476) | about 3 years ago | (#36639418)

"The hard core predators will simply"

Since when is it an ISP mandate to deal with real life criminal? Not that I approve of this but the point of those filter is simply to make unwanted content harder to access. And eventually censure those you don't agree with.

Re:Opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639470)

It's not about stopping child porn, that would be something they know they can't stop, since it's happening overseas. What's Australia going to do, buy another about to be scrapped Aircraft Carrier and go on expeditions? Admittedly the US does have some in surplus, or could just sell an LHA, or they could see if the British want to make one available, but really, that's a lot of work.

It's really about A) Giving people a way to avoid it for sure by making sure the connections don't happen and B) having something done.

So you can circumvent it, great, all you do is give them something to look for if they really want to do so, or if they catch you another way, then some piece of evidence to be used to draw inferences.

Re:Opt-out (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#36639568)

How's this stopping child porn. The hard core predators will simply go out and find a kid, or change their DNS settings. Maybe this impresses the think of the children demographic but it doesn't do anything.

A bunch of cases recently have seen some people let off because it can't be proven that they didn't stumble across the child porn accidentally. Now apart from pictures of girls that looked like they might not have been quite 18 i've never stumbled across anything like child porn by accident so I find that a bit hard to believe, but if there is evidence that the person took steps to circumvent the filter it is harder for them to argue that they stumbled across it by accident.

But you're right, there was child porn before the internet and there will be child porn after the filter is implemented. And while it might stop a few brainless idiots obtaining pictures, it won't stop anyone who is seriously motivated to find them and it definitely won't stop the images being produced in the first place, which is the real crime.

Re:Opt-out (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 3 years ago | (#36639648)

... but if there is evidence that the person took steps to circumvent the filter it is harder for them to argue that they stumbled across it by accident.

Yeah, if there is evidence that they took those steps to circumvent the filter. Is there anybody on Slashdot who isn't already running his/her own DNS server at home? Didn't think so. I have two authoritative public DNS servers on my home network that also provide caching DNS for my intranet and DMZ, and I doubt I'm alone in that regard.

The bigger concern here, at least in my mind, is that this might turn into a witch hunt. Let's say that Telstra suddenly decides to see which clients are using their DNS server, then reports the ones that aren't to the authorities because after all, they're probably doing it to download child porn, pirated movies, warez, or whatever else that Telstra is blocking this week. That could turn into a whole lot of hassle for a whole lot of people. And particularly when it comes to child porn, once accused, forever shunned, making it triply important that folks in Australia ensure that such witch hunts do not occur....

Maybe I'm just being too paranoid.... Nah.

Re:Opt-out (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#36639666)

Yeah, if there is evidence that they took those steps to circumvent the filter. Is there anybody on Slashdot who isn't already running his/her own DNS server at home?

Well I'm not running my own DNS servers and I am not quite sure why I should be. My local ISP isn't doing anything weird and there is Google and OpenDNS as backup (as well as numerous others). Not being snarky or anything, but why would I want to do that? Seems like one more thing that I would have to maintain and one without any clear benefit.

Re:Opt-out (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 3 years ago | (#36639710)

A lot of folks on slashdot host their own domains, which usually means running your own DNS servers.

Also, a lot of folks run Linux, and the default configuration on a lot of Linux distros provides a caching-only DNS server on the box, unless this has changed recently.

Re:Opt-out (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#36639832)

A lot of folks on slashdot host their own domains, which usually means running your own DNS servers.

I think you're getting mixed up between a DNS server and a caching resolver.

Re:Opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639698)

Why the fuck do I need to run my own DNS?

Re:Opt-out (1)

mcavic (2007672) | about 3 years ago | (#36639712)

Because sometimes a DNS server will have a bad record in its cache, preventing access to a site. If the DNS server is yours, you can clear it. It's happened to me several times using different servers.

Re:Opt-out (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about 3 years ago | (#36639942)

I have always run my own DNS server...
Couple of years ago i found my internet access was much faster than usual one weekend, and then the following week i received an email from the ISP apologising for the "outage" that had occurred during the weekend, apparently their DNS servers had failed which meant that 99% of their customers couldn't do anything.

Re:Opt-out (2)

thr13z3 (214476) | about 3 years ago | (#36639412)

Not really. Just because I don't feel like being under scrutiny doesn't mean I'm a pedophile! :(

Re:Opt-out (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 3 years ago | (#36639450)

Oh, I agree - I'd probably opt out, just on principle. I doubt the Australian government sees it the same way.

Re:Opt-out (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#36639536)

Conroy's legislation can't get thru parliament. Instead they reward a telstra a fat contract to rollout the NBN, conditional on implementing his scheme.
Democracy in action. :-(

Re:Opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639434)

There are good reasons to opt out of any filtering scheme. There are DNS servers which are used by people in the United States. Security, speed, and others.

Re:Opt-out (3, Informative)

The Qube (749) | about 3 years ago | (#36639510)

Nice try, but this has nothing to do with the Australian Government.

Telstra and other ISPs are implementing a blacklist that is managed by Interpol [crn.com.au] .

The same system is in use by some ISPs in the UK and other European countries.

And as far as the list goes, it is actually very conservative in its definition of child pornography, only classifying sites depicting minors under 13, not under 18.

Re:Opt-out (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#36639576)

Because "Under 18" really isn't illegal in many countries.

It's just the USA where if you're having sex with a smoking hot 17.999999999999999 year old you're going to be put on a list for life. Even if you're 18.000000000000000001.

Thems the rules.

Re:Opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639602)

Because "Under 18" really isn't illegal in many countries.

It's just the USA where if you're having sex with a smoking hot 17.999999999999999 year old you're going to be put on a list for life. Even if you're 18.000000000000000001.

Thems the rules.

Actually, states where the age of consent is 18 are exceedingly rare in the US. There are only 12. Well, I guess 24% isn't exceedingly rare. But they are a minority, let's put it that way.

But your point still stands.

Re:Opt-out (1)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#36639660)

In Australia the age of consent is either 16 or 17 depending on the circumstances (homosexual relationships, age of both partners, and state you're in).

However, with regards to pornography, that's a whole other set of laws, which I'm uncertain about.

Re:Opt-out (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 3 years ago | (#36639950)

There really should be exceptions made when both participants are effectively the same age... Many people have been screwed for celebrating their 18th birthday by having sex with their (few weeks or months) younger girlfriend.

The Australian Government did do this, read on... (5, Informative)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#36639592)

Nice try, but you obviously haven't been keeping up with the local news.

The current government (The Australian Labor Party) has been trying to push through this form of censorship, to gain support from the religious zealots in the country. They need the religious zealots support, because they do not have a large enough majority to ram through what they want. This censorship plan was developed by minister Stephen Conroy, and at the previous election they had to ditch this plan, because it was so amazingly un-popular.

At the same time the Australian Labor Party has decided to "nationalize" (debatable as to whether the National Broadband Network is really nationalized or not) the internal internet infrastructure of Australia, by laying down billions of dollars, buying up a fuck load of fiber, and handing out a lot of contracts to roll out more fiber. This plan is being setup and run by minister Stephen Conroy, the exact same man who came up with the original legislative censorship plans, has now been given a fuck load of money, and authority. Telstra owns MOST of the infrastructure the government is looking to buy, as it was Australia's first (I think it was the first) telephony provider, which used to be nationalized, but was privatized in the late 90s.

At the same time Telstra started to censor the internet, they were awarded a very large favourable contract, from the government, to purchase this infrastructure from them. Both of these were announced in THE SAME WEEK. This is a mighty fine coincidence.

Now, you might say, but that's just a coincidence and doesn't mean anything. The company is just voluntarily deciding to censor the internet.

Well, in the same week another company, Optus, which is Australia's second largest telephony provider, was awarded a very large favourable contract for the purchase of their infrastructure handed to them, and in the same week, that company also decided to announce that they would voluntarily censor the internet with this same list, under a similar time frame.

So...
There are 2 companies, selling a large amount of equipment to the government, for very large amounts of money, with very favourable terms, and they both decided to announce, in the same week that these contracts were handed out, that they will voluntarily censor the internet.

That is FAR too great a coincidence.

Additionally, ISPs like Internode, which are the nerds choice of ISP, who also own a significant amount of infrastructure, and were active in dissenting against the prior censorship plans, have been told flat out that they will not be offered such favourable contracts for their infrastructure, in the same week these were awarded.

So yes, "technically", you're correct, but we all know that the government would have had a hand in this, especially because these plans were so wildly unpopular with the public, that any ISP that implements censorship of any kind, knows they will get backlash over it. In fact, Telstra knows it was going to get this backlash, and actually put off implementing it specifically because they were afraid of reprisals from LulzSec, AnonSec, Anonymous, and similar.

What ISP do you know, that voluntarily does things like this, which don't improve its profitability, which expose it to reprisal, and targeted attacks, without being forced to by government?

Not to mention, two of them at the same time.

The Australian Government, and their currently "unlimited" spending account, has EVERYTHING to do with this.

I have links for all the above, but there's too many, and I'm too lazy. Instead, just read Delimiter [delimiter.com.au] which has some of the best coverage on this.

Re:The Australian Government did do this, read on. (1)

mnot (71203) | about 3 years ago | (#36639908)

Additionally, ISPs like Internode, which are the nerds choice of ISP, who also own a significant amount of infrastructure, and were active in dissenting against the prior censorship plans, have been told flat out that they will not be offered such favourable contracts for their infrastructure, in the same week these were awarded.

Uh, I loves the Internode, but they don't own the kind of infrastructure that's important here -- last-mile.

Re:The Australian Government did do this, read on. (1)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#36639932)

Yeah, I know they don't own last mile, except in a few places (their research places, etc), they do also own some interstate infrastructure, and some wireless infrastructure. The point was that, while Optus does own other more necessary infrastructure, their deal included the purchase of infrastructure similar to Internode's. However, Internode wouldn't be offered as favourable a contract.

Re:Opt-out (1)

RsG (809189) | about 3 years ago | (#36639594)

And as far as the list goes, it is actually very conservative in its definition of child pornography, only classifying sites depicting minors under 13, not under 18.

Which is what is actually meant by "child pornography" in the generally understood sense. When a person is arrested and the news says something like "kiddy porn found on perp's laptop", what the audience understands it to mean is sexually abusive images of prepubescent children. No member of the general public would call a topless picture of a 17 year old photographing herself in the mirror kiddy porn, though legally it would be considered such is many jurisdictions.

If anything, this means the Interpol list is more sane than many nations' legal systems.

It's still not a very effective solution to the problem though. Bona fide child molesters are not going to straighten up and fly right because their ISP implemented a filter.

Re:Opt-out (1)

hjf (703092) | about 3 years ago | (#36639600)

You do know that "bona fide" means "in good faith". As in "with good intentions", right?

Re:Opt-out (1)

RsG (809189) | about 3 years ago | (#36639850)

Huh, I'd always heard it used to mean "genuine". Wiktionary [wiktionary.org] does support both meanings, however a literal translation is "good faith".

It's likely a case of a phrase taking on a second, similar meaning over time. "Goof faith" and "not counterfeit" are obvious intersections; it's a small hop from there to "genuine". Still, I didn't know that when I wrote it. My bad.

Re:Opt-out (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | about 3 years ago | (#36639860)

'in good faith' does not mean 'with good intentions' on behalf of the sentence subject, it means 'taking for fact, on faith' on behalf of the *speaker*

Re:Opt-out (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | about 3 years ago | (#36639896)

It's still not a very effective solution to the problem though. Bona fide child molesters are not going to straighten up and fly right because their ISP implemented a filter.

You are absolutely right, but the problem is not only the molesters.

The general consensus is that Child pornography should not become "accepted" for a variety of other reasons.
Kids are naturally very attached to those that should be protecting them and providing them with security and education, so it is all too easy for these people to abuse the children in their care.

Only when these kids grow up do they realize what has happened and they live in constant fear their "little secret" becomes public, that the images surface and they will have to remember and re-live everything again, this is a big part of why people who have been abused as kids, have a hard time dealing with life.

This is why we have to constantly be sending the message that Child Pornography is not acceptable.

How do you know it's conservative? (1)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#36639670)

And as far as the list goes, it is actually very conservative in its definition of child pornography, only classifying sites depicting minors under 13, not under 18.

Can you link me to somewhere I can download the list? As it stands, I've no idea what's on the list, and whether it accurately actually truly only limits itself to those things. Historically, these lists have NOT limited themselves to only these things. Even the list that the Australia Government previously wanted to use, was found to have A LOT of material which was far outside of these bounds, when it was leaked.

Please mod parent up.. (3, Informative)

AftanGustur (7715) | about 3 years ago | (#36639852)

This is the database in question. [interpol.int]

The Database is maintained by Interpol, and is available to any ISP upon request, not just in Australia.

All Interpol member countries have given this project a green light and like "The Cube" is saying above, it is very strict in what constitutes a "Child Porn", i.e. age of 13, and the images have to show abuse.

The ICPO database in already implemented in a lot of countries, they have just done it without telling anyone, so only those that are actively seeking Child porn on the Internet are aware of the blocking.

Re:Opt-out (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#36639884)

True - but this is only one ISP out of the hundreds that are available [whirlpool.net.au] . Plus, the filter is very small in scope - nothing to do with the Australian Government, but rather maintained by Interpol, and purportedly blocks only child abuse content with ages less than 13 involved.

So, either you care about it enough to switch ISPs (which due to the forced wholesale laws in Australia, virtually everyone can do, and is a good idea anyway since Telstra usually aren't the best choice), or you don't care and you will continue along blissfully unaware that a handful of obscure domains which you were never going to visit anyway are unavailable. Or change your DNS servers.

Censorship is evil, but as far as it goes, this is really pretty minor. Same blacklist as already exists for many European countries/ISPs.

BigPond (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639406)

We don't have a walled garden, we just have a BigPond(TM)!
If it's only retail and not wholesale then there is plenty of other options available. Let's just hope it stays that way.

Use a real DNS server (4, Insightful)

gavron (1300111) | about 3 years ago | (#36639410)

Domain Name System servers must conform to the standards. If Telstra is unable or unwilling to comply, they can be removed. Sure, they're popular in Australia... but you want to be ON the Internet, you have to work WITH the Internet.

DNS is specified in RFC 1034, RFC 1035, covered further in the Hosts Requirements RFCs (1122, 1123).

Telstra, if you can't be standards compliant, you will be worked around.

Australian users: use any public DNS server that is standards compliant. You'll avoid the censorship, and you won't lose connectivity.

Telstra -- Australian for "Censorship"

E

Re:Use a real DNS server (3, Informative)

mtaht (603670) | about 3 years ago | (#36639552)

Nearly every Linux machine ships with named (bind9) available and often, even turned on, in a caching-only configuration. To use it by default you just disable /etc/dhcp/dhclient's domain-name-servers request and point your resolv.conf to localhost. By doing this you get NXdomain back, too... and your local cache of dns entries is likely to be more performant than an ISPs 10s of ms away for cached entries. You can also run dnssec, if you so choose. Latest versions of bind can do dnssec, you can enable it with one line in the conf file. Ever since multiple services started messing with DNS a decade ago... returning broken queries, pointing to ad sites, not doing ipv6, not returning mx records, etc... I've run my own dns server. Now that dns is being mis-used for censorship, perhaps more will rebell. As servers go, in memory it's rather small...

Re:Use a real DNS server (1, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#36639652)

That's the most bullshit argument i've ever heard. My spam filter blocks some email, which means it isn't standards compliant. My browser redirects me to a warning page if the page i'm about to visit is known to have been compromised - that's not standards compliant either.

And what's with all the blaming Telstra? Telstra might be a private company in theory but the government is still pulling it's strings. If Telstra wasn't around the government would be making another ISP comply, and that's exactly what will happen unless people change their focus from Telstra and look at who is really driving the blocking of their child porn in the first place.

Re:Use a real DNS server (3, Interesting)

gavron (1300111) | about 3 years ago | (#36639680)

It's unusual that you haven't been exposed to that much bullshit or that "DNS", "browser", and "redirects" seem to you be the same thing.

No worries. DNS is the fundamental name to number translation. Any host on the Internet must not screw with this (I posted the RFCs but I understand you didn't read them).

Browser is one choice of application type, and not relevant to any discussion.

Redirect is a function of a browser and even less redirect.

Have a beautiful day, and look up why "it's" and "its" are not the same word, sweetie.

DNS should not be messed with. It's a foundation of the network. The host-RFC says so.

Best regards.

E

Re:Use a real DNS server (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#36639700)

What you fail to realize is that these people don't care that they're not standards compliant. Standard compliant just means that it is easy for others to interface with you. Telstra really doesn't care about that - it only cares that it provides enough Internet access to enough people to give a nice, fat bonus to its execs. And that doesn't require that it implements DNS in a standards-compliant way. I mean, you're not supporting child pornographers, right? So be quiet and accept the new and improved standard.

Yes, the last bit was sarcasm.

Re:Use a real DNS server (2)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#36639868)

It's unusual that you haven't been exposed to that much bullshit or that "DNS", "browser", and "redirects" seem to you be the same thing.

No worries. DNS is the fundamental name to number translation. Any host on the Internet must not screw with this (I posted the RFCs but I understand you didn't read them).

Read them. Implemented them. Understand why a caching resolver (which is what we're talking about here, not DNS servers) might sometimes need to tinker with the records. If you wanted to block access to facebook on a network then creating bogus facebook.com and related entries is the fastest and cleanest way to do that, assuming the people on your network don't know enough to circumvent it and/or you block port 53 from IP's that aren't your resolvers.

Browser is one choice of application type, and not relevant to any discussion.

Redirect is a function of a browser and even less redirect.

having trouble parsing that last sentence.

Have a beautiful day, and look up why "it's" and "its" are not the same word, sweetie.

Oops. Typo, not a general lack of understanding about when to use "it's" and "its". Sorry if it offended you though.

DNS should not be messed with. It's a foundation of the network. The host-RFC says so.

Best regards.

E

I appreciate the sentiment behind your black and white thinking, but if Telstra must block access to Interpol listed child porn sites (eg the worst of the worst), then inserting some replacement DNS entries is the fastest, cheapest, and least intrusive way to do this. I think you'll agree that Telstra doing anything at all to the traffic is a different discussion altogether, and I suspect that we probably agree on that one so I won't make any comment on that.

Re:Use a real DNS server (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 3 years ago | (#36639722)

We blame Telstra because the government isn't forcing them. They may be pressuring them(though I haven't heard much publicly since Rudd got knifed a year ago), but they haven't and can't make it law.

Re:Use a real DNS server (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639752)

> My spam filter blocks some email, which means it isn't standards compliant.
Is this a mail server or a mail(box) client you're talking about? Clients are allowed to do whatever they want with mail that is delivered to them.

> My browser redirects me to a warning page if the page i'm about to visit is known to have been compromised - that's not standards compliant either.

That's not true. Firstly, for most browsers (every one that I know of except for Safari), that's a user-configurable setting (though for IE, the setting isn't always obeyed). Secondly, where does it say that browsers have to display the message body that they are sent? Browsers are typically free to apply transformations however they like.

You are allowed to set up your own private DNS server however you like. But, just the same as you can't interfere with other people's mail or web requests, you can't set up a non-compliant DNS server for public usage.

> And what's with all the blaming Telstra?

They're the one applying censorship? With no requirement? And no transparency?

> Telstra might be a private company in theory but the government is still pulling it's strings.

Rubbish, and more importantly, totally irrelevant. The 'government pulls its strings' only when it suits Telstra. Otherwise, they resist the government at every turn.

> If Telstra wasn't around the government would be making another ISP comply

The second-biggest is iiNet (depending on how you count, they're bigger than Optus), and they've publicly stated that they will not apply voluntary censorship, and will (and have so far) fight to the death to avoid the imposition of mandatory censorship.

Not as bad as the proposed filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639414)

First of all, since it is voluntary, there will still be ISPs like iiNet and Internode that will refuse to implement it. Secondly, since it's DNS-based, it pretty much only takes a working pulse to circumvent and a lot of people use alternate DNS services for perfectly legitimate reasons so it's not exactly suspicious for your DNS requests to go elsewhere. Thirdly, it's the Interpol blacklist which is practically guaranteed to be more reasonable than blocking all RC content, which would cover almost all porn for example.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 years ago | (#36639478)

A large chunk of third party ISP customers actually piggyback on the Telstra Wholesale network. Presumably, those customers who are on Telstra will be filtered, regardless if their actual ISP is Telstra, Internode, iiNet or whatever.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639534)

Only if they use Telstra's DNS servers - and I don't think any do.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#36639864)

Nope - this doesn't affect Telstra Wholesale resellers. It's only if you are on actual Telstra Bigpond.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 3 years ago | (#36639588)

iiNet Refuse? Westnet was started by a guy called Chris Thomas, a former secret 3 letter agency drone (and I mean drone in a nice way, I kept the same seats warm for a few years myself) When Westnet was acquired by iiNet, the defence ties didn't vanish, they were replaced by political back scratching. We've all read the NSA stories about wiretapping on slashdot right? I'd say it would be wise to have at least a tiny rational dose of 'conspiracy theory' every now and again. Draw your own conclusions about Australian government agencies in that regard, but moral fiber over at iiNet, only in the newspaper.

It might be worthwhile for you to reassess this whole 'refuse to implement' position you have. While iiNet might refuse to block access (for a while) this doesn't mean nobody is watching.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 3 years ago | (#36639626)

it is voluntary

Voluntary for me means voluntary for the user, not for the ISP.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#36639654)

Well like most things...

Voluntary is the new mandatory. Much like volunteering for various organizations(and is voluntary). Which is mandatory to get your highschool diploma in many places in north america these days.

Re:Not as bad as the proposed filter (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#36639664)

Agree. Mostly. I think. I'm of two minds on this... on the one hand the block list is indeed the interpol blacklist, which is supposed to be all the stuff which is clearly illegal in just about every jurisdiction, and which the majority of people would say is really nasty stuff. I believe that entries to the list are also subject to close review so you shouldn't end up with legitimate content on there. I'm not a Telstra customer but if I was I doubt i'd even notice this filter - a DNS block list is a very non-invasive way to accomplish it.

On the other hand, i've never stumbled across anything on the internet that would fit the criteria of the Interpol list. Not once. And as you say, if I did want to look for that sort of material it would be incredibly easy to bypass the filter, so what's the point in having it there at all? It seems to be a solution to the wrong problem.

I think that as long as the government are completely open about what they filter then we don't really have a problem here, except for the huge waste of time and money.

4channers (0)

ctrimm (1955430) | about 3 years ago | (#36639464)

Uh oh, I bet there's going to be a lot of pissed off 4channers. Who wants to bed Telstra gets DDOSed soon? :P

Re:4channers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639614)

I agree completely. Actually, I thought Telstra was scared that lulzsec was going to hack them?

Blacklist? (1, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | about 3 years ago | (#36639466)

What the fuck? They have the addresses, why can't they track down the servers and their owners? Isn't that more useful (and easier) than doing all this theatre?

Re:Blacklist? (4, Informative)

thr13z3 (214476) | about 3 years ago | (#36639472)

Servers are hosted in countries who lack laws to deal with those.

Re:Blacklist? (1)

hjf (703092) | about 3 years ago | (#36639564)

I'm pretty sure child pornography is illegal in basically every country. You don't ned no newfangled "internet laws" to deal with that.

Re:Blacklist? (1)

thr13z3 (214476) | about 3 years ago | (#36639586)

No child exploitation is FAR from being illegal in most countries. And those countries often lack human rights altogether. They don't need Internet laws they need Laws that protect the children in real life.

Re:Blacklist? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639616)

Yes, it sounds all well and good, but then how will we stop the people who draw 17 year old girls being sexually active from their imaginations?!?

I want those pervies to PAY for thinking thoughts I don't allow myself to think!

Re:Blacklist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639756)

what's wrong with 17 year olds being sexually active? They're legally assumed to be sexually active by 17 in most countries.
Australia is one of the many countries in the world (including many US States) where the age of consent is 16.

Re:Blacklist? (3, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | about 3 years ago | (#36639644)

Then have the upstream ISPs (which are located in other countries, hopefully with laws that protect human rights) cut access to ISPs that host that kind of content. Block their ASNs and IP ranges. You will notice how quick they clean up their networks from that kind of crap. If they weren't answering before, they will be answering when they suddenly find themselves offline.

Re:Blacklist? (1)

grainofsand (548591) | about 3 years ago | (#36639808)

Far from illegal in most countries?

No. The majority of the world's countries do indeed have laws preventing the explotation of children in labour, sexually etc.

Yes there are some countries that have lax child protection laws. But the idea that most countries have yet to legislate to protect children is not supported by fact.

Re:Blacklist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639768)

It gets a bit complicated when different nations (and even states or territories within them) have different laws regarding age of consent and the like.

Is it still child porn if I take a photo of my legally-married 12 year old wife?

Re:Blacklist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639620)

that's why god created seal team six

Re:Blacklist? (1)

gavron (1300111) | about 3 years ago | (#36639716)

Careful - that's a Disney Trademark!

Re:Blacklist? (3, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 years ago | (#36639516)

They have the addresses, why can't they track down the servers and their owners?

Many are located in Russia or the 'Stans. These are places where organized crime runs deep in the circles of power, and thus are difficult or impossible to snuff out.

Re:Blacklist? (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#36639640)

For all the people arguing about censorship, how is tracking down the servers and shutting them down not an even worse form of censorship though? Should governments just shut down every server with content they don't like?

Re:Blacklist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639788)

Your comment is about as sound as arguing against stopping armed robbery because it's legal to carry guns. When you apprehend people who commit crimes, you aren't infringing on their rights.

Re:Blacklist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639714)

What the fuck? They have the addresses, why can't they track down the servers and their owners? Isn't that more useful (and easier) than doing all this theater?

It's because "child pornography" isn't what it appears to be.

In most countries, showing pictures of children at the beach is not child pornography, but the Right Wing has determined that any pictures that do NOT show sexual intercourse involving children as "sexual abuse pictures (the term originating in Britain, and designed explicitly for propaganda purposes).

Children are being demonized by the Right Wing, and NOT by sexual predators. It's the religious fundamentalists who make up these laws that we really have to worry about, and NOT the "stranger danger" of some open-minded liberal who considers himself a pedophile.

Telstra will die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639496)

Just another reason to sign up with one of the better ISPs anyway. iiNet, Internode, TPG and so on. They are all good.

OpenDNS (4, Informative)

MischaNix (2163648) | about 3 years ago | (#36639506)

As a gentle reminder to anyone who doesn't already have these IPs on a sticky note, the OpenDNS IPs are:
208.67.222.222
208.67.220.220

Re:OpenDNS (1)

heypete (60671) | about 3 years ago | (#36639538)

Google's are even easier to remember: 8.8.8.8 and 4.4.4.4.

UltraDNS also offers an OpenDNS-like service with the IPs of 156.154.70.1 and 156.154.71.1 .

Re:OpenDNS (2)

thr13z3 (214476) | about 3 years ago | (#36639556)

But those are located in the US so you have to be willing to sacrifice some speed in exchange for their services and I wouldn't be surprised if someday we were to find out that Google is monitoring/recording/using everything going through their DNS.

Re:OpenDNS (3, Informative)

moj0joj0 (1119977) | about 3 years ago | (#36639574)

Google's are even easier to remember: 8.8.8.8 and 4.4.4.4.

UltraDNS also offers an OpenDNS-like service with the IPs of 156.154.70.1 and 156.154.71.1 .

Quick correction, Google's are: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/ [google.com]

Re:OpenDNS (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#36639610)

Not sure how long they're going to be public but GTE/Level3 are 4.2.2.1, 4.2.2.2.

I used them long before google's came into existence.

I DON'T like how OpenDNS tries to redirect me if something doesn't resolve or seems fishy. I'm a big boy. I can handle the interwebs.

Re:OpenDNS (1)

YaHooL (1745114) | about 3 years ago | (#36639858)

You mean 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

More info here [google.com]

Re:OpenDNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639892)

Not quite - Google's are 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/

Re:OpenDNS (1)

tombeard (126886) | about 3 years ago | (#36639718)

Are they just fudging the isp DNS servers or are they blocking IP addresses and and "backtracing" (sic) requests to those IPs? I really don't care if they want to censure the DNS of my ISP as long as I can continue to access any DNS I like.

Re:OpenDNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639802)

Doesn't OpenDNS insert crap into their feed?

Just install BIND and use the root servers directly.

Free DNS for Australians (1)

mykos (1627575) | about 3 years ago | (#36639514)

Google DNS [google.com] OpenDNS [opendns.com]

Google public DNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639518)

Google public DNS servers. Nice and easy to remember:
8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4

Child Porn First... (3, Interesting)

andrew3 (2250992) | about 3 years ago | (#36639520)

Child porn will be blocked first. However, the problem with internet censorship is that other material (such as political material, eg. WikiLeaks) could also be blocked eventually. The first rule of censorship is to not talk about it; it's ironic that we don't know what websites are going to be blocked. Bad stuff has already been done because of the filter anyway. Look at Bulletproof Networks - they were threatened fines of $11,000 per day for linking to a leak of the blacklist.

Just to spite them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639546)

I've started visiting and scraping as much as I can of the websites they put on their filter lists, just to spite them.

Hold on, it's knocking really loudly at my door, I'll go check what's going on...

No worse than germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639562)

Germany has the exact same thing....at least we aussies let you opt out.

about story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639622)

nice story
http://sportsworld24.info/

Mixed up priorities (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36639624)

I understand being opposed to child porn, hey, I'm opposed to it to. But if I knew of a child porn website, the first thing on my mind would be, "whose website is that, and how can we stop them?" and secondly, "who is hosting that website, and how can we get through them to the ones who are actually hurting the children?"

Censoring websites does absolutely nothing for the victims of child porn, and does absolutely nothing to stop the ones who are participating in it. This is true even if the censorship mechanism worked. What are you Australians thinking? How do you let your politicians get this kind of power?

Re:Mixed up priorities (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#36639720)

and how can we get through them to the ones who are actually hurting the children?"

This has never been the goal in Australia. Most of the laws exist to punish the viewers of material not the people who produce it. Frequently people get dealt with larger jail sentences if they have child porn on their computers than they do if they are caught actually propositioning or grooming children for sex. The backwards nature of this is absurd in todays society and this has nothing to do with Australia.

In the USA teenagers got prosecuted for girlfriend sending nude picture to boyfriend taken with a mobile phone. No one got hurt, and no children were "saved" due to the prosecution. You surfing a porn website and you accidentally end up with child porn? Well you can be held liable since your browser cache is counted as "downloading".

I guess that would really fuck the entire 4chan readership of Australia then. How many times have there been the occasional sicko posting child pornography on that site only for the thread to be deleted a few minutes later. Didn't read it? Tough the picture was in your browser cache.

By the way any Telstra user here confirm if 4chan still works?

Re:Mixed up priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639746)

Yeah, it's still working.

For now...

Re:Mixed up priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639786)

By the way any Telstra user here confirm if 4chan still works?

Works fine on a Telstra wireless data card (3G\HDSPA) in Sydney metro...

Re:Mixed up priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639828)

Yeah 4chan still works with Telstra.

Re:Mixed up priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639724)

This was presumably part of the NBN deal, no Internet filter legislation has passed through parliament. Basically Telstra is assuming that profit they'll lose from customers boycotting over this will be lower than the profit they gain from being heavily involved in the NBN. It was all negotiated behind closed doors, the Australian people didn't have anything to do with it.

Re:Mixed up priorities (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 3 years ago | (#36639814)

Of course the Australian people had something to do with it. Labor were up front and clear that one of their goals if elected was to introduce internet filtering, parliament was just on way of introducing it, deals with ISP's is another, if you voted for labor you voted for censorship.

Re:Mixed up priorities (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#36639750)

How do you let your politicians get this kind of power?

Same as they do in most countries, by allowing lobbying to sidestep voters.

Re:Mixed up priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639820)

No sidestepping here. Labor stated before the election that they intended to introduce filtering/censorship, people voted for them anyway.

Re:Mixed up priorities (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 3 years ago | (#36639806)

At the last election people were given the choice "freedom" or "fast internet". Enough took the fast internet and decided freedom was something they could worry about later. sadly you ill find those morons will also now be some of the ones screaming the loudest about the government censorship which they voted for.

Re:Mixed up priorities (1)

gilgoomesh (966411) | about 3 years ago | (#36639954)

> How do you let your politicians get this kind of power?

We haven't let them "get this kind of power". This is being done by an ISP, not the government.

Re:Mixed up priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639978)

Actually it is being done by the ISP at the request of the government, they are not the only ISP planning on following the governments demand either.

DNS really? (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 3 years ago | (#36639766)

That'll sure show all the pedophiles on P2P, freenet & TOR!

Won't someone please think of the Children (1)

OzTech (524154) | about 3 years ago | (#36639780)

Umm (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about 3 years ago | (#36639784)

Let's get this out of the way first: I agree that child pornography sites should be "blocked" (censored). Better still, nuke them off the internet. No argument from me in that regard.

Ok, now that's out of the way, let's consider something else. Suppose someone accidentally clicks on a link (in a spam email, for example) that leads to a known child pornography site. Yes, people shouldn't click on unknown links in emails, but they do. So, they click on the link and are presented with the "this domain/link is blacklisted" message (or whatever that happens to be). That's fine. The user has been protected from viewing material they don't accidentally want to see. But, is the attempt by the user to resolve the address (or their attempt to visit the site) logged? Could it be logged (yes)? So an innocent, albeit naive (or not so naive person, just interested in legal porn), person be then flagged and reported as someone trying to access child pornography sites? How can you tell if someone was intentionally or not intentionally trying to access the site? Once you're "flagged" how could you defend yourself?

Switching DNS resolvers: a bad move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36639794)

If you're concerned about privacy, why would you want to switch DNS resolvers to ones controlled or located offshore? Wouldn't you lose all privacy and legal (relating to admissible evidence) protection as soon as the traffic leaves Australia? Who says that the data isn't being collected offshore and reported back, minus any of the protections you'd usually be granted by Australian law?

DNS Based blacklist finder (1)

Ponder Stibions (962426) | about 3 years ago | (#36639854)

Connect to google DNS/open DNS etc and resolve domain
Connect to ISP DNS and resolve domain
Compare 2 results, if 2 do not match, flag up censorship.
Not 100% foolproof yet...but probably simple enough to create a shell script to automatically go through domains checking.
Obviously it will take time, but DNS queries are small, have lots going at a time, bit more programming and suddenly the blacklist is very secret anymore....

This is not the "Australian Censorship Scheme". (1)

gilgoomesh (966411) | about 3 years ago | (#36639972)

The title and summary are a little misleading. They imply that this is related to the Australian government's proposed mandatory censorship scheme. It is not the same scheme and it is not being done in the same way. If there is any relation, it is that this scheme is intended to pre-empt any effort by the government to pursue mandatory censorship.

This scheme being implemented by Telstra is the exact same scheme already implemented by UK ISPs BT, O2 and Virgin.

Unlike the Australian government's mandatory scheme, this is *not* a hidden secret blacklist with no opportunity for objection. Multiple law enforcement bodies must agree before anything is censored. There is an appeal process in place. They are only censoring illegal child pornography and only where the victims are clearly underage (guideline is: under 13 years old).

In summary: nobody wants censorship but if this optional, industry managed, minimalist effort dissuades the Australian government from introducing a mandatory, heavy-handed, secretive, broader than "illegal", no-appeal censorship scheme, then it might actually be a good thing.

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