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Censoring Australian Censors' Blacklist

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the here's-a-list-of-urls dept.

Censorship 365

steveroehrs writes: "'Your access to the Web is being censored by the Government -- but it refuses to reveal exactly what it is we are not allowed to see.' Despite the attempts of Electronic Frontiers Australia in obtaining a copy of the Australian Internet black-list, the Australian government is still refusing to release the list to the public. This is in stark contrast to the situation for film classification, where the list is freely available. Article here "

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Farce Post! (-1, Flamebait)

EchoMirage (29419) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874218)

I have nothing to say on this subject, except, First Post. Thank you.

Re:Farce Post! (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874220)

K-RaD FP d00d!

Woulda been mine if The Simpsons weren't the center of my attention.

Nationalism Inquiry (-1)

the_furies (541751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874254)

I've heard that are Australians are highly contemptious of New Zealanders , and vice versa. I would appreciate if someone could clue me in as to which is the superior race. Thanks in advance.

Why does Australia fall for this? (-1)

Frank White (515786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874467)

I don't believe this - all this coming from a state in Australia who has decriminalised the use and cultivation of marijuana. Why don't they clean up their backyard first before starting on the rest of Australia? How can they say it's alright to decriminalise marijuana - and condone a drug which is easily at everyones reach and is certain to destroy peoples lives mentally and phyically - then turn around and put censors on the Internet's contents that cause no physical harm to anyone, never has and never will.

As a child I grew up with porn, violent movies and violence all around me and it did not affect me in anyway. What is the difference between watching a couple of guys getting their heads beaten in at a boxing match on tv or a boxing arena, which is a real thing happening that is being advertised and shown to just playing a violent game of some sort of which everyone knows is fake. Violence has always been around and just because I play violent games every blue moon, does not mean I am evetually going to go out and test my new games skills on real people. Violence was worse before TV came out, remember all the world wars that took place? Well I'm sure they weren't caused because of people watching violent movies or playing violent games on the computer.

As for porn, well that's also been around for God knows how long since the begining of mankind, and is a natural thing. I have seen children down at nudist beaches where perverts are and they have been taken down there by their parents or have ventured down there by themselves, I owuld be concentrating on stomping out that sort of thing which puts children at risk by being around perverts and God knows what else. Pictures don't hurt anyone, they satify the curiosity for a while, then the novelty wears off after a while. Big deal.

Timothy complaining about censorship (3, Troll)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874219)

The irony, the irony.

Haha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874281)

Although you're at +2 I'm sure the editors will quickly mod you down. THERE WILL BE NEGATIVE COMMENTS TOWARDS THE EDITORS ON SLASHDOT!!

On the topic of slashdot censorship (-1, Offtopic)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874355)

Dont allow the slashdot editors to hide information from you.

READ IT FOR YOURSELF. [slashdot.org]

Make sure you note the massive amounts of -1 moderations, all done simultaneously, obviously by an editor.

Stand up. Make your voice heard. Tell the slashdot staff you will not tolerate editor moderation on large scales, such as this!

Donate three karma to the cause of fighting censorship on slashdot! Post your support in the thread at +2, and let the editors moderate you to -1. You, too, can donate your karma for a worthy cause, as a visible example of censorship in action.

Re:On the topic of slashdot censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874383)

You don't date much, do you?

Re:On the topic of slashdot censorship (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874463)

I am content masturbating to this [goatse.cx]

Re:Timothy complaining about censorship (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874375)

The people who run /. don't have the power to send people with guns to your house to arrest you. There may be censorship here, but deliberately confusing it with the government kind (or even the kind practiced by big corporations, which may not have the power to take your freedom away directly, but which are very good at getting governments to do their bidding) is absurd.

Re:Timothy complaining about censorship (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874414)

/. is not censoring. They don't delete anything, it's all still there, and anyone on the planer can read it, even if it's at -1.

To be censorship, the material in question has to be inaccessible.

Richard Stallman here in response to your sig (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874416)

This is Richard Stallman here and I do not appreciate your post one bit motherfucker. I am now going to show a side of myself few see...

Please take your fucking sig and shove it up your fucking ass. I am not one you want to make an enemy of. You do _NOT WANT THE GNU AFTER YOU_.

Software is like sex -- it's better if RMS isn't involved.

Well me kicking your ass is like me fucking your mother. It's much better if you are there watch it and even join in. Don't worry I will not give you that many shots to the eyes fucker.

If you want me to further kick your fucking ass please email me. The address can be found at my homepage: http://www.stallman.org/

Richard Stallman

BTW, the GNU see all and knows all. ;)


Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874222)

This is a petition for the Troll's bill of rights. Please reply to this to voice your support for a truely democratic public message board.

We the trolls and troll supporters of the proclaimed slashdot democracy will no longer sit quietly while the trolls voices are being silenced by the oppressive slashdot programers. We demand a code change to allow troll supporters to filter messages out their view which are rated HIGHER than a threshold value. As we all know, the ignorant, elitist authors of the slash code have tried to silence the trolls by allowing non-trolls to filter out dissenting opinions based on a majority rules, herd mentality moderating system. This created a system where moderate opinions are swayed by the majority, creating a monopoly of influence. Slashdot readers have formed a two party political system. The parties are the Trolls and the Tacos (named after their prophetic leader, CmdrTaco). When you consider the slashdot community as a political machine, it becomes clear that the Taco's have tried to silence the Trolls with this flawed "democratic" moderating system.

We demand a new message viewing moderation system where the individual user is able to select a political party if she/he desires. The following is a spec for an improved democratic system.

- I as a troll may select TROLLS as my political preference. Then, when I read comments attached to an article, I may set my preferences to view messages moderated LOWER than a chosen value.

- A Taco may select TACO as his/her political preference. When a Taco reads comments, he can choose to view articles moderated ABOVE a chosen value.

- The Independant reader may choose to select INDEPENDANT as his preference. She/he may choose to choose to view the best of each party's comments. The preference setting would be something like
abs(commentRating) >= userThreshold

- Also, some planning should be done to add suport for >2 party system.

To show support for this idea, submit it as a story to slashdot as often as possible, mail it to slashdot editors, and post it to as many slashdot articles as you can.


Troll4Jesus (552528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874274)

I am awed and inspired by the quality of Trolls and their posts. So much so, that I desire to join your ranks.

Can anyone point me in the right direction where I might find information on this subject?

And I'm supposed to post this a lot, right? [goatse.cx]


Troll4Jesus (552528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874307)

Cool. In less than 10 minutes I've already got Negative Karma. But I wanted to be moderated "Troll" not "Offtopic". Any suggestions?

RedHat Linux rox0rs your cox0r!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874224)

RedHat/7.2 is a fucking piece of shit! First, something explodes which causes all the man pages to segfault! "groff: troff: Segmentation fault" each time! Oh, what a wonderful OS! Then, it crashes when I try to upgrade the groff RPMs! The fucking process got stuck in "D" uninterruptable-sleep status, not even kill-9'able! What a flaming piece of shit!

Now, all of this happens after a 10-day ordeal trying to just get it (and 7.1) to install without problems there! (FTP errors, can't get the fucking network card module loaded, disk errors, vmlinuz crashing on boot, etc.)! Oh, what a wonderfully stable OS! Definitely ready for the desktop! Can you imagine your grandmother trying to figure out what the installer meant by "Error -2147483630 reading header: cpio: failed - Success" !?!?

RedHat/7.2: Perfect for AOL! What a flaming heap of monkey shit!

Re:RedHat Linux rox0rs your cox0r!! (0, Troll)

Dragnet (551689) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874268)

I find it amusing how you indulge yourself in displaying signs of your own amateurishness in operating well, your operating system. You, yourself admit the use of binary packages (a sure sign of administrative negligence in such a trivial package to install! I'm not flaming down the use of binaries, but at this level? You're ability is LAUGHABLE now!). RedHat and AOL? If this happens, I will commit hiri kiri after burning all copies of my RedHat CDs.

Re:RedHat Linux rox0rs your cox0r!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874292)

I actually plan to compile everything from source instead of using any distro (which I know is, counterintuitively, much easier than using RPM, at least when something goes wrong I know how to fix it), but I need a fucking OS to do it on first. That's actually what I've been trying to do. And I'm not about to install groff from source since it's currently in /usr/bin with all the other RPM-managed shit.

I'm also just EXTREMELY PISSED at RH and was just blowing off some steam. :)

Oh, and: Haven't you been reading Slashdot? AOL is looking to buy RedHat.

Can't tell you what's backlisted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874227)

Cuz it would aid Terrorists . . .

Or so says Bush and Ashcroft.

alarming (-1)

Mighty-Troll (549627) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874230)

This is very alarming news. If we allow this to happen, what will stop other countries from doing the same? Our country perhaps?

Re:alarming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874243)

It's already happened here. Of course you wouldn't notice if you get your news from AOL-TimeWarner-CNN.

Supreme stupidity (3, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874234)

Typically, when there is a blacklist like this, the things that are black listed include sites that would be embarresing to the government, having nothing to do with the morality of the public, and everything with the lack of morality of the government officials involved.

Not that this is actually happening, but this is typical of what you can expect.

I suppose that someone could do a distributed computing mapping of the australian black list space, and compare it with as database of the real DNS list from outside of AU.

This almost sounds like a version of the land of OZ where the wicked witch never died.

Re:Supreme stupidity (1)

spurious cowherd (104353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874349)

Typically, when there is a blacklist like this, the things that are black listed include sites that would be embarresing to the government,

This is a very large stretch, assumption wise. evidence please.

having nothing to do with the morality of the public, and everything with the lack of morality of the government officials involved.

Now this has a bigger chance of getting past my cliche filter. I' e often noticed that those who whine the loudest about an issue are those that have something ing the closet to hide (skeletons maybe)

Re:Supreme stupidity (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874410)

I' e often noticed that those who whine the loudest about an issue are those that have something ing the closet to hide (skeletons maybe)

this is suspiciously like the very statement you criticize, where the government doesn't want to come clean about what is on the black list.

In any case, one typical example are the Government of Helmut Kohl in Germany, who just a few years ago destroyed evidence of illegal actions they had been taking against various scapegoats and organizations they had blacklisted.

much more recently in Australia there is this Sex Scandal coverup [news.com.au] which has possibilities for censorship, dated 10 Jan 2002.

Cheer up. It could be worse. What would happen if the Government lied to us?

Re:Supreme stupidity (2)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874429)

This is a very large stretch, assumption wise. evidence please.

peacefire.org [peacefire.org] (if you can get to it :) is a site that highlights the various shortcomings of censorware. They're constantly uncovering various sites being blocked for political reasons, and pushing for openness.

Most of the programs are sold as helping parents protect their kids. I'm a parent myself and I agree with peacefire; if any of these programs were protecting my kids, I'd want to know what they block and why so I can decide which package most closely matches what I would consider appropriate.

They're also their own best example; the peacefire site itself is blocked by most censorware.

OK it's not evidence, but it shows that the orignal assumption is probably justified.

Fascist? (2, Insightful)

Shadowin (312793) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874246)

Seems to me they feel it's a good way to control people. If the citizens never knew it existed, how are they going to complain on it being censored.

Re:Fascist? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874251)

Ashcrosft, Bush, TimeWarner/AoL/CNN . . . .

Can you say censorship?

I knew you could

This seems a bit obvious... (5, Interesting)

dagoalieman (198402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874248)

I mean really- if the people are allowed a glimpse at what they're missing, they'll just scream "GIVE IT TO US!!" And that's precisely what the government doesn't want.

Also, if they reveal the list, everyone will start second-guessing their judgements. Anyone can tell you that any slight lack of confidence on behalf of the people is very bad for people in the government. With some people out there, give them a slight reason, and you'll see pipe bombs coming through your front window.

If only there were a way for the government to publish the list without getting themselves deeper in the alligator pit, they would likely do it. But until then, I fear they're SOL.

I may not like our government, but I am thankful for what I have here in the US...


The paradox of government secrets... (4, Insightful)

Artifice_Eternity (306661) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874256)

...is that those who make them secret often won't even divulge what it is they've made secret. This is a major problem in a democratic society. In the US we are still dealing with decades of Cold-War-era documents that are difficult to get at. The Freedom of Information Act provides some help, but if you don't know a secret exists, how can you file a request to have it released to you? Also, the gov. is increasingly putting people on trial with secret evidence, that even the defendant and/or their attorney cannot see. This is the sort of thing this country was founded in reaction against.

I sympathize with our Aussie friends on this. At least the USA doesn't have this sort of regime on the Internet (yet).

Speaking of government secrets: ever wonder what the true story is about Bush and the "pretzel?" [subintsoc.net]

Re:The paradox of government secrets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874368)

...is that those who make them secret often won't even divulge what it is they've made secret. This is a major problem in a democratic society. In the US we are still dealing with decades of Cold-War-era documents that are difficult to get at. The Freedom of Information Act provides some help, but if you don't know a secret exists, how can you file a request to have it released to you? Also, the gov. is increasingly putting people on trial with secret evidence, that even the defendant and/or their attorney cannot see. This is the sort of thing this country was founded in reaction against.

Indeed...the US seems to be less free every day... One has to wonder how many innocent people are taken from their homes, or all their property confiscated, or even worse: executed. Someday we may see people trying to escape the US as those did in the day of the communist eastern bloc countries...

I have already had thoughts of moving to another country, however my financial situation makes it somewhat unfeasible. Perhaps someday. Perhaps in the future it may be better to be hungry and homeless than risk staying in the US.

At least the USA doesn't have this sort of regime on the Internet (yet).

Yes, but how long before we do? In Utah, there is a "Porn Czar." I hope they don't get wind of this--they just may try it. ...and like the aussies, I'm sure they'll want to keep their blacklists secret.

In addition to "porn" on the blacklist, they'll probably put all non-mormon religious sites, and anything that has to do with dancing, tea, coffee, Pepsi, or the "devil" alcohol. Note also that R rated movies (or even PG-13) are considered "porn" by many of the people in Utah.

It's a good thing the Feds are looking over their shoulder all the time, otherwise things would be a lot worse.

Re:The paradox of government secrets... (1)

sparrow_hawk (552508) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874380)

Can you cite examples of the gov't using secret evidence?

Re:The paradox of government secrets... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874405)

Yes: September 11th and the idiotic declaration of war on Afghanistan, based on "evidence" no-one was ever allowed to see.

Re:The paradox of government secrets... (1)

Vonatar (412768) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874474)

But it wasn't that "no-one was ever allowed to see" the evidence, it was that the government had to wait to stumble onto some evidence. :)

Re:The paradox of government secrets... (2)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874396)

It goes further back than the cold war. According to cryptome, the CIA/FBI/NSA/Army have thousands of documents on the JFK assassination that they still haven't released. They were supposed to be, after the work of the Assassination Records Act (I think that's what it was called anyway), but apparently requests are denied on the grounds that they might endanger 'national security' (hello!) Hell, JFK's [i]brain went missing[/i] from the pile of evidence (disappeared right out of the NARA building, I think) and as far as I know no one has talked about how that happened either. Mmmmmm, fascism!

Re:The paradox of government secrets... (1)

wintered (75625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874415)

Are you sure America doesnt have this a similar regime yet? I'm assuming many of the web sites that are being blocked are coming from the USA. If the USA wants to block sites in their own country I think they will find it easier to close the site down.


Ironic huh? (1)

Joe 'Nova' (98613) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874258)

New Zealand broke story on Echelon, and Australia doesn't even know, YET!

My guess is if you were to look at all possible news, and see what got filtered out.
Seriously, if all we want is information, I'm sure you can find it, albeit a little late. I listen to BBC, CBC myself, I'm from US, I figure the Canuks and Brits(--I mean in friendly k?) don't care what US companies get stepped on by their reporting. Often I'll hear a story break long before the spin doctors have had a chance to do major sir-jury.(sp!)
Streaming audio was curtailed here for a while, was the best thing in the world! I looked to the great white north for broadcasts, lovin' it! What I saw at first as a problem just highlighted the differences.

What kind of measures? (3, Insightful)

alsta (9424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874266)

Apart from the fact that Australians obviously aren't Free to decide what they would like to view on the Great Network, what measures can a government take?

I mean, if somebody in Australia wanted to, that person could use a proxy somewhere else in the world, where the "forbidden" content is available. Or does the Australian "government" have some really creepy way of filtering stuff out? (Can't think of how that could be possible, without secretly installing rogue software on everybody's computers which would filter content per machine)

Something like that could be attributed to evidence of filtering being a moot point. That the person who would like to view "forbidden" content could do so regardless of the "safeguards" put in by the Australian "government".

Re:What kind of measures? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874290)

govt: "hey Bill, we want to put something in Windows for tracking..."

Bill: "tracking of what?"

govt: "nevermind what, it will help you too."

Bill: "how?"

govt: "you will know every web site that every person in Australia that uses a MS OS visits!"

Bill: "Cool! when do you want it?"

govt: "01/01/2001."

Bill: "ok."

suddenly tracking has been turned in to censorship...

Australians are obviously dumb...

oh that's right, the are offspring of British degenerate criminals!

it all makes sense now...

Re:What kind of measures? (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874330)

Australians can see anything they like....the government is not filtering anything...

They are using the list to attempt to shut down Australian sites, and forward the rest to net filter companies

The whole thing is completely ineffectual, and Australian web surfers will have seen no difference (regardless in their taste in web content)

(I live in Australia BTW)

Re:What kind of measures? (2, Insightful)

Brissie_lad (523538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874331)

The censorship only applies to sites hosted in Australia, this is one of the things that make this law so laughable. As soon as a take down notice is served on a site they can move it to an overseas server and it's bussines as usual....except more money gets spent overseas instead of localy. The Hon (sic) Senator Alston (AKA) the worlds greatest luddite is the same man who said that broadband is only for childrean playing games and so he won't be doing anything to rein in the near monopoly enjoyed by our biggest teleco and it's outragous 3000mb monthly data transfer limit on cable/ADSL.

Re:What kind of measures? (2)

alsta (9424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874346)

Does Australia have any laws that prohibit politicians that go about "governing" the public like this? Is there such a thing as a Constitution? Somebody must be able to contest the "governments" actions, such as a Judiciary branch?

Business opportunity? (2)

s390 (33540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874392)

Maybe there's a business opportunity in providing "banned" content to people in Australia and other countries like Communist China and Iran which similarly attempt to censor the 'net. (Australia should be sooo proud to oppress its citizens just like the army satraps of Red China and the radical clerics of Iran, by the way.)

Charge a nominal amount, say AU $5 or so per month, and run an offshore proxy server. Compare search-engine TLD addresses reachable from outside against those reachable from within the customers' country, and mirror all the blocked domains. Give customers PGP (and tell them how to set it up) to protect the emailed proxy address from the censors. Keep a few spare domain names and proxy addresses to jump to whenever the censors catch on, and email customers with the new proxy address in response to inquiries ("Where'd you go?) in order to avoid conspicuous mass mailings. It might work, I think.

I realize there are other anonomizers and proxy-relay operations out there, but has anyone tried a secure subscription model proxy service to bypass oppressive censorship?

Re:Business opportunity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874430)

I'm sorry, how does this get past an IP blacklist?

The government doesn't care (5, Informative)

Goonie (8651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874433)

They're not *really* interested in censoring the net. In fact, I'm sure Richard Alston (the Minister responsible) wishes this stupid legislation would go away. It was rushed through the Senate in a (failed) attempt to impress a whacko Bible-basher independent Senator from Tasmania whose vote the government wanted at the time, and to a lesser extent to impress some of the government's more wowserish backbench and junior ministers.

However, when the government actually looked at implementing the legislation, they realised that all they could practically do was require ISPs to *offer* commercial filtering software, and for those commercial filtering providers to filter stuff that the classification board deemed offensive. It's not like the Great Firewall of China, people.

In practice, everyone's happy. The government is seen to be doing stuff (thus keeping the wowsers happy), the Bloggs family installs the filtering package on their PC, young Joeseph Bloggs gets around the filtering package, and the rest of us keep downloading porn and bomb recipes totally unencumbered by any filtering software at all :)

I agree that an unenforced bad law is still a bad thing, but it's a hell of a lot nicer than an enforced bad law.

why censor? (0)

sgtron (35704) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874267)

Note to all governements: You are doing nothing to protect my morals by restricting my internet viewing... my morals were gone long before I'd ever heard about the internet.

The Parallels are sooo obvious.. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874269)

Anybody who has been following the inner workings of slashdot recently has seen this thread> continually getting slapped down to -1, including almost all its subposts. [slashdot.org] I won't go so far as to say the editors have been censoring it, moderation is just a poll by selected users, and apparently editors. "But it refuses to reveal" anything about this to its readers. Many people are demanding to know what is going on here. But the readers are not allowed to see or know. Despite the attempts of many users and even an article on kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] , the editors refuse to fess up. This is in stark contrast to the slashdot faq [slashdot.org] pertaining to moderation.

The irony here is just ridiculous.

I'll mod it down myself next chance I get. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874279)

Some Slashdotters are too paranoid for their own good. How can you point to a randomized group moderation system and cry "Conspiracy!"

If you are that upset that your posts got modded down, then 1) write better posts, 2) accept that most Slashdotters hold different opinions from yours, and/or 3) TURN OFF THE F##$%ING COMPUTER AND GO DO SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT.


Re:I'll mod it down myself next chance I get. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874309)

Look a little closer at the post, Mr. AC. If this was really a randomized group moderation system, then would there REALLY be 211 people suddenly modding it down? Also, check the journal of one "slashdot.org".

Why this the parent-parent post modded "Offtopic"? Scary.

Re:I'll mod it down myself next chance I get. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874315)

that's because jamie has all but admitted to the "threadslap". [kuro5hin.org]

this wouldn't be such a big issue, except that most people had the notion that it was a user-moderated forum. having editors monkeying around when they get results they don't like is akin to rigging the system.

secondly, the hypocrisy of the editors to go crying "CENSORSHIP!!" is so transparent when the editors act like petty dictators on their site.

It's amazing that thread is still getting posts and still getting modded up only to be slapped down again is indicative of how disgusted many users are about these shenandigans.

This is NOT OFF-TOPIC!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874342)

(Going on the assumption that the parent was not moderated by an editor).

This is as relevant to the article as it gets. They say all politics are local. What better way to understand this than to examine a parallel case in this little world? Most people would glaze their eyes hearing about Australian Internet Censorship policies. We see that censorship can occur on all levels.

Re:The Parallels are sooo obvious.. (0)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874373)

You can replace 'Australian government' with 'slashdot editors' in this story, and it would still be dead on accurate.

If the editors feel "Your Rights" in Australia are in danger, what are they so silent about our "rights" on this site?

TROLL POWER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874280)

If you moderate this down, you will be wasting mod points that you could use to point out some comment is interesting. It is obvious that this post is off topic! You do not need to put it down to -1, somebody else is going to do it!

Aha, I see you reaching for the mouse. You're going to mod me down anyway. What would you prefer I post about? Nobody likes a karma whore.

Freedom isn't needed anymore. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874282)

The War on Terror, War on Drugs, and War on Hackers is more important than freedom will ever be from now on. If people were good responsible Christian folks then it would be different. I shouldn't have to say that pornography, drug information, abortion, homosexuality, etc. are ruining nations all over the world.

Australia is going in the right direction by outlawing filth, why isn't the United States? I think Bush should just pass an executive order which suspends the Constitution indefinitely, orders everyone into Church, and outlaws all this evil filth.

A note to all you whiners out there... PICK UP A BIBLE.


I assume... (2, Interesting)

Space Coyote (413320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874287)

That one of the sites they're censoring is google.com before some clever Aussie hax0r discovers it's cache feature.

I find it hard to be worried (2, Insightful)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874291)

Alston and company are incompetent twits. They are atypical of an endangered species of Australian politician and/or upper corporate manager - overweight, not too bright and utterly ineffectual.

Let them strut around Canberra spouting drivel about anti-censorship views suggesting the holder is in league with "drug pushers and paedophiles." I have not noticed a single difference to my internet access in the 2.5 odd years that Alston has been around.

So I might be apathic, but I also have faith that dinosaurs like this are on the way out.

Pauline Hanson is a racist Australian politician (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874294)

Pauline Hanson is a racist Australian politician.

Q: What's the difference between Pauline Hanson and a bucket of sludge?
A: The bucket.

Q: Why is Pauline Hanson like the commentator at Rosehill?
A: They both start shouting when they see a new race.

Q: Why did Pauline Hanson choke on her yoghurt?
A: Someone told her it grew out af a foreign culture.

Q: Why is Pauline Hanson like a drug runner?
A: They're both afraid of foriegn customs.

Q: Why is Pauline Hanson like pooing out of your own pants?
A: Because you only do it when you're really scared.


I am a racist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874314)

Q: Why are Australian niggers called boongs?
A: That's the sound they make when they bounce off your front fender.

Q: Why does the Australian dingo only steal white babies?
A: Because the dingo doesn't eat shit.


I am TRoLL. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874301)

i hate this site, it's faggot editors/censors, and the dumbfuck non-troll posters. the trolls are the only redeeming part of this site and the cocksuckers at the console are hellbent on ruining the best part of their shitass "news" site.

fuck you rob

Well, duh... (3, Funny)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874305)

Think of what's on the list. :)

If I went to the US government and said give a list of the latest warez and porn sites, they'd toss me out on my ear!

Censoring Australian Censors' Blacklist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874306)

Censoring Australian Censors' Blacklist

Ummm... You shot who in the what now?

haha... hahahahaha (2, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874312)

The ABA (Australian Broadcasting Association) - AKA fools who are trying to censor the media, including the internet, make me laugh.

Over here, 9/10 movies you go to see at the cinema have a nice big yellow screen before the start of the show with a big "This film has yet to be classified" messaged on it :)

I am thinking that if they can't even keep up with the small number of movies that are released every month, how the *fuck* are they going to keep up with censoring the internet? :)

Thats forgetting for a second that they actually manage to get content blocked in the first place :)

smash(this isn't censorship - its a joke :)

Re:haha... hahahahaha (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874339)

No, that's not true....the yellow "This film has yet to be classified" message only appears in front of trailers for films that have not yet been classified. The actual movie you are watching will have been properly classified.

Re:haha... hahahahaha (1)

smash (1351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874384)

Sorry but no...

I saw Lord of the Rings, Oceans 11 and Rat Race recently, and made a point of noting that they were all not yet classified :)


Re:haha... hahahahaha (1)

tdelaney (458893) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874437)

Then you must have seen them all before they were commercially released in Australia.

It is illegal to show an unclassified film in a public place in Australia (special exemptions may be obtained for festivals, etc).

Re:haha... hahahahaha (2)

Boiling_point_ (443831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874444)

Sorry to be a stickler for detail, but it's a different .gov.au department responsible for Film and Literature Classification (the Office of F and L C, funnily enough!).

Point is still valid - even LOTR:FOTR wasn't given a classification the day I went to see it - the second day after it was released. Matter o fact, it's STILL not classified, if you believe their database [] . (Navigate from here [oflc.gov.au] for the IP-wary)

Before you shoot down Australia (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874316)

Im a Aussie [Sydney based] who has had the chance to live and work in many difference places around Europe and the US. [Seems to be an Australian cultural thing to get drunk in strange places]

Our government does some stupid things. Attempting to censor the net is one. When Australia gets mentioned on /. like this alot of people who dont understand the country get on their high horses and yell "Australia = facists", "If they had guns they could defend their rights", etc etc.

When it comes down to it, our government is no more stupid than the next guys. We're still free down here [wish there was more free beer!], and I honestly believe Australia is one of the best places to live in the world.

The man who passed the rule will no longer hold the balance of power in 2 years in the Senate elections, and we can move forward and change policy. This is what a democracy allows us to do.

As a matter of interest for some of you US based people -- Australia has no freedom of speech legislation. This is a myth. The only freedom of speech that is mentioned in the constitution and our laws is that of Political free speech.

Does that make us a a facist state? No. Would we react well to this changing? No.

Chicken and the Egg (4, Funny)

mESSDan (302670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874329)

This article brings to light a very valid point. What came first, the "banned" url, or censorship of the censorship of the banned url?

We may never know.. ;)

Australia vs. USA: Freedom of Information (2)

securitas (411694) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874332)

This is interesting because it seems to be another take on freedom of information regarding what our governments do on our behalf. The EFA has a document that details the FOI requests released or denied [efa.org.au] .

In a similar vein, the US government won't even release information about how its own citizens are being profiled [slashdot.org] .

That familiar question from ancient Rome comes to mind:
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who watches the watchmen?

Government censorship is fascist (4, Interesting)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874334)

When will the conservatives in Australia learn that just because you might want your kids seeing something, doesn't mean you have the right to stop everyone in the country from seeing it? Let parents make their own decisions about censorship, instead of having the government decide what to censor and force it on everyone.

It's obvious that the reason they are keeping the blacklist secret is because they are afraid of public scrutiny and backlash against it. No doubt, like virtually all censorware, they have censored many sites that clearly oughtn't be censored. Australia is not as bad as China, but is certainly working in the same direction.

Censorship accomplishes nothing, and does so at a very high cost: your freedom. Regardless, the government can't stop you from viewing what you want on the net, and there are countless ways to circumvent any censorship. The average computer literate 10 year old could probably bypass australia's censorshp.


Re:Government censorship is fascist (1)

Paradoxish (545066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874456)

I may be wrong, but I think the Liberals hold more sway and have limited more personal freedoms in Australia than conservatives have. Not that I'm advocating either political philosophy... it just seems to be a /. attitude to blame conservatives for everything.

Ineffectual hot air , no real impact (5, Interesting)

indaba (32226) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874344)

No impact, ineffectual legislation is poor law, and just ends up making us look silly.

My guess is that the government is too embarrassed to show how pitifully few sites have been taken down for the money expended

You need to remember that Alston et all are only really interested in pandering to the popular press, and not in actually making any real changes.

As far as I can make out, I still have unrestricted access to everything I have ever had

i saw this because:

I have NOT been forced to install blocking software

My ISP is not running blocking software (nor any others to my knowledge

If the ABA has taken down a site, I'm sure it's just popped up again overseas

It's probably just more boring pr0n anyway ..

ho , hum , back to work...

huh? (1)

crystalplague (547876) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874353)

"it refuses to reveal exactly what it is we are not allowed to see." wouldn't this defeat the purpose of censoring something?

How hard would it be... (2, Interesting)

gnovos (447128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874360)

...to actually find out for yourself. One guy down under, on guy in America, and start your counters at and start pinging port 80 until you get to After you are done, compare notes, and viola, there is your blacklist. In fact once this is done once, other groups could do this in other countries usuing the same "roadmap" of all the viable sites. I'm sure you could get a distributed.net project going that could get this done in a couple of days...

Re:How hard would it be... (3, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874372)

The lists would be identical (Network issues notwithstanding), as the Austrlian government is NOT blocking or filtering sites, that's what makes the whole thing so stupid.....

It's all just hot air...albeit very expensive hot air.....

In theory ISPs are supposed to offer filtering software at a reduced price to new subscribers, but the subscriber is not forced to use it, and I am unaware of any ISP actually doing it anyway.

Is this the best we can do? (2)

Ldir (411548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874361)

Why does it seem that governments always come to be dominated by special interests, e.g., big business, religious zealots, etc., at the expense of the people at large? Are statesman inevitably doomed to fade away, to be replaced by politicians and bureaucrats? Is this the best we can do?

We like to believe that the early United States government was "by the people, for the people." Was it really, or is this another myth, another example of rewriting history?

I am not a scholar of history. I am not an expert on the world's governments. Are there any examples of a government that truly remained responsive to its citizenry over the long term? If so, what made them successful? What are we doing wrong?

We've run out of habitable continents. I think it may be time to start looking seriously at colonizing space. It may be the only way to get a representative government, at least for a little while.

I think the point has been missed here.. (5, Interesting)

rat7307 (218353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874364)

The intent of Alstons bill is to shutdown sites WITHIN Australia or by Australians that publish content which is deemed inappropriate as per australia's publishing laws. This is not always a bad thing..

They do not filter incoming content, They just shut down those sites within the countries borders that, in effect are breaking the law (Kiddy porn etc..)..
How effective that is, well, thats another debate.
But at least this way there is some accountablilty for what these people put on the net.
There has (to date) been no policlitical/anti govt. sites closed down that I am aware of.

Perhaps the government... (4, Interesting)

Bilby (222476) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874365)

... is worried that displaying the URLs will show how ineffective it has been on this?

The censorship laws were a joke when first proposed - a joke that could damage Australian content providers, but which could have little or no impact on Australian's access to illegal materials. At the recent ACIS 2001 [scu.edu.au] conference, a paper was give (full text available [scu.edu.au] as pdf) arguing that the whole thing was pointless as far as pornographic sites were concerned, as they were all offshore already (due, in part, to expansive hosting on Australian servers) and therefore outside of Australia's juristiction.

I can only think of two good reasons for not releasing this material - they fear that examination of the material will show that many of the sites should not have been blacklisted (as per peacefire's work), or that they fear it will show how ineffective the legislation is. :)

offshore is still within Australia's juristiction (1)

indaba (32226) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874462)

what makes you think that just because the server is offshore, that the auusie police can't knock on your door in downtown Sydney ?

the crime is the uploading and the maintainence of the "illegal" content, not the location of the server...

other than that, I agree with you comment - these laws have next to zero impact, but they DO cost signifcant dollars !

Ironic.. (2, Insightful)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874369)

Hey.. I can be ontopic now! When are the slashdot admins going to answer some of the questions raised during the "Great Karma Massacre?".. Is it justified for /. to consider itself a 'user-moderated' community when the editors have unlimited mod points, can (and do) bitchslap entire threads, and overturn metamoderation.

Sure, it's not censorship 'as such' since users can read at -1, but it makes posts far less obvious and there's also the 'chilling' effect of massive karma loss.

Speaking of karma loss.. I'm really half-inclined to post this anonymously but what the hell, karma is easily regained :-)

This sickens me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874387)

And is also very confusing.

What is a blacklist anyway? Is it a list written on black paper with white ink? Instead of the traditional white paper and black ink.

Please help me out of this bind.

Thank you

Why do they think it would work? (2, Redundant)

martyb (196687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874388)

Is google blocked/censored down under? If not, then a good chunk of the blocked content should still be readily available.

Instead of using, say:
prefix it with a string to access google's cache:

I'll be the first to admit it is far from perfect (robots.txt, not up-to-the-second, lose access to on-line interactive sites (e.g. e-bay, etc.)), nor is it easy for the casual user. Still, an enterprising user could readily get past some of the censoring. Further, a simple ssh to a host in a different, non-blocked host in a different country would afford access as well.

As for determining WHAT has been blocked, I would think a simple pair of scans across all IP addresses, once attempting access in Australia, and another from, say, USA; then just compare notes and voila! That would seem to be a heck of lot quicker than the months they've been at it trying to go through formal channels.

Re:Why do they think it would work? (0, Redundant)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874417)

How many times do us in Australia have to say this...

NOTHING is blocked....nothing...not a thing...

Give me a web site, no matter how obscene, porographic, disgusting, hateful or otherwise and any Australian can get to it, or if they can't it'd due to simple network issues that have nothing to do with the Australian government.

Black List (2, Insightful)

lukecs (548904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874389)

Whats the use of censorship if when you release the Black List every single site that is black listed gets double the traffic. It makes sense not to release the Black List for if they did it would neglect the whole purpose of the censorship. The Sites Black Listed would get a lot of attention that they don't deserve. This is especially the case for links to illegal sites such as child porn. Although I don't support this type of censorship I do support the decision not to release the Black List.

Re:Black List (1)

lukecs (548904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874435)

John: Can I please have yur Black List?

Australia: No

John: I don't even live in your country

Australia: Than why do you want our Black List?

John: I want to look at the sites that you Black Listed because I think censorship is bad.

Australia: What will you do with the list?

John: Put it up on my anti Australian censorship site.

Australia: We have now Black Listed your Web site

John: lol, I got one of the web sites on your Black List.

Australia: No you don't, now we took your web page off the Black List.

John: Doh... Ha ha I found your black list on the internet.

Australia: huh, what... We don't beleave you

John: I can prove it, send me your list and I'll send you mine.

Australia: no give us your list

John: no

Australia: We will Black list your site again

John: ... Just a moment you don't even know my web page.

Australia: fine we will send you the list. What is your email, so we can send it to you?

John: John@childpornrus.au

There is no filter (2)

Alpha State (89105) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874422)

Just to clarify, there is nothing in Australia stopping me from accessing any internet site. The blacklist is added to censorware which is sanction by the Government (coincidentally, the censorware companies were big proponents of this rather useless law). The censorware is supposed to be used by everybody and I think by law should provided by ISPs - but no-one is at all interested in enforcing this.

So this story doesn't affect me, or any other internet user in Australia, any more that the broadcasting act does.

Why this hurts (3, Insightful)

Boiling_point_ (443831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874423)

This isn't simply a case of bureaucratic weirdness. The reason this story is news, is that the law [hinet.net.au] in Australia requires ISPs to restrict access by end-users to banned Internet content.

If ISPs can't access a government-compiled list of what-is-banned, then to absolutely comply with the law they have to manually (ie. with a human) proxy every request from their customers, determine whether those requests will return <jellobiafra>HARMFUL MATTER</jellobiafra>, or expose themselves to possible prosecution.

It's a bit like keeping a secret list of banned foods, then busting a grocer for ordering in a special type of mushroom for a customer.

Much noise [efa.org.au] was made at the time against the leglisation because it's stoopid. I remember reading about six months ago (sorry, no link) that, despite all the fuss, only half a dozen complaints against ISPs had actually been received by the Aust. Broadcasting Authority. No prosecutions ever eventuated.

Although it's a Very Bad Thing, since nobody's (so far) gotten in trouble because of this legislation, the real danger of ignoring this might be that you teach politicians they can be ignorant and stupid all the time and get away with it.

Not quite that easy (1)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874426)

Its not quite as easy as scanning the entire IP range. That leaves out all the vhosts out there. If you're blocking by domain names/URL's, and an IP hosts multiple domains, the IP is fine, its the specific request for this resource on this host that is blocked, not this host.

Tech Search For The Australian Blacklist (2)

Seth Finkelstein (90154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874432)

Given my expertise in anti-censorware investigations [sethf.com] I spent a considerable amount of time searching to discover if there was some sort of illegal-in-Australia category in censorware. This was prompted by OLD Australian government publications [noie.gov.au] which had passages such as:
Iseek have already made provision within the existing server software for the inclusion of a new category called "ABA". This category will include all URLs provided by the ABA in accordance with the take-down notices. Iseek would be able to accept the URLs via FTP etc.. and push the updated list out to all operational servers daily along with the normal daily list updates.
[ABA = Australian Broadcasting Authority]

Again, this is old, and modifications in the Australian law render it no longer applicable. I eventually came to the conclusion that the "Australian" blacklist bit never got implemented (at least in what I could examine). So it seems that the bans works, operationally, by the Australian government just sending the sites to various censorware companies. The blacklisted sites are then just mixed into the general huge censorware blacklist itself.

Amusing footnote: A little before everything broke loose in What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com] , I actually tried to enlist Michael Sims' support in my first idea for a technical attack on the Austrialian blacklist. This was because at the time he was well-positioned (as a "journalist", and also with other contacts) to take certain legal risks which I found extremely worrisome. No help whatsoever, in any form. Luckily, it seems not to have mattered.

Ineffectual laws are only wasting money (2, Insightful)

indaba (32226) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874434)

No impact, ineffectual legislation is poor law, and just ends up making us aussies look silly.

My guess is that the government is too embarrassed to show how pitifully few sites have been taken down for the money expended

Refer to this EFA report : Government Net Censorship Reports - Facts or Fallacies? [efa.org.au] 7th September 2000
The censorship regime is highly costly in view of its ineffectiveness in protecting children using the global Internet. The explanatory memorandum to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill 1999 states the total ongoing cost to the Commonwealth of the regime was estimated at AUD$1.9 million per annum.

Graham remarked "If the ABA has only received 201 complaints in six months as the government report states, and the government's cost estimate of $1.9 million was correct, it's costing taxpayers around $4,700 per complaint. Only 93 of those complaints resulted in a finding of prohibited content, a small fraction of the billions of pages on the Internet, and less than 20 concerned pages hosted in Australia."

Fantastic value for money there , AUD$100,000 per page....

You need to remember that Alston et all are only really interested in pandering to the popular press, and not in actually making any real changes.

Also, now that the balance of power has changed in the senate (ie Senator Harradine has gone) , the Libs will now be pandering to the Democrats, so we may see an end to these silly, unenforceable censorship laws

As far as I can make out, I still have unrestricted access to everything I have ever had

I say this because:

I have NOT been forced to install blocking software

My ISP is not running blocking software (nor any others to my knowledge

If the ABA has taken down a site, I'm sure it's just popped up again overseas

It's probably just more boring pr0n anyway ..

ho , hum , back to work...

Darren Kruse CCNP CCDP
WAN/LAN Networking Consultant
www.geocities.com/darren_kruse [geocities.com]

Being an australian... (3, Informative)

mickonline (158719) | more than 12 years ago | (#2874441)

I am only too aware of how extremely dodgy our censorship laws are here. In reply to the theme that publishing the list would make people demand what's banned, think again.

1) The government publishes a list containing URLS for child pornography, bomb making, and anti-copyright law propaganda.

2a) Someone asks for the child pornography sites to be unblocked. Police jump on them. Quite rightly.

2b) Someone uses the anti-copyright law website in a campaign for freedom of speech. Quite rightly.

The problem is a complete lack of checks and balances on the governments ability to censor what we watch. In addition, the censorship process in Australia is very dodgy indeed.

So many of our censorship laws were enacted so that the Government could buy off Senator Brian Harradine who held the balance of power in the Senate. Brian Harradine, a Tasmanian senator, has extremely conservative views - vastly different to the mainstream views in australia.

Studies have shown, time and again, that the australian population does not agree with the TV and movie censorship ratings given out. The official classification almost always condones more violence and less sex.


Aussie movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2874454)

I liked Chopper. Also, I love the Mad Max series. So their censorship ain't as bad as Jack Valenti and the MPAA.
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