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Australia to Offer Widespread ISP-level Filtering

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the definitely-thinking-of-the-children dept.

Censorship 208

Phurge writes "According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, the Australia government has decided to take the controversial step of having internet service providers filter web content at the request of parents, in a crackdown on online bad language, pornography and child sex predators. 'The more efficient compulsory filtering of internet service providers (ISPs) was proposed in March last year by the then Labor leader, Kim Beazley. At the time, the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, and ISPs criticised his idea as expensive. Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, which promised free filtering software for every home that wanted it. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania. That trial was scrapped. Today Mr Howard will hail the ISP filtering measure as a world first by any Government, and is expected to offer funding to help cover the cost. Parents will be able to request the ISP filter option when they sign up with an ISP. It will be compulsory to provide it. The measures will come into effect by the end of this month.'"

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208 comments

What's the big fucking deal??? (5, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182495)

What's the big fucking deal with profanity?

Jesus H. Fucking Christ Almighty, it's only goddammed fucking words.

Re:What's the big deal??? (3, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182653)

In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity. It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.

We choose not to profane our conversation.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182853)

We choose not to profane our conversation.

Choose is the correct word here. I choose what profanity I use. I choose what profanity I find offensive and ignore it. Others should not be able to decide for me what is profane.

However the article did say that the filters was upon request. However, I think people need to be educated about filtering. They need to know that it is far from perfect and no substitute for good judgment.

Re:What's the big deal??? (2, Insightful)

NotTheNickIWanted (614945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183885)

I choose what profanity I use. I choose what profanity I find offensive and ignore it. Others should not be able to decide for me what is profane.
Unless of course you are a child and the "others" are your parents, which happens to be the basis for the filtering discussed in TFA.

Re:What's the big deal??? (5, Funny)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182871)

Profanity is the crutch of inarticulate motherfuckers.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183591)

Speaking of that, English is not my first language. So "motherfucker" doesn't carry weight with me, it's just funny. It reminds me of black thugs in bad Hollywood movies saying "I otta bust a cap in yo ass, motherfucker." Hilarious. I could use it all day around my friends and nobody would mind other than if I got carried away and the joke got stale.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183729)

Profanity is the crutch of inarticulate motherfuckers.
That's because I'm relatively inarticulate motherfucker in english. If I would be sure that slashdotters could read french en masse, I would have posted instead

Sacrament d'hostie, c'est quoi la câlisse d'affaire, tabarnak???
Viarge de criss, c'est juste des ciboire de mots, bâtard!
which is far more articulate (notice: no reduntancy).

And your point is? (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182883)

The web is not a uniform medium when it comes to discourse, and people should not expect it to be that way. Even a 6 year old surfing the web knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse. Unless you like to live in a walled garden, filtering profanity does nothing but shelter kids from the real world. Do these parents actually think their kids don't hear this kind of stuff every day at recess?

Re:And your point is? (5, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183047)

>>> ....knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse

Let me guess: One is full of sexy pictures, trash, lies and people manipulating the truth, the other is myspace?

Re:And your point is? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183869)

>>> ....knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse

Let me guess: One is full of sexy pictures, trash, lies and people manipulating the truth, the other is myspace?
Eeee... Bad guess.

Re:And your point is? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183169)

I get your point but I'd be pretty impressed with a 6yro who could read CNN and discuss how it's "community discourse" differs from that of MySpace. An average 6yro might call you a "mother fucking poo-bum-head" but I doubt they would recognise the words in text without prior coaching.

After 40 odd years, I still vividly remeber getting a slipper thrown at me the first time I said "oh fuck" in front of my mum, I had no idea what it meant I was just parroting the "big kids".

Re:And your point is? (3, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183765)

After 40 odd years, I still vividly remeber getting a slipper thrown at me the first time I said "oh fuck" in front of my mum, I had no idea what it meant I was just parroting the "big kids".

And you don't think that is ridiculous? All you were doing was making sounds come out of your mouth. Without knowing the meaning behind the words, it is not profanity, it is just language.

If I sit there and swear at you in Japanese (assuming you don't speak Japanese), is it going to offend you? Of course not cause you have no idea what I am saying. So those words would not be profanity then.

The proper response should have been for your mother to sit down with you and explain what that word means, why some consider it offensive, and how it should only be used in the presence of people who find it acceptable - and if you do not obey those rules then you will be punished.

Kids are not as stupid and ignorant as some lawmakers and parents make them out to be. In actual fact they're usually ahead of the curve.

Re:What's the big deal??? (0, Flamebait)

computational super (740265) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182891)

We choose not to profane our conversation.

No, YOU choose not to let THE REST OF US profane OUR conversations. Whether we want to or not.

Re:What's the big deal??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183929)

You're welcome to profane your conversation all you like. This is about whether Aussies have to listen to it, and it seems that they don't. Tough shit.

Re:What's the big deal??? (2, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182935)

***In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." ...***

Well, we don't actually. We did sorta four decades ago. It had its pluses and minuses. It was nice to be able to let your kids watch network programming without too much risk of having to explain homosexuality to an eight year old or having your six year old inform you that her first grade teacher is a bitch.

But those days are gone and their demise is not the fault of the Internet in any way shape or form. IMO, the enemy is us, not our institutions.

===

It is kind of refreshing to see someplace other than the US experimenting with something that is probably a really bad idea.

Re:What's the big deal??? (4, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183387)

>>> ...without too much risk of having to explain homosexuality to an eight year old

Yes, the enemy is us. For those that think its a 'risk' to tell a child about same sex relationships the adult is the one with the issue. At what age do you tell a child they're adopted? At what age do you tell a child that in some families a man/woman and another man/woman can be together. If they grow up with it, there wont even be an issue. The wider generation behind us are going to grow up with it as acceptable, except for those homeschooled and only learn about it in college - along with a fear of many other things.... those of our generation who cannot get their heads around it will have to live with it.

In Samoa, they may raise a boy child as a girl (see here [wikipedia.org], where some might call that Transgendered and 'unnatural' it is actually normal in their society. So this boils back the the OP's comment: "In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." It depends who defines "society" and its usually the aristocracy that are calling things indecent, not the general public.

Aussies are well known for using bad language, and are pretty open about sex, un-married sex, wet t-shirt competitions, male strippers, Dame Edna and the guy who entered Australian Idol as a girl.

Come to think of it - knowing the number of Aussies I do, if wider society of Australia was setting the filter parameters of their entire internet they'd probably only ban Goatse and tubgirl.... or they'd only let it through if it had Johnny Howards, or Warwick Cappa's face on it..

Re:What's the big deal??? (3, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183777)

Well, we don't actually. We did sorta four decades ago. It had its pluses and minuses. It was nice to be able to let your kids watch network programming without too much risk of having to explain homosexuality to an eight year old
And what is wrong with that? I recall asking my mother, some 40 years ago (when I was about 8) what is homosexuality, and she answered "it's just a man who loves another man instead of a woman", just like if I asked her what's a bandoneon [wikipedia.org].

There.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20182985)

In modern society, we also have two things called "prudishness" and "abject terror of anything not spoon-fed to us." These are the reasons we give governments absolute power over us; we need someone to protect us at all times. Even if our protector is only watching over us like crops for the harvest, our fear of the unknown runs so deep that we'll gladly accept subservience to a known agent over the uncertainty of the alternatives.

We choose to subjugate and censor ourselves.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Ax of Ganto (1103807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183017)

It's got more to do with superstition than decency. Saying "fuck" is considered much worse than saying "intercourse", even when they're used the same way with the same meaning.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183063)

Hmm... dunno. Even with those words having the same meaning, somehow "What the intercourse are you talking about" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Ax of Ganto (1103807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183239)

"What the intercourse are you talking about" doesn't have the same ring to it.
Used in that context, fuck and intercourse don't have the same meaning. Compare "the dog pooped on the grass" to "the dog took a shit on the grass". They mean the same thing, but only shit would be censored.

Well, of course we can choose to be "decent"... (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183045)

... but sir, in all honesty, it's not the job of the fucking government to fucking tell me what words are fine for me to use.

Fuck my government, fuck it right in its collective neck. This pandering to the extreme christian right by our Prime Minister is completely sickening.

Re:Well, of course we can choose to be "decent"... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183241)

Hey, I don't object to this sort of pandering. This is fine, if people want filtering give it to them. It is everything else they have done, to joining the Iraq war, to signing away our rights that I have a problem with.

Go ahead, install as many filters as you want, but please leave our basic freedoms intact.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183079)

How do you disrespect yourself and debase yourself with language? How do you measure that? Do you have any studies that show people who swear more are prone to lower self-respect?

Are you trying to say that people tend to swear less in the 21st century compared to the 20th century? How did you quantify that?

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183203)

Is the intent not worse than the choice?

What is the difference between fuck, frig and shag?

If I said I was going to cabbage your sister... knowing the context of my phrase, would it matter what word I used?
As far as I am aware, people usually swear because they are annoyed or upset. The very harshness of the word expresses and releases built up energy, regardless of the actual word used.

I do agree that the people using these words to compensate for a lack of vocabulary should go back to school and that business use of the word is ill advised. BUT, the majority of what we consider profane words today were perfectly appropriate many years ago. How about 'Bastard' for example?

Personally I find 'belly' barely better than 'stomach' and makes my hair stand on end everytime I hear it. Should that make it profane?

I think it goes back to what is or is not politically correct. 50 years ago if I called someone a nigger (with the best intent possible) then I was addressing a black person. I can't even call them black any more I have to call them 'coloured' or even afro American if I don't want to be considered a racist. The black lab in 'The Dam Busters' was called 'nigger' and nobody gave it a second thought. How about Golliwogs?

Have people stopped calling me white? should I be hurt because they called me what I am? But then my heritage does not go back to slavery.

It is the same Politically correct crap with disabilities. Spastic, mongo, retard etcetera used to be perfectly acceptable general terms to refer to someone that had a mental handicap. Due to the **intent** of the said words they have become profane and now we call them 'special'.

As our language continues to evolve for better, or worse. These words will pass in and out of general use. No offence to the Americans but considering how much you butchered the kings English over the years I'd suggest that 'text speak' is a far greater danger to our vocabulary than the use of profane or indecent phrases in every day use.

All in all... it does not really matter. In the grand scheme of things, we'll likely all be speaking Indian or Chinese within a hundred years or so, no?

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183225)

I have never understood society's need to set aside certain words, phrases, and gestures as "profanity". It's not as though these words have been handed to us by avatars of evil; we invented them ourselves, with specific purposes and meanings in mind. Then we promptly decided that we couldn't say them in polite company (whatever that is). It's bizarre.

Even more bizarre are those who choose to become offended by those words, and who decide to post high-handed, holier-than-thou comments on public forums in order to castigate a guy who's just telling a joke.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183363)

And often, profanity is the proper way to express oneself. Strong situations require strong words. Sometimes, you just have to say fuck.

Re:What's the big deal??? (2, Interesting)

sohare (1032056) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183379)

In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity. It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.

We choose not to profane our conversation.
You're assuming the existence of an absolute morality. Clearly, certain words tend to be associated with negatives or insults, but it always takes two parties for this to happen. Namely, one person to say a word (which at this point is devoid of meaning) and another person to place some value on this word.

The perfect example is "taking the Lord's name in vain." When I say, "Jesus fucking Christ", "Goddamnit!" or "Holy shit" these words pack about as much punch as "Oh man!", at least to me. This is because Jesus/God is not my Lord, and so of course to me to suggest I'm taking a non-entity's name in vain is somewhat silly. The true-believer, however, will hear these words and attach some offensive qualities to them.

Censoring of any sort always boils down to one party imposing their morals on a myriad other parties that do not share their beliefs. Sure, these groups (anti-abortionists, creation scientist, and those of their ilk) tend to argue that their position is no different than anyone else's, and ergo you just have to choose your poison, so to speak. This is patently absurd with a moment's thought, because it takes a positive belief in order for something to be offensive, and ergo the baseline will always rest with those who do not find something offensive.

Unless, of course, you always for absolute moralities. This is why groups who have no real ground to stand on always turn to this antiquated idea.

Re:What's the big deal??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183511)

You've never been to the North-East/ Eastern Sea-board of the U.S., have you? Try going to New York, or Boston and actually listen to people's conversations.

People need to lighten up, and grow some thick skin for a change. Life is to short to go around nitpicking every damn thing that might offend you.

If thats too much for someone, I suggest they move to Pennsylvania and become Amish.

Re:What's the big deal??? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183579)

Hmm, I didn't realize it was the governments job to enforce decency. I don't see that part anywhere in the US constitution... can someone point out where it is in the Australian one?

Re:What's the big deal??? (2, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183641)

In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity. It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.
No. What there is, are some retarded middle-ages numbfucks who give the utmost attention to fucking superficial details, and do not give a flying fuck about the ultimate deep consequences of actions.

Add to this the hypocrites who gives themselves a veneer of respectability all the while being total fuckwads who really fuck-up society and you have the explanation why some motherfucking assholes get all in their high horses when someone says something as benign as "shit" all the while driving a Hummer to the convenience store to pick some unethical cheap coffee.

Re:What's the big fucking deal??? (4, Funny)

Control Group (105494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182669)

How apropos - from the Colbert Report last night:

Judd Apatow: "What do you think of profanity?"
Stephen Colbert: "I think it's bullshit."

Re:What's the big fucking deal??? (1, Funny)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183065)

How DARE you??!?!

I know you're making a joke - really funny, har har!

But you have to understand that SOME of us take this kind of thing very, very seriously, and for your information, Mr. Hogger...

Jesus Christ's middle initial is not H !!!!

Goddamned blasphemer....

Re:What's the big fucking deal??? (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183667)

The use of profanity as a rare emphasis allows it to convey emphasiis and deep feeling. In routine use, the information content of profanity approaches null. After being stuck with a bunch of teenagers revelling in the use of profanity on a camping trip 30 years ago, I burned out on its usage.

So, if the information transferred with use of profanity is approximately null and the side effect of the usage is needlessly offending others, it is wise to desist. If you are attempting to upset others and antagonize everybody around you, particularily in person, you start running into the relatively minor offense of "disturbing the peace". Of course I would not recommend trying such behavior in areas where the government does believe it should enforce moral behavior, there you find Governmentally backed morality police, such as we see in Saudia Arabia or Iran.

More seriously, I doubt that the government is too concerned about inappropriate language. I would expect them to go after corner cases in the pornography world. The problem here is that we should expect such content to be served by compromised servers and end user systems, where the machine owners know nothing about the illicit content. At the most recent DefCon in Las Vegas, there was a discussion about how to host improper content on web-based e-mail providers with specific discussions of Google and Yahoo mail usage.

It is not at all clear that govenments have any idea about how to deal with such malicious hosting and distribution mechanisms.

First step towards ... (3, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182511)

... implementing a government-controlled mandatory filtering infrastructure for the web in Australia. All it will take would be the change of a config file or two, and the government can censor whatever it pleases.

Re:First step towards ... (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182617)

"All it will take would be the change of a config file or two, and the government can censor whatever it pleases."

Ignoring the complete lack of technical insight behind this statement, why exactly would the Australian Government want to do this?

No paranoid delusions please.

Re:First step towards ... (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182875)

Ignoring your complete lack of foresight, there are many reasons a government would want to control the flow of information that its citizens have access to. Those who control the flow of information control the way people perceive the world. Those who control peoples' perceptions, control those people. But I suppose you think books like Orwell's 1984 are just fictional rubbish and that government controls on information for the purposes of shaping public opinion have never existed.

Re:First step towards ... (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183009)

The last line of my post reads:
"No paranoid delusions please."

And yes, Orwell's 1984 was a work of fiction. Why would a government who wants to "control those people" embrace the globalized free market?

You logic makes no sense what-so-ever and seems completely based in irrational fear, which is why it is a paranoid delusion.

Re:First step towards ... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183139)

Why would a government who wants to "control those people" embrace the globalized free market?

You mean, like China? They've done a pretty good job of embracing the globalized free market, but I don't think anyone can deny that the Chinese government still has a pretty strong interest in control.

Or are you so unconcerned because the Australians are mostly white? Because, you know, governments run by white people never do eeevil things like those little yellow people do.

Re:First step towards ... (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183627)

Or are you so unconcerned because the Australians are mostly white? Because, you know, governments run by white people never do eeevil things like those little yellow people do.

More importantly, Australians can vote, and regularly throw out unpopular governments. Chinese people have no such power, despite a wonderful constitution that theoretically allows it.

Re:First step towards ... (1)

another_fanboy (987962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183317)

Why would a government who wants to "control those people" embrace the globalized free market?

If the government *says* they embrace it and prevent any alternative views, for all the people know they do. This is not to sound paranoid, but if the government (or anyone for that matter) controls all sources of information, whatever they say is truth. Why would anyone disagree with the government if all anti-government propaganda is destroyed?

Re:First step towards ... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183735)

Hmm.. I wonder if people in East Berlin a few years ago though 1984 was a work of fiction.

Free market has nothing to do with censorship policies. I'm sure you can find plenty of free market nations that censored ideas.

Re:First step towards ... (2, Interesting)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183279)

The Australian government has already shown its uncaring for our right to the freedom of speech. They had a parody website shut down, merely because it showed them up. This is why we are afraid.

Re:First step towards ... (2, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183551)

Ignoring the complete lack of technical insight behind this statement

The government is telling the ISPs they have to install the filters. Currently the government is telling the ISPs that the control of those filters is delegated from the ISPs to the ISP's customers.

My "complete lack of technical insight" sees the filter control delegation as a configuration that the ISP manages. All that needs to be done is for the government to tell the ISP to stop delegating the filter control to the customers of the ISPs, and for the ISPs configure the filters as the government instructs. Then the government just tells the ISPs to configure the filters to censor what the government does not want the Australian people to see.

Once the filtering infrastructure is in place, this is all quite easily done, even with my complete lack of technical insight.

Re:First step towards ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183393)

"All it will take would be the change of a config file or two"

All it will take would be the change of a law or two

could this actually be a good thing? (1)

Darkon (206829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182537)

Maybe it will go some way to shutting up the people who constantly cry "think of the children" and complain about "teh dangers of teh intarweb", and it's not like it's being forced upon those who don't want to use it.

Re:could this actually be a good thing? (5, Insightful)

computational super (740265) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182945)

Right now, my TV is "filtered" - even my cable TV. I can call the cable company and unblock the "filtering" (e.g. get access to channels that are not "filtered") - as long as I'm willing to pay $19.95 a month extra per unfiltered channel. ISP's are salivating over the prospect of applying this "business model" to their service. "Unfiltered" internet (that is, paying them to stop doing something you didn't ask or want them to do in the first place) will CERTAINLY end up being more expensive that "filtered" internet. I give it one year, tops.

Re:could this actually be a good thing? (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183721)

Not meaning to be glib, but why do you expect your neighbors to pay for your porn and "moviez"? It makes perfect sense to charge people extra for these tipes of extras, expecially on a shared connection such as residential cable.

Insurance companies charge smokers or drunk drivers, or speeders more for coverage because they impose undue burden on the system. Why should smut users be any different?

Do the words "common carrier" mean anything to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183473)

Once ISP's prove they can filter what is being transmitted over their wire, they no longer have any excuse not to filter ANYTHING.

Second it is being forced upon those who don't want to use it, read the law carefully and try to ask yourselve what will happen to hardcore ISPs who only want to provide bandwidth and not censor anything at all, the dutch xs4all for instance.

No, this is a very bad thing.

Re:could this actually be a good thing? (1)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183543)

There's really no way to shut up the hard-core "think of the children" crowd. If you offer optional filtering, they'll call for mandatory filtering (but little Johnny might come across a computer with unfiltered internet access!). If you block all pornography, they'll want to block all nudity (medical diagrams and otherwise). If you block all profanity they'll also want to block all sexual-related email, chat, and text.

To me, it always seemed like it would be simpler for a think-of-the-childrener to not have internet access at their home ranther than continue to wage this endless battle against the free-flow of information, but I don't think this crowd is really satisfied until they've ruined someone else's day.

What's the problem here? (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182545)

Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, which promised free filtering software for every home that wanted it. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania. That trial was scrapped.
This isn't filtering at the ISP level
The ISP is just being forced to provide filtering software at your request.

It's censorship... if you want it.
What's the big deal?

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

oxidiser (1118877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182589)

No problem I can see. Just more tools for lazy parents.

Re:What's the problem here? (5, Interesting)

CellBlock (856082) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182661)

For every parent that picks this up so they can just plop their kids in front of the computer and ignore them all day, there's going to be one that actually uses it the right way: as a means to enforce rules that have already been set down in the house. If mom and dad say "no porn," a kid is going to try to look for some anyway. If he's blocked, he'll probably think "damn" and find something else to do, instead. If he's motivated enough to circumvent the block, then perhaps another talk with the parents is in order. Also, the filter could be useful for a lot of those instances where "accidental" porn come up, like every other Google image search.

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183167)

When I was a kid, I learned about computers because I wanted to 'hack' my games. I'm wondering if censorware are going to be the reason for this generation to learn about computers....i.e. I've got to learn enough to get around the blocks.

Back in my day, I hacked Wizardry I's characters with a hexeditor. I created my own notes of where to go to give me x class or x stat or x item...it was wild because I had won the game several times already and using the hexeditor I found items I never saw before....it was great.

Now kids are going to be crafting notes about proxy servers and ways to disable the censorware....

from games to bypassing thought police...weird what happens over time

Re:What's the problem here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183457)

If he's blocked, he'll probably think "damn" and find something else to do, instead.

Of course he won't think damn, because he wouldn't have been exposed to that word since the filters would block it.

Re:What's the problem here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183581)

Cant you block stuff like that at the router. I did that with my linksys and it blocks everything from websites to images. I also have it record an entry in the logs when something hits the filter......that log is almost a few megs now -.-;; damn teenagers.....

Re:What's the problem here? (2, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183747)

For every parent that picks this up so they can just plop their kids in front of the computer and ignore them all day, there's going to be one that actually uses it the right way: as a means to enforce rules that have already been set down in the house. If mom and dad say "no porn," a kid is going to try to look for some anyway. If he's blocked, he'll probably think "damn" and find something else to do, instead. If he's motivated enough to circumvent the block, then perhaps another talk with the parents is in order. Also, the filter could be useful for a lot of those instances where "accidental" porn come up, like every other Google image search.

What's wrong with letting him/her view the porn? What's so wrong with porn? This is the problem I have with this constant "think of the children" argument. It's not them we're trying to protect, it's the parents clinging on to the sanctity of their children as they become more and more adult each day. It's the parent's complex not the child; the child doesn't care.

I'm not a parent myself but I just feel that if you give children arbitrary rules with no logical consistency behind them then they may think all of them are suspect and rebel against the ones that really matter.

Perhaps the best way to approach this is to tell your child that the porn on the Internet isn't like real sex. There's no love, there's often no real passion. It's just about cheap gratification. I think if you approached it like this they'd be smart enough to see why some people disagree with it. Hell, they may even choose for themselves that this material isn't for them! Imagine that!

It is my view that if you teach your child to be a moral consequentialist then your job as a parent is basically done. You don't do this by setting arbitrary rules, you do this by teaching them to think.

Simon.

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183835)

. If mom and dad say "no porn," a kid is going to try to look for some anyway. If he's blocked, he'll probably think "damn" and find something else to do, instead. If he's motivated enough to circumvent the block, then perhaps another talk with the parents is in order.

Hmm.. I think if the parents say that to the kid, he'll be motiviated to find it just because they said not to. This sort of thing isn't limited to kids either by the way.

The internet is not the only place to find porn.. you forget about magazines and DVDs too (usually in the same house as the parents that want to shelter their kids).

Re:What's the problem here? (0)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182735)

Shush, don't tell them that. Some people take pleasure believing there is a big government conspiracy against them. It's just like how many people take pleasure believing in God or Gods etc.

Whether the beliefs are true or not is beside the point.

In fact Government conspiracies are a lot like religion (or any work of fiction for that matter), you can never definitively prove their falsity no matter how absurd they are.

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

ronadams (987516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183359)

Because the belief of atheism is of course thoroughly provable, without uncertainty, and nothing like a religion of its own? It is not believed for a certain pleasure?

Never mind.

The problem here isn't that anyone is being forced to accept censorship; TFA makes it clear it is optional. The problem is that companies are being forced by the government to offer a service that they previously may not have wanted to provide (usually because of the expense involved). If I want filtering software for my household, it's my responsibility to buy it. I wouldn't want my government forcing me to go through the trouble and expense of something that does not benefit me. If an ISP offers filtering services because it is profitable, that's one thing. But being forced to take a hit they may not be able to afford? That's bad for business.

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183719)

Good point, although those same ISPs (as with any limited business) are already forced to pay numerous expenses which have no direct business benefit. E.g.: their accounts must be certified by licensed accounts, they have to pay their staff holiday & sick pay, have to contribute to employee pension funds, have to provide toilets within x meters of office, etc. etc.

Such details create headaches for business administrators but are hardly news-worthy. Compared to the other business costs (particularly the employee related ones) I doubt the cost of implementation of this scheme will be that big a deal to them, especially as the government has said they will compensate the ISPs.

Re:What's the problem here? (2, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183915)

No, but it sure sounds like everyone there is being forced to pay for it.

I don't see why this is needed at all; parents can already buy filtering products if they are worried.

What's the problem here? (2, Insightful)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182815)

The big deal is the step taken by the government to force ISPs to provide filtering. Unheard of so far in a western democracy.

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

charleste (537078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183011)

Um... sorry, but *very* heard of. Every heard of the FCC? Howard Stern? Censorship is done all the time, people just get used to it and (most) people don't even complain.

Another Spin on the Story (4, Informative)

SkiifGeek (702936) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182557)

Or, alternatively - $162 Million to Stop Aussies Looking at Porn.

Considered part of the campaigning for this year's Federal election in Australia, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced [abc.net.au] a $162 million USD plan to protect Australian Internet users against various Internet nasties, including porn, during a web video address to a number of Australian churches. The address was also joined by the leader of the Opposition, which suggests that the proposed plan will be left in place if they succeed in taking power later this year.

With plans to provide free internet filtering software for families, more funds for online predator detection, opportunities to lean on ISPs to stop allowing access to objectionable content, and a working group to work out ways around the privacy protection enjoyed by predators (but apparently not by the people they are supposed to protect), it is likely to become a $162 million dollar black hole, for a number of reasons [beskerming.com].

It is important to consider who the presentation was pitched to, and who supported it. Unfortunately most of the dissenting voices from within parliament seem to be based on lines of religion (i.e. die-hard atheists complaining that Christian representatives spoke to Christian gatherings), and not on the technological shortfalls of the plan.

Re:Another Spin on the Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20182701)

Or, alternatively - $162 Million to Stop Aussies Looking at Porn.
Or, alternatively - $162 Million to protect your babies from dingos that are roaming the internet freely ...

Re:Another Spin on the Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183151)

If there's one lesson to be learned here, it's that where there's money to be made through taxing/spending, government will be there to claim it.

Who wants to guess how much of that $162 million will go to administration? How much precedent will be set for the next expansion of power and revenue? Did anyone honestly believe that government could keep its hands off the internet?

There's a reason why no government in history has ever reduced its power or revenue through the process of democracy (if anyone can point to a solid example, I'd be very interested) -- and it's not because making government bigger is unprofitable for those in the business of government.

Only the first step ... (4, Insightful)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182593)

You know of course, that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions?

This sounds so nice and sweet on the surface: the government is going to protect your children by filtering the Internet content to which they have access. What could be wrong with that?

Of course, once you have an official filtering mechanism in place, it can be used to filter other "anti-social" content. And it will. It's just a matter of time. The next step will be the restriction of some universally loathed faction, like the Nazis. Neo-fascist sites will be banned as will sites from other "extremist" groups, terrorists, etc. Then illegal drug related sites will be banned, and later hard alcohol sites.

Eventually, you can be expect to be protected from Twinkies and Ding-dongs. But not the Ding-dongs that you voted into office. Somehow they will always be exempt from filtering.

Re:Only the first step ... (1)

Monsieur Canard (766354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183463)

Damn. And my mod points expired yesterday.

Well said.

Every time I hear this argument I harken back to the days of the PMRC in the U.S. (and to think there was a point I wanted Tipper to be the first lady).

What's the difference... (4, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182605)

...between the ISPs doing the filtering and software doing the filtering? Wouldn't it ultimately end up being that the ISPs will use software to filter? Therefore won't it have the same pitfalls as individual filters (ie: blocking sites with info on 'breast cancer' etc.)? And won't people eventually find a way around it if they really wanted to? When I was younger, if I was restricted access to something, usually that only made me want it more and go to greater lengths to get it. When will people just trust kids. Tell them they shouldn't, but give them the choice to actually listen. If they get caught, make it known your disappointed in them. I find that if the kid was being raised properly with emphasis on integrity and responsibility, usually they'll feel guilty and enforce the restrictions on themselves. And I know this will be stately repeated... Why do ISPs have to fill in for parents anyway? Can't they just keep an eye on their own kids?

Re:What's the difference... (1)

ebolaZaireRules (987875) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182859)

How hard is it to get around software - especially considering that the kids are often more tech savvy than their parents. Its stupid, though... WHY should it be mandatory? Enforced cencorship... hell, if the parents really wanted it, they could find it. There is an Australian company called Webshield that does this, for one, so if it was such a big deal why are there so few ISP's that offer it? And there are so many ways that it could be implemented, so many ways to get it wrong. If the parents felt a need, they already have options - and if they don't... well, why isn't the computer in the living room then? ARGH! Enough... I should be working not an advertisment, but the company I mentioned is run by friends.

Gosh... (3, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182659)

I hate it enough when my ISP decides to filter e-mail at the source. I don't get spam regardless, and sometimes actual people sending me actual attachments don't make it through because it "could be a dangerous file". It's yet another one of those things that keep stupid people "safe" (and stupid forever).

What the Hell (5, Informative)

eboluuuh (1139173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182695)

So they're basically making a V-Chip for the internet? The real reason why teenagers are sexually abused by predators online is, essentially, bad education. http://www.apa.org/releases/online_sexabuse.html [apa.org] Though my favorite is this: http://rotten.com/about/obscene.html [rotten.com] "Certain people (including parents and schoolteachers) have complained to us and stated that rotten.com should not be "allowed" on the net, since children can view images on our site. One US schoolteacher wrote us a very angry email that complained some of her students had bookmarked images on this site, that our site shouldn't be on the net, and other claptrap. This is our response. The net is not a babysitter! Children should not be roaming the Internet unsupervised any more than they should be roaming the streets of New York City unsupervised. We cannot dumb the Internet down to the level of playground. Rotten dot com serves as a beacon to demonstrate that censorship of the Internet is impractical, unethical, and wrong. To censor this site, it is necessary to censor medical texts, history texts, evidence rooms, courtrooms, art museums, libraries, and other sources of information vital to functioning of free society. "

Election pandering (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182709)

There seems to be an election in the wind (I think I saw Nov mentioned), and Howard is on a downslide at the moment. I see this stunt as the Liberals (and that is the conservative party) playing the "think of the kiddies" card to drum up support.

Previously Howard has played the "OMG the illeagal immigrants" card (google for Tampa and babies overboard).

Hopefully this time the Oz public won't fall for it, bu then again we re-elected Howard in the election after the Tampa incident even though it had been shown that that was all a stunt.

Of course my opinion of Howard has been coloured ever since I listened to "How green was my cactus" many years ago, and he was always referred to as "Little Johnny Howard" (this was before he became supreme ruler).

I also liked it when a Japanese (I think) paper referred to him as "Shrub" .. ie a little bush.

Sure , Whatever You Say Howard: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20182733)


You lying sack of shit. You are filtering for the same reason as this common thug [whitehouse.org]: to
suppress political dissent.

Go for a swim on the Gold Coast with the white sharks, Mr. Howard.

Sincerely,
Kilgore Trout, Political ACTIVIST

That's what I call strict! (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182751)

From TFA [smh.com.au]

Many US state attorneys-general want laws that would require children to get permission from their parents before joining such sites,
and would require those sites to verify the parents' age and identity.

Who is paying for this? What about competition? (3, Interesting)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182773)

It should be individual parents who want this service that pay for it. Furthermore, parents should have the ability to choose an alternative censorship system without paying for the default one.

What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182821)

I used to think Australia would be a great place to live, maybe even better than the US. A former British colony, lots of frontier and low population density, laid back. But now it is making up for lost time and trying to exceed Britain in being a nanny state and the US in privacy invasions.

Thank God they have liberal gun laws and a lot of folks are armed, so as to defend their rights - oh, wait, the Austrailian gov't confiscated everyone's guns in a "think of the children" ploy. And the gun owners just gave them up with nary a whimper.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (2, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182995)

Thank God they have liberal gun laws and a lot of folks are armed, so as to defend their rights - oh, wait, the Austrailian gov't confiscated everyone's guns in a "think of the children" ploy. And the gun owners just gave them up with nary a whimper.

How many large scale (10+ people) shootings of school students have you heard in Australia ?
Gun control has its +/- points, but that is offtopic.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183205)

The reason it is not off topic is that, historically, the first thing oppressive regimes do is to disarm the populace. Australia is simply following an historical pattern.

School shootings are an occasion for sadness and outrage; govenments using them as a catspaw to disarm the polpulace "for their own good" is a calculated move to harness those emotions to get wht it wants - a populace that can't resist government actions when the government starts acting against the best interests of the people it purports to represent.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (2, Interesting)

middlemen (765373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183347)

Your point makes sense a bit, but I am from India and the people can control the government more often that not. Guns don't solve political problems. They only might solve temporary tyranny problems, if at all. They should really be used as a trump card but that never happens. Abuse is rampant. Ask any parent whose kid has been shot. The problem with oppressive governments is not the lack of guns etc, it is the complacency of the populace who actually let the government snatch away their freedoms in the name of "anything". Blame the citizens of the country if you are in a "democracy/republic". Those who don't use their brains use guns.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183369)

Actually, there was a mass shooting in Tasmania perhaps 20 years ago where the shooter killed something like 20 people before killing himself. The Australian government banned all semi-automatic rifles as a consequence and had a forced buy-back program. I would not be surprised if ownership of pistols is tightly controlled as well. I would note that our friends to the North in Canada also ban semi-automatic rifles as well as pistols. There was even a case in Ontario a few years ago where a on-duty American policeman in the Toronto area had his Glock seized and the local prosecutor wanted to try him for possession of a banned firearm -- a case of a combination of a stupidly worded law and pig-headedness.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183957)

That's absolutely correct. Except that it was 11 years ago. And he killed 35 people. And he is still alive and in a secure nuthouse.

His name is Martin Bryant [wikipedia.org]

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20183325)

I have a rock.

It is a magic rock.

It keeps the lavender unicorns away.

You don't see any lavender unicorns around here do you?

My magic lavender unicorn repelling rock is working wonderfully.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183871)

Also havent seen any mass-killings since the advent of the law that outlawed the semi-automatics.
If your reply is going to be as witty and pointless as your OP, please don't bother replying.

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183431)

Thank God they have liberal gun laws and a lot of folks are armed, so as to defend their rights - oh, wait, the Austrailian gov't confiscated everyone's guns in a "think of the children" ploy. And the gun owners just gave them up with nary a whimper.

I don't understand this argument. Assuming that Australian citizens were still armed to the teeth "so as to defend their rights", then upon learning that the internet would be filtered for content they should have started shooting politicians?

Re:What the hell happened to Australia? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183911)

My impression of Australia has been that the place never really caught the post War wave or the sixties and is still fairly stuck in a bigoted and colonial mindset. I'm probably disparaging a lot of Australian slashdotters, but to be fair your domestic actions are speaking volumes to the rest of us.

Filters tend to be abused (2, Interesting)

Joohn (310344) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182823)

A similar thing is going on in Sweden. The government is forcing all major ISP:s to filter out sites that are known to provide child pornography. Recently, the popular bit-torrent tracker http://www.piratebay.org/ [piratebay.org] was threatened to be added to this filter because rumour had it "there where child porn available from the site". This is of course just an excuse used by the Swedish government, which is controlled by the American government, which is controlled by the record and movie industry. I understand that it's in the record companies interests but it bugs me that governments don't want to confess that they're being used these ways.

Opt in today, opt out ..? (2, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20182863)

How long before we line up at isp's with photo ID to have the internet turned back on?

Australia only had one internet policy over the past 10 years:
How can we filter it?

Please join or donate to Electronic Frontiers Australia
http://www.efa.org.au/ [efa.org.au]

Education? Good parenting? What about those? (1)

Deathless Durin (1139823) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183327)

Like much that has been mentioned, it does seem like a good idea if you just glance at it and don't think too hard.....(think of the children....) When I really look at it, I see a little more clearly.
What I see is another tool that, just like the V-chip (or other things along the same line), could "take away" some of the responsibility of being a parent; something that could give a false sense of security that children aren't coming into contact with these things. Now I'm not saying it's a "bad" thing as such. The intentions are good (at least initially), but what I see is that it could make the parents feel like there's less (or no) need to monitor what their children are seeing/doing. It is the responsibility of the parents to educate their children as to what they should or should not be seeing and to be "good parents". Of course, that education isn't fail-safe or foolproof, but neither is a filter, and the education is worth quite a bit more in the long run, I should think.

Attack The Root Of The Problem (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183585)

I don't for one minute accept that there is this huge horde of paedophile predators on the Internet - sure, they probably exist in small numbers but kids today are far more likely to be mugged for their mobile phones, bullied or be filmed being beaten up by one or more of their peers.

However, assuming that child pornography is manufactured purely because it makes someone rich, if that material is sold over the Internet then it's pretty safe to assume that a bank or credit card company is involved when someone buys that material.

So how about forcing those profiteering banks and credit card companies to police this? Name and shame the banks that provide money transfer facilities for the purchase of illicit material. If you take away the means for someone to collect money for it, surely that goes a hell of a long way to killing off the reasons to make it in the first place.

WOW players know (1)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20183969)

Anyone who has played WOW knows that filtering is worthless.
You just get people cursing in misspellings and haxor looking garbage.
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