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Australian Internet Filter Enters Trial Phase

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the crikey-you-can't-read-that dept.

Censorship 232

blake writes "News.com.au reports "The Government's plan to have internet service providers filter pornography and other internet content deemed inappropriate for children is going full-steam ahead. [...] The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children." It all sounds in good taste, and we are told that you will be able to opt out at any time, but will putting this filter in place simply give the powers that be the ability to block access to content for their own agendas. Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government."

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FYI (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22559962)

Google has some very relevant information. [google.com]

Get the kids out, stay off my lawn (5, Interesting)

Zashi (992673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561188)

Forgive me for piggy backing on a troll's frist psot, but, who the FUCK said the internet was meant for children? Why does it have to be kid friendly? Protective parents don't let their kids hangout and befriend strangers (adults or otherwise) unsupervised. Why should exploring the internet be any different? Just because a company attempts to target or exploit a demographic through some medium doesn't mean the medium needs to be sanitized for that demographic.

Ahh.. internet censorship, hell, censorship in general... such a pet peeve of mine.

Re:FYI (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561478)

Goddamn you, fucking George Bush. See what you've caused? Now Australia is censoring their internet. With your stupid looking smirk, running around eating babies and censoring internets and torturing hard-working innocent illegal immigrants. Fuck you.

No, no, a thousand times no. (5, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559976)

Government is the -last- entity that should oversee any censorship--because it has the most to gain from having such control.

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (1)

apdyck (1010443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560064)

Agreed. Most ISPs already offer filtering software on a PC level, so why is there a need to enforce it on an ISP level? Why can we not just allow the parents to take control of their childrens' web viewing? They call them "Parental Controls", not "Government Controls". It all sounds a bit too sneaky for me. Why would they not mandate that all ISPs have to offer filtering software for the end user's PCs, in stead of making the ISP filter on their end?

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (3, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560120)

Or even just take the step of making it an opt-IN rather than an opt-OUT service. That alone would make it far less suspicious looking.

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560244)

Or even leave it up to *gasp* the private sector to provide censorship software. Buying services from a company is the obvious opt-in solution. It doesn't make any sense to have the government provide opt-in services since everyone who's not opting in is helping to pay for it.

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (4, Informative)

hool5400 (257022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560910)

The stupid thing is, they already provide free filtering software to download. The government has paid for it, on our behalf.

The licence for the filter software cost them $AUD 85M, with only 145000 downloads of the software, and no doubt even less active users. Those that want it, have it. But it seems not many people care.

Dan Rutter brings some light on the insanity here [blogsome.com] .

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (2, Informative)

HemmingSay (1136561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560436)

Apparently the Australian government have already tried this on a PC-level...and it was pretty much viewed as a massive waste of money, the guy from dansdata has an interesting piece on the cost/usage [blogsome.com] but hey, children - somebody won't think...

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560136)

Yep - We see government censorship used to oppress folks all over the world every day. "Won't somebody think of the children" is not an acceptable way to get your foot in the door.

If only someone could come up with a better way to control content like this... Has anyone suggested the possibility of adding a .xxx domain suffix?

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560276)

Has anyone suggested the possibility of adding a .xxx domain suffix?

yes, but the US government blocked it...

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (2, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560488)

Has anyone suggested the possibility of adding a .xxx domain suffix?

IMO, the *real* issue of .xxx is not the one that the us.gov has (OMG, it approve5 pr0n!!!!), but rather, *WHO* decides what "must" go in .xxx.

You? Me? Bush? The Saudis? The Taliban? What about the ACLU? Or the gov.au, or maybe gov.fr?

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560872)

*WHO* decides what "must" go in .xxx.
We may be straying a bit off-topic here but, IMHO, there's no reason to force anything onto the .xxx domain. Just make it available so that "legitimate" pornographers can opt-in. Then, those who are offended by such content can filter it easily and ignore it. And, it would be easier for concerned parties to focus on sites that remain on the .com side that are acting irresponsibly (failure to do age verification / illegal content / etc.)

Re:No, no, a thousand times no. (2, Informative)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561588)

*WHO* decides what "must" go in .xxx.
We may be straying a bit off-topic here but, IMHO, there's no reason to force anything onto the .xxx domain. Just make it available so that "legitimate" pornographers can opt-in. Then, those who are offended by such content can filter it easily and ignore it. And, it would be easier for concerned parties to focus on sites that remain on the .com side that are acting irresponsibly (failure to do age verification / illegal content / etc.)
Filtering is easy to do now using the PICS system [w3.org] . PICS has many different categories you can filter sites on, from violence to sexually explicit. Why should there be a TLD for porn, and not one for violence, hate speech, or any of a dozen other potentially offensive aspects of speech? The .XXX TLD is a too small band aid to an already solved problem.

Wrong reason (3, Insightful)

EvilNTUser (573674) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560474)

"Government is the -last- entity that should oversee any censorship--because it has the most to gain from having such control."

No, the government is exactly the entity that should oversee censorship, because it's the only organization that's accountable to the voters. No corporation should ever have the power to censor anything.

Of course, I don't think even the government should have that power, but voters have always been clueless.

Re:Wrong reason (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561128)

Umm, when have you ever heard of the government being held appropriately accountable for anything? I can certainly name people like Karl Rove, Bush, Microsoft, Taliban, Musharraf, things like "Terrorism"...I'm sure they are well held accountable, right? People can't even figure out the right responsible people let alone get the proper ones blamed let alone get them held accountable. Have you ever heard of holding a president accountable in the history of presidents? Nope. Impeach and step down, sure. But who was ever truly held accountable?

Nobody should be overseeing censorship, there will be a bias no matter who does it. There is no such thing as "impartial censorship". Either you have freedom of speech or you don't. Attempting a middle ground for safety, protection, or thinking that it would work [thepiratebay.org] or any other means is a completely false delusion. People not wanting the filter and then having it forced on them as an opt-out is a very simple example of error.

The answer is there should not be the censorship, that is half the problem.

Re:Wrong reason (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561582)

The answer is there should not be the censorship, that is half the problem.

You're right in that sense, but for the purposes of precedent, it is important to decide which entities have the power of oversight. Currently, ISPs have been free to regulate themselves, and the telecom companies behind them have been quick to enact unfair and illegal terms of service as a result (read: Comcast). Yes, censorship isn't the answer, but eventually internet communication is going to need to be regulated. That much is known.

And just because most people aren't willing to hold their governments accountable for their actions doesn't mean they can't. As Net Neutrality and Technology issues become more and more central to political platforms, it will be important for political candidates to make their positions known on these issues, which puts the voters in control (or, in as much control as they've ever been).

Re:Wrong reason (3, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561248)

No, the government is exactly the entity that should oversee censorship, because it's the only organization that's accountable to the voters
 
Think this through: what happens when they censor reports of censorship? Government is the ultimate monopoly more than any mere corporation could ever be. While it is technically possible to switch governments via either enough votes or armed rebellion, the both rely heavily on lack of censorship to effectively get the message out in order to be effective. No, censorship is an insidiously powerfull tool of government. Do not wish they have it.

Better Goverment than a Corporation (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561106)

I don't want censored but am aware that it happens already. ISPs decide for themselves what they will allow through.
At the moment, I have some democratic rights that theoretically affect my government. I have a lot less control over what billion dollar companies do. Governments are swayed by ideas - some good and some not so. Companies are affected by money. They are not, and probably should not be, affected by what makes me happy. Their job is to make the best money for their shareholders.

One day, we might actually get a responsive government. Why should a corporation do the right or popular thing if there is more money in something else?

Censorship Is Never Necessary (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560038)

Censorship is never necessary. Ever.

But fighting it always is.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (3, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560076)

Censorship -within an individual residence- is potentially helpful in certain situations--young children and the like, when the parents want to ensure less chance of unfortunate images showing up and suchlike.

At any larger scope than a single family, though, yes, it's entirely unnecessary and should be discouraged whenever possible.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (5, Insightful)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561224)

This argument is also known as the "OMG! Thinkofthechildren!"-argument.

I'm always struck by the inherent hypocrisy of it. At the same time, I believe people should be able to raise their kids as they see fit (at least, to a large degree), and the government shouldn't come into the picture anyway.

I guess the best solution would be to be involved with your children, talk to them about certain things on the internet, and if necessary, show your disapproval of certain things... but leave them SOME choice, even when you have the tendency to block all of it.

Because, let's be frank: WHO didn't start to get to know about "it" when they still were kids. I remember - in my days when the Net wasn't around - in the school some kid or another brought a Playboy with him, and we were all watching with big eyes what was in it. It's just the way things go; one learns about these things BEFORE one gets 18, and well...we all know how; by watching it 'under the radar' of parents and the like. Why? Heck, because we knew they would 'censor' it if they could - even if they themselves learned it the same way.

This never-ending cycle of hypocrisy is what bothers me the most. People constantly get in the 'savethechildren'-mode, conveniently forgetting - every damn generation - that they did JUST the same, and it was that way they got to know about it.

Of course, you have exceptions; like in China, where a married copple of over 20 didn't even know how the basic things. And I'm sure in the ever-more prude USA things are also really getting hysterically absurd in this regard...But the fact is, it's just a normal way of getting to know about it. The 'prudeness'-hysteria (including censorship) is doing more harm than good, sometimes.

Yes, yes: the net has also some extreme stuff, and a line has to be drawn somewhere. But by some people, that line is drawn pretty damn hypocritical. And the self-appointed 'childsavers' have their field day because of it; exaggerations abound to scare people into thinking the only possible response is censorship. Sometimes to the detriment of a more objective truth. The 'the net is full of porn where our kids just happen to stumble upon and were traumatised by it' is one example of such utter BS. Sure, that can happen, but the truth is, especially for teenagers, for 90%, when they come at 'dirty' sites, it's because they were *looking* for it.

*gasp*

Well, yes...in our time, we went looking to get our hands on Playboys and the like, nowadays, they search the net for it. Heck, if the Net had existed back then, I'm pretty sure I would have been trying to peep on those sites too. Is there any dude here (prude USA'ers not counted) that can claim he wouldn't have done the same?

(ok, I know that such a question begs smart-ass remarks, but the point is; I think we all know the majority of guys would just do the same if they were a kid. Why try to censor something you did (or would have done) the same? Unless one deems himself traumatised by those experiences, it just doesn't make sense to have such a holier-than-thee approach, knowing it's actually not true and hypocrite.)

I think there are better options than bland censoring or forbidding youngsters to look for 'it'. It never really helps anyway.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561376)

My kingdom for some mod points. About time someone started talking sense. The truth is, if "adults" wouldn't freak out about sex so much it wouldn't be that big a deal for the kids. Half of them are only really interested in it because it's something they're not supposed to know about, and the other half are getting to the age where they really should be educated about it.

"unfortunate images showing up" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561258)

Are you afraid of kids going blind or what?

Re:"unfortunate images showing up" (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561308)

I still remember my first experience with goatse. Do you?

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (0)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560376)

Oh yeah? What about yelling 'Censorship is always necessary!' in a crowded ACLU meeting? You can take that to the bank and smoke it.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560558)

Oh yeah? What about yelling 'Censorship is always necessary!' in a crowded ACLU meeting? You can take that to the bank and smoke it.
And what's that got to do with censorship? Are you saying it should be illegal to do that? As far as I'm concerned it should be everyones right to try your experiment. I make no claims as to the results of course, and I wouldn't recommend doing it, but I'm not about to propose any legal restrictions on it.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560622)

Everyone is referring to the "Australian Government", I feel I have to point out that this is the Australian Labor Government, which was recently elected.

The Australian Liberal Government had a different idea on how to stop kids running into unsavory characters; tell them about the risks and what to look out for. There was a widely run and very successful ad campaign, which just gives kids the message "weird old guys will lie to you online, so don't believe everything you're told". Problem: Guys tricking kids online. Solution: Let all the kids and parents know that guys will do that, so watch out for it. Makes sense right?

The Australian Labor Government, shortly after being elected, decided that the impossible task of making the internet pre-school safe was a better solution.

Unfortunately we have to wait a few years while Australia realizes Labor is a big step backwards, Rudd said whatever he needed to get in (a pro-coal government who pledge to ratify Kyoto, there's sincerity for you), and we can go back to Liberal.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561178)

Generalizations are always false. Including this one.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (1)

asterix404 (1240192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561206)

I couldn't agree more. Who defines what is alright for kids to view? Should pictures of the Vietnam war with body parts everywhere and monks being burned alive be blocked? Should pictures of child birth or surgery be blocked? How about world war 2, the content in the fire bombings of Dresden, the aftermath of heroishima... how about R rated movie trailers... they shouldn't be viewed by children, any sight with any information about drug use... the list goes on and on and on, and it won't ever stop if we let it start.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561464)

Don't worry, big brother is watching out for you, he'll keep you safe from all that dangerous information.

Re:Censorship Is Never Necessary (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561564)

Dresden? Hiroshima? Vietnam? Never heard of any of those things, and none of them appear in any of my history textbooks. Are you trying to suggest that western civilisation isn't the holy grail of how to run a society? I don't much care for your tone, especially when you try and spread malicious lies. This is EXACTLY the sort of torrid information every right-thinking citizen should want censored from the net.

He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future.

It's amazing (4, Interesting)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560060)

It's amazing what potentially very dangerous tech people will tolerate just so they can "protect their kids".
Never mind that there's a million porn sites, the possibility of encrypted traffic or that there's the possibility that someone might use this to filter government-unfriendly information from your data stream...no, don't mind all that, just think of the children. Everything is fine.

Re:It's amazing (2, Funny)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560392)

Only a million porn sites? Wow, that's gone way down since 1992...

Re:It's amazing (1)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561272)

Read that as "dangerous tech people" and thought of all those nasty cyber terrorists when you obviously mean "dangerous tech that people will tolerate".

Perhaps the question to pose is what people will NOT do to "protect their kids". Is peer pressue in parenting as bad as that in the playground at school? (No idea - no kids) In the same way soccer mom's that drive SUV's so little jonny isn't hurt when (IF) they crash have bought the same kind of line.

Hmmm... (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560080)

  1. Filter/ban all pornographic sites to "Save the Children"
  2. Put all dastardly political plans/agendas on "porn site"
  3. Profit!!

All kidding aside, this sounds like an incredibly stupid idea. I have four young kids, and I already have a nice filter installed. It's called me not letting them use the PC without my being within eyesight of the PC.

Re:Hmmm... (3, Interesting)

apdyck (1010443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560206)

I already have a nice filter installed. It's called me not letting them use the PC without my being within eyesight of the PC
This is the approach that my parents took for many years (we were early adopters of the Internet, and as such parental controls were unheard of). It was remarkably effective. They even kept the computer that had the modem in a room with a locked door, so that we had to get them to unlock the door if we wanted to use the computer. There was another 'public' computer that wasn't online that we could use at any time, but if we needed to go online, it had to be done in the study under the supervision of one or more parent.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560494)

We have 3 computers in the house and 2 children. My computer is in the basement in my "office" (I work from home). I'm the only one who uses this computer. It's a Linux box and I lock it when I leave so I know this for a fact.

My wife's computer is in the family room simply because we don't have any where else to put it. The kids computer is also in the family room.

I'm not saying that I will never allow my kids to have an internet-accessible computer in their bedroom. But for that to become a reality I will have to believe that they are mature and responsible enough to keep their personal information private and not get "too close" to anyone that they meet online without safeguards in place. In other words it will be when they're well into their teenage years and have had many a long talk with me and their mother about privacy and personal responsibility, and that I am comfortable believing that it has sunk in.

After all, our job is to raise them into mature and responsible adults. So keeping their Internet use "public" indefinitely is directly contradictory to that belief.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

j1r3 (586944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560580)

I already have a nice filter installed. It's called me not letting them use the PC without my being within eyesight of the PC.

Now if all parents could be like you, we could then stop outsourcing parenting responsibilities to the govt.

This is a bad idea overall, but making it opt-out (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560094)

makes it even worse. It should be opt-in. How many people will be too embarrassed, or too shy to call up and opt-out or not want their name recorded as a potential Pr0n lover..... If parents want the service, they should be able to call and opt-in, but don't make the default mode censorship.

Re:This is a bad idea overall, but making it opt-o (1)

hool5400 (257022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560566)

I can imagine standing in front of the man having to explain why i needed unfiltered access.

It will become something lawyers use to slur people. They will make allusions that the people that need dirtynet access must be looking at something criminal, and suggest maybe these people are terrorists or child molesters. The luddite judge will eat that shit up. That's the way it works these days.

Government censorship is a good thing? (1)

haunebu (16326) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560104)

Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government.

Wow, I love Australia. But as an American, the two points made in that single sentence evoke knee-jerk revulsion in me!

Re:Government censorship is a good thing? (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560194)

I think you read that as "Censorship may be necessary, but it should be overseen by Government" instead of the intended "Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government?" I blame wombats in the tubes, stealing question marks. But I agree--censorship on this level is never necessary.

Re:Government censorship is a good thing? (2, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560370)

I blame wombats in the tubes, stealing question marks.


HEY! I resemble that remark.

Besides, can I help it if question marks are tasty?

Re:Government censorship is a good thing? (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560618)

Besides, can I help it if question marks are tasty?
Funniest thing I have read on the internet for months.

Re:Government censorship is a good thing? (1)

dat cwazy wabbit (1147827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560564)

This (the quote, not the post) is the funniest thing I've seen in a week. Maybe even a month.

No. Next question please (1)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560124)

The leap from censoring pr0n to censoring unpopular beliefs and the opposition's political views is disturbingly short...

Re:No. Next question please (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560226)

It's not even a leap.

It's a regexp.

Re:No. Next question please (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560304)

Probably just one line of Perl, right?
Wait, Perl isn't "cool" anymore... I meant to say Ruby there.

Re:No. Next question please (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560350)

The belief that there's nothing wrong with watching porn is an unpopular political view, at least here in North Carolina. Try being a pot-smoking atheist that watches porn in a place that's so religious. People tell me my life will amount to nothing because I smoke pot, that I'll never have a relationship with a woman because I watch porn, and that I'm a terrible person because I don't believe in God.

Of course, they're all quite wrong. I'm about to have my BS in Computer Science, earned in a four year timespan, with a couple academic scholarships. I'm also getting married to the woman who is my best friend in June. But nobody cares what I actually am, so many people would rather let their prejudice run wild. Reminds me of how people view the Pakistanis I used to work for. Folks make terrible assumptions about them because they believe in Islam (suicide bomber, wife beater), but they're really the nicest people I've ever worked for.

Re:No. Next question please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560796)

Dinner started at about seven. John Kerry was set to accept the nomination at the FleetCenter in a few hours. Dinner Table wondered if the terrorists would strike. "No, no," Susie said. "The criminals wouldn't attack their own kind."

"Hear, hear," I said.

I concentrated on my food. Grace was easy: Just hang your head. But once they moved into politics and religion, I began to worry that my silence was becoming conspicuous. Susie was shooting me searching looks. I noticed her husband, the wiry gray-haired dad with the slow voice and the henpecked posture, was watching me whenever I chewed. Like he was checking to see if I would swallow. Finally the discussion switched to the high school one of her sons attended; he had a couple of crazy teachers there, a mean lady and a guy with man-boobs....

"We have a transvestite at our school," I whispered, suddenly inspired.

Susie's husband and older son were still talking about the man-boobs teacher. "Whaddya mean, which one?" the younger said to his dad.

"We have a transvestite at our school," I repeated.

Only Susie heard me. "No!" she screamed. "Did you hear what he said? A transvestite works at his school!" She turned to me in horror. "Is he allowed to dress like a woman?"

Now I had everyone's attention.

"Oh, yeah," I said. "Totally normal guy, except that at some point, he started reading all kinds of . . . "

"Books!" Susie guessed.

"It's called possession," her husband said.

"Yeah, books," I said. "It started . . . he was reading Agatha Christie books at first, then he got really into detectives. Next thing you know, he's reading Nietzsche. You know, the German philosopher."

"The weirdo German!" Susie exclaimed.

Everyone was staring at me in shock.

"And he comes up to me one day and says, you know, 'Well, since there's no God, I might as well be gay!' "

"Oh, my God," her husband whispered.

"And he starts talking like this, and his appearance got more and more strange. . . . He started coming into work in drag. . . . "

"Oh, my God," the husband repeated.

"And his boyfriend would come and pick him up at school. . . ." I went on.

"Oh!" Susie shrieked, scrunching her nose, as though smelling rotting cheese.

"The thing is, I'm the one who gets in trouble," I said. "Like, there was this one little girl. I caught her listening to 50 Cent -- you know, the rapper -- and I started telling her about the torments of hell, and how she'd pay in eternity and all of that. And the principal comes up to me, and he's like, 'Stop, you're scaring the children!' "

"Oh, yeah," Susie snorted.

"And I'm like, 'I'm scaring her? Are you crazy? This girl is seven years old. She needs to know about these things!'

"We have kids now, because they know you're a Christian, they go out of their way to make your life miserable," I said. "I know this one guy. They'll take his Bible from his classroom and snort cocaine off it, right in front of him!"

Susie put her hands over her heart.

"They'll get suspended for a week," I said. "But then they're right back in there."

The table fell silent. The kids slowly started to slip away. Soon the only ones left were me, Mom and Dad, and a nearly empty bowl of fettuccine. Forty minutes in, my fork was still scraping the plate.

"Now this is good fettuccine," I said.

Re:No. Next question please (1)

obarel (670863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560942)

Wait a minute... Something doesn't sound right.

According to the stereotype, Pakistanis don't smoke pot, don't watch porn and aren't atheists. So how come there's any prejudice against them?

In other words, who's perfect these days? Ah, the same people who were always perfect: White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Re:No. Next question please (2, Funny)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561154)

I'm also getting married to the woman who is my best friend in June.

What about the other 11 months? Is she someone else's best friend then?

Eh, what leap? There is no leap (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561088)

The belief that porn is good is unpopular (among certain people). The belief that freedom of speech is more important then stopping kids from seeing boobies is UNPOPULAR!

There is NO leap to make. Censoring porn IS the leap.

Why do you think REAL freedom advocates leapt to the defence of Larry Flint when attempts were made to censor him and his works? Because they want Hustler? No, because the fight for freedom is lost if you allow censorship ANYWHERE.

If you believe in free speech then you MUST defend my desire to watch smut. If you care about freedom you will defend my right to fap and "think of the childeren" rethoric should be discarded as the obvious tool of dictators.

Opt-out? (5, Insightful)

Thondermonst (613766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560144)

So you have to opt-out? Great, so once in place, the Austalian Governement will have a list of all people who want to watch porn.

Re:Opt-out? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560302)

That sounds incredibly useful...

It would be comical if the list got leaked, though.

Re:Opt-out? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560692)

It could be politically damaging, not comical, if a politician wound up on the "unfiltered Internet" list. The politician might just be a freedom-loving individual who never personally visits XXX sites, but would like for the decision to be up to him and not the government, but it could still be spun by an opposing candidate as something horrible.

"Candidate X loves visiting porn sites day and night. Meanwhile, Candidate Y supports filters to protect our children from awful, porn loving monsters. Who do you want in office?"

Of course, Australian politics might be different from US politics. That's how it would happen if this were to occur in the US. Anyone from Australia care to comment as to whether Australian politics is as dirty as US politics?

Re:Opt-out? (3, Funny)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560778)

I'm not an aussie but I understood that their new Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd) started to gain support in polls over Howard AFTER it was leaked that he had gone to a strip club in Washington visit. Apparently the general image had been that the guy is absolutely boring bean counter, but after the news broke people were saying "Wow, that guy actually has a life....I could vote for him".

Mind you, this is COMPLETELY based on a random faction in media on the other side of the world..

Re:Opt-out? (1)

Domint (1111399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560902)

All Politics is dirty.

If it gets leaked???? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561032)

Don't you mean, "when it gets leaked".

Re:Opt-out? (1)

pjeremyh (903859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560464)

They have that list already - it's the subset of all broadband subscribers where the title is "MR".

Re:Opt-out? (2, Funny)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560536)

wouldn't it be shorter to just list all the people who don't?

What's inappropriate? (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560152)

The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children, Enex said.
So this is only a trial test, with a field test to follow, but what entity is deciding what is inappropriate. Obviously pr0n would be blocked, but what else would be blanketed? Sites that are deemed inappropriate in order to save the children which could have no bearing whatsoever in terms of being inappropriate. Plus in order to opt out you have to contact your ISP. Why the hell not make it the opposite? Contact your ISP if you want it. I would rather not be inconvenienced by some overzealous censorship in my country.
I'm also curious if this could possibly die in the process or if the govt is 100% intent on implementing this to the bitter end.

Re:What's inappropriate? (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561320)

So this is only a trial test, with a field test to follow, but what entity is deciding what is inappropriate. Obviously pr0n would be blocked....

Obviously? What is porn exactly? You give me the guidelines of what is and what is not porn and I'll show you porn just outside of your guidelines. And, with enough money and enough lawyers I can get any pics I want declared non-porographic.

Re:What's inappropriate? (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561430)

That's further proof to my point. Who gets to decide what is classified as blockable?

Government Censorship (1)

smacNhawaii (949588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560156)

The remark in this article .."Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government." should send shivers up every thinking citizen's spine (presupposing that he/she has one). Government should never be allowed any form of censorship. It is only with the free flow of information that citizens remain aware of the actions of that government.

Start Small (5, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560196)

Sure, now it's optional and only in Australia. Soon it'll be in the UK, and then the US. After a while, they'll find some way to make it mandatory... I foresee something to the effect of "Kids could use your computer, and we must protect kids from the evil intertubes", and good luck to you if you speak up. "What, you want to hurt children? What kind of monster are you? Pervert!"

Hopefully I am overreacting, but I don't think I am.

Re:Start Small (2, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560608)

"Sure, now it's optional and only in Australia. Soon it'll be in the UK, and then the US."

Just like communism ?

Ok, I'm not saying don't be concerned. I'm not saying don't write your representatives to tell them just how opposed you are to the US following Australia's lead. But the US was so terrified that communism was going to spread through the pacific and hit Hawaii and then the continental US that they went to war in Vietnam to stop it from spreading.

Keep things in the realm of reality, please. There's a lot of things you can, and should be, doing to make your voice heard. But rampant paranoia, and how it hurts rather than helps, was already discussed on slashdot today [slashdot.org]

Re:Start Small (1)

GogglesPisano (199483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560706)

Sure, now it's optional and only in Australia. Soon it'll be in the UK, and then the US.

Good God! Clearly it's time for action. I'm going to immediately start downloading as much precious internet pr0n as I can, before the guv-mint cuts off the supply.

Re:Start Small (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561702)

As alarming and disappointing this is, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that porn will *never* be blocked on the Internet in a mandate by the US government. There may be a lot of "think of the children" people yelling, but there's a whole heck of a lot more people who like their smut. The US essentially invented the Internet, as well as the porn industries that built up most of the commercial side of it. It's not going anywhere.

Necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560228)

Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government.
You've begged the question. Censorship is never necessary.

Individuals should be provided with the tools they need to self-censor, of course. If someone doesn't want to stumble across pronography, then we should make this possible (e.g. Google's safe search). By extension, parents should be provided with the tools they need to limit their children's access to certain things.

But widespread presumptive censorship (opt-out instead of opt-in?) is both unnecessary and immoral.

Good luck filtering content in https connections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560298)

It makes me wonder who pushes this stuff thinking it is some kind of real solution.

Re:Good luck filtering content in https connection (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560596)

Good luck getting an https connection to a blocked website.

Re:Good luck filtering content in https connection (1)

zaax (637433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561296)

Yes, I was wondering how they are going to do that. If it's by IP, just go via something like openDNS or if they are looking at each packet use https. Sounds like just another waste of govenerment / public money.

Re:Good luck filtering content in https connection (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561412)

Good luck blocking a tor hidden service

Multiple modes? (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560452)

In addition to the normal mode of filtering out adult content, I hope the filters can be configured to only allow it as well. I recommend the filter modes be labeled "Suck" and "Blow" respectively.

What kinds of names are those? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561114)

It sounds to me like both "suck" and "blow" modes are porn-only modes.

Re:Multiple modes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561204)

Confusing - as they're synonyms

Simpler solution (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560460)

In those households where parents actually give a rat's posterior about raising their kids, protect them from being prosecuted for child abuse for spanking or whipping their kids with a belt for consuming pornography and such.

If parents can't punish their kids worse than yelling at them or taking away their computer for breaking the family rules on not watching porn, how can you expect parents to keep their kids under control?

When my wife was in high school, she did a study for a class. She went around and asked the girls she knew if they had been spanked or otherwise physically disciplined when they broke the rules growing up. Those who had, the majority of them were the well-adjusted, decent girls. The rest fit many negative stereotypes...

There was an ironic article about outlawing such discipline in California. The state representative said that she'd never support such discipline because she would never spank her cat because some ill-informed vet told her it would do no good. Heh. I grew up with cats, and can tell you that if you spank them when they break the rules, they tend to behave well like any other pet. The reason we have most of these parenting issues is because many families treat their kids the way that they would treat a cat based on common behavior toward cats.

Re:Simpler solution (2, Interesting)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560950)

Forget the "child abuse" label. Hitting someone is assault, whether the person you're hitting is an adult or a child, and regardless of whether the child is yours or someone else's. It should be treated as such.

On the other hand, the parents should have some leverage as well. I propose that they not be legally obligated to provide shelter or care; any child that habitually breaks the rules can find its own food and shelter. To protect against overuse, relax the rules giving preferential treatment to biological parents in regards to custody and let others take in the child voluntarily with a minimum of trouble. Then the problem cases can discover first-hand the consequences of alienating their caretakers, and uncaring parents can learn to treat their children as human beings instead of personal property. This should cultivate a much larger degree of respect on both sides.

Re:Simpler solution (2, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561098)

So when you're old and your kids are taking care of you, should they beat you when you don something they don't like?

Re:Simpler solution (2, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561136)

So you have no problem with a man beating their wife?

Saying that it is OK to whack a kid, is on par with saying that it is OK to whack a women (or a man). "But she/he/it didn't do what I told them to do..." Bullshit, domestic violence, of any kind, should not be tolerated.

If your partner just happens to over-cook your dinner, whipping them with a belt is A-OK?
After, it is simple "cause and effect".

What happens if your partner simply forgets to get the mail, or perhaps forgot to get the milk when shopping. Is it OK then to give whip them? After all, if you do it enough, they won't forget again!

Anyway, what is wrong with children looking at porn if they want to? What right does the parent have to restrict their children from viewing images? Pornography is a victim-less crime, whether it is viewed by children or adults. Children have rights, too.

(The first few paragraphs were copied and pasted (with slight changes) from a discussion at RevLeft on the matter. That's why they might not seem to quite fit.)

Re:Simpler solution (2, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561554)

Ah yes the lovely straw man argument. Let me follow up on it: since you consider children the same as adults I guess they'll be fine if we just dump them out on the street. If you disagree then you're a hypocrite, since I'm simply using the same logic as you are using. After all you're not required to support a dead beat relative so why should you be forced to support a dead beat child, either they work or they don't eat.

Anyway, children are not adults and they don't think quite as adults. Sometimes you need to hit them a bit to get the point across since you can't exactly argue with them logically.

Re:Simpler solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561138)

You were beaten as a child weren't you? You don't have to justify your parents thirst for violence and their lack of patience.

The problem is limits (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561592)

You beat your cat. Well sure it will behave "better" from then on, the cat is too scared to do anything lest it gets noticed and gets another trashing. You are not raising a well adjusted normal cat, you are raising a scaredy cat who "behaves" in order to avoid punishment.

Same with people, I lived in places where discipline in the family was enforced and yes those kids on the surface seemed well behaved, but they grow up NOT as mature responsible adults but as people who are deadly afraid to be found out. But oh my god their behaviour when they think they are "safe" from being found out.

Check where the highest levels of sexual child abuse take place. In communities that seem oh so well behaved, until they are behind closed doors. I grew up among kids like that, all squaky clean on the surface until they thought the adults were no longer watching. My first porn mag did NOT come from my own liberal school, it came from a friend from a strongly christian family who obediently attended bible classes.

If you want to raise a cat properly the only thing that works is to be there when it is learning the 'rules' of its new home and discipline it at ONCE. No need to beat it, a spray of water or a loud stamp is enough. It will then hopefully learn that the punishement was for what it was doing (don't be to sure about this) and refrain from doing it again. It is fairly easy, but I easily train cats to use their scratching post without ever having to resort to violence. If it is scatching somewhere just pick it up and put it at the post and puts its claws on the post. Also make sure to PLAY with it at the post from time to time especially when it is scratching it on its own so that it learns that this is a fun place to sharpen the nails.

Beating it when you come home and find the wallpaper scatched just gives you a nervous cat afraid of you. Sure it "behaves", but who would want a cat like that. Or a person who is constantly afraid to get noticed because they might get punished?

What does such a person do when they think they are safe from being punished? My first was a good catholic girl and I sure as hell wasn't her first. I suggest that next time your wife looks a little deeper. What goes on when thse well-adjusted decent girls don't have an adult near that could tell on them so they get another beating?

Offcourse there are limits, but the right path is somewhere in between total neglect and beatings. That is why parenting is so bloody difficult, there is no hard and fast rule. Sometimes yes, a spanking or a slap can be in order, as direct punishment for an activity that must stop now. Childeren go through phases where you sometimes need to be able to make it BLOODY clear that the line has been crossed.

That is the other problem with regular beatings, they loose their power. A child that gets a single smack when it gets out of line will see that as far thougher discipline then a child who gets the belt for being late for dinner.

Sadly there is no simple guidebook to follow and state regulation often has to find a way to curb the extremes, anti-child abuse laws like this are created by people that seen the worsed and sadly in their fevour to stop real child abuse introduce laws that go a bit to far. But frankly I seen one rather disturbing case that suggests to me that those who complain have something to hide. It was a co-worker who complained about social services becoming involved after she disciplined her child physically by spanking her. So how come social services ever knew about such a harmless thing? Well the school informed them, because the child could not sit still from the pain of the broken skins from this "spanking". Sure, you could possibly link to a story where a childinformed on his/her parents after the mildest of touches BUT that is life. Every law will fail to stop some things it is meant to stop and catch some that it didn't.

Raising things is hard especially if you want to raise a free thinker, not somebody constantly cowering in your presence.

Don't confuse liberal parenting with neglect.

How long will this last. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560508)

What can be done. Will people ever realize censorship is unnecessary. And when will they learn to use question marks.

Seems innocent enough... (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560534)

But it has already started, the last time I saw this it was going to be opt-in, now it's opt-out, how much further? That's the question.

The slippery slope were on (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560634)

It's fairly obvious at this point that "The West" is heading towards a model not too different than what PRC uses.

1. Corporations given way too much power
2. Consumers encouraged to spend beyond their means
3. Media and Information controlled and manipulated by a "protective force"

The UK, Australia and the US are all going down this path, each in their own way.
Small freedoms removed at first, not obvious to the "average citizen".

We are heading towards what twenty years ago would be called a Police State.

Punctuational as Usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560672)

Questions may be needed, but must they be followed by question marks.

But Australians love porn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560718)

It seems like there will be a lot of people wanting to opt out, considering that Australia's per-capital porn revenue is twice that of the US [toptenreviews.com] . Or, if the option to opt out is difficult, it will be interesting (and disappointing) to see if the reduction in rape caused by Internet porn [slate.com] is reversed.

Ease up a bit... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560744)

I know it's our nature to question any sentence that includes both the words "government" and "censorship", but if the users are free to opt out at any point, how exactly is this terrible? Would you prefer this run by an organization or company that would be even more susceptable to bribes and/or collusion? Or perhaps you'd rather that every ISP establish it's own standards of censorship? People want options, and if this helps parents feel better about their kids surfing habits, why should it not be offered?

I know folks stand behind the argument of, "I monitor my kids internet, I know what they're doing." Wrong. No matter how hard you try, you can't 100% monitor their access unless you're with them 24/7. The time spent surfing the web at home isn't the time you need to worry about, it's the time they spend at they're friends house who's parent don't give two shits about internet monitoring, or the free WAP's they can access from every other streeet corner with a coffee shop, or the....you get the idea. A universal protection with an opt-out option gives parents at least *some* peace of mind, even if it is somewhat misguided.

Re:Ease up a bit... (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561056)

When I was a kid, we didn't even have the Internet and we still got porn. And you know what, we all grew up more or less well-adjusted anyway. This law isn't going to stop most kids from getting porn. Your kids - everyones kids - will see porn. It may be useful to try limit it to a degree, but should otherwise collectively "get over it". There is no "problem" screaming to be solved. If parents want peace of mind let the private sector provide filtering software. Oh, they already do.

Freedom shouldn't be something you have to "ask the nice government people to please allow you to have" - good God. "Government" has f-all to do with my personal life, they're just supposed to do their jobs (most basic infrastructure and protection of everyone's rights and enforcement of laws) and butt the hell out of everything else. It's not the government's job to raise children and never should be.

Re:Ease up a bit... (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561434)

"if the users are free to opt out at any point, how exactly is this terrible?"
You can opt out for NOW. What happens when the government decides that too many adults are downloading copyrighted materials? Or something the government considers 'dangerous'? There is already an existing filtering system in place, and it will be so easy to just turn it on for everybody. Government rarely opts for less control or regulation.

"Would you prefer this run by an organization or company that would be even more susceptible to bribes and/or collusion?"
You think companies are MORE susceptible to bribes and collusion? You've never heard of campaign contributions or voting along party lines, have you?

"Or perhaps you'd rather that every ISP establish it's own standards of censorship?"
Yes, most definitely. Then you could have ISPs that cater to families/children by having a rigid filtering system, while others might have little to no filtering for adults. Guess what? Then you have a choice.

There Will Be A List... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561024)

There will be a List, you can count on it. It will be The List of people who Opt Out from Decency. And when your name gets on this list, you can count on it coming out very publicly at the worst and most opportune moment -- as when you run for office against the entrenched incumbent.

"And my less-than-esteemed opponent has OPTED OUT from decency filtering on his Internet connection. And he has TEENAGED CHILDREN in his house. Would you really want to ELECT SUCH A MAN to replace good old reliable me?"

You can bet on it.

Re:There Will Be A List... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561194)

Why do most politicians seem to be cut from Robespierre's cloth, rather than somebody like Voltaire?

The Internet is an important World Resource (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561288)

The Internet is an important world resource. we should do whatever we need to do to prevent ABUSE such as SPAM, DoS attacks, hacking, pirating, and such.

content filtering is another level

It occurs to me that the FCC kept smutt and sleaze -- bad language, lewd pictures and such -- off the air for quite some time. it certainly would not hurt to continue that basic policy

at the same time we do not want any two-bit tin-horn dictators arresting their political opposition and closing their sites down.

Any actual evidence of harm? (2, Interesting)

nasor (690345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561338)

Has anyone ever actually demonstrated that looking at porn is harmful to children/teens? Everyone seems to be taking it as a forgone conclusion, but I've never seen any scientific evidence in a psychology journal. If looking at porn is really as dangerous as many people like to believe, it should be very easy to demonstrate the harm - but so far as I know, nobody has ever done that.

And no, I don't consider "It gives people unrealistic ideas about sex" to be actual harm. Romance movies probably do vastly more harm to developing adolescents by giving them unrealistic expectations of what real romantic relationships are like. Having a grossly distorted "Hollywood" view of romance is probably going to be substantially more problematic to a teenager/young adult than being disappointed that your girlfriend doesn't want to do something kinky that you saw in a porn movie.

It seems like the government should have to produce some evidence that it's actual dangerous before they ban/censor it.

Its official. I hate kids. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561352)

My Significant other and I have discussed it, I think I'm going to go get myself fixed. I hate children. I didn't like being a child, children are nothing but trouble, and children are destroying my Internet, and I will not, I repeat, NOT have kids.

Who does the "deeming"?? (3, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561508)

The article states that they want to filter pornography AND . . .

"OTHER INTERNET CONTENT DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN"

It's never really about pornography, it's always about that "other bad stuff", like dissident political opinions.

So, who's in charge of deciding what is and is not appropriate for children? Think of ALL the content that certain people and organizations have wanted to ban at various times and you'll get the idea of why censorship is fundamentally incompatible with freedom. Think of Christians wanting to protect the children from Charles Darwin and "political correctness" extremists wanting to ban Mark Twain.

Is spam inappropriate for children? (1)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561848)

I mean, spam could potentially be advertising viagra or porn. They're going to hop right on that and filter out spam, right?
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