No opt-out of filtered Internet

Policy to be set after trial

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government's pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.

Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

Pundits say consumers have been lulled into believing the opt-out proviso would remove content filtering altogether.

The government will iron-out policy and implementation of the Internet content filtering software following an upcoming trial of the technology, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the filters will be mandatory for all Australians.

“Labor’s plan for cyber-safety will require ISPs to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by children,” he said.

“The upcoming field pilot of ISP filtering technology will look at various aspects of filtering, including effectiveness, ease of circumvention, the impact on internet access speeds and cost.”

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) contacted by Computerworld say blanket content filtering will cripple Internet speeds because the technology is not up to scratch.

Online libertarians claim the blacklists could be expanded to censor material such as euthanasia, drugs and protest.

Internode network engineer Mark Newton said many users falsely believe the opt-out proviso will remove content filtering.

“Users can opt-out of the 'additional material' blacklist (referred to in a department press release, which is a list of things unsuitable for children, but there is no opt-out for 'illegal content'”, Newton said.

“That is the way the testing was formulated, the way the upcoming live trials will run, and the way the policy is framed; to believe otherwise is to believe that a government department would go to the lengths of declaring that some kind of Internet content is illegal, then allow an opt-out.

“Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked — end of story.”

Newton said advisers to Minister Conroy have told ISPs that Internet content filtering will be mandatory for all users.

The government reported it does not expected to prescribe which filtering technologies ISPs can use, and will only set blacklists of filtered content, supplied by the Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

EFA chair Dale Clapperton said in a previous article that Internet content filtering could lead to censorship of drugs, political dissident and other legal freedoms.

“Once the public has allowed the system to be established, it is much easier to block other material,” Clapperton said.

According to preliminary trials, the best Internet content filters would incorrectly block about 10,000 Web pages from one million.

Tags cyber-safety planinternet content filteringconroy

37 Comments

qazwsx

1

Highly unlikely

Any scheme like this will ultimately prove to slow down Internet access more than it already is (and it is already slower than every other country on the planet... but maybe that's why the government seem to think this won't be an issue?)

The ultimate solution: start requiring routers to be sold with content filtering enabled by default.

A competent user can turn it off, sure, but a competent user can get around whatever filter the government puts in place. Hasn't anyone ever heard of "onion routing"?

David Gerard

2

What could possibly go wrong?

"We have buttiduously canvbutted the industry, buttessed what is available and buttembled the finest selection of PFI contractors for this buttignment. The filters will buttociatively clbuttify all communications and filter then, I can butture you, rebuttemble them with surpbutting exacbreastude in any quanbreasty. Consbreastuents can be rebuttured that a mulbreastude of industry compebreastors will butture quality and keep our clbuttrooms safe."

Blog rant: http://notnews.today.com/2008/10/12/universal-internet-filter-plans-detailed/

Anonymous

3

Who Gets To Decide?

So much for our right of choice. Content filtering to remove inappropriate content.

So who decides what's inappropriate? Obviously my Government does not feel that I have sufficient congnitive abilities to decide for myself. They feel that they need to decide themselves what is good for me.

I completely object to any scheme that censors my rights. Next they will be telling me which books I can't read, what movies I can't watch etc etc etc. What words to say, how to walk etc etc etc.

We are obviously no better than children who require the guidance of authoritarian parents in how we live our life.

We are obviously not responsible enough either to guide our children through the rocky shoals of 'inappropriate content'. They'll censor our Internet feeds, but what about the rubbish on the TV - when will that be stopped? Our children are deliberately exposed to far worse on the TV than they see on their email or Internet feeds.

I know there is rubbish on the 'Net. I know that the 'spam' content is high - However, I also know that much legitimate content is trapped by these filters and just never gets through.

Who decides what is rubbish? Sometimes one persons rubbish is another persons manna. It's all a matter of perspective.

I think it is disgraceful.

qazwsx

4

Heh.

Classic.

Anonymous

5

This approach is so naive!

It should be access an unfiltered internet.

If the community wanted to protect their chidren they would choose ISPs offer filtering. It would differentiate ISPs.

Let competition create the best possible filters. A government can't ever hope to do anything but produce a clumsy solution which doesn't adapt quickly enough.

The government wants to censor, control is reassuring, but do they really think they will do more good than harm by implementing a country wide blacklist? It's so naive to think so. A blunt technical solution will only be circumvented and out of date in seconds... except when it's a political issue they want to control. Do you want that?

I will vote against against a government which attempts this. It will hold Australia back.

cheers,
Oliver George

Anonymous

6

But will it...?

prevent illegal, harmful material at least as well as the government has prevented privatization of taxpayer funded infrastructure? Oh, I hope so.

And...will it stop spam?

And please, everyone stop finding loopholes in the idea, you'll spoil the fantasy and the highly-paid stakeholders in the deal won't get their money. Shhh...be quiet and let them naively give your tax-dollars to the clever storyteller who convinced the technophobic bureaucrats it was possible and desirable to filter the internet for the whole country, based on a set of rules the people did not agree to.

Anonymous

7

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Ministerial office
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002

Tel: 03 9650 1188
Fax: 03 9650 3251

minister@dbcde.gov.au

http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/contact

That Commenting Guy

8

someone vote him out before he wrecks out internets

if i wanted censored internet, i'd move to china
all this censoring garbage makes stuff boring.

Anonymous

9

Use a VPN

This can be defeated using a VPN tunnel based in another country. VPN is secure, encrypted, and cannot be analysed, monitored, cracked, or sniffed

I own an Internet radio station in Australia, and I have my servers in the United States. So all I have to do is simply login to my server, using the VPN software built into Windows, and what I do online cannot be filtered, monitored, analysed, cracked, or sniffed, becuase it is heavily encypted. If Rudd and his cronies tried to sniff my traffic, all they would get is a bunch of GARBAGE.

Why you do think so many offices that allow remote access require VPN? It is a secure protocol that is impossible to crack.

And there are plenty of subscription VPN services out there, though with the weaking Australian dollar, they would be much more expensive now, but worth the price. Right now, they would run about 30 Australian dollars a month, on average. I advocate people doing this, unless they are like me, and own servers outside Australia.

Anonymous

10

Like I Said, use a VPN

Get a subscription VPN service and use that. There is no POSSIBLE way your connection can be monitored

Anonymous

11

If you are a foreigner planning a trip to Australia.....

If you are a foreigner planning on visiting Australia, you can fix it where you don't have to put up with the filtering regime, while you are in Australia. If you have home computer running Windows XP or Vista professional, and have a broadband (perferably DSl) connections with multiple IP addresees, you can set it up where you can create a VPN tunnel to your computer back home.

That's right, you can create your own VPN server on your Windows XP machine. Then you can access it from any other Windows machine in the world. All you have to do is set up the connection, using the network settings from the remote machine. You then just sign on to your machine, supplying the credentials you create on your home computer, before coming to Australia.

A broadband account with multiple IPs is needed, becuase when you sign on the VPN tunnel on your server, the server side of the VPN connection fetch an available IP from the pool of IPs your ISP has assigned you, then you will be surfing with that IP address. You also also be using your ISP's DNS and DHCP facilities, so you will be able to avoid the filtering regime the locals have to put up with.

Becuase of the encryption, there is no possible way the authorities will know WHAT you are up to. All they will know is that you are making an encrypted connection to home computer, outside the country. All they will get, if they try to monitor the connection, is a bunch of indecipherable garbage.

Anonymous

12

And any tehnically saavy user

And any tehnically saavy user can use VPN. Becuase it is use heavily in international business, no government would DARE ban VPN connections.

There is no way to outlaw VPN without shutting down a lot of business transctions. This is what makes VPN the "achilless heel" of any filtering regime.

Anonymous

13

Last frontier on free-speech lost

The internet is truly a medium of free-speech with anything and everything free for all. This filtering of 'illegal' activity can be quickly seized upon by those in power to control more and more of what is accessible; falsely proclaiming it to be illegal. It's just like the 'terrorism' scare where all manners of force are used in it's name. Pitiful excuse.

There's a lot truth out there on the internet which those in power don't want the general public to be aware of. It's these that the government doesn't want you to know. The only protection we need is the protection of our rights to the truth.

Anonymous

14

I don't have children!!

I don't have children, nor will I ever. Although, if I ever did, as a parent, I don't need public servants I pay tax to, the same ones that pander to commie china, telling me what the hell I can or can't look at online.

Rudd, stuff your Fabian Orwell 1984 vision up your clacker!
www.torproject.org

Anonymous

15

WTF IS GOING ON?

those people had better stop paying for that crappy internet. if they (the people) stuck together, and stopped paying their bills for 2- months, then they would see who's really in charge.
YOU'D BETTER STOP PAYING YOUR INTERNET BILL PEOPLE, AND STICK TOGETHER. UNITE PEOPLE.
i personally don't need the government in my business, and if they tried to do that sh*t here in america, the sh*t would hit the fan.
REMEMBER, YOU DONT HAVE TO SIT IN THE BACK OF THE BUS!!!!

Anonymous

16

that's what you get

See what happens when labour is in power. I can make up my own mind. I don't need some poncy pollie telling me what I can and can't do. I'm a mature adult not some 9 year old child. and yes I have children, but I watch what they get up to and also have parental protection on there web sites.

Anonymous

17

a stupid government

yes, i understand that our (Australian) government wants to block illegal content from the internet, but who gets to chose what sites go onto this so called "watered down black list"? The same stupid government who thinks this ISP filter will not slow down one of the world's slowest internet connection, and the same people who want to hinder our freedom to look at whatever we want.

what will also happen with people with slow internet, such as dial up. They will be left with nothing.

with MORE than 10,000 sites for every one million blocked, and there is approximately two billion sites and counting, just try and figure out how many sites are blocked from this.

i believe that this mandatory filtering is a terrible idea. this filter is going to take our right of freedom to look at what we want. This government is letting the power get to their heads.

spascho

18

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Anonymous

19

vpn

Hi mate,i advise you to visit this <a href="http://world-secure-channel.com/why/">vpn</a> ,it's not so expensive and works great!

Manesh

20

Can somebody say China

Wow, didnt realise we were being run by the Chinese government,

This is completely pathetic if it happens, the face that our internet which is already horribly slow gets slower is a joke, throw that in there with the fact of that the government is choosing for US what we are allowed to see and watch is a joke. This is nothing more than a power hungry administration that is trying to blanket complete control on the people that placed them in there. This is a joke.

gfrend

21

Senator Conjob and the Prim Minister

Yes, it's a joke and a very bad one. The worst part of it is that the well meaning but ignorant people whose votes this is meant to attract will actually be worse off if it becomes law.

With Prim Minister Krudd saying "vote for us and save your children", parents will not feel they have to watch kids when online. As no scheme can block all the bad stuff, kids will be more likely to see it than if their parents were doing their job.

Apart from cynical vote-fishing, the creation of a secret government blacklist of banned sites will prove irresistable for a government always happy to silence opposing ("inappropriate") points of view. If not the present government, then certainly a future one.

Anonymous

22

censorship in ireland

Can you please help me in relation the censorship of the internet in ireland.

Eircom the main internet provider in Ireland has plans to curb peoples use and enjoyment of the internet by filtering all content on the internet. This non government controlled filtering of the internet is to stop the illegally uploading and downloading of copyrighted material. IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association ) which is controlled by the main record labels (EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner) are to supply Eircom with the IP addresses of all people they detect illegally uploading or downloading copyrighted materials. If you are found to be illegally downloading copyrighted materials you can be disconnected from the internet.

The filtering of the internet and the treat of disconnection is serving a commercial interest group and is not to the benefit to the people of Ireland. We do not condone piracy but we should never have censorship, surveillance and treat of disconnection from the internet. The internet has become a main part of Modern life people use it everyday for doing business, communicating with friends buying and selling goods, reading the news as well as many other reasons. There is over a billion people in the world that use the internet and half the world have mobile phones to disconnect people from the internet is ending there freedom to work and communicate with the world. Censorship, surveillance and disconnection of the internet for the benefit of music industry is ridiculous. How can a democratic nation allow a private industry association to dictate what information their population can/cannot read. The future of the internet is at stake if we let censorship of the internet start now we can never stop it.

can you please help me make this be known to the public or give me advice in how i should launch a campaign to stop it at the moment i am sending this email and asking people to forward it toThe following email addresses the minister for communication the irish media and eircom (please help forward to the following and to your friends)

eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie, customer.services@eircom.net, sales@eircom.net

eircomadvertising@eircom.net, newsonline@rte.ie, info@tv3.ie

.

Thanks

Ger

Gerad

23

The Internt is our only freedom

With articles like this and the increase in police access to things like Facebook we are giving up our own freedom. The Australia Public is letting the government take control. <strong>Our last freedom of speech is the internet</strong> and now they are trying to take that from us. Our laid back attitude allows prime choice in testing control tactics feed by the US…like a Genie Pig experiment. It’s time to stand up Australia.

Anonymous

24

no u

@Conroy: no u

Alex

25

Content filtering for children is a must have. But this filter will block some websites that are harmless.

Anonymous

26

this is an incredibly bad idea,not only will it stop many legal sites from working,it will also slow down the internet speeds and therefore systematically making us switch back to lower internet connections IE dial up.

gymbo

27

... unequivocally, NO !

....Once the tentacles of CONTROL begin to "legally" restrict the environment of the internet, where will it end ?
..NO !, I say !

...Emancipation !

....If, like myself, you are a 'concerned parent', PERHAPS YOU WOULD BE WELL ADVISED TO SPEND TIME listening TO AND exploring LIFE WITH YOUR KIDS.

...YOU are the parent. YOU have control.

.. I whole-hartedly DISAGREE with ANY restriction to limit internet traffic IN ANY WAY, SHAPE or FORM.

....With an OPEN, CALM and MATURE attitude, honesty and confidence can be instilled into the minds and hearts of our future generations, enabling them to become OPEN, CALM and MATURE for the sake of their children.

...Should the government of the day wish to be acknowledged for transparency, then I propose "the black list" be SHARED with ALL internet users and the OPTION to include these sites into respective personal firewall software, be the sole province of the subscriber.

I REFUSE TO SUBSCRIBE TO GOVERNMENTAL INTERNET CENSORSHIP.

..Having lived and worked in China between 2004 and 2008, I enjoyed unlimited uploads / downloads, unequalled speed and unfettered access to the internet.

....UNFORTUNATELY, Oz is WAY BEHIND.

...Next you'll be telling me OUR government will allow armed soldiers to patrol our streets !

...Peace, and Enjoy... gymbo:)

Anonymous

28

Anybody supporting these measures has lost any sense of reality.

Down with flat Earther politicians!

Anonymous

29

Define "inappropriate", Minister

Conroy is not very bright but he's very cunning.

He still claims that the filter is to stop pedophilia, when he must know that the scum involved in that illegal activity will have enough tech knowledge to avoid the filter.

It seems he came closest to the truth when he once revealed that the filter will be used to secretly censor "inappropriate" content. This is a long way indeed from the pedophilia he is claiming to target.

Perhaps he will soon announce that the filter trial has been successful (of course) and will then apply the filter using his "inappropriate" rule to ban any opposing political views.

Anonymous

30

This is serious. And most of the public do not understand the ramifications. Our freedom is at stake here...

Wake up Australia!

SilverLeaf

31

Man that commi has really done it this time...
Anyway, nothing to worry about... *proxy on*

JH

32

Hasn't the Minister of Missed Information heard of steganography? Apparently that's increasingly popular with the kind of people who don't want their content to be obviously viewable by all and sundry, and certainly hard enough to identify that looking for it would be even more prohibitive. The only people this legislation helps are people who are selling steganographic encoders and other similar software which can circumvent the filters.

Why not just make it a crime to allow (through unsupervised internet access) a child to access content innappropriate for their age. Parents might start taking an interest in actually watching what their kids are looking at on the computer and ensuring age-appropriate behaviours. As an additional upside, parents might actually catch some of their kids in the act of Cyber-bullying and take appropriate corrective action!

PS: There's still a lot of single people out there in Australia who DON'T have kids in their homes. I wonder if we'd be able to get enough of those people together in a group-action to get this to the high court, and let some people experienced in making common-sense decisions based in facts, not quasi-religious parental hysteria decide what's best for the country.

JH

Shaun

33

Oh well if it all turns to shite I will just disconnect
from the net save $100 a month and probably find something else to do. Its all free choice about what we spend our money on. If the content is crap we dont have to buy it. If we all do the same the whole lot will come crashing down and will have to start again. Anyway who's the dick head who let kids on the net. It was made by adults for adults and the government were stupid enough to think it might be educational and could opt out of providing their own electronic educational media that could be controlled and accurate for economic reasons. In the end speak with our feet and stuff them all up.

matt

34

censorship is for slaves.....period.

liam bradley

35

Child pornography, terrorism, inappropriate content etc etc etc
are simply being used as excuse to put structures into place that can curtail our ability to browse where we choose. Particularly if our searches contradict mainstream programming.
A truly sickening development. Propagated under the illusion of protecting us in some way or another.
Protecting the status quo more like.
Weather we believe projected reasons or not, they'll be going ahead with their censorship of any non corporate media's any how and any way.
They're closing ranks on content that facilitates individual reasoning amongst the everyday people.
The "thought police" are busy busy busy.
Contemptible.

Earl Gray

36

rubbish, I say! poo on you, Australia government! I knew we should of sent more nobles and less convicts when we colonized that island!

Sheer

37


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