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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Internet Censorship Rally

For those out of the loop, the Australian government wants to put a 'Clean Feed' filter on our internet access. This is being promoted under the tenuous banner of stopping child pornography, but will slow connections dramatically and block access to many other relatively unobjectionable sites.

Yesterday (13/12/08) there was an Anti Internet Censorship rally in Sydney with Sydney Atheist and resident of the internet 'Dave the Happy Singer ' as the MC, which you can read more about here.

Most people seem to be scared that it will end up like this, but knowing the resourcefulness of the basement dwelling internet population, it's more likely to turn out like this.

Read more about it
New hurdle for net censorship- SMH
On the ISP filtering and censorship front Sean the Blogonaut

Aussie prudes
- Pharyngula
Stilgherrian interview- Here's Why
Australia’s war on the internet- It's Alive
Internet filtering opposition gathering speed- Evolving Thoughts
Clean feed or Church feed?- Ian Woolf
Internet censorship - the Great Wall of Australia- Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Australia's compulsory internet filtering 'costly, ineffective'-


  1. I'm not sure what all the fuss is about with this... I don't personally feel strongly about this issue either way.

    I don't plan on visiting any kiddie porn, bomb making websites or terrorist sites, so I guess it isn't relevant to me personally.

    It seems to me that this stuff is illegal in real life, so why are you complaining that it's becoming illegal online? It makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, people aren't allowed to incite terrorism or hold terrorism meetings for example and rightly so, so why would we allow Australian people to visit terrorist websites?

    Admittedly, I'm fairly ignorant on this as I've only skimmed a couple of the articles. I haven't read them all in any detail.

    Enlighten me....

  2. Trav,

    I suggest you read a few more articles, the letter by Mark Newton
    is a good one.

    Then we can have a discussion :) I don't have a problem with the blocking of illegal sites, as is currently done.

    More later, must do work

  3. Hey Trav,

    I can kind of understand where your statement is coming from. It sounds, at first glance, like a great idea.

    It's not. It's about information control. Two simple questions to be going on with.

    If it's about protecting children, how come Senator Conroy has removed the opt-out provided for in the law, given that 2/3 of net-connected homes have NO children in them?

    If it's really about Child Porn and terrorism, how come it's just an HTTP filter, when distribution of such illegal material is generally not over HTTP any longer?

    They're pretty simple questions, but Conroy seems unwilling or unable to answer them. There are also a great many more concerns over implementation -

    for instance, this is going to be done at an ISP level, meaning each ISP will need to retain (and keep safe) the list of blocked URLs. How long do you think it'd take for that list to become public, given the wide distribution?

    More: who decides what's illegal content. Currently that appears to be the same board that classifies film and television content. Does this mean every blocked URL requires board attention? Man, those guys are going to be overworked. Or will URLs be blocked immediately on complaint, then reviewed later if appealed? Oh, the potential for DoS in there is nasty, huh?

    At the end of the day, this plan is ill-thought out and not well explained by the governmnet, and has all the hallmarks of a moral crusade rather than a genuine attempt to police illegal material, and it needs to be overturned.

  4. Also, apologies for the awful grammar, syntax and orthography there.

    This is what happens when you get a phone call midway through draft and submit without review.