Monday, December 21, 2009

All you need to know that the Australian Governments Censorship Plan is Bollocks (and more)

What we know so far

The Australian Labor Party has announced it intends force ISPs to censor the Internet. This is contrary to the current practice whereby consumers have the choice to filter their Internet connections either through home PC filters or subscribing to a filtered ISP. The government intends to censor Refused Classification content, almost all of which is legal to view.

The government contracted Enex Test Lab to conduct a 'live pilot' of ISP filtering technologies, in which DBCDE Minister Stephen Conroy insisted the trial remain opt-in to test the performance load of a mandatory ISP filter at all ISPs in Australia. Conroy confirmed in Senate Estimates on Monday 19 October that he received the report on the weekend prior. The trial report was released on Tuesday 15 December 2009 and proclaimed a success. Senator Conroy will attempt to introduce legislation in the form of amendments to the Broadcasting Act just before the 2010 election.

Why is it a bad idea?

1. The ideals of a representative democratic society oppose censorship;
2. Australians have demonstrated they do not want it;
3. There are plenty of alternatives available (including ISPs that voluntarily offer filtering services);
4. The Government failed to advise the filters would be mandatory for all prior to the election;
5. Blacklisted sites are kept secret from the Australian public;
6. Any blacklist would need to be distributed to all ISPs in Australia, and will provide anyone a concentrated list of the 'worst of the worst' web pages when leaked;
7. It is easily circumvented or bypassed;
8. It introduces delay and declined performance in internet traffic;
9. It will increase the cost of broadband;
10. Filtering products incorrectly block legitimate traffic;
11. It introduces another source of failure and Internet outages;
12. The filter is proposed to filter HTTP traffic – which is not all protocols or even the majority of Internet traffic;
13. Those viewing child pornography will take additional steps to ensure their traffic is better protected (encryption, anonymisers such as TOR) to avoid censorship, which will hinder law enforcement;
14. It will give parents a false sense of security regarding online content;
15. It will introduce a level of insecurity in “secure” (SSL) Internet connections (if HTTPS sessions are filtered);
16. Costs spent in implementing the filters can be better spent elsewhere;
17. Children aware of the filter will deliberately attempt to find filtered sites and bypass the filter;
18. Top Internet Service Providers oppose the proposal;
19. Shifting parental responsibility to the ISPs/Government does nothing to prevent societal problems;
20. Other countries have blacklisted political critics where mandatory filtering has been imposed; and
21. There are too many individual URLs on the web, that any blacklist containing only a couple of thousand URLs will prove highly insufficient in an attempt to protect people from inappropriate web content;

What can I do?

Chronology and Media Coverage




Please refer to the OCAU Wiki entry on Australian Internet Censorship for more media coverage not yet documented in this Wiki entry.

ISP's positions

Telstra/Bigpond, Internode, iiNet, Spin, Netspace and Adam Internet have spoken out against the Cleanfeed proposal.

Michael Malone, managing director of iiNet had stated iiNet will participate in the "ridiculous" Government filtering trial (source). Since then, iiNet have now decided to no longer be involved in the trials: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/99484,dbcde-wouldn%E2%80%99t-agree-to-blind-filter-trial-iinet.aspx

NetXP and WebShield have been so far been the only ISPs to publicly support the filter (source 1, source 2)

For more information, see Cleanfeed ISP Positions.


Online Forum Discussions

Other Wikis

Audio Links

Letter Templates

Please report responses received to the MP Score Card; this will allow everyone to better understand what support is like for this proposal in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Remember – politicians need to represent the people or they'll be out of a job. Writing them letters makes them aware of the number of voters they stand to lose if they retain their position.

Facebook Groups
Show your support by joining these groups (Member numbers are accurate as of 11 November 2008):


When governments start covering the eyes and ears of the whole nation, however, there is a real problem. We only need to look at those governments that have taken it to the extreme and burnt books to understand that. But there are more subtle ways to inhibit the flow of ideas that we need to be just as alert to.” – Kate Lundy, Australian Labor Party Senator. – http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/29/1059244609141.html.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." – Benjamin Franklin

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." – Rabbi Daniel Lapin

"A censor is an expert in cutting remarks. A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to." – Dr. Laurence Peter

"All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship." – George Bernard Shaw

"I think censorship is evil, Andrew. It's the beginning of the Big Brother state, and if you start censoring matters and facts from people, it's an easy step to censor all sorts of things and they don’t know what is going on." – Donn Chipp, former Minister for Customs and Excise (covered censorship) – http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1730839.htm

"Don’t shrink from a new technology just because it may be subject to criminal abuse. Exploit its strengths, while controlling its weaknesses. This will be the way to survive in an increasingly competitive world." – Dr P N Grabosky – http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/chpornography/

"The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." – John Gilmore

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
" – Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

"Implementing system-wide solutions is potentially complex, expensive and may have reliability gaps." – ACMA Spokesperson, The Australian Newspaper, 01/05/2009

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous


River said...

Read through your first list again. There's your answer. Number 9. somehow the government will find a way to profit from this increased cost. That's all they want. More of our hard earned dollars.

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