Compulsory Australian Internet Filter Coming Mid-2010

The government yesterday announced plans to introduce legislation requiring all RC-rated material online to be blocked by all ISPs, effectively declaring its trial of mandatory filtering a success.

Legislation to introduce the controversial proposal will be introduced into parliament in Autumn 2010, and is expected to take up to 12 months to implement. Once in place, all ISPs will be required to block any addresses on the official blacklist of banned sites.

While no-one is arguing that demonstrably illegal content such as child sexual abuse shouldn't be blocked, the concern of many net users is that the list of banned content, which will be assembled through a public complaints mechanism, will end up being bombarded with submissions material which is entirely legal but which the complainant personally objects to. Another issue which is currently unresolved is how a site-based complaint mechanism would deal with torrents and other file sharing mechanisms.

One interesting twist: because of the current investigation into whether an R18+ regulation should be introduced for games, games content won't be allowed onto the banned list until that issue has been resolved.

Measures to improve safety of the internet for families


Comments

    Report from the BBC:

    "Mr Conroy said the filters included optional extras such as a ban on gambling sites which ISPs could choose to implement in exchange for a grant.

    'Through a combination of additional resources for education and awareness, mandatory internet filtering of RC (refused classification)-rated content, and optional ISP-level filtering, we have a package that balances safety for families and the benefits of the digital revolution,' he said."

    So there will already be a Families First and Christian agenda here as well which the Government will push onto the ISP's in return for a "grant".

    I personally can't believe how a 1st world moderate country like Australia can implement something which is open to such severe abuse of our individual rights and opnions.

    Noone want's child port on the Net, but 99.999% of it isn't there anyway it's only secured private intranets run by these obscene groups and the money for this publicity stunt would be better spent on the Federal Police task forces who do the real work on this.

    This filter will not stop IM or Peer-to-Peer technologies. The report mentions this.

      This is pathetic. If the government feels the need to feed us our Internet usage through a straw, couldn't they at least do something worthwhile with all that mandatory filtering? My suggestion is they prevent anybody using outdated browsers to upgrade to the newest version before they can resume browsing the web. As a web developer, I'm looking forward to the opportunities being presented by the upcoming generation of CSS3 and HTML 5. Neither of which are going to work anytime soon unless the majority of people are prodded into staying upgraded. And the main demographic I'm referring to are office workers, tradesman, and people still using the default installation of Internet Explorer 7 (don't even get me started on those still stuck with using 6).

      The key issue here is that people aren't *educated*. They don't care what browser version they're running, they're only going to start complaining when sites start falling apart because of lack of CSS support. If the government are enforcing filtering, they might as well take the chance at doing some actual good.

      Then again, I don't remember hearing of the Australian government having that sort of foresight.

    australia is becoming china! talk about sensorship... this is disgusting. someone needs to start a patition about this :(

      "Someone should do something about it"? This sort of attitude sickens me. If you want something done, DO IT YOURSELF. If we want this attack on our freedom of speech stopped we must take action ourselves, write to your local member, write to all of them, let them know how you feel but don't sit back expecting someone else to start a petition for you to sign.
      Write LETTERS emails are fine but taking the time to write a letter will carry more weight.

    Posted by an Australian the Whirlpool Forum:

    "'But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ...voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.'

    --Hermann Göring

    Similarly, all you need to do to pass draconian anti-democratic laws in Australia is tell people their children are being attacked, and call anybody who disagrees with you a pedophile supporter."

    Can someone explain to me why this filter couldn't be opt-out? Enabling it by default would protect the technologically-illiterate, the lazy, the stupid, and those that want to have their access to information controlled by the government. The rest of us could at least be able to log into ISP account tools and change a setting to 'decline'....

    Anyway, there's a petition here: http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/SaveTheNet/

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: If this filter does come in, and its not opt-out, I will pack my bags and move overseas. I will no longer call myself Australian. K-Rudd wont be receiving my vote at the next election.

      Same, and I'm taking my 4mill company, and it's Taxes with me. I refuse to call myself Australian under these conditions.

    Gee thanks, Senator Conroy, for completely ignoring the thousands of intelligent IT professionals who told you again and again that this was a bad idea.

    Thanks for listening to the wishes of the people that elected you, and then ignoring them.

    Thanks for taking an already slow internet infrastructure (compared to many other countries) and intentionally making it much slower.

    Thanks for wasting all that public money when it could have been far better spent in so many other areas.

    That's just great.

    The last Govt got hit when they didn't listen to the public in regards to work places. Now this govt again has not listened to the people and as such will also follow the same path...out the back door.

    Google weighs in (heftily) on the subject: http://google-au.blogspot.com/2009/12/our-views-on-mandatory-isp-filtering.html

    Are you all Paedophiles or something?!?! Don't you know that this is to save the children? THE CHILDREN! Oh MY GAwd, is your torrentz speedz really more important then the CHILDREN!?

      "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." -Adolph Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    Finally! For so many years we Australians have had to put up with being bombarded with content that has been refused classification by the Australian government. It's just not right.

    Now we can finally surf the web in peace without all of those nasty screenshots of Left 4 Dead 2 and Alien vs. Predator!

    Damn this government and their pandering to the Christian Right.

    Guess who will be at the forefront of getting 'un-Christian' material added to the filtering list once it goes live, eh?

    The sad thing is people will see this as a positive development, as they will be not have the IT knowhow that many lifehacker readers have, or that IT professionals have.

    Australia just got scarier.

    There are much better ways to protect our children without affecting everyone else - It's called Parenting.

    Remember the last time the Australian Government tried to introduce a family safe filtering software for everyone to download ? Yeah, what good that was when a 14 yr old boy cracked it in 24Hrs ?

    This new proposed filtering ? Someone will always find a way around it, it will be a total waste of our money (again) !

    Maybe that's why Kevin Rudd has plans to make 100Mbps internet speeds available to all of us, because after ISP filtering, that 100Mbps will actually feel like a comfy 512Kbps.

    Christian Nazi Net is Here!!!!

    The great thing about all of this religious or "culty" guff, is that all the sheeple groveling in their steeple, they all have "opinions" about what their deity is "saying" and righteously so, but the deity in the last few thousands of years of "omnipotence", has never once put in a personal appearance.

    You know like if "JC and the Space Cadets" were a rock band - the clueless would have caught on that while the promoters claim that they play in gigs all over the land, but they have never turned up; while the clueless and stupid keep rocking up and buying the tickets.

    Losers.

    So the same overlording us with more holier than thou drivel, is projected into the area of computer games and internet sites.

    Again while people get slaughtered for fun and profit in the movies and the real world, playing computer games doing the same stuff is just not on?

    Why?

    Am I surprised that the people thrusting their liturgical loins at the censors office for "standards and decency" are not trying to put the shackles on those who choose to have their own autonomous opinions, by declaring them to workers of the devil, sorcery and witches - starting with the jabbings for the devils mark.

    Am I even further surprised that this is now extending into the Great Australian Firewall.

    Perhaps those who cry loudest are those who look forlornly upon the promises of the bible, such as Ezekiel 23: 21 "whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions."

    I mean who wouldn't want that or to be getting that?

    I mean thank god Conroy is standing up for real Christian family values.

    Jesus said in Revelation 2:22-23 "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."

    So Jesus wants to kill our kids - that's cool cause it is Jesus.

    Timbo says I Timothy 2:11-14 "Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

    So all the women ought to keep their traps shut. I mean it's in the bible - so it must be true right.

    And God digs killing pregnant chicks by knifing them and smashing their kids brains out on the ground; so the christians have got this family values stuff down pat: Hosea 13:16 "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."

    So Conroy and his catholic buddies have got this right - we have to be protected against them out there on the internet and subjugate ourselves to the righteous christians showing us how their god loves us and how we ought to be kissing his ass, on the basis of their say so.

    Oh did I mention that the old testament is a scammed copy of the Code of Hammurubi? The King of Babylons state laws - and the first 6 books of the bible are bare faced rip offs of this, just rebranded to a diety instead of the king?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_code_of_Hammurabi.pdf

    Yep gotta remember them good old christian family values, the true word of god is the bible... except that getting nailed for copyright and plagarisim wasn't invented then.

    The fact that this topic sparks such outrage among the entire Australian internet community, along with the testimonies of the afore-mentioned IT professionals, should clearly show the government that this is neither an efficient or approved-of choice of solution to combat child pornography etc.

    As Google mentioned, they already do their best to prevent access to such sites. Surely the IT professionals have pointed out how counter-productive such a filter would be, when we're trying to upgrade our internet speeds.

    With luck, it'll mainly be the Senate pushing this, and the members of the house of Representatives will not allow such a bill to make its way up to the Senate. Conroy and Xenophon both seem to be out of touch with what the general Australian public wants, and if I had the displeasure of belonging in the region that votes for them (cannot at all remember what it is called), I would do my best to ensure that they are unsuccessful in the next election.

    As was mentioned, the only people who seek this stuff out, will still be able to find a way to get it. They could potentially have vast amounts of the material downloaded onto their computers or backed up into CD's. I agree strongly that the money spent investigating and initiating this solution would have been considerably better spent, had it been invested in the cyber-crimes unit of the Federal Police. While their work may be slow, it actually makes a positive difference to society.

    Disgraceful disregard for civil rights and most definitely the thin edge of the wedge.

    How do you call for a referendum?

    Bad bit is the Lib's will prolly jump on this legislation and pass it happily with ultra-conservatives like Abbott and Joyce at the helm.

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