Censorship: Don’t Stop Worrying Because Of Christmas

Censorship: Don’t Stop Worrying Because Of Christmas

It’s difficult not to assume that the timing of last week’s Internet censorship announcement was deliberate: who’s going to notice in the run-up to Christmas? But that’s no reason to ignore the issue.

There have been thousands of words written on the topic since last week, and I presume that Lifehacker readers are better informed than the average user on why it’s a monumentally stupid and dangerous idea. But here’s a couple of interesting write-ups on how the issue is evolving to consider.

In an interesting example of how Internet infrastructure can apparently be manipulated to try and stifle debate, the registration of the domain stephenconroy.com.au for a protest site was cancelled by auDA. Stop Internet Censorship has an in-depth analysis of the case, with a simple conclusion: there’s supposed to be a 10-day period before site registrations are cancelled, but in this case there was just three hours. auDA subsequently told ZDNet that the procedure can be varied depending on a variety of factors, but its “efficiency” in this particular case — given that no complaint had been made — seems intriguing, to say the least.

Meanwhile, Sophos security guru Paul Ducklin offers an interesting insight into why the whole scheme is technically stupid even if you agree with its aims:

SophosLabs finds an average of 23,500 newly-infected and actively dangerous URLs every day. These are not hard-to-find child pornography sites, but right-in-your-face risky content hacked into otherwise-legitimate web pages. In 2009, a legislated project to to block 1000 URLs at the core of Australia’s internet infrastructure, even if every URL is genuinely and currently bad, is simply a waste of time and effort.

So what can you do? Check our guide to protesting the censorship laws and spring into action.


    • A way of defeating the filter that I’ve heard nobody suggest yet is to go after the blacklist: It can never be secure because it has to be updated regularly, and those updates have to be distributed to all of the ISPs who must then instal the updated list. So many people handling it, so many multiple sites it must be stored in. There is no way that it can be kept secure. Even an older copy can blow the governent’s game to bits. Chasing the latest blacklist could become an Aussie pastime, though no doubt dudes from overseas would likely join in the fun.
      Message for the spooks who monitor this site: hey not that I’d ever suggest anybody try that, I’m just looking at it as an abstract idea and comparing it to how 20 years ago the id card was buried when a 15 year old schoolboy cracked into and published the telstra name/adress/accounts database which stopped anyone believing that the id card database could be secure like the minister was promising haha

  • I can’t believe the whole Internet filter issues has not got the media attention it deserved. They are not hounding it on the news like they do with other topics. For something that affects the whole population it needs MORE media coverage. I’ve only heard it on the 7pm project, nothing else. Obviously they are trying to hide it from as many people so it can get through more easily… because they know everyone opposes it.

  • Jack: the internet is a huge threat to traditional media so they welcome the total government stuff-up re filtering, but there’s no way they’ll want to report on it, no matter how big the news becomes because that would encourage their remaining readers and viewers to abandone them for the ‘net.

    This is going to make it difficult to get good coverage of protests etc. Its also why hardly anyone who doesn’t frequent the int

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