Ways To Bypass The Internet Filter

Ways To Bypass The Internet Filter
CachedTipWe won’t see mandatory Internet filtering until mid-2010, but even without the details still being worked out, it’s clear that anyone with a modicum of technical know-how will be able to bypass it.

At tech opnion blog Hydrapinion, Anthony Caruana highlights two obvious ways that people concerned that their access to legitimate material is being blocked can access it:

Simply Google for something that’s on the blacklist and rather than opening the link to the search result click the “Cached” link. This will direct you to a copy of the content that’s stored on Google’s servers as part of their index. Somehow, I doubt that the Australian government is going to block Google. Alternately, you can sign up for one of the hundreds of free or cheap VPN services that are available.

Of course, if you use those techniques to access content that’s outright illegal, you shouldn’t be surprised if the police come knocking. But given the high likelihood that content will get misclassified, either through human error or deliberate political attempts to block what’s seen as undesirable material, these kinds of tactics are bound to become more common.

Bypassing Australia’s Net Filter [Hydrapinion]


  • Whereas I agree it’s good to know how to do this kind of thing, the bottom line is we shouldn’t HAVE to!

    What we want is less government control of our lives. We didn’t vote for this, nor do we need to be ‘Nannied’ by the government of the day.

    Tell them to get on with health care reform, education for all and the things that matter.

    Everything else is a distraction!

    • “Tell them to get on with health care reform, education for all and the things that matter.”

      Leonard, you’re absolutely spot on. That’s why people vote in Labor governments. Not for this crap.

      • Labor is the party introducing this. I can’t believe you’re trying to spin this into a positive for them?

        Let’s all leave out the party politics and concentrate on informing our MPs how much of a stupid idea this all is.

      • Jason,
        you are not serious right?
        you do know this was kicked off by the liberals,
        but yes you are right labor is following through,
        my point is that both parties are at blame here but unless we can get a thrid party in we are all screwed

      • Phreak, you do know that it was actuallt Labour doing this right? The liberals made a free, home level filter, similar to Net-Nanny. Labour brough in the “censor everyone” approach. They also banned internet commentary on elections in SA, without disclosing your “real” full name and address. Not to mention the lack of an R18 rating for games, and the banning of display of DVD covers for R rated movies – even if it’s just a bar of soap, like Fight Club. Now they want naked scanners at the airports! Down with Rudd and his communist dictatorship.

    • Good question Craig, I’d also like to know the answer to this.

      I’d also like to know if changing your DNS settings will remove any lag caused by the filters?

  • The (not so) Great Internet Barrier Reef, to protect us from the tide of whatever the vocal holier than thou crowd decide we cant be allowed to see (such as the Gambling [not that i gamble]). How long until content that opposes the government’s/religious/powerful organisations views get banned, this is a very slippery slope.

    Here i was thinking we lived in a democracy, sure we can pick which regressive a-holes screw us, not much of a choice though.

  • Doesn’t it still have to get through parliment first? But yea, i can see so much of the content being wrongly classified. I remeber in high school, trying to do a report on anything like anorexia, abortion, and similair topics would mean you were met with the schools net filter when you tried to find info, and considering that was a manually monitored net filter for a school, id hate to see how much of a cock up could happen when a single group of people, most likely a very small number, try to cover all of australia in a net filter

  • I’ll just be interested in seeing how they plan to do this filtering cause there will always be a way around it. I mean have they thought of web proxies which 90% of high school kids know about to get through their school’s filter to get access to myspace or facebook.

  • Someone needs to inform the people behind this that other sites inevitably get blocked. Run an anti-child porn website? betcha some of those get accidentally blocked. Christian or other religious website? Could potentially be blocked. The Liberals get in, suddenly pro-union websites get blocked?

    Why are we putting in a system that is so open to being used to suppress dissent in the future?

    • “The Liberals get in, suddenly pro-union websites get blocked?”
      Why bring the Liberals into this. Their not the ones who want it. In fact if more people voted Liberal in 07, we wouldn’t be in this position now.

      • You don’t seriously believe that statement do you?
        The libs are just pissed they didn’t think of this first!
        If you’re correct (and you’re not), the bill will not pass the Senate and we wont have to face it again until after the election.

      • StevoTheDevo
        As stated before, the Libs release a free, home based program like net-nanny for people to install. The Liberal Party – pay attention now; liberal – are about the freedom of the individual and private enterprise. The Labour party are about putting everyone under one banner. The net filter is wholly UN-libertarian, which is against the core of the Liberal Party.

  • O LifeHacker, wrong again. Google DO NOT cache images, so the most your going to see is text.

    I am 100% against the Filter, but lets not become like the government and start making facts up to suit our argument.

    • Where does the post claim images would be cached? And while undoubtedly some people seeking banned content might want images, that wouldn’t invariably be the case either.

    • Wouldn’t Google Cache have to be blocked as well then? After all, they’re “hosting” illegal content.

      If not, then the filter is even more useless than I expected it to be!

  • Of course, if people use the noindex meta tag in their content (as lots of Big Content publishers are known to do), Google honours that and doesn’t cache much more than a pointer and the first few lines of text.

    In these cases, even clicking the cache link will take you to the live site in question.

    As with everyone else here, I just find it ridiculous that, living in Australia, I even have to think about this sort of crap from my government, let alone actually put up with it.

    The thing that worries me most is that, once it’s in, it’ll be too late to change anything. All those politicians that originally campaigned against GST certainly aren’t trying to reverse it now…

  • I think government has more urgent issues in healthcare, education and other areas, rather than wasting money on Internet filter for kids (which is already proven not to be good enough as planned) or global traffic filtering.

    Anyone who wants to access data would find a solution, such as proxy. Anyone who has data which he wants to send to someone else securily, will use encryption.

  • If the true reason for implementing this is to protect people from “the big, bad world” then that means the government does not believe it’s people are capable of doing so themselves. Rather than taking away liberties by denying access to anything and everything they deem to be “unsavory”, why not spend the money educating people and allowing us to make informed decisions on their own as in the old “teach a man to fish” adage? Educate people about phishing, email scams and identity fraud. Teach parents about the perils of unsupervised minors and about content filtering and firewall software options. Provide subsidies for such software. Spend the money on empowering people, rather than dumbing things down.

    By enforcing restrictions like this, the government is basically saying “You’re too stupid to look after yourself or your kids, so we have to do it for you”, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I take offense at that. The argument has been made that they have trialed providing free internet filtering software to households in the past, but it didn’t have the uptake they’d expected. The first I heard about it was when they made this claim as a refute to suggestions for alternatives to a national filter similar to my own, and I was working for an ISP at the time they supposedly ran the trial! How can they expect support for such things if they don’t make it general public knowledge?

    At the end of the day, this will fail because there are enough people who will oppose it either with political methods, or good old computer know how.

  • It’s pretty obvious all us good net citizens here are strongly opposed to this.

    There’s too much talk and not enough action from us.

    I’m sure if we can can get off our comfy leather chairs at the computer, couldn’t we organise some kind of rally in our capital cities ?

  • I was the IT Tech at a local high school and the students bypassed the net filter by using proxy web pages. There are literally thousands of sites that enable the bypassing of this sort of filter and hundreds more are created every day. Way too many sites to block them all.

    Just changing your computers Internet proxy to one of the many public proxies available overseas should bypass any Australian filtering. It even allows you to access regional content that is unavailable to Australians like BBC videos.

    All this filter will do is cause a minor inconvenience to the people who want to access the content. It will not stop them.

  • I presume then that any site not filtered out can be downloaded to your computer and it won’t result in any court appearances at all. After all, if the Filter blocs the bad stuff, anything else you can find must be OK?

  • Isn’t it wonderful how all the big ISPs suddenly think it’s a wonderful idea.
    Conroy is obviously waving the NBN in front of them making them co-operate.
    Talking of the NBN, just think what the government will get up to when it OWNS the network.

  • Or you could use Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, or a new DNS service that might emerge if Google started filtering its DNS too.

    “Google says that its DNS will be faster and more secure than many other DNSs, and won’t filter content.”

    “It has been our experience using OpenDNS that many blocked sites in Thailand become accessible rather than using your ISP’s DNS system.”


    I imagine bypassing this filter will be a case of double clicking on some widely shared script or utility program to reconfigure your computer, and that it will take about one 70th of the time it takes to blink.

  • Better Start Downloading Tor Before the Government Blocks it
    Tor is a Open Source Onion Router, It routes you internet connection though many different computers around the world similar to a VPN mentioned above . Tor was used in China to defeat the Internet Filter there by Journalists. I was surprised that Tor wasn’t mentioned on this. Here is a Link http://www.torproject.org/
    I Object on Internet Filtering on ISP level. I would prefer to have it done on a software level. Not all people want there internet Filtered.

  • So, who do you write to about this. Its preposterous. Look at the SMH poll. I am appalled that an elected government can proceed with such a scheme against such a fierce public opposition. The problem is people don’t know HOW to make their voice heard. I don’t Where do I get a pitchfork!

    Yes, I think it’s a good idea – 2%

    No, it impinges on my freedom – 96%

    Not sure, it sounds good in theory – 2%

    I don’ t understand it – 1%

    Total Votes: 21937

  • Everyone seems to be missing the fact that this does still have to go through parliament and that despite common belief, the Liberal party under Abbot hasn’t committed either way, and since Xenaphon withdrew support in February Labor won’t be able to get it through without Liberal support.

  • Maybe Hilary Clinton can come to the rescue! Her concerns that China is imposing internet censorship in ANY way the government sees fit could apply here, nyet? Jay

  • One way to stop this bill getting through? Write to your MPs and the more who do it the better.
    Persuade your neighbours, friends and family to do the same and spread the word as much as practical.

    With enough people voicing their opposition through their MPs, perhaps the government will think twice about attempting to get this law through Parliament. Don’t delay we’ve only got about 3 months or so assuming Liam if I remember right is correct.

  • Hmmm to anybody who cares (like me)
    the internet filter is up and running, without approval, yes I said it’s running already!!!!

    Now we didn’t approve it, neither did the government, they just went ahead and turned it on last month, yes i said last month!!!

    And if your a gamer like me, you would have noticed already that server is being disrupted, and the lag has begun.

    Well done you piece of crap government
    thanks to you, I will need to bypass the filter,
    rather than put up with a filter that doesn’t work, doesn’t stop child porn (which the government has already accidently proved, during a small test, when it blocked the site like it was spose to, but still recieved emails and msn messenger pic of child porn, on a government pc)
    just love it when they prove they can’t get it to protect children, because, I have never met a child searching for child porn… HAVE YOU?(you being the government)
    because the filter only prevents searching, not downloading via P2P, not stopping Pedo’s contacting you on facebook, msn, yahoo, or anyother version on private chat.

    if you can’t stop a simple email of a naked child being sent, what’s the point of banning web sites… oh that’s right, when the government F’s up and does something wrong, like being busted having an affair before an election, all news sites will be filtered to remove any RC information, remember if the government doesn’t approve the story the newspapers want to run, then it is automaticaly counted as refused Content RC which is why the government what’s it(and has already it turned on)

    I guess you won’t be hearing to many poly’s being busted smoking crack, assulting children, or anything like that, becaused it would be RC’ed straight away, and low and behold the government hasn’t done anything wrong, because if you can’t read about it, it never happened,

    I wouldn’t want to be a poly’s child, you could get assulted, and can’t even tell your teacher or the police, as that would be Refused Content (RC)before the brusing has even settled.

    go the government pedo’s of tomorrow, I just love living in china, oh crap this is australia, not china. Or is it, has anyone looked around lately, not alot of aussies here anymore.

    China loves to filter, and all poly’s love being filtered by a china government

  • First up – I’m anti-filter – but what’s the point of providing ways of getting around it? Are Lifehacker readers in need of a bestiality fix?

    If the only way we can get an NBN is to have it bundled with a filter, then I’ll take the damn filter and get my filth in print!

    Surely it’s better we build the NBN while we can and throw out the filter later, than forego one of the greatest infrastructure projects we’ve seen while proudly maintaining our right to (slowly) visit websites we’ll never visit anyway…

  • This filter isn’t about protecting children, it’s the thin edge of a huge wedge intended to censor POLITICAL content or any other content that the government feels limits their power. It’s part of a worldwide Fascist State that is slowly enslaving us.

  • I’ve been using ClearVPN http://www.sunvpn.com/ for the past 2 years on their dual UK and US plan (switching between the 2 countries is easy, simply a click to disconnect from one and connect to the other). They use OpenVPN and I have been able to watch iplayer and Netflix without issue from the middle east where I am based. I found it very easy to use.

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