Australia gives a green go to the internet censurship plan #nocleanfeed #openinternet

Yesterday the Australian government announced it will go ahead with its plans to mandate the Australian ISP’s to censure the internet based on a black list.
The green light was given after a small scale a “live” field pilot has been done with a few ISP’s, most of them small, on a very small segment of the list (1000 sites) and with marginally leagal techniques including DNS poisoning.
The Report of the modest pilot looks like it was designed to pass.
The issues that came up from the report pretty quickly are

  • Who is controlling the black list?
  • How is the blocking going to be done?
  • How much slower will our slow internet go
  • What is the carbon footprint of an effort like this

I agree with the idea of protection against the dangers that lurk on the internet and the need to protect our children from these but have a bit of a problem with the implementation.
This implementation is insufficient in the best scenario and is missing the point of protecting our children.
This tool is not selective and blocks things in a generalised manor rather than enabling the public to select whether they want or dont want this to be present.
Why do people without kids need to be filtered?
Will you block facebook if a child rapist use it to seduce kids? will you block digg if some sort of illegal content raises to the top (as it did with the DVD encryption code)?
What is the benefit of a blockage if it is not going to stop me from getting my content elsewhere? or through different networks like Tor?

But beyond the technicalities the mere introduction of an idea like this in a modern country is quite disturbing and feels not right. The width of the blockage and the nature of it are not yet heard of in a modern society and have been noticed by Google as problematic also

Some limits, like child pornography, are obvious. No Australian wants that to be available and we agree. Google, like many other Internet companies, has a global, all-product ban against child sexual abuse material and we filter out this content from our search results. But moving to a mandatory ISP filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information.

Also noted is the EFA technical approach to the success of the filtering

There are a few things that need to be done to make this filtering a true solution but i think the biggest one is to give the people the ability to choose.
Sen. Conroy needs to change his tome and give the option to citizens and residents who wish to filter their network to do so for free through the ISP. and no grants for the ISP’s to enable extra content filtering while charging clients (as described in the FAQ)

The Government will also establish a grants program to encourage and assist ISPs to offer additional filtering services on a commercial basis for those families that wish to have a wider range of material filtered

There also should be an open list of blocked sites that will be available freely through the government sites.
There should be a process where you can specify wrong doings/additions in the list and mandate them to be corrected/added.
This will be a dignify the solution make it a good solution for the people by the people and not an undemocratic secret service Stalinized solution.

But i have a gut feel this is all a sham to get the games rating slipped through the radar. the new scheme for the games is bizarre and does not match, with the film and tv rating, in turn lets kids over 15 to see a movie that they cant play the game of it later since its too gory/violent/sexy/etc.
Time will tell if i am on the right track or not.


  1. Scott says:

    So the question is, what can we do about it now?!

  2. Start by writing a letter

    And follow the twitter feed for the communities move.


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