back to article Oz watchdogs howl over 'Cyber-Safety' net filter

Aussie civil liberties watchdogs are warning the country's "Cyber-Safety" internet filter plan won't actually let adults choose to opt-out from web censorship. The Australian Labor party's $125.8m proposal is being pitched as a means to prevent children from accessing online pornography. The scheme includes a choice to opt-out …


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  1. kaiserb_uk
    Black Helicopters

    No one tell...

    Geoff bloody Hoon - me downloading porn is licence for terrorists to kill people after all....

  2. Dazed and Confused

    The internet views censorship as damage and routes around it

    How long till everyone is just tunneling out of the Oz to proxies in the free world?

  3. Paul


    If I owned a satellite ISP I would be of to OZ to start marketing ASAP. I see a big bucks oportunity blooming.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Get it happening. I'm in!

  5. Frumious Bandersnatch

    tunneling out of Oz?

    But where in the world will they surface?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    move along citizen

    nothing to see on this internet

    my coat with the filter pockets...

  7. Bastard Sheep

    Little China?

    May as well start learning Mandarin. Our PM is already fluent in it, and we're getting our own version of the Great Firewall of China (Rabbit Proof Firewall?). Does anybody have any melamine handy?

  8. scotchbonnet
    Thumb Down

    Given Rein To Do So...

    ...government overlords will invariably toss the baby out with the bathwater and approximately 75% of the time it's to save the chirruns. I can't think of the last time I willingly visited a sexually explicit website, but I'm somehow reassured that I can if I so choose, which, after all, is the whole point of freedom. Inevitably, the algorithm the Aussies use to create their "naughty list" will erroneously bin a few legitimate sites and the expected round of lawsuits and legal challenges will ensue. One also has to wonder how long it will be before the Aussie overlords are knee-deep in negotiations with Google to suppress any searches that might bring up objectionable material.

    To paraphrase Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" character - "No internet for you!"

  9. Jacob Lipman
    Thumb Up

    That graphic

    ... is gold.

    Thanks for brightening my day.

  10. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Numptys, the lot of them

    Just a bunch of politicians who have been seduced by some powerpoint presentations, probably similar to the image in the article.

    They have no idea.

    Beware the naught wimmens on the intertubes!!

  11. Matt

    Sports losses ...

    The filters will also block any sporting result where the aussies lost, as that is clearly impossible and therefore such 'news' is simply the workings of a fiendish foreign agent attempting to demoralise the population :)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Censorship in UK and USA

    Interesting that Australia is worried about censorship of "illegal" material - the UK and US already censor certain sites.

    I remember receiving a FBI block page when attempting to surf to a site hosted in Oman (looking for travel info) and, of course, the Internet Watch Foundation already provides a censorship list for UK ISPs for child abuse websites hosted outside the UK.

    It is probably time to decide what type of censorship is acceptable to the population and where the lines should be drawn.

  13. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    The righting on the Great Wall of Oz...





    If only Hitler, Stalin and Thatcher had lived to see this bright dawn!

    'Ban, 'Ban, Ta-, Ta- Taliban,

    Has a new master, get a new man!

    (Paris cos she enjoys big ones too)

  14. Scott Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    If you set up such a system, you would have to do a few things...

    Never go to Australia or anywhere they have an extradition treaty with.

    Don't get kidnapped by Oz security services and rendered there.

    Do not use your own satelites. Too easy to shoot down.

    Figure out some sort of payment scheme they can't block - like the US blocks non Mafia gambling sites.

  15. Dillon Pyron

    And you don't think they'll log those blocked sites, do you?

    Imagine this. You type in oops, look what's right next to the "t" on the keyboard. Why, it's a "y". Which means you really went to I know that hotbot is Lycos, but I'm not even going to try for hotboy.

    But I suspect the Aussie nannies are now convinced you're some sort of pedophile.

    el Reg, you still don't have "the finger".

  16. RKP

    This Sucks

    Censorship of the internet to protect the children is THE PARENT'S JOB!

    As an Aussie I am appalled that our gubbermint would even contemplate such an absurd idea! What's really worrying is just who is going to decide what belongs on these lists? There is some pr0n out there that I would happily watch/view but am unlikely to personally indulge in... then there are the things I would do/have done that most 'puritans' would be absolutely gobsmacked by! None of it illegal (yet) only ever with consent of all involved, and only involving adults.

    I believe that as a law abiding, tax paying, other wise upstanding citizen I have the right to unfettered access to whatever type of pr0n I so choose - providing that it a) doesn't delve into the obvious no go area ie: kids and b) that by accessing it for myself I am not exposing any body else to it be they minors or other adults who may not like it...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    where next...

    next thing there will be the great firewall of UK...

    people of the so called free world need to start shouting, and shouting loud to keep the internet free of censorship.

    The internet should be, as it was designed to be, open for all...

    I remember years ago, when there was the whispers that there was a book on the internet on how to make bombs. if you did a little digging you found it was called the terrorists cook book. I and plenty of others at the time all downloaded it.... there was nothing in it that was not available in A'level chemistry books. But today, that same book, (long since deleted), will get you put in jail. will the chemistry book? no... well not yet, but its days are numbered.

    The internet is knowledge, and the day you limit access to knowledge you may as well close the libraries, the schools and universities...

    mines the one with the pockets full of banned literature...

  18. kain preacher

    Now coming to a country near you

    The non internet. No porn, no naughty stuff.

    Ps if they cane filter the net for the entire country, why cant they stop spam ??

  19. kissingthecarpet

    If this is true

    then its scares me. Surely this cannot stand - if it does then the Aussies are getting royally screwed by their own people.

  20. Fozzy
    Thumb Down


    Since when did the great land of OZ become a province of china.

    Rudd you dipshit hands off the net, It's the parents responsibility to monitor this not the government

  21. Mike C


    Speed, what bloody internet speed.

    Australia continues to suffer under the Telstra/Optus duopoly, ensuring that its citizens only get pathetically low data speeds and allowances @ an exorbitant price.

    As for this B#llSh#t filter thingy. The only thing that does is prove, yet again, how useless and incompetent politicians and beauracrats are.

  22. Matty B

    The lucky country indeed.

    We get fucked over so much censorship here. It's shit. No doubt about it.

    Even if there was an true opt-out, we'd get placed on the "watched like a hawk" list.

    It's not the censorship I'm really worried about (Proxy anyone?), it's the fact that pretty soon, *everyone* will be watched alot more intently.

    Although this is nothing new, we already have some ISP level censorship. The Liberals saw to that last term. Unfortunately Labour is just continuting Liberal schemes. So much for change.

    Well, better fire up that connection to my VPN host in Brazil...

  23. Bruce
    Thumb Up


    Another technical 'solution' for a social problem.

    When it doesn't work, the company and salesman should be fined the cost and for wasting time... The pollies are clueless w@nkers over here, and will do anything 'to save the children'.

    Big thumbs up for the picture B-)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A filter that lets through images of the Blessed Saint Maggie is obviously flawed. I hope the real one is more selective as to what it lets through.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bill of Rights

    Now, more than ever, we need a constitutionally-enshrined Bill of Rights, including the right to freedom of communication in all forms.

    It's a very sad day indeed when a Government so brazenly disregards the rights of its citizens to serve a minority and, very probably, follow an ideology. There is, and never was, any mandate for full-time censorship. The lobby group claiming that "internet porn is destroying our kids" represents a minority opinion, but is very vocal and has the ears of both sides of politics in this country. Not that that is the reason, but it is trotted out as an excuse every time someone objects to censorship. Rather surreally, we've just been through a "nudity in art is porn" brouhaha here, and you wouldn't believe the bloody-mindedness of the anti-porn proponents.

    Filtering MUST be opt-in for private subscribers. I have no problem with ISP-provided filtering, so long as it's opt-in. Personally, I would choose a home-gateway filtering solution, which affords me the opportunity to turn it off for my own use.

  26. pondscum

    Too bad...

    if I want to visit the Scunthorpe council site, or experts exchange. So long Soon we wont even be able to visit, or the sister site Time for Western Australia to think about becoming an independent nation.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Government is tyranny you know

    This is what you get for having a government in the first place, so shut up and stop complaining or the government might come and get you.

  28. Lee T.

    I'm Appalled

    The government is implementing this highly undemocratic censorship policy in order to get the vote in the senate of 1 senator from a religously affiliated party, family first, who holds the balance of power in the senate.

    send the senator organising it a message,

    I agree with those planning a tunnel out of OZ, perhaps to a ssh box in sweden. arr.

  29. JJ James

    Rabbit proof firewall

    According to the proposal, banned pages will be replaced with the following message:

  30. Craig Foster

    Oh noes!!!

    Does this mean no more Asus Eeepc Girl!

  31. Hate2Register


    I know that Margaret Thatcher commands a dark horde of fetishist admirers (in denial, mostly), and am amused (nay, rolling in the aisles) that you, the author, equate nice wholesome family surfing with the Iron Maiden herself. You dark horse you!

  32. Dept
    Paris Hilton

    Three consultancies

    It took the department at least three consultancies over several years before they found someone who would recommend filtering for them. Earlier reports pointed out the problems with filtering in terms of costs, performance penalties, false positives and ease of bypass.

  33. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Sail Hostagia Fair

    Where did that Oz shaped iceberg of a few years back end up? Not on an island in the sun the one with Iraqi refusees on All of my days I will sing the praise Oops wrong song...

  34. Anonymous Coward


    did I read that correctly?? Unsuitable...for adults?

    I thought adults were supposed to make that decision for themselves?

    Ooh, here's another idea, tell the parents it's their responsibility to teach their kids or restrict their internet access accordingly. Problem solved. (well not really, but come on! If a 7 year old kid sees some porn then frankly that is not my problem, and the kid will have much bigger problems caused by their lack of parenting than a couple of porn sites).

    I do not want my internet restricted to prevent ANYONE getting access to anything. What's the point?! That's what the internet is for...everything is available and we get to pick and choose. Unlike TV where we are force-fed what they want us to hear, when they want us to hear it, HOW they want us to hear it.

    Okay so I live in the UK but i'm still taking this personally.. If anything because it's only a matter of time before it spreads here...

  35. Anonymous Coward

    It has already started

    A teacher from a school in New South Wales has reported that her school network can no longer view one of the anti-censorship campaign sites:

    I'll get my coat with VPN4ME on the back.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The kids filter, fine, as long as the parents dictate that the feed will be switched to that filter.

    Adults filter, that's not good. Just because you made a filter, didn't mean you made it for everyone. That's no excuse. The adult gave you permission to filter their kids feed, they did not give you permission to filter their own feed. Presumably if you missed a site and someone went to it, they would still be legally liable. Adults take responsibility for their actions, kids don't the two are different.

    The problem with these block lists is they are never restricted to illegal content, they are restricted to somebodies *opinion* of what is illegal content. Usually some nutjobs opinion at that. What does nutjobs opinion count more than yours? Whose internet connection is it? Who takes the consequences of their actions? Certainly not nutjob.

    Logging: the world is full of people who want power, wanting power is wanting control. What Jacqui is doing in the UK, building a MASS SURVEILLANCE system under the guise of 'anti-terrorism' is a natural consequence of the grasp for control.

    If you're filtering, the filter logs data, and suddenly you find you're logging too. If you have the logs and they need searched, suddenly you're data mining and randomly searching peoples private data.

    Everyone is totally well meaning, they just can't see the bigger picture.

    When the police put up a CCTV it's for the greater good, then they add ANPR for the good, then someone links those ANPRs into a database, for the good, and the barriers to accessing this database are dropped, for the good. Everyone's little step is for the good, it's just the big picture is bad, very very bad.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think of the Childrennnnnnnnnn.

    First they came to protect the children etc.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Love the illustration

    Now can someone give a link to those bucanneers with the 40s style lingerie girls and machine guns. Or just the naughty-forties girls with guns.

  39. Schultz

    Rolling back the clock

    ... to the good old times when your neighbor made sure you sweep the sidewalk, read the right paper and don't listen to the wrong flavour of radio propaganda.

    Oooh, sorry, twas Germany, never mind.

  40. P. Lee

    re: tunneling out of Oz?

    Romania? Poland?

    Governments shouldn't be allowed to build repressive infrastructure regardless of how they say they'll use it. It just plain unsafe!

    Yes we're building gulags, but don't worry, its just fer furrin terrists and paedophiles. Maybe the odd Icelandic defaulter too.

    I thought the point of being a child is that porn has no attraction. Is this all about parents avoiding some embarrassing questions? Oh no, I forgot, its another "be very afraid, but we'll save you!" message from the politicians. *yawn* Somebody vote them all out.

    Arrrr, yer government be takin' over ye parenting job. Yer lazy bones can walk da plank.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Time to go dark

    That should sort out censorship/firewalls... At least until they make encryption illegal (I'd laugh here, if it wasn't so likely).

  42. Jeffrey Nonken

    Won't somebody please think of the children?

    Well, so much for my plans to tunnel into Oz to escape our tyrannical American regime!

  43. Mark Stewart

    Don't Look Up Down Under! You might find a nasty surprise!

    Before we know it our freedoms will be masked with the governments "good intentions".

    I'd hate to say this is one of the worst schemes ever come up by our so called democratic government. They will try to implement this new content filtering system and discover that it is a lot harder than they'd imagine and will have budget blowouts typical of any project undertaken by the goverment.

    The government will push on claiming it is in the best interests of our country where they'll subvertly start talking about filtering terrorist content and anything which may be considered dangerous to us as a country.

    Then citizens of our great country will start complaining that normal websites are being content blocked and there is no way to get it unblocked. After much time and lobbying, the goverment will be forced to put in a system dedicated to solely looking after the complaints and there will be another cost to the system which will be taxpayer funded.

    Then after many years of futile attempts to protect us from ourselves they discover not only did it not stop all the pornography from coming through but there was a free service out on the net which does a reasonable job of what they set out to achieve in the first place. will be considered the defacto standard in content filtering and will be recommended by the government for householders and ISPs where parents are concerned about what their children look at on the net.

    So then it will all come back to this. Parents should be the one responsible for looking after their children and if they have such concerns they should take the appropriate measures to make sure that their children are not able to search for porn.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    This has been in the wind for a few years now

    And it was made very clear in the last election that Rudd would push this through. Yes, Australia has done exactly what the UK did: you had a tyrannical government under the Liberals with Blair, you voted him out to be replaced with an even more tyrannical government under Labour with Brown. We had a tyrannical government under the Liberals with Howard, we voted him out to be replaced with an even more tyrannical government under Labor (yes that's how the Australian party is spelt) with Rudd.

    So those of us with any technical knowledge have taken a leaf out of China's book and already have measures in place to bypass this. Alternate DNS routing, anonymising proxies, tunnels and darknets are already in place. More information on how to join these systems will be published on geek forums around the world (except in Australia, where our sedition laws will prevent the publication of such information). Don't look for it on Whirlpool for that reason; but keep an eye on Slashdot and Digg. The methods for bypassing any censorship blocks the nannies put in place will be widely publicised once the censorship is in place and has taken its final form.

    Peoples' respect for the law is only as good as the law's respect for the people. That respect is gone, to be replaced by open, deliberate defiance. Let the resistance begin!

  45. Alan Fisher

    Technophobes rule the tinternet?

    I think it seems that all the people deciding this for us don't even understand COMPUTERS let alone the internet...herein lies the problem

    tell them to just switch the internet off and start again, that'll work ;)

  46. nils

    oh, bugger... - When does Australia get connected to the Interwebs?

    Not only are there ridiculous data plans in Australia, which make "normal" internet usage bloody expensive, now they even want to decide what the few with enough cash to actually *afford* to watch hi-def pr0n online are getting to see - other "critical" content up next, shirley..

    Here in Germany they come up every once in a while with the notion to censor "bomb-building instructions". What a stupid idea! - Why not just go and censor chemistry und physics lessons and you get there!

    Bloody friggin stupid.. - Whatever happened to pre-9-11 Australia, land of the free?

    Sad news: Osama's won, at least in some parts of the former "free world"...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ This has been in the wind for a few years now

    No our dear tony was labour, and we didnt vote brown in, he promised us an election but he has yet to deliver it, i expect it will be in 2 years or when ever the laws say he has to give one, assuming these dont need to be changed. 42 years PM ship without an election, bound to stop terrorism that one....

  48. Frumious Bandersnatch

    Applying Rule 34

    If there exists pornography related to every conceivable topic on the Internet, then we obviously have to block every conceivable topic. It's really the only logical conclusion if we want to be safe.

  49. Wayland Sothcott
    Dead Vulture

    re: tunneling out of Oz?

    Yes, exactly, where in the Free World?

    It's no joke.

    If you view these proposals in isolation then each can be defeated. If you have noticed the global nature of what is happening you will see that there will be no free world. True that each country would implement filtering in their own unique way, but the policy of tackling porn and extremizm and piracy etc seems to be universal.

    Yes making China the bad boy of filtering keeps our minds off of the real issue.

    The Internet seemed to come togther without regard to the usual contraints of a communication system. First it connects any point with any point at no cost to the user unlike a telephone call. Second you can send anything you can get into a computer. Third, anone is allowed to do it, HTML is easy enough for anyone to put something online (some need a little help).

    This was so different from what normally happens, you can't run your own Newspaper, TV, Radio or Telephone service. The Internet says you can.

    If they take the Internet away from us we will simply rebuild it the way we want it. Probably via tunneling and wireless networks and our own DNS servers. If we build it, then people will come since it will contain all the things that people go online for whilst the filtered Internet will lack those things.

    The net is dead, long live the net.

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