back to article Aussie firewall nears death

The Australian Senate Opposition leader Nick Minchin has joined the growing chorus of voices against Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's plans for mandatory ISP-level filtering. The project may not yet be deceased, but it is without doubt on the critical list. Senator Minchin said the government had not only failed to …


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  1. The First Dave


    I simply don't understand why politicians feel the need to block access to everything, when there is clearly so much monitoring going on.

    It seems to me that it makes far more sense to allow everyone to see whatever they want. Then, when you notice that person A makes too many visits to material that is unsavoury, you can investigate further, and see what physical activities they get up to as well. If they are a true Paedo, then you have a chance to prevent actual abuse, whereas if you simply (try to) block it, you just drive it all underground, onto encrypted channels, and lose a reliable intelligence source.

    You also need to take into account that many studies have shown that access to pr0n _reduces_ the offending rate.

  2. mika7367

    This is getting old.

    Any 12yr old in Australia knows what proxy servers are, So regardless what the government comes up with only slows down people who are ignorant or just plain stupid. (Not to mention when the communications minister was busted with a few downloads on government hardware which is a teeny bit questionable ;)).

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon

    I can't be arsed with a boring title ..

    "has left supporters of the firewall looking increasingly shifty on this issue"

    It might just be the font, but that really looks like it says shitty. When will these arseholes stop meddling in things they don't understand?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    re: This is getting old

    Any 13yr old Australian, knows that proxy servers can be added to the blocked list.

    There are always ways to circumvent filtering, but the vast,VAST majority of internet users will never know about them.

    It is this majority that they want to control. They don't care about the 1 in 1000 people that can get around their monitoring systems. What we need is a p2p darknet that sits on top of the internet that anyone can use.

  5. Jeremy 2

    Re: I can't be arsed with a boring title

    They won't. They're politicians. It's their job.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    What a peculiar society we are turning into

    "simply viewing the images could result in a ten-year jail sentence"

    There is just so much wrong with that statement I don't know where to begin.

  7. Graham Marsden

    @What a peculiar society we are turning into

    I suppose we ought to feel lucky in the UK that we could only get jailed for three years for looking at pictures of consenting adults engaged in legal sexual activities.

    (Gosh, I feel so lucky...)

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Puritanical Activism

    I'm surprised there wasn't a reference to the Bill Henson affair as well. Bill Henson is a very well published and respected photographic artist who often uses nude models. Sometimes those models are under 18, but parental consent was always obtained and works were approved by parents (and models) before publication. His work is quite tasteful and not in the slightest bit "sexual", IMHO.

    After a complaint was made by a so-called child protection group (basically an activist/lobby group consisting mostly of ultra-conservative mothers) his showing at a Sydney gallery was shut down by police, his works seized and he was interviewed by police (deliberating whether charges should be brought under child-abuse laws). The head of the activist/lobby group got quite a bit of TV air-time saying he was a paedo and that the works were obscene "no question about it". Not long after that, the classification board classified the works and found the highest rating was "M", i.e. recommended for anyone 15 years and older, with no actual restriction. In the end, no charges were laid, but it dragged on for a couple of months. The utter stupidity with which the matter was handled by media, police and especially that activist/lobby group still leaves me fuming.

    Although the main issue here is internet censorship, there is an undercurrent of puritanical activism that rears its ugly head from time to time. What disturbs me most is that the leverage that the puritans have with Government and its agencies at all levels vastly outweighs their proportion amongst the population. It leaves me worrying where this nonsense will next appear and whether I, or someone I know, will end up in the direct line of fire.

  9. Jason DePriest

    Designed to bypass the Great Firewall of China

    UltraSurf skips around to different proxies allowing you to stay "one step ahead" of the censors.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yep, this is a title

    >Any 13yr old Australian, knows that proxy servers can be added to the blocked list.

    Blocking translating services too? They can all be used as proxies.

    (Just put the URL of your English website in and translate from (random language) to english, just in case you didn't know).

  11. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Spotting a pattern emerging ...

    Surely blocking is like putting your head in the sand. It doesn't stop the problem it just hides from it. Maybe instead they should cover their eyes and sing "la" "la" "la" ... nope, still doesn't solve anything. Ok how about digging a big hole in the ground and burying the computer monitor in it? ... nope, still doesn't solve the problem?

    Ok, I guess nothing left to do other than CATCHING and STOPING the abusers will actually stop them!. Wow who would have thought that could be the answer. In other words, stop the problem at the source of the problem!

    If someone robs a bank, you can't stop bank robbers by burning the Newspapers.

    If someone kills someone, you can't stop murders by disconnecting all Televisions.

    If someone rapes someone, you can't stop rapists by turning off all Radios.

    So why the hell do these morons keep trying to censor the Internet? They cannot stop abuse by censoring the Internet.

    So the question then becomes, why the hell do they think censorship its the answer?!?! ... So either they still think censorship is the answer ... in which case thats total madness to a degree thats jaw dropping, as it doesn't stop the problem at all, it just hides from it ... Or more likely, these two faced politicians know its not the real answer - but still they want censorship because they know they can then use censorship in other ways. In political ways. Extending it to censoring political views they don't like. Which I strongly suspect is their real intent. So once again we get yet more politicians showing a totally Narcissistic Machiavellian attitude of using cunning and duplicity to gaining ever more political power to rule over people whilst also showing a complete lack of empathy to others. They are more interested in gaining and holding onto power rather than actually solving problems and helping people.

    But then we can't have a world that (finally!) clamps down and stops all Narcissists. As that would finally rid us all of the bank robbers, murders, rapists, abusers and politicians ... but how do we bring in a law like that, when some of the Narcissists are the ones who control what is to be considered law! ... Each Narcissistic controlling others for their own gain in their own way. Each abusing their victims in their own way for whatever they want. Each at their core, some form of Narcissistic and like all Narcissists showing an extreme lack of empathy to their victims.

    Big Brother Icon, because thats where we are all heading ... because as usual, its because a minority of people want to control everyone else, ultimately for their own gain and guess what kind of people like to control others. Yes, once again, the minority of people who are the Narcissists.

    When will it finally end?!

  12. TimeMaster T

    Re:Re: I can't be arsed with a boring title

    "They won't. They're politicians. It's their job."

    Politics, not just a job, a way of life.

  13. Apocalypse Later

    Calm down

    It's only Australia.

  14. Blain Hamon

    A modest proposal

    If the Aussie ISPs want to kill this cold, have them give the Minister what he wants. That is, an entire day where any attempts to connect to the outside world is met with a redirect to a site saying, "The site you wanted may contain stuff that could go on the naughty list. If you don't want this happening for good," and then provides the necessary contact information to politicians to properly give them an earful.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Other material

    Calm down, its only the RIAA and its ilk.

    Pollies do what they are bought to do.

    Since both main parties are doing something the pollies involved appear to not understand, to stop something they wont define, its clear they are glove puppets, IMHO.

    Since Oz is a hedonistic humanist society infested with puritans of all types (fundy atheists, fundy theists, fundy AnnRandians, fundy watermelons), the only attitude keeping us sane is our apathy.

    Lets hear it for apathy, oh wait...

    Black helicopter, because there really is one down the road, available for charter.

  16. Adrian Esdaile

    Um, going to need a bigger prison then....

    "According to police, however, despite the apparent go-ahead from the State censor, simply viewing the images could result in a ten-year jail sentence."

    OK, so that would be every person who saw yesterday's front page of the Sydney Morning Herald then. Do we turn ourselves in to the local police station, or will they be setting up special detention centres? We're good at them...

    I think I also have some computer games that are beyond the MA15 rating too, so should I bring them along? I think I still have some banned books too, I'm pretty sure the STASI here still have a few on their lists.

    No wonder Lego is so expensive here.

    PS, don't come to Sydney or NSW for holidays, it sucks, it smells, you'll get robbed or murdered, and thats just catching a train. Go to Queensland, it's much prettier and the people are nicer.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Viewing a movie == Murder

    Its a sad comment on Australia. In Tasmania (the southern most Australian state) murder will get you 20, 10 in prison and 10 on parole.

  18. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Nice change

    It's odd hearing something from the Coalition that makes sense for a change. Maybe Labor will take their example and run with it.

  19. Adam White

    Opposition spokesman decries Government policy

    Unfortunately Senator Minchin's comments have no more substance or credibility in this case than any other form of political mud slinging.

    Believe it or not, Senator Conroy saying critics of the scheme are pro-child porn.

    These people just want to make sounds with their mouths, they don't care if what comes out means anything or not.

  20. Big-nosed Pengie
    Thumb Up

    I know who'll be getting my vote.

  21. asdf

    aussies didn't hear NuLab tactics so 2007

    The current aussie government is going to to learn what the Republicans learned last year and NuLab will learn next year. Problem is careful what you replace your government with (grumble borrow and spend Republicans, tax and spend Democrats either way our money not worth paper printed on).

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Apocalypse Later

    Haha, maybe, but IF (and that's a very big IF) these clods get even the most tiny positive result (in their favour) YOUR govt will be straight on the phone.

    Oh hello yes, do your filter-o-nasty filters come in black as well?


    OK, well have 4 gross please...

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Dictators salute Stephen Conroy [img]

    This picture sums it up -

    Don't worry, this will die soon. If it's implemented, there will be a tidal wave of complaints over the hundreds of COMPLETELY legal sites on the list (including a dentist).

  24. Steve Browne
    Big Brother

    Trust a politician?

    I really enjoyed the comment about monitoring to catch paedophiles, 100% Nu Labour rhetoric for spying on everyone. Didn't he read the long list of articles and comments on Phorm and BT monitoring web access?

    History tells us that politicians wish to monitor the population to further their own interests and to stamp out opposition. The reasoning behind their imposition of spying is always the "fear of the day", but their desire is always the same, elimination of the opposition.

    Consequently, these sort of rules are met with weak parliamentary opposition, after all the opposition parties are politicians too, weak public opposition as the public want their "fear of the day" assuaged and onto the statute book they creep. In implementation, the people find out the beginnings of what they have done. THE "fear of the day" law is now used inappropriately by a heavy handed police force.

    Now normal activities are banned, or strictly controlled, whilst the perpetrators of "fear of the day" are left unchallenged to go about their business.

    For "fear of the day" substitute any political reason.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @Trust a politician?

    "For "fear of the day" substitute any political reason."

    Since when did reason enter into politics?

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