back to article Google weighs in to Aussie firewall row

Google has criticised the Australian government's forthcoming mandatory ISP censorship system for targeting a "too wide" a range of content. While supporting blocking of child abuse material, Iarla Flynn, Google Australia's head of policy today wrote that "moving to a mandatory ISP filtering regime with a scope that goes well …


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  1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Thumb Down

    Christian Groups?

    Well, there's no doubt that God would not want people to know how to use drugs more safely....

    1. Tim Bates

      But not all Christians (and/or groups).

      Conroy's filter plans are not supported by all Christians and churches. Many who understand the implications are just as against it as the next person.

      Most people in our church are against it for one reason or another. Some fear the future censoring that will result. Some just don't like the idea of being frustrated by false positives.

  2. Vitani

    China comparison

    The comparison with China is a bit off. Australia is a democracy, the people can influence the government, but the same cannot be said for China.

    1. Steve Roper

      You're a bit wrong there mate

      Australia is a democracy in name only. On every newspaper poll in the country on this subject the percentage of responses against the censorship proposal ran to around 95 - 96 %. That's an overwhelming majority of the population against this thing. We've written letters to politicians, campaigned on Internet, TV and newspapers, held protests - all to no avail. The government is going ahead with it anyway (unless the Senate rejects it). So how exactly can our people influence the government again?

      Australia is more like China than you think. It's just a tiny bit more subtle about how it pretends not to be.

  3. Not Fred31

    great sub-headline guys!

    Because Google hasn't been able to overturn decades of entrenched "communist" censorship, you decide to have a sarcastic go at them because they are trying to stop Australia going in the same direction? Is that the best that you can do, when a western country is introducing the most widescale censorship mechanism ever introduced in a country that claims to be a democracy?? Really? Come on!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    That's the problem

    With any new law like this it starts off with...

    "We will only be targeting A"

    Few weeks down line...

    "We are considering adding B C and D to make know... safe and stuff".

    Few weeks down the line...

    "Now the law has been passed we will be adding E,F,G,H,I,J,K, L and M to make the world safer"

    Few weeks down the line

    "We are now banning everything except Z, enjoy your new found freedom...erm...oh wait"

    This kind of law is an epic fail and thank god for all the ways around it!

    1. Mostor Astrakan


      Now you've reminded me of Ella Minnow Pea. Which is... actually strangely appropriate.

  5. brimful

    To Aussie Christian Groups

    Not all that is unlawful is sinful. Not all that is sinful is unlawful. Finally since Australia is a secular democracy, the christian groups need more than themselves before this should become law. Having the christians dictate national policy spits in the faces of all Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jedis, Evnvironmentalists, Athiests, Agnostics, Taos, Voodoos, Snake Oils, etc.

    On a more important point, I still can't understand how 1 man in a democracy can set policy for an entire country when the majority in that democracy is opposed to that policy. Take ID cards here in the UK for instance - ok it's a bit more than 1 man, but you get the point.

    Flame, cos I'm going to hell anyway.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      what christians are for the GFW of Oz ?

      Dont confuse elected policy pushers with christians.

      Xtians dont dictate policy, given that on every other distinct issue important to them, they are ignored. Probably being less than 2% of the population explains that.

      However, the christians I speak to on the subject, object on exactly the same grounds as most others, ie, where does this stop ?

      Also, they fear the next govt of "scientific atheists" will find the GFW of Oz an excellent tool for suppression.

  6. Gulfie

    Google Blocked?

    As Google helpfully provide access to cached pages, does this mean that Australia will end up blocking them? After all, if they have cached pages that are on sites on the blocked list, people will still be able to access them without visiting the original site...

  7. Joe Blogs


    Australian Sex Party??

    Where's my invite to this???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm UK based, does that mean if I get an invite it'll take me at least 24 hours to come?

  8. Anonymous Coward


    So Mr Unpleasant runs a dodgy website ends up on the list, gets blocked. Mr Nasty buys a new domain, moves content. Rinse and repeat!

  9. Pablo


    I was expecting Google to say that if you're concerned about censorship you're probably doing something online that you shouldn't be.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do they ban books, too?

    Or is it only the interspazz that's dangerous?

    1. Tim Bates


      Books can be banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

      Unfortunately the internet isn't a book or film. It changes every second, with volumes of information that would take most people a lifetime to consume. By the time a complaint is processed, there's every chance a website has moved or been changed.

  11. Graham Marsden

    Do no...

    ... hypocrisy...!

  12. magnetik

    Stephen Conroy

    Was that "communications minister" or "communism minister" ?? I think the latter would be more appropriate.

    Backed by Christian groups? Great 'cause Christianity has never been about power and control .. oh wait ..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    A new concept to me is to consider the web as broadcast media and by extension to uphold broadcast parameters.

    I was going to put something like "On the other hand for those people and/or organisations seeking a totally uncensored web can't they do so any way. Has it got to be one or the other but not both?"

    But then realised that a twofold can be complicated yet at the same time keeps all of the -ahem- criminal element in one place and so far more easily observed?

    Whatever my limitations are in thinking it through I hold that considering web/net as a broadcast media is a good step in the correct direction.

    Other thoughts are:

    a free unsheltered web/net concept arrived by scientists in a scientific foray is great but it does not automatically follow that an anything goes web/net makes for a good business model

    a better business model is that probably constrained and driven by broadcast mentality

  14. Glen Turner 666

    Please get it right - refused classification is more than pron

    The proposed filter will block "refused classification" content, that is, material which fall outside of the censorship classifications. This includes R-rated video games, such as Left 4 Dead 2. It has historically included material such as the Cold Chisel song "Khe Sahn", the publications of Gay Mens Health Crisis on safer gay sex as a means to limiting the spread of AIDS, the works of Robert Mapplethorpe (we had a police raid on a gardening bookshop here in Adelaide that had a Mapplethorpe book on the shelves), the book Final Exit, not to mention umpteen less controversial books such as Last Exit to Brooklyn, some Animal Liberation books (because it distressed the censor just how that bacon arrived at his breakfast), and Primo Levi's autobiography (apparently the recounting of death in the Nazi concentration camps was too distressing for grown up Australians to read) .

    In fact, if there's an emerging social trend, Australia has censored it. And now there's this emerging thing called "the Internet".....

    Sure RC includes a lot of unsavoury stuff. But that stuff is *already* illegal --- not just censored, but criminal to hold --- and ISPs *already* assist the Federal Police in prosecuting those scum. No ISP in the country has ever had a AFP officer on the phone asking for assistance with a child sex crime and has been refused. As you would expect.

    What the filter does is to placate the Happy Clappers who voted for Senator Stephen Fielding, a man elected with less that 2,500 votes but who holds the balance of power in the Senate. With an election on the way Labor want those votes -- and the ability to push legislation through Parliament -- in their pocket. That's why there is a rush to get the legislation before Parliament prior to the election. Even thought there is no time to get the bill passed, and all pending bills are discarded once Parliament is prorogued prior to the election.

    We had such high hopes that krudd would base policy on what Australia needed, rather than short-term political opportunism. But as we've seen this week --- with both climate change and censorship --- that it just ain't so.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised

    Australia is a democracy in name only

    It is, in fact, a country with no valid constitution

    see this:

    and this:

  16. Argus Tuft
    Black Helicopters

    @ That's the problem (16:31)

    the scariest part is that the list is secret - so we're not even allowed to know that the scope is creeping.... and leaking the list will be a criminal offense.

    At least with 'traditional' censorship we knew which books/movies had been banned.

  17. Goat Jam

    I didn't vote for Krudd

    But I still didn't anticipate the level of crapness he was capable of rising to.

    He and his labor cohorts have managed to demonstrate what a moronic bunch of blinkered ideologues they are in record time. Not that Howard was any better, just on the other side of the spectrum.

    Viva la revolution!!

  18. Winkypop Silver badge

    Hey religio-tards and other crazy fundies

    I don't believe in your sky-fairy's, so stay off my internet !!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    "He is backed by Christain groups."

    What's a Christain?

  20. Il Midga di Macaroni

    What Christians are backing it?

    Name six Christians or Christian groups that are backing this scheme. I know a LOT of Christians and NONE of them are in favour.

    And since Christians make up about 20% of the population, and as quoted above, 95% of the population are against any form of internet censorship, it's obvious that the few people that do back Conroy can't possibly even be representative of Christians.

    Grenade, for fitting nasally into Mr Conroy's cranium after removing the pin. And the result, of course, is to be posted on youtube along with instructions for how to achieve the best possible results when "dealing" with politicians.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    The UK does not have a constitution either.

    That can be good, bad, neither or a bit of both really.

    It also means that people have to sort things out with the skills, materials, assets, technologies, ... that were not around in, say, the 17th, 18th, 19th or 20th centuries.

    Nor does it mean that a nation is shackled into a visage (however good it might have been) from some centuries back.

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