back to article Secret forum reveals Oz firewall backroom dealing

Australia’s plans for a firewall to protect its population from smut on the internet are rapidly evolving from farce to total chaos. Weekly revelations on bulletin boards suggest that Stephen Conroy, the man behind the big idea, does not know what forthcoming legislation on the topic will say, when it will be introduced or how …


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  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    No-one could be THAT stupid?

    Then again...

    "and therefore his pursuit of this project is motivated more by populist politics than a desire to find a practical solution."

    AKA: Keeping the minority xtian-taliban faction happy.

    It's all going to fail miserably.

    VPNs away lads!

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      your naivety is showing

      Uh, the group who are ignored on every other issue that matters to them are able to force thru an unpopular draconian law ? Shurely shome mistake !

      A true skeptic would suggest money might have something to do with it, along with the delusion modern media have anything to sell that anyone may willing buy. The appearance of close links between media owners and the local ruling parties going back decades might spring to mind.

    2. Adrian Esdaile

      Er, yes, we can!

      Yep, Arsetralians CAN be that stupid. We voted this fucktard in after all.

      I for one am looking forward to the Great Firewall, as I intend to report every single Government website I can find a URL for as hosting k1dd13e-pr0n one the very first day of operation. I'm sure I can find way over 10,000 sites.

      Oh, BTW, 10,000 site limit: what are they using Frontpage and Access 98 on a Pentium 66? Probably, knowing our ridiculous bunch of corrupt, inept, ignorant, bigoted, religious fucktard politicians.

      Not enough FAIL icons, and it makes me shouty.

  2. Scott 19
    Paris Hilton

    Seems handy

    The firewall gets overloaded, the Oz guberment says we're reviewing it in the mean time taking down the internet in Oz, could this be the first guberment to ban the internet? will be intresting when it all goes boobies up.

    What about information banned under this policy that is spread? they'll have to have a rapid response for something that is banned but then goes viral and of course we have seems any sight hosting Paris in revealing outfits could be hit hard as well.

    This has major FAIL written all over it.

    1. R.P.Charlie
      Big Brother

      could this be the first guberment to ban the internet?

      Well maybe Rudd has gone hard to port and is following Olibama's lead about needing gubmint control of the internet (cause all that information from iPhones and iPods is confusing the erectorate).

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon


    So, mass domain name registrations and a simple page with content that would cause offence (such as depictions of Conroy raping skippy or something) would bring the Australian network to a halt.

    Talk about a mass DoS attack!

  4. P Zero
    Big Brother


    So it wouldn't be illegal to suggest people get server space on an offshore ISP, set up a simple perl script from the many available online to redirect queries to blocked addresses and simply view them by proxy, but it would be illegal to tell people explicitly how to block the filter? Interesting.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Australian Election

    How much longer before the Australians can remove Conroy?

    Or is that last token of democracy and freedom of speech now restricted too?

    So the banned words in the Australian language now include : VPN tunnel, and encrypted proxy (if used gratuitously against old ladies)?

    Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can 'VPN' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design web sites are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

    << Gravestone for the Reg in Australia now, and it was my fault (see above).

    Sorry. Perhaps a diplomatic gift of a shrubbery or a herring would be acceptable, as an act of appeasement?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Another duh moment

    "the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DEBACLE)] have considered making the promotion of circumvention somehow illegal."

    So when a friend mentions bypassing a censor box you simply tell them how to do it if you were in Iran or China. Legally, you haven't told them how to bypass the Australian system.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    This IS Australia were talking about right??

    The land of milk and honey??

    What the hells happen(ing)ed down there????

    Some how blighty doesnt seem as bad..

    1. Chad H.


      Remember our internet is censored too! (although on a voluntary basis, although the government did threaten ISPs with the Lawbat if they didn't).

  8. Gumby 1

    This is being discussed on TV tonight in Oz,

    Hope this link works for you , its on TV Now.

    Access denied.

    Also on Q & A after

  9. The BigYin

    Just like the UK then

    "We know that X will never work and will waste billions, but it will make us look good to the poorly educated* and gutter-press reading masses, pump those billions into the coffers of our pals and ensure we can get re-elected or at least a cushy directorship. So we will do it anyway, hand over your wallet."

    *Only poorly educated because schooling standards have dropped so low and our degrees are now a joke. I don't blame the teachers, they are often doing the best they can with very little support form the government and parents. Ignorance begets ignorance.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      The Big Yin

      "We know that X will never work and will waste billions, but it will make us look good to the poorly educated* and gutter-press reading masses,"

      If Conroy *knows* it won't work but advocates it *anyway* he's clearly the worst kind of rabble rousing bottom feeding politico. His only conviction is a burning desire to be re-elected. another government department that seems to have had a "Fact" finding visit to the UK recently and *liked* what they saw.

      What is the equivalent of The Scum in Aus? Would it by any chance also be owned by a certain R Murdoch?

      1. Angus 2
        Thumb Down

        What is more concerning

        is that I actually think he is genuine about wanting to "save the children" it is just that he really is as clueless about how the intertubes works as he seems. From the 4 Corners show last night it seems he has this idea in his head that he is determined to push through against all advice to the contrary. It came across to me that he feels it doesn't matter that this system doesnt work properly and is less secure than a broken door lock held together with string but at least he is doing something to save the kids (tm).

        The fact that this is so unpopular and has made him look pretty stupid means I cant see it as a vote winner for him. It does make him look amazingly pigheaded tho.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          I'm not so sure he is genuine

          Remember, he's been described in the media and in parliament as a "factional dalek" and a "headkicker." I think he's pushing ahead with it because he wants to trade for Steve Fielding's support in parliament, as well as the god-botherers' support (ACL et al) outside parliament. He most likely also wants to introduce a means to try to control people's speech online.

          If you listen to him speak about the filter, the terms he uses are very emotive, accusing people (even other senators) who oppose it of being child porn supporters. He's even contacted the employer of his most vocal opponent and tried to get him fired. These are not the actions of someone who is honestly concerned, these are the actions of a bully who wants to crush any opposition and get his own way. For him, it's all about the power.

          If he was genuinely concerned, you'd think he would want to open a conversation about how best to actually protect children, especially after even the Australian Federal Police have told him it a stupid idea. You'd also think we wouldn't have discontinued the freely-provided PC filtering software the previous government made available.

      2. Mark 65

        You should have heard the twat

        Watched the programme last night ( and he and his supporters - a progressive thinking (?) Professor from some social studies department and some bible thumping God-botherer - opinions and attitudes begged belief.

        The God-botherer came out with the classic "Why are people against this? If people think they have a right to download child porn then a file should be opened on them". The classic save the children angle. Never mind that there is plenty of legal material banned under this!

        Conroy was his usual utterly incompetent techno-tard self. I thought he dude from iinet (or whatever ISP he works at) who originally railed against the technical aspects of the filter was going to breakdown in utter disbelief at what was being suggested and put before him.

        It was typical political foolery. Conroy even stated that the blocklist couldn't be revealed because, unlike showing a list of books or films that are banned, it would give you direct access to the material. This, obviously, ignores the fact that 1) he's blocking it, and 2) if you have got around the system you are viewing what you want anything. I can understand not wanting to give an A-Z of kiddie porn but the list has to be up for independent review by someone other than the blockers.

        Read the details of the show here (

        Many people put forward the idea of "why not just block kiddie porn like other countries do?" but this obviously didn't fit in with the populous control that the vested interests wanted.

        Funniest bit was watching a gathering of oldies being schooled in bypassing the filter so they could still get to a euthanasia site.

  10. Trollslayer

    This won't take long!

    10,000 sites and it will fall over?

    Hackers will to that in a few hours!

    1. Steve Brooks

      Australia, land of endless bureaucracy!

      "Hackers will to that in a few hours!" hahahahahahaha, oh deary deary me, you have no idea how us Aussies work it appears. Stuff added to the list will be added on a complaints basis, the complaints will be examined by a dedicated team of TWO at the ACMA (Australian Communication and Media Authority), if unsure the complaints will be forwarded to the OFLC (Office of Film and Literature Classification). Stuff that is obviously RC usually get added to the list within 4-6 weeks (and that's now with only about 100 complaints a year!), stuff that's forwarded to the OFLC usually takes 3 months to get put on the list.

      While there's no doubt the radical right and religious nutjobs (aka ACL - aka Australian Christian Lobby - aka Jim Wallace) could flood the ACMA with 10,000 sites in a few hours, the resulting meltdown at the ACMA and the OFLC would simply result in the entire system melting down into the pile of goo it originally spawned from.

      Cue maniacal laughter.....HAHAHAHAHAH......I simply can't wait!

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I'm wondering how someone can win an election with Anonymous playing games with everyone involved in the PR spin.

  12. Bernie Cavanagh


    It's the same with all governments, they are scared shitless of free speech and a population that is capable of independent free thought not to mention they can cover up all sorts of nasty legislation and underhand dealings with a good dose of censorship.

    I see the religious right are in there battling in favour of the firewall as well. Probably hoping it can quell some of the more lurid revelations of institutionalised kiddy fiddling stories that seem to be appearing with ever more frequency.

    I'm pleased the Oz government seem to be as capable as most politicians, piss up in a brewery comes to mind.

    Pardon my cynicism.

  13. Christian Gerzner

    Oh gawd

    I live in Oz.

    That means that I have to associate (at whatever arms length) with idiots like Conroy.

    I'm not a technophobe, yet I watched, and avidly, tonights 4 Corners and QandA programmes on the ABC and, essentially, am heartened by what I saw and what was said.

    Personally, with little knowledge of the ramifications, I feel that Conroy and his ilk are "pissing into the wind", that they will never get a working solution - I hope I'm right and I do hope that they keep pissing in that direction.

    I'm 69 with no axe to grind. I live by myself, and proud of it, use the internet prodigiously and I believe, and strongly, that children are to be brought up by their parents rather than the government.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    My God

    Conroy even makes Mandelson look decent and above board - and we all know what a complete lie THAT is!!!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its Oz

    Who cares. It will be like in mad max in a year or so down there.

  16. Snert Lee

    Carts and Horses

    I guess if you can get your national firewall in place and operational before the legislation that makes it needful is drafted, then you don't really need that pesky legislation.

  17. Rombizio


    If you cannot circumvent the firewall because is illegal to do so it becomes clear that this is an attempt to control the media by the government and we know where this leads to.

    If you can circumvent it, the solution is useless.....

    Sounds like to have an IQ below 40 is a pre-requisite to be part of the government. In any country. And I thought Canada was pretty bad.....

  18. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Down

    That's how hitler started.

    Sproutes a few well chosen works that a few think sounds like a good idea.

    Starts a political party.

    Makes it an offence to say anything against said party.

    Makes it an offence to start a party in opposition of above (the only one true party after all).

    And the rest is history.

    Hiel Senator Conroy.

  19. Player_16
    Big Brother

    Mail. The good ol' post.

    A least they haven't started ripping my letters open when I send them outside the country...


    Give'em time.

  20. Peter Hood


    They have a labour government. It has demonstrated that it is as clueless as ours. It is a fair bet that labour+stupidity is not a culturally relative phenomenon, but inbuilt.

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