yARN: The politics of mandatory ISP filtering

Why the Government will get its filter regardless of what others want

If minister Stephen Conroy really wants to make compulsory ISP filtering a reality, he will have to pull it off without going through parliament as it currently stands.

This was made apparent through ARN’s recent Q&A series, where we interviewed party and independent members in the Federal Senate except on the opposing side of the bench. The Government needs all cross-benchers to approve the initiative in order to get it passed in the senate.

The Liberal party’s former shadow communications minister, Nick Minchin, was very keen to point out during an interview with ARN that his Government never brought on a national Net filter.

“What we know to date is that there is a huge risk of over blocking and under blocking, that you won’t deal with peer-to-peer traffic, so there are lots of reasons why you would not go down this path,” he said.

The vital cross-bench senator, Nick Xenophon, expressed outright dismissal when he said, “No, I don’t support it. I just can’t see that it’s technically feasible and I think there are better ways of dealing with the problem”. And the Australian Greens’ representative for technology, Senator Scott Ludlam, all but pushed the final nail in the coffin while promising to wait for the final results.

“I can’t see a scenario where we could actually support it,” he said. “We got off on the wrong foot with the Internet censorship. It’s just a bizarre policy and I don’t understand where it comes from and I think that was a real mistake.”

This left the leader of Family First, Senator Steve Fielding, as the only non-Government senator willing to support a filter on the Internet – even if he was careful not to openly back the Government’s.

“They’re still working through their various trials and we’ll see what they come up with in the end, but generally Family First believes there should be some sort of filtering on the Internet,” the senator said.

The omission of the Government in the series is no sign of bias – for weeks we have requested, through emails and phone calls, 10 minutes of Senator Conroy’s time to answer questions on issues deep within his own portfolio.

“Thanks for the invitation. We are not currently doing any interviews,” the minister’s spokesperson, Tim Marshall, responded in his second and last email response.

This contrasts against the limitless energy other ministers have given to answering public questions. To put it bluntly, I’ve spent more time conversing with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Chinese than I have with Minister Conroy in English – being zero.

Publicly, the ISP filtering issue has been a public relations negative for the Government, sparking concerns from tech users and civil libertarians alike. So why has the Government driven ahead when it knows a senate push would end in failure?

A week ago, the answer would have been a likely senate bypass. By making it a non-legislative decision, Conroy can skip the damaging round of public speeches and simply enact the policy.

But thanks to the very public Liberal Party stoush over leadership and the emissions trading scheme (ETS), the possibility of a double dissolution is stronger than ever and opens up a new possibility.

With the most recent results from Newspoll and The Australian showing the Labor Party under Rudd comfortably in front, a vote now would likely see both the House of Representatives and the Senate come under ALP control.

In other words, Conroy would have the numbers needed to press through a mandatory filter the same way John Howard got his WorkChoices.

As ominous as that last line sounds, the simple truth is congratulations are in order for supporters of mandatory filtering. The only things that can stop it now are Senator Conroy and the Labor Party.

Tags Senator Steven FieldingStephen ConroyMandatory ISP filteringSenator Nick MinchinSenator Scott LudlamSenator Nick Xenophon

More about ALPARNLabor PartyLP

74 Comments

Simon Shaw

1

Be afraid.

Unfortunately that's what may happen.

Either Conroy will put the plan quietly to sleep as being too unpopular or wait till they have a majority in both houses, (which looks likely) and then ram the filter through, crying out that he has a mandate to do it.

The only people supporting the filter seem to be the Australian Christian Lobby and uneducated punters.

I work in IT and our whole office is just about against it. (94% calculated out of 75 staff).

Anonymous

2

Basically..

We are screwed!

Anonymous

3

Internet filtering

In a double dissolution, the quota is half what it is normally. This means that it is twice as easy for minor parties to get a senator elected. In view of this I suspect that a double dissolution would see neither major party with a senate majority, and an increased number of Greens and possibly other minor party senators.

Hence I rate the conclusion of this article as unduly pessimistic. And, of course, Rudd has all but ruled out a Double Dissolution, although he can always change his mind.

Anonymous

4

Nah, I'm not worried....

The God-botherers holding minority seats seem to be the main proponents of the filter.

To me, it looks as if Labor only offered to investigate filtering in exchange for getting the religious nutters to vote Labor's way on other more-important issues.

Once those minority seats go away (which they wil,l when Labor doesn't give them their preferences like they did last election), Labor won't have a reason to push the filter any more, and it will quietly die.

David Ramli

Staff

5

I dunno, Conroy has been pushing really hard for something that was meant to just be something to make god-botherers happy. He could've done a Howard and brought out home filters, but instead pushed for whole shebang.

Now even FF isn't too interested in it and everyone knows it's a big downer for ALP so why push ahead unless they want it?

Meh, just hope something changes.

Anonymous

6

What is the Internet?

I think filtering is a way of censoring the Internet? Who checks on the censors?

What ever happened to freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc.

When this happened in China the press nagatively commented on this? When it happens here, no outrage.

If you do not want your kids doing something take responsibility.

Anonymous

7

Why do we have a religiously motovated right wing communications minister?

Anonymous PS

8

Really it just depends on what is filtered. If it means I/my family etc don't accidentally stumble over illegal e.g. paedophillic or undesirable e.g. R18 content isn't that a good thing? Or perhaps should we not have that cjoice?

Fascinating the abhorrence of Christians holding opinions shown by some of these comments and on another story about ISP filtering.

Bill

9

Greens will have the balance of power

Regardless of whether the next elections is a double dissolution, the Greens are likely to have the balance of power.

In regards to why the Government has pursued this policy - both Prime Minister Rudd and Senator Conroy are "god bothers" I believe.

Anonymous

10

@Anonymous PS

You already have the choice of:
1) Installing your own software filter
2) Signing up to a censored ISP
3) Learning a little self-control over your browsing habits, or
4) Switching off the Internet.

We're not trying to take your choices away from you. We're trying to prevent the moralisers from taking ours away from us under the guise of "protecting the children"

Roddy

11

"God-botherers".... ROFL

Calling someone a "God-botherer" is religious discrimination, and is a form of religious censorship...

Hmmmm.... Shows us the underlying attitude of some to other people's freedoms of choice.

Just as bad if not worse than their accusations and insinuations against "Christians"...

Tough living in a democracy, where the majority actually decides what will happen.

And dang it if the Australian people didn't vote for successive governments and parties who base their governing pronciples on Christian values...

Conundrum now for those who require that the majority do not decide...

We had open elections, the people voted.

They knew all about Howard, Abbott, Rudd, Conroy etc and their Christian values based morals and ethics...

And the majority voted them in.

Hmmmmmm.... Now a minority want them, demand that they govern without those Christian values, morals and ethics standards....

In footy we call that wishing for the try line but playing on the wrong field...

Anonymous

12

I didn't vote for this.

I didn't vote for Labor and I certainly didn't vote to get the internet censored by stupid politicians and by self righteous religious groups.

David Ramli

Staff

13

Ah, crap, not Roddy...

Anonymous

14

"Calling someone a "God-botherer" is religious discrimination, and is a form of religious censorship..."

I disagree....a god botherer is someong whose pursuit of an imaginary deity somehow forces itself on me - affecting my rights to privacy, or to my rights to access information services that are not filtered by *their* perceptions of how imaginary deities should be discussed.

In this specific case, their pursuit of their imaginary deity may require that *my* internet connection is filtered to ensure that *their* children don't get exposed to reality.

Really, that's the crux of this discussion, and I don't believe other people's delusions should govern how me and mine should see the world. If I want to prevent my kids from getting exposed to gambling, porn, and scams, OpenDNS is more than capable of blocking these specific categories of sites from just the kid's PCs in my home.

Roddy

15

Ah Anonymous,
The problem

Ah Anonymous,

The problem there is not the question of whether the individual decides to access the proposed RC materials, that would be like dropping the illegal status of, say, cocain:

You already have the choice of:
1) Installing your own drug controls for your family
2) Signing up yourself and the family to a drug free estate
3) Learning a little self-control over your drug taking habits, or
4) Switching off from humanity...

Going into denial that the gov has the responsibility to put measures in place to restrict public access to a range of materials or content deemed illegal/prohibited/RC/dangerous etc, (whatever you wish to split hairs on), will not help the debate at all.

Roddy

16

Re: Ah, crap, not Roddy... (lol...)

ROFL:

"Ah, crap, not Roddy...
Ah, crap, not Roddy..."

Yes, you are once again blessed to have a dissenting voice raising uncomfortable questions...

Or would you censor me??

Welcome my right to freedom of speech, I do.

As a recent poster noted here, if you don't like it you can simply switch off the internet?

lol.

Enjoy the subject matter, and as Morpheus so well advised:

"Free your mind...!"

Roddy

17

Re: Calling someone a....

It is your perception that the said deity is imaginary. If their perception and conviction is that the deity is real, then you or no-one els has any right to deny them that.

Here is the crux of the matter for you and some others.

If the majority of Australians then agree through voting in governments whose fundamental governing priciples are based on these "Christian" vales, then you are subject to them all the time.

Like it or not.

What could well be considered sanctemonious, it now that an issue comes up that you wish to reject, all of a sudden now it is the "Christian" values that are so evil and wrong?

You have had years to oppose said "Christian" values, but have been quite happy to enjoy the benefits of a free and open society based on said values.

Naming other people's convictions and beliefs as "delusions" does not do you or your cause any service Anonymous, the Australian public clearly accepts and will continue to accept Christian values as the basis for our laws, constitution and society...

You live in an open democracy, you have the right to oppose the government format, and also to extricate yourself if the "delusions" of others are too much for you... (not suggesting you do, just that we have that choice...)

Roddy

18

Mate, I didn't vote for GST, and yet I got it...

It is a sad development called majority rule in a democracy.

Vote em out and your problem is solved, unless of course Abbott becomes PM... lol

"I didn't vote for Labor and I certainly didn't vote to get the internet censored by stupid politicians and by self righteous religious groups."

Artstar

19

Religion is an excuse, not the real reason...

What nobody has argued here is whether or not it really is the Christian way to impinge on people's liberties. Roddy, you argue that our laws are founded on Christianity and you're right in saying so.

However, the ideas of not killing, not stealing, not violating children and adults alike are also those of common sense and decency. When you talk about censorship, on the other hand, that's not necessarily an exercise in common sense and this mandatory internet filtering is a perfect example of a lack of common sense.

If anything, if anyone wants to open their eyes to this, it is a lot more about controlling information. The internet has given the public a voice, one which couldn't reach so many people over such great distances had it not existed. When speech and information become so readily available, governments and the bankers and corporations that own them begin to worry because they can and will be found out - because the public can and will one day fight against such tyrants.

So how do you keep a nation's civillians under control? Keep them stupid, unaware to question and contest what their "superiors" choose to do to them. The media is controlled but the internet itself is not. So, like China, limit the sites that people can access, keep them in the dark and you can do with the public as you please and nobody will call you a fascist.

Think about it for a second people. Conroy's plan involves sites being blacklisted without any reason required and without the blacklist even being released to give the owners of the blacklisted sites a chance to defend themselves. We don't have a bill of rights here, therefore no right to the freedom of speech but to take away one's ability to speak freely is still an act of fascism no matter what perspective you look at it from.

Religion is just one of many excuses put forward to push this filter into action. I'm of the belief that religion was invented to keep people under the control of those who created religion in the first place. Having people fear a deity and do as the deity tells them is an effective way to convince the public to do as you please. For those who, for religious reasons, support the filter, this is mission accomplished.

Anonymous

20

GST

Yes we have the GST but that does not censor the internet and tries to place religious agenda's on to other people.

Internet filter idea is crap from the start and end of it you could paint it the most pretty colour but it will still remain crap.

I never needed a filter when I first started to use the internet and I don't need it now.

I have no kids I dont want kids and I want my internet as it is.

Reece

21

'"God-botherers".... ROFL'....lol

At best its politically incorrect.. I like to think it as an endearing term.

And majority? there is no way a majority of Australians are religious, unless you decide to count cultural religious beliefs.

The funny thing about your comment is it is in the comments section of an article that just said that the only way Conjob is going to get this through is WITHOUT putting it to a vote. WITHOUT your pre-mentioned majority.

This filter is a bad idea. If you can get past what your church has told you, it is not going to work. Conroy has not even released the findings of the trial testing the viability of filtering, why not unless he didn't like the current results.

"We had open elections, the people voted.

They knew all about Howard, Abbott, Rudd, Conroy etc and their Christian values based morals and ethics..."

No actually, I was under the obviously incorrect assumption that us Aussies were a bit more rational and more secular within our Government, and as a country.

JC - Brisbane

22

Political options

"And dang it if the Australian people didn't vote for successive governments and parties who base their governing pronciples on Christian values..."

Well we don't really have a choice there now do we. Both parties are the same.

Simon Shaw

23

People can practice any crazy religion they want, and I don't mind.

UNTIL they start to push those values on me.

We may have a set of laws based on christian values, however our constitution clearly states that it's not to be forced on anyone and that state and religion are separate.

Those values are more "western" values now, or as another poster said, common sense and decency.

Ben

24

Even if it's in...

Yo Roddy, what's up?

Still getting around to answering those questions of mine from the previous 2 articles?

Anyway, even if they push this garbage uphill and it gets to the top (ie. forced on everyone), the problems will be just as large as predicted. This cannot possibly work in anyone's favour, except for Peter Mancer and the snake oil vendors.

Anonymous

25

Freedom of Speech issue

Among other things, the leaked filter list blocked pro-life political sites -- something most fundamental Christians would support.

Some Christian groups support mandatory filtering, of course -- you can find people to support /anything/. But what percentage, exactly? As the article states, "the ISP filtering issue has been a public relations negative for the Government". So more voters are offended than are appeased; It cannot be about winning votes.

If it was really a moral issue, there would be no need to conceal the target of the filter. The government would be able to define "unwanted material".

Filtering is about controlling the flow of information. Religious groups provide a convenient scapegoat to distract people from the real problem.

Angus

26

And just how much of said material has your family "stumbled" across do tell?

Anonymous

27

Internet

Ahhhh.

Could religion be a furphy?

Is it big business trying to stop those nasty torrents?

Whatever happended to freedom?

If you don't want information or watch TV programs switch it off.

May be a simple solution should be to compulsary describe what is on the site before you have the choice to enter.

Rob

28

Why can't I be a stakeholder?

So the Christian Lobby Groups see themselves as "stakeholders" in the filter - and can meet with Conroy anytime they want, but the average voter out there, can't get an appointment with Conroy to discuss the issue - as he's too busy.

Just another example why State and Religion should be kept seperate.

Anonymous

29

Election Decider

Frankly, the decision to censor the Australian people is the veritable "straw".
If there is a double dissolution and Labor still intends this very scary practise, we will be faced with a choice of greater evils...censorship or allowing the death of the environment.
I think that the ETS will almost certainly be forced into law no matter who wins, so preventing the censorship makes far more sense to me.
I and my mates will be voting Liberal for the first time next election unless this is permanently dropped...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety"

Max

30

Roddy logic fail

@Roddy: your entire argument hinges on the idea that when someone votes for a politician or party they agree with every policy that the political party has - no matter what form it may morph into post election. This is simply a flawed notion.

Labor won the last election primarily because of the protest against workchoices. Does that mean that every person who voted for Labor agreed with their minor policy of internet censorship (which had quite a different form pre-election)?

Unless an item goes to an unbiased referrendum then you can't actually say that it's the wish of the electorate.

If Labor ran with the promise to lower income tax by 10% but kill ten thousand kittens then they'd most likely win. Does that mean that everyone wants to kill kittens? No, it simply means that people vote based on what they conceive to be the most important electoral promise.

R

31

Its all wizards and warlocks...

It baffles me that in today’s age of information and free thought that not only do we tolerate these ignorant mystics and their book of riddles; but that we actually vote them into power.

Now I don't really mind living in a fascist regime, as long as I'm the one behind the curtain cracking the whip. But so far, I haven’t been invited to the backstage party, so I’m gonna chuck a sad.

Roddy

32

Re: Roddy and his logic...

Hi Max, Australia has a democracy and is based on Christian values. Has been for a long time.

Your assumption on what I think is quite incorrect.

You may speculate that this was my intention, however you are mistaken. I never once stated or intimated that the voter agrees with all policies of a government, and it is sadly disingenious to suggest that I did.

Shame on you mate, that is dastardly slur...! Retract please. Never said and never meant... Is that clear enough text for you?

We are not Switzerland, where the people vote on a regular basis on government decisions. Government policy and Australian law is rarely put to referendum, and it is ludicrous to suggest that without a referendum a gov has no mandate.

Most Australians have a pretty fair idea of how government in general runs here, and vote on that basis. It has been clear for many decades that our successive governments define policy and engage with the Australian public and business sectors on the basis of Christian values.

Even when there are exceptions and errors. That is the general basis whether you like it or not Max...

We have a system Max, that allows governments to make policy and laws, dependant on the degree of control of the two houses of parliament they possess.

There is NO law anywhere in Australia and never has been one, that stipulates that governments may only pass laws that have been clearly enunciated to the satisfaction of all Australians prior to the election.

Where do some people get their ideas about that aspect?

What that does mean is that Labor can and is understood to govern on the basis of Christian values, and that is expected of them by the majority of Australians.

They are not beholden to some religious lobby group, that idea is pure scare mongering and dopey at best.

Your example of kittens falls nicely in the category of tired red herrings. Australians, like any democracy, always need to take to desired along with the undesired, the good with the bad, the popular with the unpopular.

That is democracy Max, majority rule with protections for the minorities.

Not rule for the monorities, but protections.

Every gov knows that if they cross the line they will be voted out next time round.

Thanks for your comments as well...

Roddy

33

Re: Mystics in gov...

Hi R...

I was nor aware that Dumbledore and Harry Potter were in government.... lol. Dumbledore would make a prety good PM actually.

I did however read yesterday that Voldemort was contesting the Liberal leadership ballot...

It is due to our age of free thought and information that although the church memberships are dwindling, the majority of Australians continue to prefer a life and a society based on Christian values.

Not all "mystics" are anymore ignorant that the atheists, and if the majority of Australians were to prefer an agnostic government they would vote accordingly.

Good point on the regime question though, it would make life easier, for us at least that have whips... >;((

Roddy

34

Re: Pro-life political sites blocked/?

Errr, which pro-life political site was blocked by the ACMA lists? I referred this question to an associate OS who had a copy of the leaked list (unvalidated as complete), and they could only find a single related URL/webpage blocked.

No related website blocked at all.

Where do you get your information?

Roddy

35

Re: Ben...

Hi Ben. So many inviting comments to respond to. I had answered many of your questions, I believe you are next with some responses as well...?

Good old Peter Mancer and the snake oil vendors... lol.

Peter does not have the systems required to make this work. You will need to look beyond the systems chosen by the ISPs here for that trial and look at existing and working systems used by telcos elsewhere, that do successfully cater to millions of users.

Every law any government pases is "forced on everyone" in one way or the other Ben. The pain of a democracy hey?

The snake oil vendors will not make neraly as much out of this as you might want to speculate. The private and commercial security market is 100 times bigger that this project, and it is getting in their way to more ISP business at this time.

There are what, 400 viable ISPs, most small, in Australia?

There are at least 10,000 companies that buy their security stuff, 10,000 schools, etc. High margin business.

The residential market dwarfs the potential returns of supplying some blacklist filtering, which is the cheapest and easist option.

Low cost.

Again though we come around the circle to some folks predicting huge problems, yet telcos who have ISP wide blacklist filtering in many other democratic societies do not have many problems at all, and the people are not yet storming the barricades to do away with the filters.

Speculation vs. actual developments...

Cheers...

Anonymous

36

RE: Roddy's Arguments

Hi Roddy,

Have been reading through a lot of your comments recently.

I must first say that it is good to see that you have the courage to come into such a debate with the majority against you. It is rare to see somebody in such circumstances.

In one of your arguments you say: "Australia has a democracy and is based on Christian values."

I think you may be associating all ethical behaviour as being solely christian. This would be incorrect as most of those laws outlined in Christian teachings are also shared in most other religious teachings. Such laws have been in around since before the existence of Christianity. If you have any spare time i suggest you read an abridged version of the Torah and you will see the same writings.

Yes, this was the way it was intended originally as this was still a time when majority was of christian ideal, and as you say "Thou shalt not kill" etc. These are also the base of all abrahamic religions. (Jewish, Christian, Islam) and such laws exist in non-abrahamic religions as well.

As for the pro-life web page? Where did we get the info?

ACMA directly, they issued a takedown notice on Bulletproof Networks for posting the link.

As it is blacklisted I can not list it here, do not want ARN getting 11,000 a day fines. Look at "SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN" web page for a news story relating to the banned link being posted.

All I have to post for now. Its starting to get late and I have to be at work in 7 hours.

Ben

37

@ Roddy

Hi Roddy,

"Hi Ben. So many inviting comments to respond to. I had answered many of your questions, I believe you are next with some responses as well...?"

I'll just get you to follow through with the two latest questions:

1. Show me law enforcement quotes whereby ISP filtering is effective, and
2. Show me the legislation where accessing and viewing prohibited content is illegal.

"Peter does not have the systems required to make this work. You will need to look beyond the systems chosen by the ISPs here for that trial and look at existing and working systems used by telcos elsewhere, that do successfully cater to millions of users."

The systems used by those countries are almost exclusively Watchdog sales. The Whitebox to be specific. Since that technology fails when high traffic sites are added, fails when '?' is visible in the URL, and fails when fed long URLs, that technology, and the country comparisons which use that technology, are therefore void.

You continually beat around the bush of which countries have these systems and it 'works'. When questioned on the exact technologies and the countries which use them, you don't answer the question.

By work, I of course mean absolutely minimal speed degradation, no over-blocking, can cater for an infinitely long blacklist, selectively filter high traffic sites, has no security vulnerabilities, can't be trivially circumvented, etc. I think you'll find that such a technology doesn't exist.

"Every law any government pases is "forced on everyone" in one way or the other Ben. The pain of a democracy hey?"

Not all laws are equal, as I'm sure you will know. Secret government censorship of legal online content is just a bit different to other laws, isn't it?

"The snake oil vendors will not make neraly as much out of this as you might want to speculate. The private and commercial security market is 100 times bigger that this project, and it is getting in their way to more ISP business at this time."

You seem to be in the know. How much do you think it would cost to fit every single ISP with censorware, including inevitable upgrades and replacements? A drop in the ocean of their overall revenues? Unlikely.

"There are what, 400 viable ISPs, most small, in Australia?"

Most of which won't be able to afford maintaining such a system. It will put these ISPs at a significant disadvantage to larger ISPs. The larger ISPs will be able to afford a number of upgrades, but what about the ISP which is barely breaking even? Should their situation be considered?

"Again though we come around the circle to some folks predicting huge problems, yet telcos who have ISP wide blacklist filtering in many other democratic societies do not have many problems at all, and the people are not yet storming the barricades to do away with the filters."

Deja vu, eh? Their blacklist scope is incredibly small, so the comparison between our proposal is void. Let me know when those same countries filter tens and hundreds of thousands of URLs, and selectively filter high traffic sites.

Roddy

38

Hi Anonymous...
Thanks for

Hi Anonymous...

Thanks for the comments, active debate based on open discussions and an acceptance that others can and should have opinions and viewpoints is healthy for any nation.

Let me clarify that first question and some postings, which were in response to and in context of whether Australian politics and politicians should be accessible to Christian lobbyists at all.

First of all, I am not associated with the lobbyists in question, never had any contact with them at all. In fact I would disagree with several of their platforms and program points.

However, that does not detract from their full, legal and ethical rights to lobby, just as hundreds of other lobby and interest groups lobby in Australia. If they do that well, if they do not contravene probity regulations and they pursue discussions at their levels of contact and access, then Australian law supports that and they will exercise their legal rights to seek contact.

Expanding that process and the outcomes to claim Australia is becoming a theocracy and that the ALP does the bidding of the ACL is ludicrous...

The next question was the often mistaken concept that religions/churches and peoples personal beliefs are always one and the same, and then the claim that having a secular government model decrees that religion or Christian values have no place in any government decisions.

Your point about religions and religious values is right on and I agree that the fundamental values of most "religions" have the same core principles.

It is most often a question of how that religion or the religious organisation has taken, used, translated and applied those values and principles in daily life and their interpretations. Christianity went through the same highs and lows, as did other religions.

I have read the whole Koran in my earlier days, wanting to understand the basis of that religious thinking model, and found the differences between the translations and the interpretations (always on the same page to read) quite astounding. Islam has two core belief models, which casuses much of their conflict today.

Again the Jewish (Abrahamic: agreed) has the same principles, and I had studied many of the Torah verses and enjoy the research of their history and developments greatly.

So I guess what I am saying is that Christianity does not have an exclusive right on values or ethics at all, and that was not the context of the postings. The posts were not meant as a comparison with other religions, but a rebuttal of the claims that debate or viewpoints based on Christian thought and values had no place in Australian politics.

It is however the basis for the set of values that modern Australia has been based on, due to the original European immigrants being Christian in the vast majority, and to the development of our community, national, legal and political systems. All clear in the history books, warts and all.

I had been following the news and discussions relating to the ACMA list and some of the entries. Not a well run system at all at the time, and it is good to see the revised administration and compliance guidelines and oversight.

The pro-life entry that I have often seen referred to, and it received some public exposure, was a blacklisting of the images of fotuses on a single webpage, which were deemed "prohibited or potentially prohibited".

No blocking of the website at all, only the URLs of the images.

No blocking of political comment, or political websites, just the images.

I found the confected outrage that followed, as well as the veritable tsunami of misinformation quite curious. Many of the claims about what had been done by ACMA bordered on outright lies. Foad set this up in order to create a contrived controversy, and the contrived controversy followed, and the truth of what actually happened was buried by many.

Why is the blocking of the images of still-born foetuses from an abortion a suppression of political comment? The website itself was never blocked...?

There is no problem debating and arguing on the basis of the actual facts, however once we begin to debate and argue based on someone else's *interpretation* of what actually happened, then these discussions spiral out of control and the original events are long lost.

The takedown notice on Bulletproof Networks was the formal follow-up as per the related laws, especially as some WP posters decided it would be cool to stick their chins out at the Establishment and print links... lol. That happens and was not too dramatic.

I know the links, thanks. I have associates that downloaded the wikileaks version of the ACMA list at the time, as well as kept copies of that pro-life URL in question.

Well I have extended my break as well now, Ben will have to wait a couple of hours...

Anonymous

39

My real gripe

Is not the 3 strikes policy itself...which even though I disagree with I can live with.
Its the fact that an ACCUSATION is grounds for the strike not an actual CONVICTION/COURT ORDER.
I think we shouldnt contest this about the policy of the 3 strikes we should question it based on the fundamental rule underpinning all laws
Innnocent till proven guilty
and AFACT not being a government/law enforcement agency shouldnot have this level of power and if they do...I think I should have the power and I'll proceed to accuse them of serving up illegal content (which I can prove with there own admission in court).

Roddy

40

Some people argue that ubiquitous porn access does no damage...

The number and nature of these attacks is growing and degenerating respectively...

More than in previous decades in Australia, younger than in previous decades in Australia, more brazen than in previous decades in Australia:

http://www.news.com.au/national/police-release-photos-of-people-they-want-to-speak-to-over-sexual-assault-in-roxburgh-park/story-e6frfkvr-1225806354827

People can split hairs and demand absolute proof as much as they like, but modern youth is more highly strung than ever before, and more ready for this type of attack than previously.

Saying that the rocketing levels of porn consumption does not play a role in this is like saying that smoking had nothing to do with lung cancer...

"Experts" and many smokers demanded absolute "proof" of that connection for many years as well, and remained in denial in the meantime...

Just thought I would spice up your day with a very topical issue and question about the undeniable rising levels of online porn consumption and the idea that this has no negative effects on youth...

Ben

41

@ Roddy

"People can split hairs and demand absolute proof as much as they like, but modern youth is more highly strung than ever before, and more ready for this type of attack than previously."

We don't demand absolute proof, but proof which is actually supported by empirical evidence. 'Highly strung' - what is that? 'More ready for this kind of attack' - based on what? A hunch?

I suggest you read or look into 'The porn report' to show just how the 'research' anti-porn people is highly manipulated to suit an agenda.

http://www.thepornreportbook.com/index.php?pageID=7

Peyton

42

Porn Argument

Hi Roddy,

This is one of the many anonymous' before. Forgot to enter my screen-name last time.

We are not asking for absolute proof that pornography causes harm. If you take a look at statistics between now and the 70's, during which pornography was not nearly as freely attainable as it is now, you will see a drop in the prevalence rate.

If you research the studies performed by Milton Diamond of University of Hawaii you will see that the stastics in societies with pornography more freely available (eg USA) have seen a decrease in rates of all forms of sexually aggressive behavoiur, whereas in countries where it is heavily censored or banned (eg China), it has increased.

I took the time to have a look into the statistics in Australia supplied by both the ABS and the AIC, of which the prevalence rate has lowered in the general population, but the cases being reported has no real set pattern. This implies that the liberalisation of pornography and the sexualisation of society seem to have no correlation in the prevalence of sexually violent crime.

For further reading you may want to read the quick argument posted by Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, a Canadian researcher who claims preliminary finds show no correlation between pornography and deviant behaviour. - http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/uom-ate120109.php.

Now I am well aware of the Psychological and Criminological studies into the use of pornography by sex offenders. Such as the studies by Marshall, Fernandez et al. Most of these are studies into offenders pornography use post hoc, and hence no real conclusion can be drawn on the effects of pornography on general society, only to those who are already known to have engaged sexually deviant behaviour.

I spoke to a qualified criminologist who works with the Department of Corrections about the general profile of sex offenders, to the conclusion that there is NO general profile, they come from all walks of life. When I asked specifically about pornography effects, she says that there is nothing much to talk about. Yes offenders consume pornography, but the sexual deviance was already there.

I'm am also a Gen-Y, and of all the people I knew at least 90% of underage males consumed pornography in one form or another (primarily the internet) and aounrd 50-60% of females. As far as i'm aware none of them have become sexually deviant.

Using media reports is not somewhere you want to start for justifying "porn causes rape". I could use the same logic to same that "catholicism causes child molestation" but that would be an "post hoc" fallacy now wouldn't it?

@Ben,

Thanks, good web page posted!

Cheers

Peyton (Also Anonymous who congratulated you on your courage)

Roddy

43

Re: Peyton

Hi Peyton, thanks for the post, I will indeed follow up with some reading over the weekend.

I believe that I have seen some of these links and studies posted on forums etc previously, but will follow-up.

I agree that media reports are seldom conclusive proof of anything, however it is hard to ignore the growth of sexual aggressiveness in our society in younger age groups over the past 10-15 years, and the growth in incidents in that period.

This aspect, in our times and in our society, I believe, are worthy of discussion and a deeper analysis.

Let me come back with questions/comments, and this will also include a response to some of Ben's points...

There is a base question of whether access or exposure to porn is neutral, healthy or unhealthy for youth, and at what degree at what ages...

And just for the record, I do not consider you or Ben to be deviant at all...

Jeremy

44

@ Roddy

"it is hard to ignore the growth of sexual aggressiveness in our society in younger age groups over the past 10-15 years, and the growth in incidents in that period."

Roddy, you have blindly dismissed many other arguments on these boards because you believe them to based on speculation and personal opinion. Then you go and make claims like this and expect to be taken seriously.

Provide some scientific peer reviewed studies proving your above claim or be prepared to be called a hypocrit.

Roddy

45

@Jeremy: Blindly?

Ah Jeremy, it is good for mankind that we are not dependant on scientific peer reviewed studies for our knowledge and wisdom, as many of these prove to be inaccurate in any case... >;))

There is a fundamental difference between understanding what is and has happened, and projected what is going to happen Jeremy.

In the case of current and past decade behaviour, we already have the behaviour, and it is now a matter of understanding why that is happening and which factors play a role.

In the case of what the government is actually going to do in 3/6/12 months etc, it is a matter of documentation, verified committments, statements of intent, and then these can be extrapolated or replaced by assumptions, speculation and opinions.

So I would request that you also strive to separate the two fundamentally different contexts here as well Jeremy:

1. That which has and is happened and analysing why: scientific peer reviewed studies only form a minimal percentage of acceptable evidence as the timelines for such studies usually excludes them from applying to current and recent behaviour patterns...

2. Future actions and developments: Seemingly hard to have a peer reviewed scientific study of events that have not yet occured.

I am always prepared to be called a lot of things Jeremy, especially from those who throw lofty terms such as "scientific peer reviewed studies" around, yet have never been involved or facilitated one, much less concluded one, and cannot even apply their application to the right criteria.

BTW: I have not "blindly" dismissed any aspect of this debate. Disagreeing with an aspect of a debate is not "blindly dismissing" that aspect, however it is enlightening how quickly some folks resort to that assertion.

Ben

46

@ Roddy

Hi Roddy,

"I have not "blindly" dismissed any aspect of this debate."

We say that the system will be open to abuse and political horse-trading, yet you are 100% certain that will never happen.

Pretty sure that's blind faith.

Oh, and then there's the dozens of unanswered questions which are left in the air. But, like Conroy, when faced with difficult questions, just skip over them and pretend they don't exist.

Why should legal to access content be banned on the Internet?

If that question can't even be answered, then the pro-filter crowd have no case.

Roddy

47

@Ben: Back again?

Ah Ben, mired in unproven speculation, you keep making subjective assumptions....

Is that all part of the "Goldfish" syndrome that seems to have your attention?

Again it is purely your assumption, erronous assumption Ben, that I am 100% of any % certain that any government system will never be subject to abuse and and political horse trading...

Where do you come up with these fantasies Ben? I would highly appreciate the courtesy of you ceasing to attempt to assign words and statements to me that I never made.

All human activity is subject to degrees of error, or subjective actions, or "abuse" or political horse-trading. Every business, person, group, org, party etc is subject to human failings.

You and I are also subject to human failings Ben. Why is it that your focus is only on the potential for errors in this initiative, and ignore that all the systems we work with and accept in our daily lives, are just as subject to errors and failings?

Demanding perfection from any person, group or project is naive, and always has been. It is often disingenious, a ploy to derail an intiative by refusing to accept it's validity unless it can be proven to be perfect...

The old "Sometimes you see the splinter in your brother's eye, but you don't see the big chunk of wood in your own eye." syndrome.

That is the classic "reverse blind faith syndrome"... Accept nothing until it is proven to you, by your standards and criteria, that it is perfect. As we know, we can blithly then only accept the "evidence" that we agree with.

So Ben, unless you can back up your claims of anything that you assert I have stated, with clear cut statements confirmed those statements, then kindly drop making errornous claims that I have.

Very bad manners mate.

As for your issues with Conroy, well he is another stonewalling politician that has been conditioned by years of being in opposition in Australia and up against the Howard government. What do you expect?

They were treated with disdain and dismissal by an arrogant party of politicians that wasted their obvious talents in the enjoyment of belittling those not in power... A pity, as a strong Liberal Party is also critical for the health of our political system.

He is a product of a political system that Australians continue to moan about, but continue to support and vote for...

The French have a great adage for that: "Every country gets the leaders they deserve..." (translating the sense, not the literal words)

As for your question on "legal to access content", once again I can only point you in the direction of the changes to the old system of content classification and lists management, and once again make you aware that until the new legislatiuon and/or processes are in place, then any claims to the potential banning of access to legal content is pure, unadalterated conjecture Ben...

As we learnt in school: "Crying wolf..."

Ben

48

@ Roddy

Hi Roddy,

Great to see that you bring some facts to the table at last to prove your case. Oh wait...

"Again it is purely your assumption, erronous assumption Ben, that I am 100% of any % certain that any government system will never be subject to abuse and and political horse trading..."

No it's based on fact. Steve Fielding has said that he wishes to ban anorexic content and porn and other pet hates, Nick Xenophon said that he wanted to ban gambling websites (although in the article on this website he took that back, but it certainly took a while for him to correct the record). These people have a balance of power in the Senate. Are you seriously saying that these people with agendas to push won't be in the least bit tempted to trade these for their support on government policy? Xenophon supported the stimulus policy in return for funding for the Murray Darling river. Obviously a worthwhile cause, but compromises like these do occur, and to suggest that nobody in a position of power will trade their vote for blocking what they perceive as evil is delusional.

"All human activity is subject to degrees of error, or subjective actions, or "abuse" or political horse-trading. Every business, person, group, org, party etc is subject to human failings."

Doesn't that completely contradict your previous claim? You're now saying that political horse-trading with the censorship is entirely possible and bound to occur.

"You and I are also subject to human failings Ben. Why is it that your focus is only on the potential for errors in this initiative, and ignore that all the systems we work with and accept in our daily lives, are just as subject to errors and failings?"

That's because I fail to see any positives. Compiling a blacklist comes with the acceptance that it will leak. Why would anyone suggest that compiling a blacklist of 'the worst of the worst' online content and then sitting back waiting for it to leak is a good idea? The Streisand effect says that publicising something is worse than doing nothing about it. I'm lost in finding any positives, so perhaps you can share some.

"As for your question on "legal to access content", once again I can only point you in the direction of the changes to the old system of content classification and lists management, and once again make you aware that until the new legislatiuon and/or processes are in place, then any claims to the potential banning of access to legal content is pure, unadalterated conjecture Ben..."

I have no idea what you're talking about there, but the question remains unanswered. Why ban legal to access content?

Ben

49

@ Roddy: Correction

I misread one of your quotes, which said that the government will be vulnerable to political horse-trading, and you said that you have never been 100% confident that will never happen. Apologies.

But that proves my point further. Nobody can guarantee that the system won't be abused by politicians with agendas to push. People in positions of power will see the system as an opportunity to further their agendas. Steve Fielding seems to have a vendetta against legal porn, and it is entire possible for him to further restrict access to legal online porn in return for support for an entirely different government policy.

Roddy

50

@Ben... proving points?

Well Ben, I wish you well in your campaign against all forms of government, authority and management...

They will all make decisions that affect and control the lives of people and the future of entities.

And none of them are perfect, none of them are impervious to errors and misjudgements. That includes, you, me and everybody else in our society.

And it looks to me like you expect perfection, or you refuse to accept?

All of our laws and regulations that are now or have ever been in operation are subject to the same degree of misuse and abuse.

So why is it Ben, why just and only with this proposal, are you assuming, suggesting, forecasting and speculating that it will be abused and misused or more or less than all the others?

Based on the documented or government regulations and legislation that will be enacted and operating going forward, where is there any proof that these regulations will be any more open to politics, errors and abuse than any other legislation or regulation?

That is our political and government system Ben. It is run by humans (weoll last time I looked anyway ... lol).

For all the abuses to occur that you have prognosticated over the past 12 months, our democratic system would need to falter and fail. I am sorry mate, but I just do not see that happenning.

Hyding

51

What is Legal? Aimed at Ben

The definition of illegal according to Dictionary.com (not a great site but will do) is forbidden by law or statute.

You raise a great point about political horse-trading, my question to you is, do you agree if horse-trading succeeds in the desired outcomes and as part of that desired outcome content which was previously viewable is now, by statute made illegal, the type of the content I would argue is irrelevant, as it is the statue that defines legality.

If you agree with this question, would you also agree with this statement?

We give parliament the ability to be able to legislate on the behalf of the people of the country, this includes making decisions that are ultimately unpopular towards the single person or the majority of people, but this is what they are elected to do.

Whilst this can be challenged in Court, it is unlikely that in the short term that any changes would be made and that the content would be deemed illegal.

My point is, and I would like to believe that a rational person would agree with both questions above is that:

If the Labor party goes to the Federal Election with this as part of their core commitments (like NBN, Education, Health Reform, Low Interest Rates, Low Unemployment like the last time) then this bill will pass, and the Labor government will put into law a filter that will upset some people. Upset people doing illegal things are still the same as happy people doing illegal things (eg downloading copyrighted material for free), it is still illegal.

Your position ultimately has to be the same as Roddy if you have reached the same point that I have on this discussion, unless of course you are suggesting that people act in an illegal manner and access the illegal content.

Please do not think for one second that I like this situation I find it abhorrent, but this is the democracy that we live in, and we have no choice on this, if we elect a party that has this topic as part of its mandate.

Ben

52

@ Hyding

You raise some good points, but I believe they can be successfully rebutted.

"We give parliament the ability to be able to legislate on the behalf of the people of the country, this includes making decisions that are ultimately unpopular towards the single person or the majority of people, but this is what they are elected to do."

I think most people believe that politicians are elected to serve the people and their wishes. We do not elect politicians, then let them do whatever they like because they are elected. By the same logic, if the government were to sell our country to China, that would be fine because they are elected. Which I think is of course absurd.

"If the Labor party goes to the Federal Election with this as part of their core commitments (like NBN, Education, Health Reform, Low Interest Rates, Low Unemployment like the last time) then this bill will pass, and the Labor government will put into law a filter that will upset some people. Upset people doing illegal things are still the same as happy people doing illegal things (eg downloading copyrighted material for free), it is still illegal."

Conroy can't regulate end user behaviour, they can only regulate what ISPs and other communications carriers do. Furthermore, by saying that is making the assumption that only people who are doing illegal activities will be inconvenienced by this policy, which is outright wrong. The only people who will be inconvenienced by this policy are those who are abiding the law. The voluntary systems in the UK and other countries do not restrict people wanting to access child porn one bit. They are laughably trivial to circumvent and are more about pretending to do something effective.

People who want to access child porn or other illegal content will always find ways around restrictions. The target of the filtering policy is overwhelmingly legal to access content, and if you happen to enjoy legal fetishes, the government says you aren't allowed.

Illegal activities must be proven in a court, and that is how our country has been doing things since the beginning. As such, the government will only stop prohibited content, and if the content is considered illegal, a court must decide this before it is proven illegal content. Otherwise it is not illegal content. This policy will punish before proven innocent and that is a dangerous road to follow.

Hyding

53

@ Ben

Ben, in my opinion and someone correct me if this is wrong, as soon as the statue is invoked it is law. If something is in breach of the statue or law, then it by definition is illegal.

If you agree that the Parliament can invoke something into law, then you must agree that the Parliament determine what is legal and therefore what is illegal, the courts simply base a judgement on what is in the statute and then make an interpretation of the statute.

If you accept this, which the majority of the country's citizens do, then you must accept that the content on the internet that is deemed illegal by the statute, should be under a duty of care by the government to protect the countries citizens, should be made available to access only under certain situations, eg the content must be censored or filtered. I cannot see how you can avoid this logic.

Is your arguement against the filter, or is it against the content?

As a filter by itself is not a problem, what you are saying is that you want to determine yourself what is suitable and what is not, therefore act as a type of self-filter.

Is the individual capable of knowing what is and what is not illegal? This is very different from what the individual regards as content that they would like to receive, as I am sure you would also agree? With people still sending money to a man in Nigeria in Australia, or providing their banking details to Westpoc emails then I think that you need to answer this question with regards to those less skilled on the internet, that yourself.

Jeremy

54

@ Hyding

"As a filter by itself is not a problem"

I think you need to do a little bit more research on the possible and likely technical, social, ethical and political repercussions and effects of a national ISP level filter before you make such a statement.

"what you are saying is that you want to determine yourself what is suitable and what is not, therefore act as a type of self-filter."

Heaven forbid people should actually have to take responsibility for their own actions

Hyding

55

@ Ben

Sorry I meant to comment on some of your points directly.

- I think most people believe that politicians are elected to serve the people and their wishes. We do not elect politicians, then let them do whatever they like because they are elected. By the same logic, if the government were to sell our country to China, that would be fine because they are elected. Which I think is of course absurd.

If the government wish to do something and have the numbers to vote it through the both Houses, then you are absolutely incorrect in your assessment. Australia could go to war against the wishes of its people, Australia can introduce the ETS or the GST against the wishes of it people. Do not naively believe that your vote will cause change, if you don't like the Liberal Party or the Labor Party, the fact that you are forced into voting in Australia, and that the parties get to give your vote to another party if they do not win the seat, effectively removes all the power of your vote. So no, I believe that if Australia wanted to give large amounts of land to 5% of the population, and discriminate against my children because of colour and ethnicity (they are not Aboriginal, and lose the substantial benefits of being of that particular race) that they can do so, this is neither fair nor judge it is just the way that it is.

- Conroy can't regulate end user behaviour, they can only regulate what ISPs and other communications carriers do.

No Conroy cannot do this, however his party can make it illegal to do it, and breaking the law has consequences which are enforceable. As we all know, behaviour is changed by positive or negative reinforcement, and the threat of being fined or imprisoned eventually changes the end user behaviour patterns. The ISPs will fall into line, especially if they lose the AFACT case, or as has been eluded to by others, Conroy legislates the win regardless of the court case outcomes.

- People who want to access child porn or other illegal content will always find ways around restrictions. The target of the filtering policy is overwhelmingly legal to access content, and if you happen to enjoy legal fetishes, the government says you aren't allowed.

Show me any evidence of the filtered content list that has been brought into law. I am not saying that this will happen, but this topic on self-filtering is flawed as it is illegal when the Government tell you it is, it is not legal because you say that it is.

- Illegal activities must be proven in a court, and that is how our country has been doing things since the beginning. As such, the government will only stop prohibited content, and if the content is considered illegal, a court must decide this before it is proven illegal content. Otherwise it is not illegal content. This policy will punish before proven innocent and that is a dangerous road to follow.

Exactly, but who determines what the courts base the judgement on, it is not the courts and it is not the public, it is 100% the government.

Hyding

56

@ Jeremy

Jeremy, I thank you for your involvement in this discussion, however I would like to take you to task on the points that you raise.

I think you need to do a little bit more research on the possible and likely technical, social, ethical and political repercussions and effects of a national ISP level filter before you make such a statement.

Technically, I agree filtering is a very complicated situation, however there are ways of managing this in much the same way that SPAM is managed. It can be done either centrally by a government agent (the National Filter), by the ISP (there are examples already of this being conducted by ISPs), by the user (either through software or self determination).

Socially, I think that we all agree that there are certain topic areas that need to be accessed only in a controlled environment, so no socially I do not believe that it will be restrictive, as long as an independent non-political body is responsible for the list.

Ethically, this is opinion based, I believe that the ISP has a duty of care to my 10 year old daughter, in the same way that I believe that the newsagent has a duty of care to not sell her pornography. I also believe that I have a duty of care to her as well on this. Ethics on the internet is an odd topic and certainly not related to this area.

Politically, I completely agree here, but see my answer to Socially, an independent body fixes this.

Your second point

Heaven forbid people should actually have to take responsibility for their own actions

Again I completely agree with this, however I think that we all agree that certain people have addictions, addictions that cannot be controlled and therefore they cannot take responsibility for their own actions. 5% of the community have some sort of mental disorder which require drugs to resolve, 500,000 pills are sold each weekend to alter the mental state of people, so whilst I agree with you completely that people need to be more responsible; it is not the responsible people that you need to worry about, it is those that are irresponsible that you need to worry about, like those people that like to look at the most disgusting imagery of children on the internet and people with other socially unacceptable sicknesses.

Ben

57

@ Hyding

"If the government wish to do something and have the numbers to vote it through the both Houses, then you are absolutely incorrect in your assessment."

My point was that just because the government is elected doesn't mean they have a justifiable mandate for everything they want.

"No Conroy cannot do this, however his party can make it illegal to do it, and breaking the law has consequences which are enforceable. As we all know, behaviour is changed by positive or negative reinforcement, and the threat of being fined or imprisoned eventually changes the end user behaviour patterns"

Could you please clarify what you mean by 'it'? As you suggest, the only way this policy could be effective is to be similar to China and threaten prison time for ignoring the system.

"The ISPs will fall into line, especially if they lose the AFACT case, or as has been eluded to by others, Conroy legislates the win regardless of the court case outcomes."

Something similar to that was the amendment to the Telecommunications and Interception law, which still stands to make it illegal for ISPs to spy on their customers.

"Show me any evidence of the filtered content list that has been brought into law."

My point exactly. Nothing on the blacklist has been before a judge, and therefore is not illegal content. Last year Conroy was given a question on notice about how many times ACMA have referred anything to the police, which was conveniently omitted. I'd take a guess that the answer was zero.

" I am not saying that this will happen, but this topic on self-filtering is flawed as it is illegal when the Government tell you it is, it is not legal because you say that it is"

At the moment, the only content that is illegal to access is child abuse material. I can't speculate of what a future law will be though.

"Exactly, but who determines what the courts base the judgement on, it is not the courts and it is not the public, it is 100% the government."

The courts absolutely play a role. The politicians write the law and the courts interpret that law. For example, if the government had their way, Bill Henson would be in prison. But the courts determined that the content wasn't child pornography. The government is separated from the judicial system.

Hyding

58

@ Ben

Rushing for time, sorry for grammer and spelling errors.

My point was that just because the government is elected doesn't mean they have a justifiable mandate for everything they want.

I was not clear on this. If the government is elected, it does not matter if they have a mandate or not, they can do it if they want to. There is nothing that you can do to stop this.

"It" refers to regulation of individuals behaviour, and no he cannot regulate it directly, but he can through the use of the law. Imagine if 10,000 people were fined $15 per song that they had downloaded (not an unreasonable amount considering costs of prosecution), I believe that this would have a massive consequence on the behaviour of people on continuing to perform an illegal act.

The Inception Amendment is aimed at illegal wire taps for voice communication, already in my place of work there is no expectation of privacy for email or communications made on company property. Equally the amendment that I believe that you are talking about, specifics from memory the ability for agencies with due cause to be able to inspect by not view for the purposes of criminal prosecution. Correct me on this if I am wrong again.

Child Porn is the only illegal content on the internet. This is absolutely untrue, it is illegal to obtain any copyrightable material on the internet without permission from the copyright owner or have purchase the right from the owner. This is why sites like youTube regularly remove content from their site for fear or litigation from the copyright owner.

The Bill Henson case had nothing to do with the government, a person made a complaint to the police regarding the art, and the police did exactly what it is mandated to do, followup on the complaint, they prosecuted the complaint it was found to be false and was dismissed. How is the government involved in this?

Ben

59

@ Hyding

"Child Porn is the only illegal content on the internet. This is absolutely untrue, it is illegal to obtain any copyrightable material on the internet without permission from the copyright owner or have purchase the right from the owner. This is why sites like youTube regularly remove content from their site for fear or litigation from the copyright owner."

But the content itself is not illegal by definition. The act of obtaining it is though, subject to being proven in court. That's really another issue, so I think we should stick with discussing filtering.

"The Bill Henson case had nothing to do with the government"

That was in reference to your comment about "it's 100% the government".

Roddy

60

Can content be illegal? Can drugs be illegal?

Ben, you are not trying to avoid pertinent questions and issues on filtering and content legality are you?

I believe you will find that copyright and filtering are very related subjects, as I have also been able to read up in a multiltude of posts on your ISP filtering thread.

Loads of posts there tying filtering and copyright issues together.

BTW: If content contravenes laws or regulations (statutes: tnx)then it *is* by definition not legal, aka illegal.

Ben

61

@ Roddy

"Ben, you are not trying to avoid pertinent questions and issues on filtering and content legality are you? "

No, but ask the questions if you wish and I'll try to answer them.

"I believe you will find that copyright and filtering are very related subjects, as I have also been able to read up in a multiltude of posts on your ISP filtering thread."

I barely see the issue discussed in the Whirlpool forum.

"BTW: If content contravenes laws or regulations (statutes: tnx)then it *is* by definition not legal, aka illegal."

It's splitting hairs, but by definition copyrighted content is not illegal per say. Illegally obtaining the content is though.

Jeremy

62

"Ben, you are not trying to avoid pertinent questions and issues on filtering and content legality are you?"

Thats awfully rich coming from you Roddy

Roddy

63

@Ben

"Splitting hairs" is a very good description Ben, there has been much "hair splitting" about whether the content or the action is legal or illegal in some forums.

But when a duly authorised government agency defines content as prohibited or RC, then the content is by legal definition "illegal".

I was sure though that I have seen various posts on the iiNet case, AFACT etc on that thread...?

You appeared to be wanting to separate the question of filtering and copyright, and not wishing to follow up on the question/comment from the poster you were replying to...

Speaking of questions then, I see that you had some comments on technical matters such as filtering YouTube and IPv6.

Do you believe that the filtering of YouTube URL requests is not feasible at ISP or telco level Ben?

Do you believe that URL filtering will not work under default ISP implementations of IPv6 Ben?

Do you still believe that all IPv6 traffic will be encrypted by default Ben?

Looking forward to your responses, thanks.

Roddy

64

@Jeremy

Interesting comment Jeremy...

Many responses in these forums and blogs are awfully rich Jeremy, and I believe that you are also not impervious to that symptom...

"Awfully rich" can be very subjective.

I have responded to many, many posts and questions Jeremy.

I am afraid that I will have to remain "awfully rich" for you for a while yet, so tighten up your seat belt and make yourself comfortable...

Ben

65

@ Roddy

Hi Roddy,

"But when a duly authorised government agency defines content as prohibited or RC, then the content is by legal definition "illegal"."

No, prohibited or RC is not the same as illegal. Only a court can decide what is illegal. Even material which would obviously be child abuse material is not illegal until a judge says so. That's why last year Conroy was forced to change his spiel about the ACMA blacklist from illegal to illegal and unwanted content. Nothing on the leaked ACMA blacklist is illegal content, and it is merely potentially prohibited content. Nothing more, nothing less.

"You appeared to be wanting to separate the question of filtering and copyright, and not wishing to follow up on the question/comment from the poster you were replying to..."

It's a separate issue, and at the moment copyrighted content is not blacklistable. What was the comment I didn't follow up?

"Do you believe that the filtering of YouTube URL requests is not feasible at ISP or telco level Ben?"

For an ISP with a customer base of 100, quite possibly. For ISPs like Bigpond, Optus, or other major carriers, no. Remembering that we are promised FTTH options in the near future, the amount of traffic which will go through the censorboxes will be substantially increased, and if the government chooses the hybrid models, then adding one YOuTUbe URL means all YouTube content is checked by the content filter. Most filters tout being able to censor at 10 gigabits per second. NBN speeds are said to be 100 megabits per second. That's just 100 connections. How many customers in those ISPs access YouTube at any given point in time? Well into the thousands.

What matters is how much traffic goes through the filter boxes, not how long the blacklist is.

"Do you believe that URL filtering will not work under default ISP implementations of IPv6 Ben?"

I don't exactly know, but nobody has really tested it. Vendors don't mention it at all, so I'd guess that they're busy churning out designs. The trial isn't testing it either. It's kind of a fundamental aspect of the architecture of the Internet which will eventuate in the very near future.

"Do you still believe that all IPv6 traffic will be encrypted by default Ben?"

Not by default, but there is an option as far as I'm aware. Filters are pretty much useless in the face of encryption, so if this option is widely adopted, then the filter boxes will become more worthless in their stated aim.

Roddy

66

YouTube and URL filtering: what does work

Hi Ben, thought I would close off the year with an example of 15 million YouTube users on a URL filter.

And it works fine...

Never did get back to you on this response, so I better tie this one off with an example from the real world for you...

You bring up a great example with YouTube, and this is an opportunity to clarify a couple of misconceptions around telco grade URL filters, or at least the "real ones".

Let's look at your example, and thanks for that:

"For an ISP with a customer base of 100, quite possibly. For ISPs like Bigpond, Optus, or other major carriers, no. Remembering that we are promised FTTH options in the near future, the amount of traffic which will go through the censorboxes will be substantially increased, and if the government chooses the hybrid models, then adding one YOuTUbe URL means all YouTube content is checked by the content filter. Most filters tout being able to censor at 10 gigabits per second. NBN speeds are said to be 100 megabits per second. That's just 100 connections. How many customers in those ISPs access YouTube at any given point in time? Well into the thousands.

What matters is how much traffic goes through the filter boxes, not how long the blacklist is."

First cab off the rank Ben: The government is not specifying or mandating the model at this stage, I would have thought this was clear enough already. The ISP trials left that to the ISPs.

However, the 10Gbps models that the gov refers to are not hybrid models, but BGP redirect to straight URL filter models. In which case only a small percentage of the traffic traverses the filter systems, and of this only the outbound requests.

What that means Ben, with YouTube as an example, is that only the outbound address request for YouTube would go to the filter box, which is miniscule compared to the size of the returning content. An example would be a 30Byte to 200Byte typical URL request goes out, and a 5Mbye to 20Mbyte file typically comes back.

The returning traffic is not inspected or even routed via the URL filter system here Ben, so that if we took an averaged 100Byte request goes out, and an averaged 10Mbyte YouTube file comes back, then the filter box is handling 0.001% of the gateway traffic...

Let's double that to 0.002% then, and then consider that this only applies to the IP (IPv4 or IPv6 - both work....) address ranges for the URLs in the blacklist, which means that the total percentage of the overall ISP traffic that gets diverted to the filter box is very very small...

An average quadcore Intel server with 4GB of RAM will easily handle 300Mbps of actual lookup traffic, and somewhwre between 200,000 and 300,000 lookups per second. (dependant on the URL profiles and the actual network performance) Thes are $3000 to $5000 boxes, and can be load balanced until the crows come home... (8/12/16 etc)

Thus although the NBN will deliver at up to 100Mbps for end users, the users will not be reading the webpages 20 times faster Ben... >;))

That means that the big boys will be FBBN capable....
(Freakin' Bloody Big Networks - NBN as an example))

That means that there will be more traffic and more requests, but not at the same multiples as the NBN speeds.

India is a great example here, with 15 million YouTube users running across a quartet of load balanced Sun servers, but only checking the outbound requests (all of them). I recently received the case study, nice setup.

You should also probably be aware that no ISP in the industry calculates capacity at users times max bandwidth, otherwise they would go broke...

Thus the blacklist list length is also a factor Ben, as the related IP address ranges for each URL on the list needs to be advertised to the BGP tables in main routers, and all outbound requests destined for those ranges will then be redirected to the filter boxes.

Depending on the URLs on the list and their levels of traffic, that can represent a significant traffic difference.

I have only seen successful trials of up to 100,000 URLs so far, incl Yahoo, Google, YouTube etc, and only with user segments of 6.5 million live users. But the trial stats from those tests were all well within SLAs, 100% accurate and averaged lookup times around 0.9ms to 1.5ms. 16Gb gateway, the Intel server did not even break into a sweat, according to the trial results.

Yep, amazing what technology can do when correctly implemented...

You have a great Christmas, and catch up again in the New Year.

Another Anonymous

67

Trolling again Roddy?
The

Trolling again Roddy?

The issue aint that it’s not technically feasible, it's only a URL filter after all. The issue is that it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, and it's a terrible solution.
It will not protect children online, and it won’t prevent people bypassing it. So Roddy, answer 1 question without going into your usual half page of drivel and gibberish, what purpose does it serve?

Roddy

68

Define trolling AA...

Hey AA, please define trolling....

Wikipedia tells us:

"Troll (Internet), an internet term for a person who willfully, through obscene, offensive or hateful actions (a.k.a. "trolling"), attempts to disrupt a community or garner reactions, attention and controversy. "

Now who here has been getting into the more colourful language and invective....??

hmmmmmmm.... lol

AA, just for you. Enjoy your day.

Roddy

70

Now who da troll mon??

Trolling:

"Troll (Internet), an internet term for a person who willfully, through obscene, offensive or hateful actions (a.k.a. "trolling"), attempts to disrupt a community or garner reactions, attention and controversy. "

AA gems:

"your usual half page of drivel and gibberish,"

" I called bullshit "

"Get back to school you idiot and learn to speak (and write) English."

"Please learn what fascism is you idiot "

"I give up with you, you're simply too stupid to argue with.
"

"anyone who does not agree with your fascist regime gets labelled an outcast"

" thanks for wasting my time dumbing it down for you."

"The only book we should burn is that book of riddles you get your moral code from. "

Now I do not know if the the above list is definitive, however I would summise that you qualify as a genuine Troll AA..

However I must admit your ongoing eloquence is a sure winning strategy for convincing Australians to oppose the filter.

Who wouldn't like to be associated with someone who comes up with winning arguments such as:

"bullsh*t bullsh*t bullsh*t..."

But to your question, and applying the brevity you so ardently desire:

It will be one cog in a greater scheme to bring some required oversight and controls to the internet, a step to attaining a level of balance in online content availability.

Together with the other online safety measures, such as education and increased police resourcing, Australia will also have additional options and means to address the maintenance of our laws and community standards relating to online content and it's access.

You may not perceive a problem AA, but perception is subjective. One man's problem is irrelevant to the next person. It is blithly obtuse to simply claim there is no problem, when other folks perceive there is one.

This is not just about children AA, you will lose that argument big time with the public. You can assail me with all your attempted insults AA, if that is your style and compulsion, but that does not change the facts.

One man's debate points and explanations are another man's drivel AA... You call it according to your own mentality mate.

Firstly the public will accept that doing something to put a "safety net" on web traffic for kids is a good thing. I wish you good luck in convincing them that this is the end of their freedoms.

Circumvent all you like, the average Aussie will not care if you furiously circumvent the filter in order to get where you were going to get to anyway? 99% of Australian web users will not even bother with that.

Who would? And why? They are not going anywhere that needs filtering, so why circumvent? Talk about a solution to problem that does not exist... rofl....!

Calling out to the masses that there should be no internet regulation is a guaranteed vote loser and a losing strategy AA, I thought that would have been clear by now.

So there you go AA, a full page of gems of wisdom and revelation for you. Never say I do not take time for you...

If you get confused about what a troll is again, then you have 2 steps to resolve that:

1. Go to Wikipedia and look it up...
2. Look in a mirro and *sigh*

Have a great break, and please try and keep the invective down during the festive season mate.

Another Anonymous

71

Just because you 'holier than thou' nutcases think Jesus cries every time you tug your rod doesn't mean the rest of us should be prohibited from watching Paris Hiltons latest adventure. When the public finds out Supreme Leader Conroy is banning internet porn, thats when the shit will hit the fan. And don't try muddy the argument by saying its just child porn, I'm talking about good old fashioned regular porn or anything to do with fetishes - its all banned under this filter.

You people disgust me. You preach about community standards, yet your priests have been raping young boys for decades. You dribble on about 'loving thy neighbour' and 'every life is sacred', yet millions have died at the hands of you mystics. You weirdos need to spend more learning acceptance & understanding and less time preaching damnation and teaching kids the horrors of tits.

In closing, you do talk gibberish, this filter is bullshit and this grand plan you have of maintaining community standards is just fascism rebranded. No thanks troll.

Anonymouse

72

I think AA & Roddy need to get a room

Roddy

73

The "joys" of Paris in the Springtime

lol AA, this line cracks me up....

"Just because you 'holier than thou' nutcases think Jesus cries every time you tug your rod doesn't mean the rest of us should be prohibited from watching Paris Hiltons latest adventure."

Enjoy Paris mate, I would not like to impinge on your cultural development at all.

Go and watch it as often as you like, it is not RC I believe?

Always good when folks broaden their personal development.

Roddy

74

Please no....

If you think my posts are long, I would drive him nuts in a face to face debate...

lol

Please no Anonymouse...

Cheers

R

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