I don't remember voting for this

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government's pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.

Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

If this actually happens, then it'll be a considerable pain. I'd just switch to using Tor or something to avoid being unable to see "illegal" content (it should be for the courts to decide if a page is "illegal", of course...), but that's pretty bleeding slow.

(On account, of course, of the vast numbers of office workers downloading BlackBackdoorBimbosAndTheirBarnyardBeaus27.avi.)

But I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen.

Similar threats have been made here in the past, and they've always petered out into nothing. There are no votes to be won in actually filtering the Internet, after all. The people who vote based on Net filtering promises are unable to tell whether it's actually happening or not. And there are plenty of votes to be lost when everyone who doesn't call their browser "the Internet" discovers that they can't get to YouPorn or Mininova any more.

There's not even much money to be made in making filtering software that actually works. The big bucks in content filtering were and are based on arse-covering and plausible deniability, not actually stopping anybody from seeing anything in particular.

I confidently predict that this will just end up being another easily-circumvented waste of taxpayers' money.

14 Responses to “I don't remember voting for this”

  1. mlipphardt Says:

    VOTE for it? How can a bunch of perverts and malcontents possibly know what is good for them? This legislation MUST be forced down peoples throats (pause while mind wanders off to images of things being forced down a do-gooder LEGISLATORS throat, preferably with a lot of pointy bits sticking out...). Legislating morality is always a good idea, don'tcha know.

    Think of the children! Yeah, the ones that take 15 seconds to bypass content controls. Those ones.

    Sorry. Hot button :)

  2. robinsonb5 Says:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    C. S. Lewis
    English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 - 1963)

  3. dr_w00t Says:

    What the f*ck is wrong with this country? Why does this crap keep happening? Is there anything we can do to make this draconian attitude toward censorship politically unpopular Dan?

    Why don't you campaign? I'd vote for you.

  4. DavidRa Says:

    If you really don't want this to happen, write a real, honest-to-god letter on paper.

    Send it to your local member, Senator Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate), Senator Minchin (Opposition Leader in the Senate), just for starters.

    It might even be worth CC'ing the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Age or your local big papers. I think I'd avoid Today Tonight and A Current Affair though.


    has some useful tips.

  5. LucusLoC Says:

    ". . .things being forced down a do-gooder LEGISLATORS throat. . ."


  6. Coderer Says:

    I dunno, dude -- you guys already lost your guns; it stands to reason that your rights to freedom of speech/thought is next in line. Good luck with that.

  7. j Says:

    "I dunno, dude — you guys already lost your guns; it stands to reason that your rights to freedom of speech/thought is next in line. Good luck with that."

    Does not follow.

    We never really had any guns. As far as restrictions to freedom of speech go, our government seems to take its cues from yours most of the time.

    Irrelevant discussions about firearms aside, I found this to be a particularly ill-advised comment (from the article):

    "Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked -- end of story."

    I have a great idea - let's abolish all law courts. After all, illegal is illegal, so we'll just punish the people who do bad things.

  8. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Re firearms, I refer you to my previous infodump on the subject.

    In brief: Australians did not "lose our guns", and it is preposterous to presume that an armed populace will, while they remain comfortable and well-supplied with personal property, actually do a damn thing to protect their freedom of speech.

    Case in point: The USA right now, for Pete's sake. The worse the civil-rights situation gets there, the louder the Second Amendment fetishists become in their support of the government.

    If you disagree, I await your cogent argument as to how you would have used your rifle to fight against the PATRIOT Act. You may, if you wish, presume that you have a thousand similarly-armed friends to help.

  9. LucusLoC Says:

    How do I get around the awful patriot act? Simple, I ignore it. I go about my business like its not there, and if I get in trouble, well then tough stuff for the government, I have 1000 armed buddies to back me up. Even now, without the benefit of 100 (I'd say more like 10 or so) I act by and large as I please. I am an honest, responsible citizen that pays my taxes (even the ones I don't agree with) and stupid, unenforceable laws like the patriot act and feel good IP laws I just ignore. does this put me on the "wrong" side of the "law" sometimes? Sure. Do I care? No. Have I gotten in trouble for it before? Yep. Have I won court cases? You bet. Granted its all been for minor stuff like firearms transportation, but the principle is the same. The press coverage is just a lot less, and the judges are less corrupt.

    Now I know that the "right wingers" are the primary supporters of the patriot act, but honestly as far as I am concerned republicans are getting just as liberal as democrats, just in a different way. Both parties are for bigger government, which is honestly where the problem is. As to supporters of gun ownership and free speech "if I had to choose between my right to own a gun and my right to say whatever I want, I would choose my right to own a gun. Then I would say whatever I want because I have a gun."

    Of course all this is kinda a moot point in this case. As you pointed out Dan, your government is probably not actually going to do anything of consequence. Besides give out a lot of taxpayer money to special interests of course. But then all governments do that, and no amount of citizen weaponry will be able to change that much.

    Incidentally, I love spell checkers :-)

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    How do I get around the awful patriot act? Simple, I ignore it. I go about my business like its not there,

    Wow. I bet that really stops those warrantless wiretaps dead in their tracks.

    and if I get in trouble, well then tough stuff for the government, I have 1000 armed buddies to back me up.

    You have got to be fucking kidding me.

    stupid, unenforceable laws like the patriot act

    I suspect you do not know what the PATRIOT Act actually is.

    It's been "enforced" rather often, I think you'll find. As have all of the other egregious Bush-administration attacks on people's civil rights.

    I can't blame you for having this I'm-all-right-Jack attitude to your freedoms; it's perfectly normal.

    But if you actually care about "your rights to freedom of speech/thought", and think that being armed may in some way help you in this regard, you are very badly mistaken.

    All a gun will do for you when the Feds kick your door down because they reckon you've been communicating with "terrorists" - you know, peace activists and similar scum - is serve as more evidence against you. Unless you actually manage to shoot back, in which case you will of course merely end up dead.

  11. Stuart Says:

    I have never understood the desire to prevent children seeing on the internet the same content that they can get at the newsagent.

  12. Andrew Says:

    Possibly faster and more effective than using Tor would be to just rent a VPS in another country and tunnel all your web traffic through an SSH connection to it.

  13. Red October Says:

    More foolishness. This sort of thing comes too often these days; people in the USA devote their own clock cycles to circumventing the Chinese firewalls; I wonder would we do the same for the Aussies? I think the point that Dan makes is that so long as we have Bread and Circuses we won't care much; and it's too often the case. There are abuses here in the USA, the patriot act is one of them, although by and large it is putting "above board" a great deal that went on already without anyone knowing or caring, and if anyone thinks it doesn't go on in their own land, they can see me about the purchase of a well-known landmark. Cash only, small bills please.
    People need to stand against this sort of crap. Not many in the US would take up arms now, but it hasn't reached that point yet. But we need to not be caught up in our pet causes and realize that someone else is getting screwed. There was a quote about the Nazis, and I'm sure to mangle it, but it was something like "When they came for the Jews I said nothing, for I was not a Jew. When they came for the gypsies, I said nothing, for I was not a gypsy. When they came for the christians, I said nothing, for I was not a christian. But when they came for me, there was no-one left to say anything." This is how it's going. I think that the right to have guns is very important -it staves off the 'people comming for you' bit, but doesn't prevent it entirely. It's not realy applicable to the subjects at hand, though, because while all governments engage in abuses of power and violate certain rights of their citizens (that vary from country to country, which makes some people see one nation as superior to another as it holds high his pet right, be it gun ownership or freedeom of speech or condemnation of war or whatever), none of the countries are really at the stage where violent resistance is neccessary. There are four boxes to be used in defense of freedom; Soap, Ballot, Jury, and Ammunition. Apply in that order. As far as I can tell, the first three are still viable options in the US and in Australia. Hell, AFAIK in Australia you HAVE to vote... but I can at least tell my own countrymen to vote against this shit.

    That was long... and hopefully not too badly spelled. If I'm lucky I made a point.

  14. Jonathan Says:

    Hello from the future...
    It was officially abandoned today. No filter yay!

    So timeline
    1/ Liberals made some awful, expensive net nanny software
    2/ Liberals shit-canned it
    3/ Liberals offered some not so awful, cheap net nanny software (and paid the license for it)
    4/ Labor had a stupid internet filter promise and got rid of 3/
    5/ Labor shit-canned it

Leave a Reply