Australia's Great Firewall: just like China, Syria and other "free" countries

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36 Responses to “Australia's Great Firewall: just like China, Syria and other "free" countries”

  1. vjinterkosmos says:

    #14: Jails are expensive. Shovels are cheaper. Dingos are free.

  2. Pam Rosengren says:

    I’m pretty sure the Internet Industry Association of Australia is very much against this.

    Unfortunately there’s a fringe political party here called Family First that effectively has the balance of power in the senate. Pleasing them matters more under this government than it did before.

    So I don’t know who will win in the short term.

    I wonder if BoingBoing will still be visible from Oz?

  3. tritty1 says:

    While I feel so strongly about this I doubt my ability to stop myself punching conroy in the face if I ever saw him… there is one thing that makes me feel a tiny bit better. If the filter actually gets passed, it will be so universally condemned that the Liberals will have no choice but to proclaim they will abolish it at the next election,like Labour did with work choices. And all of the rest of Rudd’s stuff ups will see the Libs come back in and scrap it.

  4. durallan says:

    this 89 page report posted earlier… shows the evidence on page 12 of 89…

    and for proof its actually being put into place,

    its in the budget…

    http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/content/bp2/html/expense-04.htm

    if its being budgeted I’m pretty sure that its gonna be done.

  5. sparx says:

    I live in Australia. What is curious to me is that we also have interestingly worded sedition laws. A quick peek at the website suggests other people haven’t mentioned this yet.

    I wonder how long before I’m not allowed to speak ill of the government online…

  6. Enormo says:

    Phelps rules! Thorpedo sucks!

    We win!

  7. chromecow says:

    I for one would be much relieved.

    Imagine. The government has vetted the entirety of the internet for me. Now, any link that still works in my browser must therefore be legal.

    Thank you, all-knowing, beneficent government!

  8. vjinterkosmos says:

    #23 ref. John Lennon quote –

    Back in his day, having a a television meant a 19″ color set. Today we have 52″ flatscreens with 7.2 aurround sound.

    Absence of peace provides the content.

  9. mitechka says:

    At least when the fallout starts they can serve as an example to all other nations.

  10. dainel says:

    I see a business opportunity. A VPN/proxy server. Locating it at one of the “uplinks” from Australia (Guam, Jakarta, Taiwan, Japan, etc) should minimize loss of speed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    #9 Spikely:

    If you read the report a bit more closely, you can see that the products that had low speed degradation also had low accuracy, and the ones that had high accuracy were the ones that degraded speed by 87%.

    There weren’t any products which “were quite successful, 1-2% loss of speed with only 2% over blocks.”

    The absolute best product they tested overblocked by 3%, by the way. On a medium-sized ISP, carrying 100,000 HTTP fetches per second across its backbone, that translates to about 3,000 overblocks per second. Can’t wait to see how many additional customer support staff ISPs will need to employ (and pay for!) to support that kind of load. Any ideas? :-)

  12. Ashley says:

    I made up some clean feed posters a little while back. Didn’t really do anything with them though.

    It’s just such an infuriating political stunt, that’s going to make my work so much more difficult.

  13. Roger Mexico says:

    This is pretty ridiculous to say the least.

    Although, they do have a point. If Australia is going to implement this $128 million system it seems that they do have a certain obligation to use it.

    It’s a damned dirty, liberty striping, obligation, but it’s there all the same.

  14. josiah4jc says:

    I am glad that Australia is doing this. It will solve for the rest of the world of a free people will find it tolerable. I believe they will, and I have no objections to having the same done to me, yet.

  15. cubey says:

    I think the cries of “won’t somebody please think of the children!” are a cynical and deliberate undermining of Australians’ rights. Apparently if you phrase your contempt for freedoms in the right way, you can not only paint freedom of information and freedom of speech as depraived and immoral, but also quash any opposition. Censorship is quickly followed by witch hunts. Expect anyone “opting out” of this censorship to be noted by the authorities for later prosecution.

    And don’t expect this to be limited to Australia. Canada, US, UK… you’re next.

  16. Johnny Cat says:

    This is ghastly, right in time for Halloween. It’s bad enough that I can’t visit some sites at work that mock porn, and are banned because of an uninformed admin lock on WORDS. Aussies, stand up and fight for your rights. They have parents, there don’t they? Parents can and should censor, not govt

  17. Itsumishi says:

    Ashley, hope you don’t mind but I’m going to print some of them and put them about.
    Nice work.

  18. Laslo Paniflex says:

    Pretty sad. Where do you think the new “under the mattress” will be?

  19. spazzm says:

    Thoes this surprise anyone?
    This is the country that routinely bans books but won’t tell you which books are banned.

    The only surprising thing is that the Labour party is going to continue a project initiated by the conservatives.

    Here’s what I hope will happen:
    The project was initiated so that a lot of conservative yes-men would have secure jobs.
    Once the pilot test is done and the report is submitted, some Labour yes-man will conclude that it is ‘technologically infeasible at the current juncture’, and the whole thing will be put on ice indefinetly until no-one remembers why they were so scared of this whole internet thing in the first place.

  20. dero says:

    People of Australia, please write to your MPs to voice your opposition to this.

    I did. I got no response from my local MP. At all. And the Minister responsible sent me a nice two-page form letter that didn’t address any of my concerns. So I’m not too hopeful of the letter-writing campaign working.

    Luckily some of the major Australian ISPs (Internode, for one) seem to be quite opposed to this on technical grounds, which seems the most likely way this will be stopped.

  21. Itsumishi says:

    @34 Durallan
    I don’t think it does.
    It only seems to talk about how many of the products where able to do what. No where have I read that Product A did x well but failed at y. Whereas product B failed at x but did y well.

    Even in chapter 4 where the graphs are spread out over many pages without any real discussion of how one affects the other it doesn’t clearly show that the slower ones did better at blocking and letting through the correct material.

    I’m not trying to defend the system at all, I’ve already written a letter to Conroy and my local MP about the disgust I feel towards it. I just think you need to have your facts straight to make a decent argument against it (of which there are plenty).

    @Tritty1
    Eep… I don’t think that’s a good thing! Especially with Turnbull at the reins.

  22. error404 says:

    Unlucckily the Aussie media has always walked in lock step with business and Conservative government.

    For such a great place, with such smashing people it is sorely hamstrung by wowsers.

  23. zuzu says:

    They have parents, there don’t they? Parents can and should censor

    Why? Why should there be any censorship for anyone?

    I live in Australia. What is curious to me is that we also have interestingly worded sedition laws. A quick peek at the website suggests other people haven’t mentioned this yet.

    Disparaging the boot is a bootable offense!

  24. rebelrob says:

    I remember tuning into a debate on ABC radio driving home in melbourne peak traffic from work. The frustration I felt listening to the uneducated, moronic and uninformed arguments from the senators debating the issue was higher then the sheer anger I felt towards the tail gating driver behind me.

    It was clear to me at this point that those biased individuals involved in making these decisions honestly have no idea what they are doing.

  25. Andy says:

    Hi,

    Probably worth mentioning Electronic Frontiers Australia’s campaign against this at:

    http://nocleanfeed.com/

  26. rebelrob says:

    http://nocleanfeed.com/takeaction.html

    Call the Minister

    There’s nothing like a personal phone call to get the message across. Call the minister’s office on and let them know your objections.

    Write to the Minister

    A personalised letter to the Minister sends a powerful message: We don’t like the policy, and we care. Letters can be sent to the Ministerial office:

    Senator Stephen Conroy
    Minister for Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy
    Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
    Melbourne Vic 3002

  27. Spikeles says:

    Here is an interesting report from the government about one of the closed trials from back in June 2008 testing a bunch of different “unnamed” products. Unfortunately, a couple were quite successful, 1-2% loss of speed with only 2% over blocks. I’m guessing they will be using one of those products.

    http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib310554/isp-level_internet_content_filtering_trial-report.pdf

  28. Itsumishi says:

    @31 Anonymous

    Whilst I didn’t see anything to dispute what you’re saying, I also didn’t see anything to support it in the article. Do you have anything to back this claim up? If so I want to include it in my letter to Conroy.

  29. mikelotus says:

    End – your dreamworld is just about to end
    Fall – your dreamworld is just about to fall
    Your dreamworld will fall

  30. Murphys Lawyer says:

    Not much change there then from the time my folks considered emigrating to Australia in the 60s. The key factor in deciding against it was that it seemed it was a criminal offence to own books there.

  31. Banksynergy says:

    #10 – great, now I’m going to be humming that all day!

    #19 – LIES!

    On subject… I think there is a fair likelihood that the project will get “put on ice” indefinitely once it gets a little further towards completion.

    I don’t know what all this stuff about book bans is about (although I should probably do some research) but I never (knowingly)ran into anything of the sort in my 17 years in Australia.

    As for the whole “free” thing… please don’t let things like this fool anyone in to thinking Australia is China v2.0.
    Of all the developed countries I have ever been to, it certainly strikes me as the most free. I believe that Australians are far, far more free than Americans and Brits.
    I live in what I’m told is one of the nicest areas of America… the police here are completely unreasonable, the state government is a joke with more concern for money than for people, and I still can’t go into parks at night.

    Don’t get me wrong, this censorship plan is worrying indeed, but Australia is still a long jump from the way the US Government treats it’s subjects.
    But, as much as one can blame the Government for abuse of power and trust, I believe the source of the problem is the public. The Government only have the power we give them… if more people cared about exposing the truth and about building a free society, we could. But, the apathy of the public… they damn themselves.

    “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” -John Lennon.

  32. ShowPony says:

    Don’t expect the Australian media to say much about this. Over the last decade I’ve seen three young journalists think they’ve discovered a huge, job-promoting scoop in reporting the downside of net censorship. All three of them later said that the article was canned. One told me his editor said, “It’s not in the interests of the Australian people to open a debate on this subject.”
    (I believe he was writing for News Ltd.)

  33. anaglyph says:

    The people running things down here haven’t got a clue about how the net works, its value or its potential. They think its something like television, only you can get channels from other countries.

    And none of the ISPs are likely to rock the boat because they make so much frakkin’ money out of the government-protected Telstra monopoly.

    It’s just crazy – along comes a way for Australia to get some kind of leverage out out of its geographical disenfranchisement from the rest of the world, and the idiots in control systematically set about cutting all the trade routes.

  34. adonai says:

    Grr, lying $%^&*s.

    This is not what the Labor Party originally said, and if they had before the last election, I wouldn’t have voted for them.

    Makes me wish we actually did throw our politicians in jail as soon as they’re elected, as Terry Pratchett suggested.

  35. Anonymous says:

    “And don’t expect this to be limited to Australia. Canada, US, UK… you’re next.”

    We already have the latter part here in the UK (blocking of material deemed illegal) it’s called ‘Cleanfeed’.
    Wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanfeed_(content_blocking_system)
    Some technical analysis from Richard Clayton(links to pdf):
    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/cleanfeed.pdf

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