Great Firewall of Australia will nationally block sites appearing on a secret, unaccountable list

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66 Responses to “Great Firewall of Australia will nationally block sites appearing on a secret, unaccountable list”

  1. tim says:

    The first thing that this will be (ab)used for is blocking sites supporting political opposition. Perhaps not the ‘official opposition’ sites but those actually opposing the government.

  2. Sork says:

    Blocking a site based on DNS (or IP on ISP level) is very blunt and WILL end up blocking forums protected under free speech. Also it can’t tell your age so how could it become a cybernanny?

    What about Google? Is “safesearch” not optional or is the content prefiltered like in China? If I do an image search for “dick” I will get a whole page of nsfw.

    “I also have a problem. I’m not sure which side runs this Village.” /Number 6

  3. thequickbrownfox says:

    Stop voting idiots into the Senate, this filtering crap is just to appease Steve Fielding.

  4. Anonymous says:

    the problem as I see it is that 90% of the population do not understand what the filter is or the long term effects.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If they try to ban porn, there would be social upheaval from coast to coast.

  6. gaffertape says:

    “any computer game not suitable for under 18s” We don’t have a classification for games that goes up to 18. this should read “and computer game not suitable for over 15s”. sigh. NZ’s looking better each day. Whats the weather like over there?

    • Raum187 says:

      Um….the weather…yeah, not so much. We still have some freedoms (for the moment) and our rating system is pretty open. We have a chief censor here in NZ but he’s actually really good considering the nature of the office.

  7. Anonymous says:

    i’m confused, by driving pedophiles further underground we are somehow solving the issue.. Wouldn’t it be better to setup some kind of ‘honeypot’ or monitor those visiting these sites that the gov. wants to ban.. That way Pedophiles can be identified quickly & perhaps even given some kind of treatment before they offend in the real world. ?

    However, I know that it is just a matter of time until australian politicans use censorship to further the their own personal goals.

    It saddens me to be Australian & I am already making rough plans to go live elsewhere on this planet..

  8. Anonymous says:

    The government has said they will introduce legislation next year. They haven’t really said anything about the form of the legislation yet. Call and write your local member and senators from your state. Make sure they know you won’t vote for them if they even introduce this legislation.

    For those of us technical enough any of the tested methods are easy to overcome so lets start promoting those methods to all the people that don’t know how to do it.

  9. Itsumishi says:

    The preferential voting system is the best thing about Australian democracy. However it also seems to be something a great amount of Australian’s simply do not understand.

    So many people believe this crap about “it’s a waste of a vote” so don’t do it at all.

    All in all, I’m ready to head to Preston and start a lynch mob for Stephen Conroy.

  10. bearchild says:

    I hope boingboing doesn’t get blocked.

  11. aeternata says:

    And here is what we (Australians) think of it (459 comments, 22,000 votes 95% against):
    http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/internet-censorship-plan-gets-the-green-light-20091215-ktzc.html

  12. hijukal says:

    I’m positive someone can do better, but here’s one I prepared earlier:

    http://bighugelabs.com/output/motivator1f7dd9a383cf930e8b47c0cdcf0b620efb2c5e5e.jpg

    Picture taken without credit from Tom Burns ( http://everythingburns.com/wordpress/ )

  13. Anonymous says:

    Its an attack on our (Australian) freedom. It may be hard to believe but Australian parliamentarians have also been censored and are not allowed to criticise the government in letters to their constituents. We are the new China.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If I lived in Australia, I’d start a mass letter writing campaign to ban all sorts of stuff; Rupert Murdoch’s papers, the NY Times & WAPO…hell, why not all US Government websites (after all, Obama’s a crusading Socialist/Communist/Nazi and *surely* they need to keep Australia’s kids safe from *that*!)

    It would be instructive to see what they refuse to ban. :)

  15. jso says:

    I love it when the gov’t constructs a method to DoS anything we disagree with. All it takes are a few complaints? Haha, let’s see how (insert organization we disagree with) will like this!

  16. Kennric says:

    I’ve often thought I should make a firefox/chrome/etc plugin that does the following – when you go to a site, it checks a list of banned sites, if the site you are trying to reach is on it, it automatically routes you through an onion router or points you to an alternative server/proxy/etc. If you try to reach a site that is blocked, the plugin adds the address and your location to the banned sites list.

    This list is distributed across many servers, and perhaps when a new site is added, a script somewhere emails the site owner (from whois) to let them know their site is blocked and where, perhaps with tips on setting up proxies, etc.

    Done properly, from the user’s perspective, censorship is routed around almost transparently, and no one had to get the government to cough up their list.

    The big problems are determining when a site is blocked or just doesn’t exist, and maintenance of the list. Still, seems like it would be useful if a critical mass of users installed it.

  17. happyez says:

    Hey BBers

    For our OS (non Aus) people, I think knowing a bit about the way politics is conducted here would spell a lot more on the issue.

    Our ruling ALP has decided this filtorship is a vote winner, based on:
    • getting the votes of the elderly. Our elderly are, for the most part, very comfortable , highly conservative, know nothing about the internet, and are big listeners to talk-back AM radio and ‘readers’ of the Murdoch press. They usually vote Liberal (meaning Conservative here, yes I know…), and since our population is aging, they are a block to be gotten. This filtorship will give them extra incentive to vote ALP, and thus keep Rudd in power.
    • the youff, from what it seems, have no interest in the libertarian perspective. They will, as most of us assume, find a way around it and carry on as before (only if Facebook isn’t blocked). So, likely no resistance from them.
    • a big chunk of votes in outlying suburban areas are the ‘helicopter parents’ (over worried about abstract fears over pedophiles, not paying attention to things like oooo whether your kid has a hat outdoors in the summer sun in Aus). Many, again, not knowing or wanting to know about the Internet, will feel that the govt is making things safe for them.
    There is an aspect of Australian society, different to the US, which believes that the government must do something over any threat. We default to the government more than many other nations I can think of.
    • The Christian vote. We mimic the US, and so do the Christian lobby. This gets them onside
    • In Parliament, our preference voting system (when your vote is exhausted, you can transfer it to another party) and deals done behind doors between parties to give votes to each other, got in ‘Family First’ Steven Fielding, who is seemingly, an idiot. But a CC denier to boot. He would love this. By getting him onside, he may pass other legislation.
    • It ‘wedges’ the main opposition, the Liberals, who have changed leader to a real **** who has declared, “the opposition is there to oppose everything”, which puts him in a bind. I however, can’t imagine he would be against this. He is a deep Catholic with all the 17th C values, and this is right up his alley.
    • Those who oppose don’t have the numbers to threaten any ALP seats (all the geeks etc need to in one seat to get the primary vote of say, the Greens, to a level where the ALP is threatened). Given Aussies fear of any change, it is unlikely any ALP member will lose a seat. Psephologists here have looked at it, and seems that noone is under real threat.

    Remember, its the REAL effect on the seats they hold, and popularity plunges EFFECTING their ability to govern that raises their eyebrows. Rallies, denying twitter, DDoS attacks on government sites etc don’t seem to register that much. Think about it, if you were a dry, calculating politician who did his sums on every issue to avoid any risk and maximise any gain without ethics, would you care if a bunch of geeks got livid on the net? Only if Ms Mum and Dad read the same sites and changed their mind on it.

    Australia is quite a polarised society. The govt plays off groups for maximum reward. They will deny one group rights if another group, with more power or influence, gives the govt more in return. Therefore, homebirthers, hippies, greenies etc really don’t have much say.

    Add on top the consequences to the govt if they aren’t ‘seen’ to be ‘doing’ something.

    So add it up, the talk-back addicts love it, the families are more or less onside, the kids don’t care, more authoritarian power, better deals in the Senate, the Christians shut up a bit more, the geeks have no impact …

    Why WOULDNT a power-system-centred party do this?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Cory, been waiting for your response to this. We (down here) must not let this through, we have to believe we can overturn this. #nocleanfeed

  19. 13tales says:

    HEY! Australian BB readers (or anyone who feels like helping):

    I’m an Australian based in Japan, and this scares me witless more than anything else in recent Aussie history. I want to do something.

    Although I’m not on the ground in Australia, I get the feeling this hasn’t made that much of a dent in the mainstream consciousness.

    SO, idea:

    Solicit for and collect an online pool of Creative Commons licensed poster designs from any artist who wants to be a part of it. Ideally stuff that will look good even when replicated on a B&W photocopier.

    Attach a masthead with some brief points and a pointer to the Electronic Frontiers Australia page, put them in one place, and promote it under the #nocleanfeed and #openinternet on twitter, encourage people to copy and stick them up everywhere and get this into the public eye more (maybe start another pool of photos so people can show off their postering handiwork).

    What I need:

    -CC licensed poster designs and art (at fairly large sizes)
    -Help getting a decent, clear, and simple website up (fast).
    -Your thoughts.

    You can get email me at (my boing boing username) at google’s webmail service (you know the one).

    • hijukal says:

      I think a “Hope” style poster with some basic info is certainly needed. I’d print a bunch up and post them around the place.

      Any budding designers wanting to get a lot of publicity should get on this, stat!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I must have misread prior articles, I thought this was being submitted to parliament and still had a decent chance of being rejected.

    in which case, it’s time for me to proceed with my emergency plan.
    1) buy some server space in a country that values freedom, and has plenty of bandwidth. or a standard vpn company, but that seems a little obvious.
    2) set up a secure vpn between my fileserver and the remote site.
    3) set up local accounts for my friends to vpn or ssh into, and let the higher-usage ones connect straight to the source.
    4) teach anybody who wants to build a similar set up how to do so.

    I didn’t actually think it would get to this point, or I’d have taken my plan further by now. I wouldn’t mind helping to set up some custom software packages to make this easier for people who want to use it.

    my capcha: humiliating studding. I’m not sure whow, but It certainly suits the feeling of this piece.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I thought Australians liked taking the piss out of foreigners. But they can’t take it out of their own government??

  22. gouedard says:

    Hi,

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  23. Kimmo says:

    Here’s a tip: you can vote in a marginal seat if you like…

    Just rock up on the day, claiming to have recently moved to the area (but more than a month ago), and you can make a vote that counts. Proof of address not required.

    I found this out once having genuinely moved recently, and realised I could have made it up and voted in any electorate.

    Anyway, back on topic:

    Bernard Keane’s guide to writing to Ministers

  24. PurpleWyrm says:

    I threw this effort together in a white hot rage as soon as I heard that they were going to put the legislation through…

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wyrmworld/4187259804/

    I’m thinking about making a vector based version this weekend and maybe getting some stickers printed (with an appropriate URL for more info).

    • Kimmo says:

      How about this for a background?

      A bit more sinister, IMO…

    • 13tales says:

      @PurpleWyrm – Fantastic! Can you send me a vector-based version to (my boing boing user name) at google’s webmail service? Feel free to email me if you want to get further involved in the poster project!

    • Raum187 says:

      Fantastic! If I may, humbly, suggest removing the ‘welcome to’? I think the less complicated the better. But I do really like it!

      Not only does this have the immediate ‘societal’ association, but it also puts the OZ government in a potentially embarrassing economic situation with Chinese officials.

      (I’m a Kiwi (in NZ) who, despite our supposed rivalry, cares massively for my Aussie neighbours.)

      • 13tales says:

        I like it too. Thinking about it more though, I *am* concerned about how it will play with Chinese-Australians, who are significant in number and already (rightly enough, really) feel a bit besieged over the issues in China as it is.

        • Raum187 says:

          True, 13tales, a very valid point.

          Personally I never associate a regime with the people of that nation and, perhaps naively, I think Chinese migrants recognise the oppression they, in many case, relocated from.

          Do you think the average joe (perhaps, after all, who we need to reach) is going to tie this to individuals and not the authority this has come to (sadly) represent??

          Obviously, this is just my view and I see your point. I really love the power of corresponding stars, the economic association.

          PurpleWyrm, at the risk of putting you on the spot, I’d be interested in your views.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Join the discussion at http://stephenconroy.com.au/

    We’ve just got a forum live — all discussion welcome!!!

  26. zyodei says:

    Another shocking case of failure to anticipate long term effects.

    The danger of this: Creep.

    This year, it blocks child porn and bestiality. No one really has a problem with it.

    But how about in 20 years?

    Once you give this type of power to a governing authority, who knows who will take the reigns of power in the future?

    The same principle is widely applicable: you should wish for President Obama to have any sort of power that you wouldn’t want Palin 2012 to have (heaven forbid)

    It’s too easy to imagine this eventually being used to censor, say, speech that endangers the broadly defined “public order” – particularly if there were a war or emergency situation.

    The fundamental failing of this is that a workable solution that respects privacy and liberty is so easy to see.

    It stretches from, on the one hand, the government partnering with a filtering software service and offering it for free to all Australians, widely publicizing this campaign (services like K9 are already free and quite good).

    On the other extreme of the spectrum of reasonable solution would be for governments to mandate that ISPs OFFER a filtering service, and that they contact by email and snail mail all subscribers informing them of this and asking if they would like to sign up for it.

    The fact that they are using a hand grenade to destroy an ant colony makes me think that either they are truly clueless or have some ulterior motives.

    Either way, it’s a shameful act for a so called “democracy” to take, especially considering the likely opposition from a solid majority of affected Aussies.

    • daev says:

      “The same principle is widely applicable: you should wish for President Obama to have any sort of power that you wouldn’t want Palin 2012 to have (heaven forbid)”

      This is the exact argument I hand to those who think Obama’s a nazi/communist/socialist/terrorist and fear for their liberties. “Why were you so supportive of the broad powers given to the previous administration when you KNOW the pendulum will always swing?”

      I see a surge of encrypted TOR network activity in Australia’s future. Good luck policing that.

  27. happyez says:

    On the other hand, more positively, it may not go through because:
    • non internet literate parents whose kids surf the web may see this as in imposition, or big brother thing. Whether they’d change their votes on it ….
    • business, given that this will slow down the net massively and the National Broadband Network is about 10 years away, will likely not like this.
    Since business runs the show here (like the US), their manoeuvres would be worth watching
    • emails sending the real deal to parents who don’t care much for politics may get people alert. Again, whether it changes votes is another thing.

    A year is a long time, and if the energy stays high and active, well, anything can happen.

  28. Anonymous says:

    As an Aussie Permenant resident, one step down from full citizen, this stuff appalls me.

    As with Atkinson, the South Australian MP determined to ban all video games, he says it’s R18+ stuff but he has it in for all video games really, this is an other instance of politicians who are such a total remove from the media that they are legistlating against that they might as well be putting up traffic lights for penguins for all the knowledge they have or effect it’ll have on them personally.

    There’s a great Aussie noun “Wowser”, basically it means the permenantly outraged.

    They love nothing more than to be deeply offended and morally outraged about pretty much every damned thing.

    They used to get on their high horse about immigration, LEGAL immigration…basically anyone non white.
    then when it got to the point that such overt racism was less tolerated, despite the recent Hey Hey It’s Saturday minstrel black face Jackson 5 “tribute” racism is no where near as acceptable as it was, they have gone off about everything else.

    DVDs, pornography, film censorship, video games ensorship, bloody mandatory helmets for bicycle users…basically they are the ones who never use any of the above but want the govt to do as they say about things they have zero knowledge or interest in.

    On top of that you have that Knut Murdoch stroking off in anticipation of net censorship so he can get the net run his way then try and enforce it in other countries as it’s Worked So Well In Australia.

    besides which this spectre that is rolled out every time the net is mentioned about paedophiles…is balls.

    Do you know why there are more paedos nowadays?

    Because we catch more, and how? Because we took the stigma away from the victim and encouraged and assisted those who had been abused to come forwards and nail the bastards. There are the same percentage of child molesters and child pornographers today as there were when it was box brownie cameras and sepia prints.

    The net actually helps catch these people.

    I am no liberatarian nut bag who thinks everythign should be allowed but between truely consenting adults sure, do as you like.

    There is a deeply undemocratic steak in the A.C.T. (like Washington D.C. for Oz)that the pollies (politicians)allow all the things that they want in the Australian Capital Territory, drugs, prostitution, eye wateringly hard core porn, all variously legal or overlooked by the cops and the law there, but illegal to us plebs.

    This is just another example of the govt, labour liberal or whatever, putting in laws that will impact upon peoples lives but never touch their own pampered existences.

    I’M AS MAD AS A CUT SNAKE!

  29. Zergonapal says:

    So where would I need to go to find a way around net censorship?

  30. rebelrob says:

    There is a good interview with the EFA that hit Channel 10 on the 7PM Project. This would have got very wide exposure on Australian national TV. Great stuff!!

    http://7pmproject.com.au/video.htm?channel=7PM+Catch+Up&clipid=2689_7pm-seg1-171209&bitrate=300&format=flash

    For those outside of Australia, here is the Youtube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhAJgrISMrI

  31. Anonymous says:

    Is there anyone for voters to veto such legislation? If not it’s time for civil disobedience.

  32. Kimmo says:

    I’m absolutely hopping mad over this crap.

    It’s been pointed out time and again how hopelessly ineffective this garbage measure will be, but experts never seem to get much of a look-in to policy…

    I find it perhaps a bit implausible that we’re suddenly following the UK’s Orwellian path (heaven forfend), but it at least smacks of cheap and nasty scaremongering populism (eg) at the vast expense of public amenity and democratic principles.

    AFAIK, it’ll slow the net down for everyone in Oz (no, not the correctional facility), to virtually no avail as people demonstrate its futility by publicising circumvention measures as protest… and cost an absolute bundle that could be much better spent.

    And I was hoping the vile John Howard’s demise signalled an end to such extremely infuriating policy for a while…

    Fuck this two-party crap. It’s just like Alex Jones said: “Two management teams, bidding for control of slavery incorporated.”

    I want to be able to vote equal last again so my preferences don’t flow to either pack of utter scumbag arseholes, and stay with some real humans.

    • teapot says:

      Fuck this two-party crap. It’s just like Alex Jones said: “Two management teams, bidding for control of slavery incorporated.”

      It’s called voting green… But what’s that you say? “The greens never win”? Maybe it because of that very attitude.

      What shits me the most is how the existence of this approach to policing the internet basically suggests that the police and government have failed miserably in prosecuting offenders, or even tracking them down, which is supposedly their job.

      Its the same deal as when the cops stand outside a music festival with sniffer dogs. It says “We are hopeless. We failed to get the real people breaking the law because we are ineffectual, so we are gonna bust/protect end-users so it appears we are doing something.”

      And with supposedly 95% of the population against this garbage, I find it really hard to believe that the black list isnt going to leak from somewhere, especially if every ISP needs the list in order to implement it. This BS is gonna infuriate the IT peeps more than anyone, and they are the very people who HAVE the list.

      • Kimmo says:

        Fuck this two-party crap. It’s just like Alex Jones said: “Two management teams, bidding for control of slavery incorporated.”

        It’s called voting green… But what’s that you say? “The greens never win”? Maybe it because of that very attitude.

        Dude, you somehow seem to have missed my entire thrust, whereby I’m loathe to vote for the ALP or the Libs, but unless enough other people vote otherwise, the fact that they’re right down the bottom of my ballot means fuck-all since I can’t give them equal last anymore and they get my vote in the end.

        You’re preaching to the converted; how the hell do I look like someone who needs to hear there’s another option apart from Tweedledum and Tweedledee?

        • teapot says:

          Sorry bro, jumped the gun on that one. I just saw the words “Alex Jones” and started retching.

          #60 – Have you got any media reports on this? Why is it still in development if the AusFeds say it is used extensively used for ill means?

  33. zyodei says:

    Another shocking case of failure to anticipate long term effects.

    The danger of this: Creep.

    This year, it blocks child porn and bestiality. No one really has a problem with it.

    But how about in 20 years?

    Once you give this type of power to a governing authority, who knows who will take the reigns of power in the future?

    Th sm prncpl s wdly pplcbl: y shld wsh fr Prsdnt bm t hv ny srt f pwr tht y wldn’t wnt Pln 2012 t hv (hvn frbd)

    It’s too easy to imagine this eventually being used to censor, say, speech that endangers the broadly defined “public order” – particularly if there were a war or emergency situation.

    The fundamental failing of this is that a workable solution that respects privacy and liberty is so easy to see.

    It stretches from, on the one hand, the government partnering with a filtering software service and offering it for free to all Australians, widely publicizing this campaign (services like K9 are already free and quite good).

    On the other extreme of the spectrum of reasonable solution would be for governments to mandate that ISPs OFFER a filtering service, and that they contact by email and snail mail all subscribers informing them of this and asking if they would like to sign up for it.

    The fact that they are using a hand grenade to destroy an ant colony makes me think that either they are truly clueless or have some ulterior motives.

    Either way, it’s a shameful act for a so called “democracy” to take, especially considering the likely opposition from a solid majority of affected Aussies.

  34. Anonymous says:

    In America, there are movements afoot to use government to *protect* the Internet. I bet that will never, ever, ever backfire. Governments are infinitely trustworthy, right?

    Oh, well. We’ll find out in a few decades, I guess.

  35. stilgherrian says:

    As a freelance writer/broadcaster, I’ve been covering the unfolding of this issue for two years now. You can track this story including my work and others’ at:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/topic/great-firewall-of-australia/

    I also did a piece for ABC The Drum — that’s the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — which I shall now shamelessly pimp:
    “Evidence-based policy? Not on this filter!”
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2773952.htm

    I’m happy to answer anyone’s questions, and will keep an eye on this thread starting in about 3 hours when I’m not on deadline.

  36. LiudvikasT says:

    It boils my blood every single time I hear about such bullshit.
    Censorship is the worst crime possible and those who let this law pass must be executed for their crimes against humanity.
    I say there must be no limits when considering freedom of speech. I say let the information be fully accessible no matter what it is. There might be some information which could be harmful or even dangerous, but that is acceptable risk considering whats on stake.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Concerned Australians like myself need to remember in all the hysteria :

    All that’s been announced is the INTENT to put the bill to Parliament sometime in late 10′.

    That means : It’s not a “done deal” yet.

    In the RARE event that it is not rejected by either the house or the senate, it will go through.

    Until then, you have until late 2010 to petittion your local MP, and point out as eloquently as possible why this is such a bad idea, and that 95% of the population are AGAINST it to make SURE that it passes niether the house or the senate.

    Just righteously tweeting about it will do nothing.

  38. Raum187 says:

    I’d love to know who provided technical advice on this. I have only a basic understanding of Internet infrastructure and I can see massive flaws in this approach.

    And there is no way that a corresponding, circumvention list isn’t going to spring forth. Do these people not understand how the Net works?

    Oh, that’s right, they don’t……

  39. andygates says:

    This year it doesn’t block child porn and bestiality. It blocks *some* child porn and bestiality — huge difference. And it blocks some stuff that ain’t child porn and bestiality. So it fails twice, and to put a cherry on the fail cake, the list is secret so it’ll be a pig to appeal against if your, say, furry art site or edgy video game is unfairly blocked.

  40. RainyRat says:

    Arrgh! Whenever I hear about this kind of ill-informed technical measure coming from another area of government that Still Just Doesn’t Get It, I want to headbutt things. Hardly any of the enterprise-level software that does this sort of thing uses blacklisting as its sole source of what to ban; there’s a reason for that, which is that it doesn’t work. Sites appear and vanish far too quickly, especially on the shadier side of the Internet (the wrong side of the ‘tubes?) for effective blacklists to be created, updated and distributed to a whole country’s worth of ISPs, which is why everyone’s moving to filtering content based on…well, the content, rather than the URL.
    All that aside, this also looks like a horrendous legal storm in the making. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when this gets seriously challenged, by someone that’s had their site blocked and thinks it shouldn’t have been.

  41. Anonymous says:

    As an Australian, I would love for Boing Boing to post a ‘how to for the web illiterate’ guide to getting around such filters pretty please…

  42. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, look. A lot of good comments here. It might seem like the general population of Australia is apathetic towards this proposal, (although I read today that around 90% of Aussies surveyed didn’t want this filter thing happening.) but the truth is, I reckon most of us just don’t think the government could pull it off anyway. They’re pretty stupid you know. We used to have efficient and well run hospitals, don’t anymore. We had great public transport and infrastructure, don’t anymore. Our telecommunications were up there at one stage with the best in the world, don’t anymore. We were leading the world in Solar research and production, don’t anymore. Yeah, they can go and set it up. But I bet it won’t work, they’ll end up looking like gooses and dismantle it. Don’t worry, she’ll be right.

    • Raum187 says:

      @anon 51. I think the real risk is that those that can circumvent this, will, and incredily easily. And those with no idea risk becoming somewhat “second class” on the Net.

      Melodramatic? For sure. But plausible.

      Heh, “She’ll be right”. Not sure I’ve ever seen that on-line before :-)

  43. el duderino says:

    We’re going to need help down here with this one folks. This is one of those problems that will not be solved by rational argument alone. So here’s a call to all free people’s of the internet: Let us band together to make an example of any government which claims to represent liberal democratic values but is also willing to undertake measures that directly undermine those values. Only the chorus can hold the demagogues and petty bureaucrats at bay. The internet has given us the greatest voice our species has ever known. Our ruling classes know this, it is why they fear it so.

    Politically Australia is a test case. Don’t take this decision in isolation from ACTA and other measures to control our actions on the web. We are now in a war for the internet. I believe it is one we cannot afford to lose Govts around the world would be very happy to curtail the ability of populace to organise and criticise with impunity. Media corporations hate that consumers have choice. This unholy alliance sees the world through the lens of control. We cannot afford to let them get away with it. Time to remind the world that Orwell’s 1984 was written as a warning, not as a handbook.
    #nocleanfeed

  44. PurpleWyrm says:

    @13tales – As soon as I prepare a vector version (some point over the weekend) I’ll send it off to you.

    @Raum187 – I can see the point about potential offence/misinterpretation. Maybe any poster should have the image at the top – to grab attention – and have some explanatory text below, making it explicit that it’s drawing a comparison with the Great Firewall.

    Also I agree that dropping the “Welcome to” might be an idea. The design as it stands is more a scream of outrage than a call to arms.

    • Raum187 says:

      @PurpleWyrm. Absolutely. Associate the plight/fight with the crap the Chinese population have to put up with.

      “…scream of outrage than a call to arms.” Passion is always the best source of ideas.

  45. jerwin says:

    @bearchild
    I, for one, hope that boingboing will eventually get blocked in Australia, should this bill pass. Good publicity for onion routers, anti-censorship campaigns, and a sort of proof that the content on this blog is not tailored to the demands of Australian nannies.

    • Clay says:

      Maybe that process can be accelerated. There has to be some gotcha technicality in the legislation in which BB can do something that is entirely legal under US law but would be grounds for reporting the site to the Australian censorship commission.

      Such a high-profile site getting filtered would be sure to get news coverage.

  46. Anonymous says:

    What to do if net censorship becomes law:

    Reasoning:
    The most vulvnerable spot in censorship schemes are false positives. Given that this plan sets out to include input from citizens, it is easy to drown out any meaningful censorship attempts with overly broad requests.
    The basic force at play is that a few dozen skilled amateurs can generate more non-trivial censorship recommendations than any bureaucracy can handle cost-effectively.

    The plan:
    Crawl the net (prioritizing on high-value, promonent and domestic sites) for “problematic” keywords. Add a fervent boilerplate statement why this is morally and legally bad and needs to be censored. Distribute millions of such url+claim documents to volunteers who send them by e-mail or paper mail.

    Limit:
    This would only really work as a last effort: Protests, legal action and finding false positives (falsely accused sites) as examples is more effective. The use of negative/ironic examples is very hard to communicate to the public, the media etc.

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