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Australian Censorship-client side filters 363

mikecheng writes "The Internet Industry Association in Australia has decided how it will implement the new censorship laws in this country - mandatory cliet-side filtering. Read here how you must use net-filtering software (NetNanny and the like) and you must supply to your ISP a "a guarantee [you] are using client-side filtering". Of course you have to be using one of the "approved" filtering programs, or else the ISP charges you $5 and filters for you. (Now all I need is an approved open source filter!) "
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Australian Censorship-client side filters

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The blocking software does a horrible job anyway. I am sure guvment morons will pick some good 'approved' filters. What is the URL of that site that shows that you can get tons of raunchy porn and bomb sites even with netnanny set at full steam ? It also blocks tons of innocuous stuff. Here is one []. Here is another [].

    And here is a quote from this site []

    In reality, the new technologies do not live up to their promises at all. In a recent small-scale study conducted by Consumer Reports of 22 easy-to-find websites that had been judged by investigators to be inappropriate for young children, not one of the four most common software blockers--CyberPatrol, CyberSitter, NetNanny, and SurfWatch--blocked all of the sites. NetNanny failed to block any of the 22 sites, while 14 were blocked by CyberSitter, 16 by CyberPatrol, and 18 by SurfWatch; and only 3 sites were blocked by Internet Explorer (Is your kid 1997, 30). These rates are far below the levels that parents and other consumers have been led to expect. Another small-scale study by PC World found marginally better performance: two of the five products tested were effective in blocking all ten of the adult-oriented sites in the evaluation (Internet filters 1997).

    The thing is ludicrous on several levels.

    John Lapeyre

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, you can be neither. I quote:

    • c) any other user who has advised their ISP that he or she already has installed and has operational a Content filtering or other control measure listed in Schedule 1 of this Code.

    Installed and has operational. Doesn't exactly say much about having to advise their ISP that they are actually going through the filter, does it?

    Cheap shot, I know -- it's not that I like the law, more that if I don't laugh, I'm sure as hell going to cry. Oh, well, I was always thinking that Canada.. or maybe New Zealand.. sounded like a nice place to live. Maybe I'll migrate from Melbourne someday.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What is with Earth? They have always been 'with it' and they've have had some intelligent life (i.e. cows) but then they have some mind bogglingly stupid lifeform (i.e. humans/earthlings). I just don't see how this can happen on the same planet. Perhaps someone on Earth can fill me in, it baffles me...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't this the Country that outlawed software
    patents awhile ago?

    Anyway to get the bunch who did that to overturn
    this pile of crap?

    Not that I live in Australia or anything, but they
    seem to have a more liberal legislative history than this.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm just waiting until the complaints tribunal opens so that we can build a bot to "complaint bomb" them. Each complaint will presumably have to be assessed by a human, which means it will cost a certain amount of money to investigate each one. If we send a couple of million of complaints per day the tribunal will be completely ineffective.
  • I've been hooked on UF for about a year now, and you go and put me onto Sluggy? HOW COULD YOU! There go the last remaining traces of any life I had.

    Actually, thanks. Just got through the first few of `Satan' and it was a laugh. Highly recommended.

  • issuing your own certificates recently?
  • by jonr ( 1130 )
    Do these people actually stop one moment and THINK "are we sure this is the right thing?". Looks too me that they just rushed this without thinking.
    Oh well, in democracy people get the government they deserve.

  • I, personally, am reasonably bitter towards the US in this. Whilst you were having grief with your CDA, people -all around the world- were turning their pages black, and protesting quite vocally. Yet, when our moronic government brought this legislation up, which is -much much- worse than the CDA, you quite happily ignored us.

    A total of 3 posts to /., and that was about it.

    As far as what the IIA have done, I thank them. They've turned this legislation around, from something that would have totally destroyed the internet in australia, to something we're barely going to notice.

    So what are you bitter about again? It sounds like you're quite happy with your censorship. Maybe the lack of response in the US of A has been because people like yourself have said "Well, its not going to be that bad". Make your bed, and sleep in it mate.

    Perhaps if you yourself were a bit more upset about it, then maybe the rest of us would be. Personally, I think you're a fool for even going along with this law. I would happily break it and suffer the consequences for doing my moral duty of not obeying an unjust law. You should do the same.

    Australia is on a slippery slope of its own making with this one. Liberty is rarely something that is taken away all at once. Its almost always chipped away a bit at a time. By the time you realize whats happened, it will be too late. Australia is slidding towards that cliff right now. Its your country mate, do something about it now before its too late! Protest this affront to your rights now!

    ...something we're barely going to notice.

    The best forms of censorship are.

  • And? Why should any adult be required to let someone else censor them?

    You're tilting at straw men here with bald assertions about just having to advise your ISP that you are using a content filtering software package on Schedule I. The issue is that content filtering is wrong. The mechanism is not relevant to that argument. Censorship is wrong. You're caving in to that argument and accepting censorship with this law. Its that simple.

  • Yes I was rather offended by that.

    I am a small ( 1000 user) Australian ISP, but I don't consider myself a 'shonk' or 'cowboy'. I find censorship distasteful, and am not at all pleased with this decision.

    It could have been much, much, worse, for that I am thankful.

  • What are you talking about ?? We are pissed about it. Noone in Australia wanted it We only got it because the Government was trying to bribe and Independant minister. All He was saying was that implementation isn't as bad as it could have been under the laws that were passed. But consider this. If they ask you to prove you are using some form of net censorship people like my self are screwed because there are none for Linux.
    M&D Eaton
  • Hmmm .. interresting ... .

    why not just get a shell account on a machine outside AU and ssh into it .. setup a gz compressed pipe .. and redirect all traffic thru that ... thereby they cannot filter it since it's ssh encrypted .. and gz compressed ...

    so you bypass the filters .. and get compression ;P

  • what if your running an OS that has no support for this so called content screening software.

    say your running some old machine with an obsolete OS and you so happen to connect to the inet with. does this stop you from using this machine??? what if there is noooo LINUX clients???

    our governement sux!


  • damn - no lynx support.

    Probably due to stupid export restrictions, the default lynx installation does not include SSL. You'll need to get a SSL enabled lynx.

  • AFAIR, the legislation required that the censorship was "technically feasable". If studies like the ifilter one here [] are done on the proposed "approved" filters, could it be reasonable (even though reasonable has nothing to do with it) to show that the current stuff doesn't work?

    A group of ISPs could then put a tender out for a "working" filtering program, but have a penalty clause if the program gets it wrong. If noone bids, then that proves that its unfeasable. If someone does bid, then someone makes lot of money....

    Also, the article I read in Tuesday's Australian seemed to imply that the $5 charge was what they thought it would cost the user if an ISP bought the software in bulk. It still has to run on the subscriber's computer, which leads to the question of Linux, and other OSs...


    PS Why is this shown in the wrong day by slashdot? I didn't see this yesterday, and only 4 comments so far...
  • Then you have to notify your ISP and they'll filter it for you and charge you extra.

    Why doesn't the Australian Government just do what the People's Republic of China did and declare Microsoft Windows to be the national operating system? It'd save them a lot of problems controlling everyone.
  • Come to think of it, what? You've got your Bill of Rights and constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, and your high-tech industry, and then you've got software patents, the War on Some Drugs and bans on evolution in Kansas?

    Seriously, it's the same deal. The censorship law was pushed through by the conservative Liberal Party to appease a religious-rightist senator from a small, highly conservative state best known from jokes about inbreeding. You can bet that most of the people in Melbourne and Sydney who are aware of the issues believe that this law is an ass; but in the name of political expediency, it got passed.

    -- acb [who won't be voting for the Liberals anytime soon... sod them...]
  • Even worse than just your fascists using Australia as a positive example (which will happen) will be Australian-funded lobbies backing your Religious Rightists and morality crusaders. Once this law kicks in, you can bet that the only Australian high-tech information industry with a future will be that which manufactures censorship devices (filtering routers, &c.) China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore may be good export markets at the start, but they can only buy so many, and for further growth, Australia will need to find more repressive states wanting to censor their networks. Thus expect the Australian Government's trade missions and private Australian companies to be funneling money into the Christian Coalition and anti-porn feminist groups and such by the million.
  • If, however, you bypass the filter and access the unfiltered web, you are committing a criminal offense.

    Granted, being prosecuted is about as likely as being jailed for having private homosexual sex in Tasmania (also a crime, or at least it was until recently). Unless they have some technical means of checking machines.
  • Or just mandate the use of a "secure" operating system, which the user cannot hack into bypassing censorship, i.e., Windows.

    Linux users may still be able to use hardware filters, akin to the situation with hardware DVD decoders.
  • This law can actually be technically enforced.

    The Broadcast Services bill mandates that overseas sites banned by the ABA be blocked. Which would require the approved censorware to regularly download an encrypted list of banned sites to block from an ABA server.

    What happens when they go over the logs and find that very few users have been downloading it? They send in auditors, subpoena ISP dialin logs, and determine who hasn't been complying. Then they find a few deviants and make an example of them. Expect heavy fines and possibly jail terms.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • ...resistance becomes duty.
  • > ...learning how to hunt and butcher...

    Remember that *everyone*, even you, is amazingly stupid. So before doing that (or buy your next piece of meat, or most other things too), please sit down and think through your prejudices. And/or read a good book on ethics. Thanks.
  • by gas ( 2801 )
    Very much like the US gov't ban on exporting serious crypto - you think Saddam hasn't got an agent here who has already gotten copies of erything useful and shipped it home.

    I thought the purpose of the law was to prevent strong crypto to make it as a standard feature in normal user apps. Of course the current Bad Guy(TM) has all crypto it needs.
  • So let me get this straight. ISP's are not required to do anything and all users have to do is tell the government they aren't looking at bad things?

    Mom: Johnny are you looking at porn in their?
    Johnny: No mom.

    ha ha ha ha....This raises government stupidity to a new level. Everyone who wants to look at porn continues to look at porn and everyone who doesn't want to look at porn gets to pretened no one else is.
  • Woah. Censorship is not a potential revenue stream. When we sign up customers, we're not going to take their money until they answer yes to 'Do you have filtering software installed on your computer'. We're also -not- going to make them prove it.
    I, personally, am -violently- anti-censorship, and I was actually the guy who had the 'Australia - Global Village Idiot' sign made for the Sydney protest (seen in numerous shots). I don't want to make money from this. I just want it to go away. It's a stupid concept, from the ground up.
    And yes, this never made it to the front page. Yet another reason for my anti-US rant above.. They don't realise that their government is going to come out and say 'Look, it worked in Australia', and foist the same thing on them...

    We've got to protect the children!



    Comics: [] - Poing!
  • One of the main problems in .au is the "She'll be right, mate" mentality. The concept is, basically, if you ignore it, it'll go away. Unfortunately, with our little puppet of a Prime Minister, and his scheming cohorts, this isn't going to happen. We had a 'reasonable' show of people at our protests, and whilst the Sydney one was happening, our PM was on a popular talkback radio station saying 'They don't know what middle australia want' -- Well, to be precise, what middle Australia want is bloody RAIN.
    This is the same prime minister who -refuses- to apologise (that's it, apologise) to a generation of Aboriginals who were stolen from their families by the government of the time (with, I should point out, assistance from the catholic church).
    If they hadn't taken all our guns away, revolution would be on the cards.

    Red Stars, anyone?

    Comics: [] - Poing!
  • Re:I am an Australian ISP.
    by Python ( on Wednesday September 01, @11:10PM EDT (#)
    (User Info)

    I, personally, am reasonably bitter towards the US in this. Whilst you were having grief with your CDA, people -all around the world- were turning their pages black, and protesting quite vocally. Yet, when our moronic government brought this legislation up, which is -much much- worse than the CDA, you quite happily ignored us.
    A total of 3 posts to /., and that was about it.

    As far as what the IIA have done, I thank them. They've turned this legislation around, from something that would have totally destroyed the internet in australia, to something we're barely going to notice.

    So what are you bitter about again? It sounds like you're quite happy with your censorship. Maybe the lack of response in the US of A has been because people like yourself have said "Well, its not going to be that bad". Make your bed, and sleep in it mate.

    I do apologise if I've come across as liking it. If you read more of my posts further down, I was one of the most vocal people in sydney about this, I was intervied for 'Time' magazine, was quoted in several IT magazines, and did 2 radio interviews.

    I hate it. But no matter how much I hate it, I'm not going to put myself up for AU$25,000 fines per day. Sorry, if I make that much in a YEAR, I'll be amazed.

    The tone of my post was that 'Well, it's not as bad as it could have been.' I do agree with another post (I haven't been watching names, apologies 8-) who pointed out that email isn't explicitly excluded. That's definatley wrong, and should be fixed for Version 6. Hopefully.

    When I say 'something we're barely going to notice' I mean it's going to be a matter of, when you ring me up, my staff are going to ask (something along the lines of -- I'm making this up now):
    'The Australian government requires me to ask if you have filtering technology installed on the PC you are going to be using to access the net. We do not need to verify that you are, we just need you to tell us you are'

    Something, basically, that makes them aware that they are -lying- because of the stupid laws our government has enacted. I don't -want- my customers to have censorware on their PC's. The internet is far too valuable a resource to censor.


    [And, to the other poster, yeah, sluggy is -very- cool 8-)]

    Comics: [] - Poing!
  • We're all ears.

    The "black page" movement didn't start spontaneously; it isn't some conspiracy against Austrailians that nothing happened.

    The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

  • First up, I am an Aussie.

    Second, we didn't do nothing about this, we did as
    much as we could, we had rallies, I personally visited my local polititions, and emailed the Idiots in Chief, and got no where.

    The Government had made up thier mind, they wanted to use this to buy the vote of a senile independant senator, and trying to get them to change it was about as futile as convincing an American to shutup and listen for a minute.

    The bribe didn't work, the senator didn't vote for thier new TAX system, so they snuck it in a different way. Unfortunatly they're going to let this thing drop, they're going to go through with it. But that's alright, we'll just ignore it, or go round it as is our way, and if they try to take
    us to court over it, we'll prove just how totally unfeasible it is, and they'll be forced to drop it.

    Meanwhile, I'll be submitting all and religious web sites to ban lists...

    Necro-"Make the world a better place today, shoot your local politition and journalist"-Kyle
  • No I belive that that was an erlier law. This thing makes you tell your ISP that you'r using somekind of censorware. Giving false testymony about this is probably illegal somehow in Ozzyland.

    (bad spelling is one thing but you just use the wrong birds.)
    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • I shuldn't reply to this but... Just your typical american problem solvant: Add force and stir. If it doesn't clear out all the problems: add more force and stir.(great analogy since in this case the solvant itself smudges the stain and has to be cleaned out too(add more force...)).

    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • Well it would sertanly do the Ozzy goverment some good...

    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • Ok so this law doesn't stop people looking at what they want. But like the swedish PUL it makes normal people brake the law in everyday life. The effect is that authorities can "get" people when they have a reason to. BAD thing for human rights you know.
    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • We may be the last wagon on the train, but were going the same way at the same speed.

    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • I don't think the IIA (whoever they are) have done you any favors. If the law is as bad as it's been made out it should have been fully enforced in a draconian enough style to make people sit up and get it repealed.

    As it stands now you have a law on the books that gives the Aussie gov't the power to do very distasteful things. Theoretically they could just impliment it piecemeal so no one will notice just how bad it is; the age requirements and the requirement for isp's to tell subscribers to use filters being step #1.

  • Whenever anyone says, "theoretically", they actually mean, "not really".

    That's true, theoretically.

    David Gould
  • It seems our government doesn't have the market on stupidity cornered quite yet.

    This legislation is like requireing you to avert your eyes while watching an R rated movie. It's very un-enforcable (though make note that it's something they can use as an excuse to lock people up... 'He didn't have NetNanny! He's a HARD CORE CRIMINAL!!'), and a major infringement on basic human rites.

    Such a sad day and age we live in where governments can pass this kind of crap.
  • Server side filtering is cheaper (just do it once instead of software for every user) and if ISP's have to filter anyway then this is what they'll end up doing.
  • North Korea has real oppressive censorship and it's an atheist country
  • Actually, several stories have been playing hide and seek lately. There was one that appeared about 7:30 AM one day marked as being posted at 7:30 PM (12 hours later) that same day. About an hour later it disappeared from the main page until about 7:30 that evening. (all times EDT) Go figure.
  • The heavily armed Bhuddists are comming, The heavily armed Bhuddists are comming!

  • They're playing with the time machine again. Now the story is at the top of the main page and labelled to look like it's been there all along.

    Posted by Hemos on Wednesday September 01, @10:10PM EDT

    What chance do we mere mortals stand against the Slashdot Time Lords?

  • So you have to use filtering software - but what's to stop you from turning it onto 'filter nothing'?

    Furthermore, no filtering software is perfect, whether it be based on manual blocking of web pages, or automatic detection of naughty words. You could simply do all your browsing through a 'web anonymizer' or gateway, and if that gets blocked, create another. Or you could run a web proxy like DeleGate [] on your own machine, and do all your browsing through that. I doubt that filtering software has any blocking rules for 'localhost' :-)

  • Well, this is what the OED has to say:

    shonk Sonk, sb. slang.

    Etymology: Shortened form of shonicker.

    An offensive name for a Jew. Hence 'shonky a.[1] (see quot. 1951).

    1938 W. Matthews Cockney Past & Present v. 153, - I diffidently suggest the following words as the most familiar slang terms rarely used except by cockneys..shonk, nose, Jew.
    1940 R. Postgate Verdict of Twelve i. v. 75 - Let's have a bit of fun with the shonks.
    1951 Partridge Dict. Slang (ed. 4) Add. 1168/1 - Shonky, adj., mean; money-grubbing: late C. 19-20.
    1981 W. Haggard Money Men xv. 174 - `Brighton?.. It's full of shonks.'.. `Which means there are hotels with night clerks.'

    Of course this may mean something completely different in Australia. Well, I'd hope so at least, or the IIA just offended a fairly large number of people.

  • Free speech has only been implied into the Australian Constitution with regards to political speech. Even then, it was only done by a pretty narrow High Court majority that could be overturned in a subsequent case.

    In other words, I wouldn't rely on it for anything.
  • If not, and as long as there's a free filter for every platform available out there, then is this really that big a deal. So you're required to run nanny or something. As long as you control over what (if anyting) you filter, then it's a stupid anoyance butnothing more.

    The questions is: *DO* they require to you censor what they want? I haven't followed the issue but if that's so then, well, that's *S C A R Y*.
  • You should check your facts a bit better than that, my friend.
  • I've got personal guarentees from several senators that they will not support a banning of encryption. That's not going to happen (thank God)
  • I wish you dickheads would stop posting this crap. The problem is much more serious than that. That Independent DIDN'T SUPPORT THE NEW TAX SYSTEM. The party who did were _against_ the IC legislation. Get it right! The problem is more serious, because both Liberal AND Labor believe the leglisation is workable, despite significant uproar, particularly within the Liberal Party's own lay membership. That is far more serious than some simple one-for-one deal, because it indicates that the leglsiation has more weight behind it and is likely to be more stubbornly supported and thus damaging. If you can't get your facts straight than just shut the hell up because you confuse the debate.
  • Not that I intend to actually install any, but does the Internet Industry association realise that there isn't any porn-blocking client-side filtering software available for Linux?

    Maybe I'll just install junkbuster - yep, I've got client-side filtering software, it filters content I don't want to see . . .

    The whole sorry issue is just another reason I hdespise the current Australian Federal government - our current PM combines the bad qualities of John Major, Al Gore and Dan Quayle. . .

  • Sorry, but I fail to see how they have declared war on anyone. They are not depriving you of the right to say anything, they are just taking away their citizen's right to read/hear it.

  • I agree. I go through the same process myself, but at the end, I go one step further and think about dropping out of society all together. For years I've been reading/studying wilderness survival info and this fall/winter I'll be learning how to hunt and butcher game. In all likelyhood, I don't see myself actually "dropping out", but I like to think that I could pull an "Eric Rudolph" (guy who evaded FBI by disappearing into Western NC wilderness) and just disappear into the mountains of Western North Carolina (or SW Va, or East Tn-it's all part of the same mountain range).

    For those of you who think this is loopy, consider one thing, it's very comforting to know that I probably won't *need* Big Brother holding my hand to survive in this world. If it gets bad enough, I can take my toys and go home.

  • I had a job offer back in '91 to work in Austrailia, and I'm glad I didn't take it. These type of laws are *total* BS from the word go! I assume that the Austrailian goverment likes to suck up to NSA, (or add a US goverment agency here) so they can get more funding. Mandaory filtering, like Net Nanny or ANY other filtering software is actually as efficient as like saying that buying a new car is guarenteed for 5 years from *any* mechicical problems. ;) And yes, my spelling sucks. ;)

    Here's a hint to the goverment officials "down under", form the clay like substance, insert that weird looking miniture aaa device and power up. POOF!

  • Better to call them "the conservatives" when posting on international forums. Calling them "liberals" is misleading. A definite case of false advertising.

  • That's generations. Plural. It went on for decades.


  • ... or is this a totally ineffectual system? I mean really, what's to stop you from telling your ISP you use the blocking software, and then just not using it? Could you not then just surf to your heart's content?

    This just seems like a high-profile "blue law" to me. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • I agree that Government has no business doing something like this. This is what
    • cults

    To remain a Scientologist in good standing, one had to install the Scientology net-nanny program, which blocks access to all sites critical of Scientology, or contain names of Scientology critics (like me). Check out this great Salon article []

    It's amazing that this can be held up to redicule when it's a cult, but accepted when it's a government.


  • by Norny ( 9940 )
    Safe?! They were only in danger of being exposed to lights coming from a tube, not from being kidnapped or molested. You're making too big a deal.
  • The government has no right to go into the houses of people to tell them how to live. If the government wanted, they could pass a law that put NetNanny in every public library and school, but at home if parents have got the internet, it should be the concerned parents that take it upon themselves to install the nessesary software or if they don't know how not let their kids on the internet.

    A law like this could never be passed in the US.
  • How about turning off images in netscape? Stops all those nasty pictures.
    Ahh, but is stopping images enough? Many of the people on the pro-censorship side are afraid of


  • "Yes sir, Mr Manager, we'll just install this software and it will protect all our PCs from those nasty ads."

    JunkBusters is filtering software, does it count?

    Or what about installing NetNanny with the filtering turned off. Or installing it badly, so people can just walk 'round it. Or only installing it on one PC that people don't use.

    Like I said the last time /. covered this, I'll just do what the Europeans do with stupid legislation - I'll ignore it.

    (All it will take is some managing directors being blocked from their stock portfolio pages and this will soon come to and end)

  • I think it would've been better if they just let the gov't impose really stupid draconian rules that are completely unenforceable, because now, people will think that it's actually workable, simply because the symptoms won't be as obvious.
  • Not to mention that there were some stories not too long ago that at least one of the filter makers tended to put sites carrying articles negative to their product into their filters...

    "The latest version of NetNanny now filters away misogynistic macho bravado, beer ads and incorrect English. As a result, all Australian sites are blocked."



    Seriously, why is it that anyone mentions that they don't like guns on Slashdot, some NRA fanatic jumps all over them? I mean, are you taking turns on monitoring or what?

  • Superannuation fund... during your working years, money is paid into the fund, and then when you retire and there is no old-age pension (there is currently), you can (supposedly) live off the superannuation.

    Or something to that effect.
  • Next session of congress, I assure you that we'll see a host of idiots citing Australia as a role-model for net-censorship the way they idolized the Canadian health-care system a few years ago.
    Well, and we know how far the implementation of a decent medical system in the US got, right?

    For what it's worth, the Canadian system is a lot nicer than the US system. I spent most of my life in Canada, and that's one of the things I miss most.


  • No, nowhere near 90% of Canadians work for the government. As for taxes, they are certainly higher in Canada, but not by all that much, as far as I can tell. (I'm not paying significantly less in taxes in the US than I was in Canada.) Not having a massive military to maintain probably helps. :-)

    I'd really suggest you do some real research on the system before dismissing it out of hand.


  • Yeah, I saw that after I looked closer. Oops. Well whatever it was it's fixed now.

    What the heck is javascript doing on /. anyway?
  • BTW, it seems to me that this article never made it to slashdot's front page. Last night (Australian time), the article on "The World's Smallest PII Motherboard" was at the top of the page, without the current article being there; this morning, the PII motherboard article is at the bottom of the page, and the current article turned up in yesterday's list. Or am I hallucinating?

    There is something strange going on with the prefabricated pages. I can't link off to any story on the main page. I have been using the search [] page with no criteria to link to stories.

    The prefabs are way missing stories too.

    Something smelly is going on - maybe Taco is going to switch servers tonight or something, and things are starting to break.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have read through the posts and most of them talk about how dumb the Australian government is, or how pointlessly ineffective this legislation is. Personally, I'm of the opinion that whoever came up with this is a GENIUS! Think about this for a moment. This could have gone much much worse. They could have required ISP's to do filtering for you, they could have forced every connection through government proxy servers, etc. But no, they did an amazingly clever thing. All they did was say each ISP is required to ask you whether you are using filtering software, and you are required to answer "Yes". That's it. There's absolutely nothing there to enforce your usage of the software. There's no reason for you to tell the truth, and nobody is going to police it. So now, they've managed to shut up the right wingers by implementing a law that "protects the children", but have guaranteed that anybody who wants to surf porn sites all night long can do so at their leisure with no government interference. The existence of such regulation bothers me a bit, but all things considered, they dodged a bullet here.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You know, about once a day I can't believe the US government could be so unbelievably detached from reality to do the things they do. Then I try talking to people I know (that aren't the /. reading type) about such subjects and realize that most people really are completely ignorant and don't give a damn about freedom. They just want a comfortable standard of living for them and their kids. After I've spoken to enough such people, I start to desperately wish I could emigrate to another country where the average level of common sense is greater.

    Right about then, an article like this comes along and convinces me that the only common denominator is human cultures is brute stupidity.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    While you silly /.'s babble on about "freedom" and other bularky, you forget that the innocent and helpless children are finally safe! Over the years I have seen my family destroyed by this vile "internet" beast. It just tears a poor homemaker up! Why just the other day I caught my youngest daughter masturbating to the Starr Report with the family's brand new Microsoft Mouse! Needless to say my redneck husband took her to the back room and had a talk with her! And just this morning in my bastard son's backpack I found some marijuana and a receipt from Ebay! Thank god he was just "selling it to the other kids" and not using it himself. Anyway I am very happy that our strong and watchful government has passed this law which allows ultra-conservative, fat, and useless homemakers like myself more time to make bread and watch sitcoms.
  • If they start checking up (by checking mandatory blacklist download logs and subpoenaing ISP records in tax-audit-style swoops) and making examples of selected offenders with highly-publicised fines amd the odd jail term, the rest of the public will cave in. Or so the theory goes.

    And this law's also useful for selectively getting rid of whistleblowers, civil libertarians and other troublemakers.
  • I was there. I even got up and spoke on top of the bus at the end of the march. I also saw Nick from Zeta [] and Vic from CIA []. We were there. All of CIA's staff were on the march too. Antony Healey from (I'm going to stop the href's 8-) and his staff, um, a few guys from OzEmail (which surprised me), Scott Golby from and his staff. There were lots of us. I was the guy in the white Mazda 929 with the 'THEWWW' licence plates 8-)
    I do agree that the hippy-bus was a bit lame 8-)
    Comics: [] - Poing!
  • Does Australia have any form of Judicial Review? I mean, some sort of recourse if laws are passed that violate its constitution? I'm afraid I'm not really up on Australian governmental matters.

    (Remove "x"'s from
  • are u kidding? the LAST thing we want is
    filtering software that _actually_works_!

  • "While we're at it, we would also like you to sign this affidavite swearing that you will not drive over the speed limit, drive while drunk, or kill anyone. It would also be really keen if you don't think mean or hateful thoughts or swear. Thank you Citizen 1138."

    Having the government censoring what you read, see and say is bad enough. Making you censor yourself according to their ideals is simply rubbing your nose in the stinky pile after you've done your business.

    Next session of congress, I assure you that we'll see a host of idiots citing Australia as a role-model for net-censorship the way they idolized the Canadian health-care system a few years ago.

    As soon as they start requiring us to fill out a diary and turn it into our assigned personal-government-counselors, these laws will be passe. You can just tell them when you've done something bad, read a dirty word, seen a naked woman, or gone down on your boyfriend in the back of your car and await 'personality alteration'. Orwell and his crystal ball . . .

  •, I think it's opensource. Anyhoo, it was designed to filter banner adds and popup windows, but it could probally be used to filter said content.

    i mean.. *snort* *snicker* um, i'm sure that it will be a very *giggles slightly* effective way of handling it. in all seriousness, i think we can all think that left to their own honor, we can trust the people to actually install software esigned to restrict their rights on their own computers without trying to circumven.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    heh.. oh, GOd.. eeh.. never mind.. HAHAHA..

    (P.S. so that covers the web. what about FTP? newsgroups? telnet? shells in foreign countries? lynx running under shells in foreign countries? There's more than one way to get pr0n, you know)
  • I am always one for self regulation but the emphasis on "self." Forcing someone to actually use the software is no different then Taiwan running their huge proxies keeping everyone from reading porn and such.

    For those who haven't read it I would suggest one of my favorite books of all time Fahrenheit 451. F451 in its day was a great groundbreaker however it has become even more pertinent now then it was in 1954. The world is a very dangerous and not so nice place sometimes but we can't put kid gloves on every little thing so Junior doesnt see naked boobs, heck thats what Dad's old Playboys were for anyhow.

    I urge everyone to help out our friends Down Under and just tell someone, get the word out. For those that read it for a book report or rented the movie take another look back at the book and tell how far we are from that society. Live by the quote.

  • I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress. -- John Adams (1776 [])
  • You have to remember the government put up this legislation to appease an old fart senator from Tasmania who happened to hold the balance of power in the Senate, so they could get his vote on a few other bits of contentious legislation.

    Tasmania is physically separate from the rest of Australia, and it shows.

    Australian foreplay: Nudge - "You awake?"
    Tasmanian foreplay: Nudge - "You awake, mum?"
  • Political leadership in all countries and especially in developing countries merely need a precedent to impose similiar or worse legistation in their own countries. In this regard, the Australian law open new, although unwanted, doors.

    I agree with the posting by an Australian ISP: why was not enough noise made about the Australian net censorship bill?

    The truth is, Internet or otherwise, we still think in terms of the physical boundaries of our countries; if it is'nt a legislation in our country why should we care?

  • "It's only the shonks and cowboys who will have a problem." - IIA Executive Director Peter Coroneos

    Well, that sure sounds complementary to libertarians. WTF is a "shonk" anyway?
  • The entire censorship issue can be traced back to be a political maneuver on behalf of our liberal government in order to drum up enough support for their GST to get it passed. It's a load of fucking shit, excuse my french. If it were our governments GENUINE wish to protect the children, then good on them - but when all it is is a campaign to appeal to a couple of key senators who at the time held the balance of power, it makes me fucking sick to live in this country. The *only* thing I can see as being a possible upside is that now the senator in question is just another backbencher with as much say as anyone else, the law will just be "forgotten"... Or atleast not enforced. We wait and see.
  • I aggree that this is a bad law.

    However, it is perfectly fine for the citizens
    of Australia to decide what content they wish
    to allow down their internet connections from
    overseas. They aren't restricting your right
    to speak, the majority are just choosing to
    ignore you. Perfectly right and proper, and
    most definitely in keeping with free speech.
    You have the right to speak, just not the right
    to force people to listen.

    Several countries use local content legislation
    to provide funds for local culture. This isn't
    seen as a restriction on speech, so why should
    saying "We don't want to see X?"

    The way I read the proposal says that they have
    to offer it to their customers, not that they
    have to use it. You are still able to "yell"
    about porn as much as you want (maybe not on
    Aussie sites), you're just more likely to be ignored.

    It most definitely isn't an act of war. If
    it were an act of war to limit the presentation
    of speech by people not in the country, everyone
    would be at war with:

    Canada - Canadian content broadcast legislation,
    Kiddie porn laws.
    USA - CDA and Cuban property appropriation laws.
    Australia - Content legislation.
    China, North Korea, and many many others.

    I feel it is perfectly acceptable for people to
    decide what they do and do not want to see. What
    isn't acceptable is attempting to force your
    views on other people. That you feel they are
    correct/proper is generally irrelevent.

  • "Citizens of Australia, shortly you will all be supplied with a pair of scissors and a bulk amount of liquid paper. Under new laws, you are now forc... uh... required to use the liquid paper on all undesirable words in your dictionaries. The scissors must be used to remove any and all images of suspicious wizards who may be smoking unindentified herbs in works by JRR Tolkien.

    If you choose not to comply with our dema... uh... restrictions, a government official will be at your residence momentarily to remove your eyeballs from their sockets lest you accidently find yourself gazing at some young girl's exposed ankles.

    That is all, now return your usual, sheltered, naive lives."

    ICQ: 532856
  • ...or from using a secure web proxy []?

    (Yes, I'm beating my own drum here, but I think it's a valid, if suboptimal, solution. And I'm going to need lots of mirrors if every single enlightened person in .au starts hitting my machine.)

  • Yup, what I thought. All the "decent" i.e. small, independant ISP's were there. The ISP's you name would collectivly hold less then 5% of the market, and that's being very generous.

    Bigpond ? (200k users)

    Ozemail ? (200k users)

    Optus ? (Aiming for the @home broadband market)

    IHUG ? (Actually, they were probably going, but it took 4 days to get there) [1]

    If they cared about it, they would have included it in their weekly mailings to users, which I can't seem to unsubscribe myself from. And I can't recall *any* of them doing anything about it. Ditto on their homepages - I checked.

    The attitude seemed to be "Oh, it won't pass, we won't worry" which leads me to believe that they think it will benefit them.

    I have accounts with Bigpond, Ozemail, Optusnet/Magnadata and quite a few friends on Ihug/Tig. And they all let it slide right past. They didn't even inform their users, or if they did I missed all of it.

    Oh, and if that was you up on the bus down at Darling Harbour, we have no idea what you said. We were in the front 1/2 of the crowd, just on the Monorail side of the center, and the sound system was completly crap.

    Thinking back, of all of the speeches, only Danny Yee's speech in Hyde Park was audible. I came away from that march shaking my head at the low-tech low-impact effect. I mean, cardboard hand-painted hippie signs ? Only the banner was any good - kudos on that. I'm bloody suprised it made it to the news at all.

    Let's not blame the US - It's the lack of activisim here in Australia that has landed us in it. And that apathy exists because little attempt was made to counter it, and that no-one wants to step out and risk being seen as pro-porn in the current political environment.

    [1] Bandwith Speed Slam RE: Ihug
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @07:12PM (#1710925)
    At least there's a hole: you can always lie to your ISP and tell them you're filtering it when you're not. So I suppose it could be worse then it is. But this is still a Very Bad Thing.

    You know, there's a hole in the whole philosophy of this mandatory censorware thing. Consider: essentially censorware is a method of filtering out another's speech. The Australian government (indeed, most governments) have a legal right to do this to their own citizens, immoral censorship is. However, the Net is a global community. Governments have no right to do anything to people not under their jurisdiction. To attempt to do so is, if I'm not mistaken, an act of war.

    In other words, Australia has just declared war on everyone else. I hope someone in their government figures this one out fast (no doubt they don't read Slashdot, seeing as it's too supportive of such "anarchistic" rights as free speech, so they'll never see this post). No doubt the boneheads who made this law up didn't think of it.
  • by Rob from RPI ( 4309 ) <> on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @05:16PM (#1710926) Homepage
    Here is the -exact- wording from the draft code of conduct - available at

    12B.4 The preceding Clause shall have no application in respect of the supply of Internet access services by an ISP to the following classes of users:

    (a) commercial users who already have in place some form of Content filtering or control, whether by means of firewall technology or otherwise, such as is likely to make the use of the measures listed in the Schedule unnecessary or redundant;
    (b) schools, educational or other institutional users similarly protected; or

    (c) any other user who has advised their ISP that he or she already has installed and has operational a Content filtering or other control measure listed in Schedule 1 of this Code.

    Advised. Not 'proved'. Advised.


    Comics: [] - Poing!
  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @07:27PM (#1710927) Journal
    OK, I want an open source filter.

    I'll configure it to filter ...

    • the fund-raising pages of the major Australian political parties.
    • the advertising banner server of the major Australian newspapers.
    • the pages of the supporters of those involved in creating this law.
  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @07:36PM (#1710928) Journal
    I wonder if the proper IPCHAINS and nameserver alterations could meet the requirements in the law? I'd have to wade through that section of the law... and of course I'd configure it so it would block things the blockers would prefer I see. But blocking software it would be.

    Actually, I suppose if I were in Australia I might have to install the cheapest approved filter program. I'd install it by sticking its floppy in a broken floppy drive, taping the law around it, and scrawl "IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: DO NOT REMOVE FLOPPY" on it. Then put it back on the shelf. Or maybe on a mobile.

    I suppose I could just skip the extra hardware and install the filter floppy on a mobile. A web camera would allow checking that the filter was still properly installed.

  • by mnot ( 71203 ) on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @06:46PM (#1710929) Homepage Journal
    The IIA has done something very interesting. The intent of the legislation was to put responsibility for filtering at the ISP level, making life difficult for them and easy for everyone else. This made it especially hard for small ISPs, while relatively easy for Telstra (which the govt owns a stake in, hmmm).

    With this move, the IIA has squarely put the responsibility on the end users, who will either a) ignore it b) get up in arms about the fees, inconvenience, etc.

    It's a brilliant way to put the pressure on the government by keeping it in the minds (and wallets) of the average AU consumer.
  • by cananian ( 73735 ) on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @05:22PM (#1710930) Homepage
    ...and made as much noise as I could.
    Moreover, I provided this [].
  • by EvilBastard ( 77954 ) on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @05:50PM (#1710931) Homepage
    Ah, yes, you are under no obligation to check. Now. But in the long view, its just delayed the inevitable.

    6 months from now, the Telegraph or Today Tonight or A Current Affair will use it to take the next step :

    "Your children can still see porn on the Internet - ISP's purposly bypassing the law in order to keep making profits"

    "ISP's - Supposedly in the front line against smut on the internet, but a government report shows that not one of them enforces it"

    "A child of 14, shown here getting all the naked pictures they want off the internet, simply by clicking on a box here, and using his mothers Visa card to sign up"

    "Boy, 16, dies after building a pipebomb from information on the internet. Mother says 'Why wasn't this blocked under the Colston-Harradine laws like we were told it would be'"

    Which means, the next law will be even tougher.

    And we'll see the mandatory installation of filtering software that has to report it's installed before a download begins. Nothing like making the Users Pay for their own censorship.

    Or Log checking and comparing, with questions asked "Why are you still getting 600 meg of naked pictures when you said here you have filtering software installed ? Please reply to this mail with the serial number & receipt number of the software you have installed or your account will be terminated"

    Oh, yeah. This is great news.

    Does your wonderful draft code of "pornographic content must not be hosted in Australia" address the concept of news and mail servers ? 'Cause I saw nothing about it in there, apart from 13.4

    13.4 When an Internet Content Host is notified by the ABA that it is hosting on a web server or other content database within its control, material which is deemed by the ABA to be Prohibited Content or Potentially Prohibited Content

    (a) the Internet Content Host must promptly remove that Content from the Web Site or database;

    (b) upon doing so, the Internet Content Host must inform the customer that the customer's conduct
    is a breach of the customer's service conditions and, if applicable, an offence under law, and further,that a repeat occurrence will result in the termination of the customer's account;

    (c) in the case of a repeat occurrence of offending conduct by the customer, an Internet Content Host, having informed the customer that his or her conduct is a breach of the customer's service conditions and, if applicable, an offence under law, must terminate that customer's account.

    OK. I'm on a Naked Penguin Pic of the day mailing list. Someone subscribes a wrong address to that mailing list, and a complaint is forwarded to the ABA.

    Based on my reading, and of the original law, and of listening to the senate discussion on the radio, you then have to make sure that that picture is not hosted or mirrored anywhere. Which means you have to then go in and delete it from your mail spool so it isn't hosted in Australia. Which means you have to delete it from anyone else who receives it.

    Which is *worse* then the original law, which purposly bypassed email. And, as I've said before, after you apply this law to Usenet, we can go back to flying in Usenet on a tape spool once a week, because by the time the Howard definition of Pornographic is applied Usenet News Servers in Australia will be 1/1000th of the size they are now.
  • by Rob from RPI ( 4309 ) <> on Wednesday September 01, 1999 @03:58PM (#1710932) Homepage
    And I should point out that the above article is -incorrect-. You do NOT have to guarantee that you're using a filter. You just have to tell us that you are. We're not under any obligation to check.

    The major bad thing with this document is that it requires us to ensure that all our customers are over 18 years old, or have parental approval.

    Personally, I think that this isn't anywhere as bad as it could have been, thanks to the IIA's attempt to soothe this.

    I, personally, am reasonably bitter towards the US in this. Whilst you were having grief with your CDA, people -all around the world- were turning their pages black, and protesting quite vocally. Yet, when our moronic government brought this legislation up, which is -much much- worse than the CDA, you quite happily ignored us. A total of 3 posts to /., and that was about it.

    As far as what the IIA have done, I thank them. They've turned this legislation around, from something that would have totally destroyed the internet in australia, to something we're barely going to notice.


    Comics: [] - Poing!

The absent ones are always at fault.