14 October 2008

The Great Wall of Australia

I used to work in the the ISP industry in Australia sometime in 2000, the Government of the time was always throwing around the idea of censoring the Internet.

The main culprit was Sen Richard Alston beloved by the Register as the World Biggest Luddite, now we see this ridiculas idea being carried by Sen Stephen Conroy , who just might be the Worlds Second biggest Luddite.

It was generally agreed in the ISP world that this was impossible/impractical, and just a way to get votes. But the government has been beavering away in it's fevered desire to shield us sensitive Australians from the sad debauchery that prevails on the Internet.

The government has a Netalert program that is designed to keep children safe on line, this of course is a worthy idea, but typically doesn't really account for much. The UK has a simalare site called Stay Safe on Line. I suspect many of the UK internet users have ever heard of it.

So far only one person has come out to save us, and produced the wonderful Netalarm it's designed to help those poor adults who are just to stupid to think for themselves, oh hang on, this might just be a parody site. It will get blocked soon, you can count on that.

There are a few issues that need to be looked at

Someone else is going to decide what I can look at on the Internet...seemingly I have to abide by their moral standards. This is the same as someone deciding what TV I can watch, or what Videos I can rent.

Does this mean I will all ways have Safe Search turned on in Google? Possibly since google can find P0rn it will be blocked totally.

One of my favorite site is Boingboing.net, it is blocked by many censorware programs as it links to ways to bypass these Censoring programs. So I can say goodbye to BoingBoing.

Age of Conan has bare breasted woman characters, so we can say goodbye to Chimmera. (Actually it seems a wardrobe revolution has taken place in the last few months)

SL, that's a major den of sin and depravity, well I guess the Gov had better block that as well. It has it's one embeded browser, so that will not be blocked.

Does filtering work?

Not if your a reasonably intelligent child, it only took Tom Wood about 30 minutes to break the government recommended filter (GO TOM!!). Not only did he bypass the blocks, but it still looked like it was working as the tool bar icon was still there.

So lets see what else can we use to view material that might be deemed unsuitable by those Australians who feel the need not to be coddled by the government:-

We have overseas proxy servers

The Tor network

Webpages by email

SL users have a web browser built in the client, oh of course, it's probably going to be blocked.

So what can we do? Probably not much as it's almost certain not to work, and will be another waste of taxpayers money. The govenment wil no dought call it a truimph, and says it protects familys.

I have some questions
What happens if the servers doing the filtering fail?
Will the interent just completly stop?
Where will the servers be located?
How do I get a site rechecked to get unblocked?
Is the list of blocked sites and material going to be public? If not, why not?

There is a petition than can be signed, but then again, since when have politicians ever regarded them? I guess that site will be blocked as well.

We used to say that Australia has a "cultural cringe" but..well that was a long time ago , and now we Australians are well over that. I have a slight problem with that belief. It looks to me that it's still there and actually increasing.

You only have to look in the newspaper about the supposed outrage over the latest works by Bill Hensen, a world renowned photographer. Our brilliant new PM called them "revolting", but I'm glad to say that some people have spoken out for common sense . In the past he has done nude of teenagers and there has not been a problem, so what has changed?

Sometimes I'm ashamed to be an Australian.

Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart

1 comment:

Veronique Lalonde said...

This is under a Labor government? And it's not even vote grubbing time.

The last thing any western country should be doing is emulating China.