Stop Internet Censorship in Australia

October 26, 2008 by
Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics, IT News 

The Australian Labor Party Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has put together a plan to censor all Internet traffic in Australia with the stated intention of protecting children from pornography and blocking “illegal material”.

It is my opinion that this plan is completely unnecessary and serves merely as a distraction from the real issues affecting our country at this point in time. It is also a huge waste of money, with $44 million being budgeted in this financial year alone, with more to be spent in the following years.

The are a number of readily available options available today to concerned parents. These include PC software packages, routers with in-built filtering, and Internet Service Providers who offer optional filtering services on a per-account basis.

Australians will not be able to opt out of this scheme – we will only be able to choose between a ‘child-friendly’ setting or an ‘illegal content’ setting. What is illegal or child friendly will of course be determined by the government. It has not been discussed how one would get an incorrectly blocked site removed from the list.

The adoption of Conroy’s plan will result in web browsing being slowed considerably due to the overhead of filtering.

Filtering technology is known to be highly ineffective. A recent Tasmanian trial showed that a significant number of innocent pages were falsely blocked, and similarly, a significant number of ‘child unsafe’ pages (1 in 13 clicks) got through.

Apart from the inaccuracy of the filtering, its overall impact is highly limited – it appears that the filter will only be applied to HTTP (web) traffic. P2P networks such as BitTorrent will not be filtered. Even the HTTP filtering can be easily bypassed using any number of off-shore anonymous proxy servers and VPN gateway.

If you don’t want Internet censorship forced upon you, contact your local Federal MP and let them know. If you don’t know who that is, this site should help:

http://apps.aec.gov.au/esearch
 
And if you want to complain to Senator Conroy, here is his contact page:

http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/senators.asp?id=3L6
 
The following sites are leading the campaign to oppose the filtering scheme and have detailed information:
 
http://nocleanfeed.com/
http://www.somebodythinkofthechildren.com/

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