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Australian Government To Mandate Internet Filters 305

Posted by Zonk
from the just-a-bit-filtery dept.
ratzmilk writes "The Australian government is mandating the creation of 'clean' internet feeds. To be optionally made available to schools and homes that request it, the feed would offer built-in filters of 'pornography and inappropriate content'. Said Senator Controy: 'Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road ... If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.'"
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Australian Government To Mandate Internet Filters

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday December 31, 2007 @05:33AM (#21863772) Homepage Journal
    Stephen Conroy was on the TV talking about this tonight. It looks like they will make a list of sites which "promote violence and distribute child pornography and instruct ISP's to redirect http requests to them.

    There is a lot of handwaving in this. Don't mention torrents or proxies. I would be very surprised if they try to block major porn sites which have a mix of content. Conroy has had his photo opportunity. Probably nothing more to see here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      We have the same kind of kiddie porn filter here in Norway. If you believe the hit numbers they report, there's got to be a lot of it and a lot of sites that are able to operate long after being classified as kiddie porn. I've come to the conclusion that it must be one of three:

      a. You call these 17yos legal, we'll call it kiddie porn
      b. You call these not pornographic, we'll call it kiddie porn
      c. There's a significant part of the web where you can post kiddie porn with impunity

      At any rate, I think it's so tr
      • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:08AM (#21863930) Journal
        I can see the new tourist campaign now.. "Australia. Goatse free since 2008"
      • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Monday December 31, 2007 @07:10AM (#21864156) Homepage Journal

        Though I suppose it migth keep a few people from ending up somewhere they didn't intend to...
        Here in Sweden, it's explicitly to prevent "healthy" people from accidentally seeing kiddie porn, because they (the filterists) believe that pedophilia is contagious; if someone sees kiddie pron, they will become pedophiles. No, I am not making this up.

        This filtering list is supposedly secret, but when it leaked, it contained a lot of non-porn sites, among them one Korean site dedicated to bonsai trees. I suppose the reasoning was that these baby trees were being exploited, or something. Pure madness.

        Also, they were going to add The Pirate Bay to the list, but that plan leaked as well, so they had to back down.
        • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Monday December 31, 2007 @07:43AM (#21864290) Homepage

          Here in Sweden, it's explicitly to prevent "healthy" people from accidentally seeing kiddie porn, because they (the filterists) believe that pedophilia is contagious; if someone sees kiddie pron, they will become pedophiles. No, I am not making this up.

          You should be able to simply ad-hominem them out of the discussion in that case. Get to state their position on TV and simply respond with "So then, what you're saying is that if you saw a picture of a little boy getting it on with a dog you would be sexually aroused?"

          • the problem with these sort of fucktards is they don't respond to logic, they just bend their sponge like brains around it.
            If that line of reasoning worked on these kind of fools we would have shut up all the 'can't be moral without religion' idiots with a simple, 'so the only reason you aren't raping and murdering me right now and stealing my wallet from my corpse is cos your afraid of god punishing you?', but they just ignore logic.
            • we would have shut up all the 'can't be moral without religion' idiots with a simple, 'so the only reason you aren't raping and murdering me right now and stealing my wallet from my corpse is cos your afraid of god punishing you?'

              That tactic actually occasionally works.

              • Well, that will occasionally shut up one of the more mindless ones, it's true, but not because they've accepted your point of view as valid. It's just that they can't figure out how to wrap their minds around the contradiction: eventually they will resolve the conflict by simply ignoring it. The more experienced models will find a comeback along the lines of "only God can instill a moral sense" or some such. The GP is right, you can't win. A closed mind is a truly remarkable thing ... unfortunately it's a c
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet (841228)
            Or you could ask what they are doing about all the police and forensic guys who are now child rapists who were made that way by seeing this kind of garbage in the course of an investigation. I went to school with a guy that does forensic analysis of computers for the state. After I showed him how to run a trace on some ancient hardware he talked to his boss and offered me a job. I had to turn it down because the thought of having to look at the filth every day and then step into court with the scum was more
        • Sorry but ideas have power.

          Be the ideas religious, political, sexual (and the list goes on).

          Many people convert to a religion after they hear of it that would never have done so otherwise.
          Many a country had lots of people die after the populist was exposed to particular ideas.
          Many a marriage had issues once one of the partners was exposed to a particular sexual fantasy and many people acted out and even changed their entire lives to suit fantasies they would never have thought up on their own.

          So it is only
          • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday December 31, 2007 @12:37PM (#21866706)
            So it is only logical that some people will develop a taste for kiddie porn once they see some of it.

            No,it is not "logical". You may have noticed that there are "children" in the REAL WORLD. Anyone likely to be sexually stimulated by looking at pictures of children would already have noticed he was getting a hard on when walking past a kindergarten, or at the beach or swimming pool.

            This kind of thinking is exactly why women are compelled to wear burkahs in fundamentalist Muslim countries.

            And besides, even if some people did "develop a taste for kiddie porn", the evidence that that translates into real world action is thin. Lots of people sit on the subway reading horrific serial killer novels on the way to work. Hardly any go n to become serial killers. However, kiddie porn itself should be illegal, because of the harm done to the participants in the making. But that is a completely separate issue, and filtering is going to make zero impact on that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Maxo-Texas (864189)
              So you either think that
              * "good" ideas can sway people to behavior while "bad" ideas have absolutely no power over people or
              * no ideas have any power-- so why even respond to me since your argument would have no effect on me or others since we are unchangeable in the face of new ideas or arguments.

              Either people are changed by the things they see and learn or they are not. You can't logically hold both positions.

              No some people who always saw children just as children and then saw a picture of them having se
    • by giafly (926567)

      It looks like they will make a list of sites which "promote violence and distribute child pornography and instruct ISP's to redirect http requests to them.

      Presumably: redirect http requests away from them.
      If enforced this violence ban must include Ozzie Rules [wikipedia.org] the hardest game in the world [yahoo.com] so I doubt it will happen.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Monday December 31, 2007 @05:36AM (#21863786)
    "To be optionally made available to schools and homes that request it, the feed would offer built-in filters of 'pornography and inappropriate content'"

    If they really stick to that deal, then maybe there won't be a problem.

    However, if the "control" is optional, why is it called regulation? Last time I checked regulation was not optional. Furthermore, why even start in this first place. People can apply their own filters. It's called free will.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      Because the government feels this is a much needed service to the people it represents, like it does for stores having wheelchair access.
      • by bug1 (96678)
        Is it a service to prevent the provision of services...

        It is definitely not a service to provide people with something they dont want, so providing censorship can only be considered to be providing a service whilst it is optional. It will be interesting to see when/if it ceaces to be optional.

        • by aussie_a (778472)

          It is definitely not a service to provide people with something they dont want
          I don't want wheelchair ramps. Does this mean NO-ONE wants wheelchair ramps?

          It will be interesting to see when/if it ceaces to be optional.
          Probably the day after they make wheelchair ramps mandatory for everyone to have to use.
          • If you want a valid analogue, stores arent forced to make wheelchair access until someone asks them.

            Thats perfectly fine imho.
            If a family wants net filtering because they have kids, great.
            Putting it on the whole country whether you like it or not is exactly like China however.
    • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
      Simply, it's not optional for ISPs to offer this, it is mandatory. Probably they want to eschew any responsibility for the filters and blame ISPs for any breaches.
      • by cammoblammo (774120) <cammoblammo@gma i l . c om> on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:21AM (#21863978)
        That seems to be correct. The news reports I've heard (on the ABC, so probably correct) say that it's optional for subscribers but mandatory for ISPs to implement it. In other words, it's an opt out system.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And whoever opts out obviously must WANT to see kiddie porn. Clever.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cammoblammo (774120)
            Where did we get the idea that this only covers kiddie porn? As far as I can tell from TFA it's going to cover anything 'inappropriate', although the good Senator does use kiddie porn to shut down the freedom of speech angle.
        • by Kjella (173770)

          The news reports I've heard say that it's optional for subscribers but mandatory for ISPs to implement it. In other words, it's an opt out system.
          I haven't read any original source but your conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. Even if it's mandatory for ISPs to offer such filtering the service can be both opt in and opt out.
          • Yeah, sorry. My post used to make more sense, but I redacted it before sending. Anyway, just to show there's no hard feelings here's [abc.net.au] a link to the ABC story.
            • by Tom Davies (64676)
              From the link: "Senator Conroy says anyone wanting uncensored access to the internet will have to opt out of the service."
    • by ultranova (717540)

      "To be optionally made available to schools and homes that request it, the feed would offer built-in filters of 'pornography and inappropriate content'"

      If they really stick to that deal, then maybe there won't be a problem.

      Except that only a pedophile would want to turn off child porn filters. So, if you turn them off, you must be a pedophile and kept under surveillance. It is a perfect excuse for search warrant, phone tap warrant, mail scanning warrant, and whatever others there are.

      And of course, i

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        Except that only a pedophile would want to turn off child porn filters.
        You mean its only going to filter child porn? Well that certainly sounds al... oh wait, its going to filter other stuff as well? It looks like you can't equate someone with turning off the filter as someone who watches child porn. If it was just child pornography, I'm sure the filter wouldn't be optional (and as such should also fail).
  • by aussie_a (778472) on Monday December 31, 2007 @05:38AM (#21863792) Journal
    Schools already employ filters so either people should be outraged over that (I've yet to hear anyone outraged) or they shouldn't care. While ever its optional for home users, who cares? What next, angry at laws that require cars have a certain level of safety before they're allowed on the road in case the government goes one step further and says no car is safe on the road?
    • For a laugh I should request filters for installation on NetBSD 4.0
      • by aussie_a (778472)
        By the sounds of it the ISP will be implementing the filter, which means you don't need to download or install anything.
        • By the sounds of it the ISP will be implementing the filter, which means you don't need to download or install anything.

          Yeah maybe. The only filter they have at the present is the client side one. ISP level filters are trivial to get around unless you do massive port blocking, while filters at the level of (for example) a school internet gateway can afford to be much tighter.

          The bottom line is that we don't really know what they want to do and I personally doubt Stephen Conroy does either.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011)
      The difference is that a government mandating THAT you need to have a filter is dangerously close to mandating WHAT needs to be filtered.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aussie_a (778472)
        They're mandating that ISPs PROVIDE filters for those that want them. Those that don't, can have unfiltered access. Again, like with mandating cars need to have a certain level of safety. That's just as close as saying no car is ever safe enough.
        • by sqrt(2) (786011)
          You can't compare real world problems with internet problems. Even at its worst, the internet can't kill and your actions online can't hurt other people. A dangerous car is a hazard to the driver as well as all other drivers that are sharing the roads. Lax restrictions work online because there are very little real world consequences that you can't control in other ways that aren't potentially harmful to free speech. It's the job of the owner of the computer to decide how and what to filter if there even ne
          • by aussie_a (778472)

            You can't compare real world problems with internet problems. Even at its worst, the internet can't kill and your actions online can't hurt other people.

            I wasn't doing that. I was taking one example of the government doing something, and then saying at its extreme its a bad thing (luckily they haven't taken it to its extreme). Then saying that just because they're doing this other reasonable thing (mandating ISPs provide optional filters), doesn't mean they're going to take this (the filters) to its extreme.

            It's the job of the owner of the computer to decide how and what to filter if there even needs to be any filtering at all.

            Which job they'll still have.

          • by bug1 (96678)
            "... that aren't potentially harmful to free speech"

            If your Australian you dont have a right to free speech (unlike most counties), so any potential harm is not legally relevant.
        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          They're mandating that ISPs PROVIDE filters for those that want them.
          Alternatively, if you read on a bit, then you discover that the filtering may be on by default, and anyone not wanting it has to opt out, doubtless by clicking the "Yes, I am a paedophile" button.
          • by aussie_a (778472)
            It would only be such a button if all it did filter was child porn. If that's all it filtered and it was opt-out then I'd be up in arms about it as well. However it isn't either of these things, its a filter for things including legal pornography and so therefore opting out is not an admission of guilt for intent to break the law.
    • by Nossie (753694)
      I'd mod you to hell if I hadn't already posted :P ... well actually I wouldnt because just because I dont believe what you say doesnt make it a valid argument BUT...

      What happens when they come for you? they aren't? how long before they do?

      Or is your definition of pain that of the UK queen having a great big TAX on beers locally brewed or otherwise up your arse so far every time you take a dump you brick a impression of the good queen Elizabeth?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aussie_a (778472)
        Its frightening that people like you not only have mod points, but can also vote! Regardless, I'll try to respond to your incoherent ramblings.

        What happens when they come for you? they aren't? how long before they do?
        They aren't going to arrest anyone. At all. They're not going for anyone. They're simply mandating that ISPs provide a service for the people the government represents.
        • by Nossie (753694)
          Well I don't really care either way... so regardless of what *I* think I'll try my vewy hardest to respownd to you at a lewvel you might or might knot understand.

          Look, I'm totally with you on this one. It's ALL voluntary, you opt in, you opt out... etc etc et fvcking cetera.

          I'm not arguing against that AT ALL.

          I'm asking you WHAT IF a power above which you already have got into government within the next 10 - 15 years and takes advantage of your own security ... it's all for your own good, sure... thats exac
          • by aussie_a (778472)

            I'm asking you WHAT IF a power above which you already have got into government within the next 10 - 15 years and takes advantage of your own security ...

            What if a power got into the government within the next 10 - 15 years and declared martial law and used the military to turn Australia into a police state!? We should get rid of the army, navy and air force! Oh and the police as well. Surely that will keep us safe!

            If we get a bad government into power, then the last thing that will be on anyone's mind is whether or not they can download porn.

            • by Nossie (753694)
              "If we get a bad government into power, then the last thing that will be on anyone's mind is whether or not they can download porn."

              You are right, and THAT is exactly the point... what is digital porn other than simply 1s and 0s?
          • To be honest, I gave up half way through your rant, but it might interest you to know that voting is compulsory for everyone >18 in Australia, with a very few exceptions. The November election had a turnout of over 96% of the electorate.
            • by Nossie (753694)
              I'm kinda glad you gave up... that half proves my point. I actually once thought voting should be mandatory... then I realised that once long ago when it was, people that didnt want to vote either invalidated their papers in spite - or - voted for the first person on the list.

              So with the above information in mind... what is the point making a vote mandatory if people that are that way inclined will actively work to fvck it up?
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by cammoblammo (774120)

                Well, according to the AEC [aec.gov.au] 3.95% of the votes were informal. Moreover, in recent years the donkey vote (voting 1-whatever down the list of candidates) seems to have been less than 1%. [abc.net.au] Of course, one must also take into account that some people actually want to vote in the order the candidates are listed on the paper.

                So it would appear that the total number of voters turning up and voting properly might be around the 94% mark.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bug1 (96678)
          "They're simply mandating that ISPs provide a service for the people the government represents."

          If there is consumer demand for ISP level censorship, then capitalism dictates that ISP's would offer such services (either that or there isnt sufficient competition to encourage ISP's to change).
          • by aussie_a (778472)
            If there is consumer demand for wheelchair ramps at stores then capitalism dictates that stores would offer such services (either that or there isnt sufficient competition to encourage ISP's to change).

            Guess what, capitalism doesn't solve everything. That's why America's health care system is so appalling to the rest of the civilized world.
  • slow boiled frog (Score:2, Informative)

    by edittard (805475)

    'Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road ... If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.'

    But it is going down that road. While (I hope) only the most of extreme libertarians would agree that you should be able to watch kiddie porn, it's still a step down that road, and one step leads to another.

    It should be clearly stated what is and what isn't to be cen

    • by jamesh (87723)

      But it is going down that road. While (I hope) only the most of extreme libertarians would agree that you should be able to watch kiddie porn, it's still a step down that road, and one step leads to another.

      I disagree with what you have said. What you are saying would only be true if they were requiring that the filter was opt-out or mandatory. Having opt-in filtering available is not a step towards opt-out or mandatory filtering any more than having "Lady Goodygood's Content Filter" available on the shelf

      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:31AM (#21864024) Homepage Journal

        Someone will find a way around it, then everyone will have a way around it, and then your are back where you started except that you've spent millions of dollars which would have been better spent hunting down the people who hurt the kids in the first place.

        If you are a Labour party senator you have bought valuable votes to tuck away for the next election, and got your face on the evening news. That is well worth the millions of dollars.

        And if you want to bypass a filter, a 13 year old is definitely the person to see about it.

    • by SacredByte (1122105) on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:35AM (#21864046)
      The main problem with this legislation is that it is based on a slippery slope fallicy; The fact that you can tell the difference between group sex among consenting adult and forced sex between adults and children means that you can tell the top of the slope from the bottom.

      The issue with 'child pornography' is whether you define the veiwing/possesion/dissemination of it to be a lesser/equal offense to creating it. Clearly, the act of creating it is counter to our current collective sociatial morality, but the problem with our current laws is that they equate possesion/dissemination with creation. The problem here, is that the laws are written so broadly, that they can be used against minors as in this case http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2004-03-29-child-self-porn_x.htm where the minor charged with possesion and dissemination of 'child pornography' (along with child abuse) was the minor depicted in the aforementioned pornography.

      Add to this the problem of the label 'sex offender,' and you have a recipie for disaster. The biggest problem with the label 'sex offender' is that it is so broad, encompasing everything from raping and murdering an adult, to molesting (a) child(ren), to public urination. Add to this that politicians make laws abridging the freedoms of these so called 'sex offenders' all whilst waving the 'protect the children' banner. The best example of this are laws requiring 'sex offenders' from handing out candy on Halloween. The issue here is that the 'sex offender' label does not differentiate between granny-rapists and child-rapists, thus unnecessarally abridging the freedoms of those who have never sexually exploited children.

      I have little problem with laws that punish certian offenders equally and equitibly, but I feel that current laws restricting 'sex offenders' are so broad, that they associate such completely different crimes (public urination has as much to do with intercourse as my use of a car to get to a bank has with a bank robber's use of a car for his getaway) with one another thus causing it to fall into the realm of "cruel and unusual punishment" as people automatically assume that 'sex offenders' have sexually exploited another human (usually a minor) resulting in those so labled having difficulty living 'normal' lives.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2004-03-29-child-self-porn_x.htm where the minor charged with possesion and dissemination of 'child pornography' (along with child abuse) was the minor depicted in the aforementioned pornography.
        Clearly these laws are harming the children. Won't anyone think of the children?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by rjames13 (1178191)

        The issue with 'child pornography' is whether you define the veiwing/possesion/dissemination of it to be a lesser/equal offense to creating it. Clearly, the act of creating it is counter to our current collective sociatial morality, but the problem with our current laws is that they equate possesion/dissemination with creation. The problem here, is that the laws are written so broadly, that they can be used against minors as in this case http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2004-03-29-child-self-porn_x.htm [usatoday.com] where the minor charged with possesion and dissemination of 'child pornography' (along with child abuse) was the minor depicted in the aforementioned pornography.

        The problem with most Americans posting to slashdot is they don't realise that what is legal in their country may not be in another. Please if you are going to discuss this don't link to USA today. This is about Australia we are a different country, I know that is a hard concept to grasp but please try.

  • by bcdm (1031268) <bcdm999&yahoo,ca> on Monday December 31, 2007 @05:45AM (#21863826)
    "If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree."


    Right, because looking at ANY "inappropriate" material (and who decides what "inappropriate" is, anyway?) is the EXACT same as looking at child porn. No difference whatsoever.

    Granted, you can opt out of this service, so I'm not 100% incensed that such a thing is being called for (but I'd be much happier if it were opt-in instead of opt-out). However, I am very pissed that people can make statements like the above and not get laughed out of office. When did false equivalency become acceptable? It makes my head asplode sometimes.

    • by poptones (653660) on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:00AM (#21863886) Journal
      How is it false? If your neighbor jacking off in his basement to pictures of 8 year olds really harms you, then so does him jacking off to pictures of women sucking off donkeys, right? But how is that not like him taking pleasure in shooting cops, or watching videos of people shooting cops? What about talking to people about how he likes jacking off to pics of 8 year olds? Or talking to people about how he likes shooting cops on the tv? Doesnt that just reinforce the behavior?

      How you folks continue to justify one step down the slippery slope is beyond me. How about the idea "stay the fuck out of my home and I'll stay the fuck out of yours?"
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jamesh (87723)

        How is it false? If your neighbor jacking off in his basement to pictures of 8 year olds really harms you, then so does him jacking off to pictures of women sucking off donkeys, right?

        I don't think he said it harms 'him'. (forgive me GP if I have your gender wrong). Just because something doesn't harm you directly doesn't mean you should let it happen.

        As for your question about where to draw the line on your 'slippery slope', it's fairly simple to figure out... was a person or animal harmed during the creat

        • by poptones (653660)
          Whether or not someone was harmed in the creation of an image has nothing at all to do with whether or not it harms anyone else to view the image. If that's your argument then we need to ban all forms of journalistic photography and prosecute the producers of every show from Oprah to COPS to Jerry Springer.

          And what do you consider sexual abuse? How about parents hanging about their kids bedrooms, planting spy cameras in their private spaces and generally teaching them that sex is unnatural unless it involve
          • by jamesh (87723)

            Whether or not someone was harmed in the creation of an image has nothing at all to do with whether or not it harms anyone else to view the image.

            Maybe, but it has everything to do with if they should be allowed to obtain and view the image.

            If that's your argument then we need to ban all forms of journalistic photography and prosecute the producers of every show from Oprah to COPS to Jerry Springer.

            If any of these examples harm people, they do so to people who are able to defend themselves in some way.

            I'm n

          • Whether or not someone was harmed in the creation of an image has nothing at all to do with whether or not it harms anyone else to view the image. If that's your argument then we need to ban all forms of journalistic photography and prosecute the producers of every show from Oprah to COPS to Jerry Springer.

            You realise you've just completely shot yourself in the foot here, don't you? Those three shows are some of the best arguments against free speech I've ever heard.

          • by jcgf (688310)

            Maybe we should just take the kids away from all adults until they turn 18 and let them raise themselves in colonies or something

            So.....you never read Lord of the Flies?

  • Whitelisting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical&gmail,com> on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:08AM (#21863932) Homepage
    This is a good place to employ a whitelist. Allow a very limited number of sites. Everything else is blocked. Blocked sites can be unblocked on request.

    Of course, the first blocks should go on lines servicing Government agencies. After all, they shouldn't be surfing pr0n at work.

    I figure a week of virtually no internet would turn the heads of the lawmakers.
  • What was that Kevin? Our fearless leader speaks. [youtube.com]

    At least I didn't mention ear wax.

  • The Pervert Bit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DavidD_CA (750156) on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:41AM (#21864066) Homepage
    At first I was going to write a post saying how this is a pretty decent solution and they're offering an opt-out option, but after thinking about it more:

    Why does the government have to require this? If the consumer demand is for filtered access, there are tools already in place to help parents "protect" their children. Many of them are free. If the demand were high enough, an ISP could also offer their own filtered service (it would probably not cost them any extra since those users are less likely to use lots of bandwidth).

    This will suck for people who want to access filtered material. They'll either have to call the ISP or register somehow, possibly in writing, which goes in the face of privacy.

    The ISP will have a database of users with the "pervert" bit and who knows what might happen with that. Will that data be confidential? Or can the ISP sell the list to its "marketing partners" and send users direct mail offers for porn?

    If subpoenaed, can that data be brought up in court? "Your honor, the only evidence we have that this man committed the crime is that he is - pause for effect - an unfiltered user. And you know what that means."

    The filtering service needs to be opt-in, not required of the ISPs, and controlled via the market.
  • Some problems with this scheme:
    - who is going to determine what is acceptable and what isn't
    - those not listed will probably sue
    - if a site is not compliant and becomes compliant again, when will it be included?
    - sites that allow content upload by users could be in trouble
    - content scanning does not work, there are too many false negatives, and more importantly, way too many false positives
    - how will opting in/out work, who is going to do the registration?
    - ooh, the poor ISP infrastructure. Just saving DNS
    • by owlstead (636356)
      "In other words, this is semi-religious conservative populist BS from someone that does not understand a thing about the internet."

      Which, I admit, is very strange coming from a labour minister for broadband communications. Please remove the semi-religious then, since this is NZ, we can leave the rest I suppose.
    • A long long time ago when computer terminals were a novel idea I heard a story of a science museum where they set up a dumb terminal which people could type things on, just for fun. Of course they got schoolboys in who typed rude words on the terminal so they wrote a bit of software (must have been hooked up to a minicomputer or some such) to check typed words against a banned list.

      Of course, there had to be a way of printing out the list of banned words...

      So I wonder if the government will be publishing a
    • Anyway, the guy clearly shows that he's talking bullshit. I mean, how can a structure that allows opt-out work against child porn? This is a scheme to disallow children to watch porn, it won't do anything against child porn. In other words, this is semi-religious conservative populist BS from someone that does not understand a thing about the internet.

      The kiddie porn thing was only thrown in as a red herring to counter accusations of government interference in issues of freedom of speech. This scheme is (ostensibly) intended to prevent children from accessing inappropriate material. The filter can be turned off from your account. However, people who do so leave themselves open to suspicion and labelling with the sort of labels that stick for a very long time.

      I am thinking about writing to my brand new MP about this, and your summary looks like it may

  • If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.
    Then I'm sure they will censor only the child pornography. ;-)
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LubosD (909058)
    Can anybody tell me why should the pornography be considered harmful for children? Are there any studies that prove it?

    As a child I've seen porno many times and I wouldn't say it affected me in any way... It just makes you wonder about things you haven't been thinking about before and you're not about to fully comprehend for a while. But I think that's pretty much one of the points of the childhood.

    Now excuse me, because I gotta go to the park attack random women (just kidding :-)).

  • So what's next? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Supernicko79 (1187217)
    So if I choose to opt-out of these filters, it will be noted as such? If so, there will be lists of Internet users who are opted out and looking at 'dirty' content. Could we this see this group of people targeted by enforcement agencies? I'm weary of anything where government gets more information and/or control over my life where I'm not breaking the law.
  • There are countless other ways to obtain inappropriate material (p2p, torrent, etc). How are they going to stop that?
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:03AM (#21865036)
    While I don't condone the intentions of the Australian government, I'm sick of the overused "censorship" tag on slashdot. The term "optional" and phrase "for those who request it" mean people have a choice. True censorship leaves no choice.
  • by pjr.cc (760528) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:13AM (#21865692)
    And yet again, the Australian government proves how much they never understood the internet or technology in the first place.

    Sadly, conroy is the next in a series of ministers in charge of "technology" who just dont get it - they are sadly idiots. Dont get me wrong, i dont have much respect for politicians in the first place. But theres a level of stupidity you always assume when it comes to sections of government and the people that oversee them. And when it comes to tech and comms, the ministers in charge have fallen so far below par (compared to the rest of the rabble) that its really quite sad.

    Perhaps to be fair i should "lack of knowledge" rather than "level of stupidity", but conroy is just a moron im surprised he's not blue in most photo's because he's forgotten to breath again. The prior governments plan was more intelligent, and thats a sad state of affairs in itself.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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