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The Internet Privacy Your Rights Online

Australian ISPs Soon To Become Copyright Cops 183

srjh writes "In the Australian Federal Government's latest assault on the internet, draft legislation has been released that allows network operators to intercept communications to ensure that their networks are being 'appropriately used.' Such legislation is particularly important given the interference of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in a recent copyright lawsuit against iiNet, one of the largest ISPs in the country. Conroy called prominent filtering opponent iiNet's inaction over copyright infringement 'stunning,' whereas iiNet claimed that it would be illegal under current Australian law to intercept its users' downloads. While this latest legislation appears to be a concession of that point, the government is said to be watching the case closely and along with attempts to introduce a three-strikes law in Australia, it appears the law will be changed if the government dislikes the outcome of the case. The internet villain of the year just continues to earn his title."
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Australian ISPs Soon To Become Copyright Cops

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  • Stephen Conroy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:18AM (#29062429)

    Is an incompetent, idiotic, totalitarian, vindictive, morally bankrupt cunt.

    Same with Rudd. You can assume this assault on the internet is coming from the top.

    • Re:Stephen Conroy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:28AM (#29062471)
      From watching him in various public speeches, I begin to suspect that this Pommie [wikipedia.org] wanna-be Aussie Senator Conroy [wikipedia.org] actually believes he is doing the right thing and genuinely believes he is fighting for the good of the children, and that's all mate. Ignorant, naive, incompetent, complacent or actively plotting (take your pick - nobody knows but him) that the tools he is pushing for will become powerful weapons of political and corporate-profit maintaining control later on down that long track. "I would use this ring from a desire to do good... But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine"... If only Senator Conroy could be so wise.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by vintagepc ( 1388833 )
        Obligatory George Orwell...

        All power corrupts... absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        If any other parties will introduce the same policies, it sounds like it might be time for a public uprising... VIVE LA REVOLUTION!

    • Re:Stephen Conroy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gwala ( 309968 ) <(adam) (at) (gwala.net)> on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:01AM (#29062609) Homepage

      It's pandering to the Australian Christian Lobby, who are a bunch of self-important wankers and have far too much power for a country where 28% of the population puts down 'atheist/agnostic/no-religion/blank' on the census.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Actually you can assume most of it it is coming from Senator Fielding, an odd character from the "More Cash for Jesus and bugger the poor because God hates them" side of things. The government needs his vote and you can expect to see all kinds of weird censorship legislation talked about but not actually tabled until the next election. Some of the pressure groups that were previously pushing for the IMHO stupid filtering idea have woken up to the idea that it would be far better appointing the 36th polic
  • HTTPS by Default (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copiedright ( 1357445 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:19AM (#29062441) Homepage
    What stops more servers using HTTPS to get around this? All Internet communication should even have basic encryption.
  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:28AM (#29062469)
    This will never happen.

    With the Emissions Trading Scheme, being voted down yesterday the Rudd government could be on it's way to an early election. The Rudd government has not got a majority, relying preferences from the Greens to secure a parliament majority. The Greens are opposed to both the Internet Filter and the Three Strikes law. Rudd and Labour will do an about face as soon as it looks like they are losing the support of the Greens.

    This is just more scare mongering reporting in preparation for the upcoming iinet/AFACT (MPIAA in disguise).
    • by srjh ( 1316705 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:37AM (#29062509)

      That's assuming they don't have the support of the Liberals - the traditional social conservatives in Australia. They've known all along that the Greens aren't on board, so it's the Liberals they're relying on to back the government.

      Labor is much stricter on crossing the floor than the Liberals and the threat of an early election might push them into avoiding any double-dissolution triggers.

      And if an early election is held? Labor likely takes the Senate and pushes through the changes anyway.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        That's assuming they don't have the support of the Liberals

        The Libs wont support this on the principal that they don't support the Labour govt. It sucks just how polarised the Australian government has gotten. I think that it is an incredibly good thing that no party got a majority in the last election, we would have been screwed by ether side for sure.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:25AM (#29062725) Homepage

        As always the opposition party is the opposition. The will always side with the general public to gain votes, gain seats and gain a higher pay packet. What voting for the Greens well and truly demonstrates is the real power of the ballot box in Australia and the ability of Australian politics to resist corporate pressure at this stage not enough but it is growing.

        Three strikes, is dead in Australia, filtering is dying, ISP spying is a no show, all that is happening is the Australian government is being pressured by the US government and the not so free trade agreement, which is basically being used as political blackmail.

        It looks very likely that the greens will gain a lot of public support because the right wing abused their power not so long back and the left wing just ain't left enough. Right and left is really starting to look like minority rich (plus gullible poor) versus everybody else (middle class the survivors and working class with a brain). The internet is driving power and control back to the people and there seems to be a real fight on around seizing back that power by corporations and mass media, that had it for 30 years and they really do not want to let go.

      • by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:54AM (#29062855)

        Double dissolution elections have *never* been kind to Australian governments who force them.

        It starts to smell a little to much like brute force when a sitting government dissolves the whole parliament and calls an election simply because they don't want to accept the will of the Senate.

        Australians place a lot of trust and faith in the Senate and where they see the Lower House as nothing more than slimy untrustworthy politicians they view the Senate as a much higher and esteemed authority - and the senators as trustworthy "protectors" of Australian democracy (more or less).

        So when a government goes against the Senate it'd better be damned sure of itself...

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        And some American now think: Labour, Liberal, Green. And they can not take a decision. See that more then two parties doesn't work.
        I live in a country with multiple states, languages and it DOES work, although a bit more complicated. To me it shows that it DOES work as politics should never be black or white, but instead it should be a lot of grey.

    • by thelamecamel ( 561865 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:38AM (#29062515)

      The libs and greens are voting against the filter, so yes the dentist-filter plan is dead in the water. But I wouldn't be surprised if the libs supported this copyright bill, which would be more than enough to get it through.

      I never thought I'd say this, but I think I preferred Richard Alston, who had the international reputation of "Worlds Biggest Luddite", as IT minister. At least he was too incompetent to do much damage.

      • Unfortunately I have to agree.
        Who would have thought we would look back and wish we had a minister that knew nothing about his port folio and slowed down progress in the industry.

    • Please lets vote Turnbull in, enough is enough (already)
      • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:49AM (#29062567)

        Please lets vote Turnbull in, enough is enough (already)

        If a Double Dissolution happens Turnbull (or another Lib, I doubt Turnbull could run) that might just happen, so long as no-one utters the words "work choices" they should get in.

        It's bad that we have to choose between two parties, one who wants to be a dictator over my home life and one who wants to be a dictator over my work life.

  • What's stunning.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by anomaly256 ( 1243020 )
    is that Conroy is still in office. I'm fairly certain this guy is on crack.
    • Re:What's stunning.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:16AM (#29062695)

      Whatever he is he's a goddamned hypocrite.

      His home state of Victoria of which he is an elected government representative has a law banning "altruistic surrogacy" - that is - having another woman carrying a fertilised egg to term then handing the baby over when it's born.

      Disregarding any moral argument on the matter, it's criminally illegal in Senator Conroys home state. So what do he and his wife do? "Route around" the law by skipping over the border to New South Wales to have it organised WHILE STILL REPRESENTING VICTORIA IN PARLIAMENT.

      So the Victorian minister Stephen Conroy doesn't think he should be subject to the laws of Victoria when he doesn't feel like it (notice he kept his seat in parliament and still lives in Victoria) and the hypocrite thinks he has the moral authority to make judgments to form controversial legislation affecting thousands?!

      Convenient isn't it.

      The more I learn about these Labour goons the less I like them.

      Stupid law in Victoria in my opinion but, so is every law Conroy pushes regarding the Internet I wonder if he'll be understanding to anybody who ignores the federal laws that they don't like.

      • He is a hippocrit, but he was pushing the laws he thinks he was voted to push for. Personally I hope Rudd is just using him as a pawn tp push through certain legislation but will not actually be honoring the filter promis he made to Conroy. I really don't want libs in power again so soon.

        • while yes they did announce it leading up to the election they did leave it to a day or two before the election which is kind of sneaky.

      • by jamei ( 1387007 )

        Firstly, Conroy is a Senator at the *Federal* level. This law was a *State* laws, meaning Conroy would not directly be able to introduce legislation to change these laws.

        Secondly, crossing the state border to get around state laws is not hypocritical unless he actually supported those same laws. Nor is it Illegal.

        But most importantly, despite being a Federal Senator, Conroy prompted a review of surrogacy laws [theage.com.au] which led to those laws being changed for the better [news.com.au].

        So while Conroy may be a fool (Internet filte

  • Across the Sea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:32AM (#29062483) Homepage

    Meanwhile, across the sea in the United States, the 'Land of the Free,' various employees of various music/movie/video game agencies are taking notes. They're following this with a keen eye. If it works in Australia, why can't it work here?

    Pretty soon, files such as Bellsouth Sucks.txt and Comcast Blows.rtf will be blocked in the US due to 'copyright infringement.'

  • Mesh network (poll) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:40AM (#29062529)

    Straw poll:

    If an Australian engineer was to design a box that could you could buy/build to set up a nationwide mesh network (thereby eliminating ISPs and telco infrastructure from the loop), would you buy or build it?

    What would be your preference?

    a) An open source design that you build yourself.

    b) An assembled and testbed box (for a price of course).

    How much would you be prepared to pay for such a box (assembled and tested, ready to used)?

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Straw poll: If an Australian engineer was to design a box that could you could buy/build to set up a nationwide mesh network (thereby eliminating ISPs and telco infrastructure from the loop), would you buy or build it?

      What would be your preference?

      a) An open source design that you build yourself.

      b) An assembled and testbed box (for a price of course).

      A, of course, if its an open source design then multiple 3rd party companies can build them, test them and improve the design in order to compete w

    • by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:02AM (#29062889)

      Being australian, and being part of the (very muchly mostly useless) mesh network project in AU, here's my thoughts:

      #1- Australian landscape (mountains, bush, vast distances) isn't compatible with mesh networks.
      #2 - You need to get the connection to the internet at some stage.

    • I think if you did a good job of (a) you would inevitably get (b).

    • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @05:17AM (#29063169)

      And how do you propose to link this mesh network to other networks? Its not like you can just plug into the Southern Cross Cable or Australia-Japan Cable to get connectivity to the outside world. Nor can you just plug into fiber links between all the different isolated towns and cities that would be part of this network (and even if it was possible to string up enough wireless boxes to go from Sydney to Melbourne, the latency would be so big as to render it unusable).

    • There are a few groups such as http://www.air-stream.org.au/ [air-stream.org.au] this is a community network in Adelaide.
      It is legal to setup a wide area network but if you charge for it you are classified as an isp and are hevily regulated.

  • This Labor Australian government has been stunningly disappointing, and everyone I know thinks the same. There was a hope that Labor would bring a bit more enlightenment to a government that was previously seemed to be out of touch, but they have been infinitely worse. Who would have thought we would pine for the good old days?

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      This Labor Australian government has been stunningly disappointing, and everyone I know thinks the same. There was a hope that Labor would bring a bit more enlightenment to a government that was previously seemed to be out of touch, but they have been infinitely worse. Who would have thought we would pine for the good old days?

      I'd be happy if we could get a polly who could skull a yardie, they don't have to be a record breaker like Hawke. Now days we cant find a blue arsed fly who can finish a middy, let

  • by grrrl ( 110084 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:22AM (#29062717)

    I just don't understand where this government's sentiment comes from!! I live in a country that is full of people who are easy going, enjoy life, and who are generally quite non-idealistic - we do not tend to have the passion for politics and causes and pep-talks that seems to drive a lot of US-centric life. And yet the government takes these crazy stands that are SO against the Australian way of living!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by martinX ( 672498 )
      Ditto. It's not as if anyone has asked for ISP-level internet filtering, and we haven't even had some huge scandal (real or manufactured) creating outrage (real or manufactured) resulting in the masses demanding protection from teh ebil interwebs. I just don't understand where this is coming from. If I was a conspiracy nut (I'm not, honest...) it's as if The Master Puppeteers have realised that an idea like this from the Libs would be shot down by people objecting to moralising conservatives intruding in o
      • if it where a conspiracy they would have started by trying to introduce a law to mandate filtering technology to block something everyone would object to, lets say for example child pornography.
        then we would need some sort of legal precedent to extend the reach of the laws to not just filter things that should never exist but that which it makes commercial sense to block.
        then it would be easy to point and say, hey we have a real problem, lets introduce a law to fix it.

        If it where a real conspiracy this woul

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cecom ( 698048 )

      That is precisely what may be causing your problem. Easy going people who do not have passion for politics or ideals essentially leave the government do whatever it wants to...

  • And encouraging the Australians every step of the way. (NZ is trying to expand its IT economy, this kind of application of projectile to pedal extremity is just the kind of thing they need.)
  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:43AM (#29062823)

    If successful, then it's the UK, then the US, then the rest of the world.

    By the way, if governments cared about other things as much as they care about copyright infringement, things would be so much better...

  • I can't help but notice one thing. If the same happened with Iran, N. Korea, China or any other political enemies of US, the media would be promoting more hatred towards those countries... would have tagged "tyranny" or "dictatorship", would have edited wikipedia pages about those countries to display false facts, would have created stories about "hackers" from those countries "stealing sensitive information from internet" (as if sensitive information is put on internet. oh wait! i'm sorry, i forgot. creati
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @05:30AM (#29063225)

    I guarantee you that the Liberals (under Howard, Turnbul or anyone else who has a snowballs chance of being Liberal leader) would have supported this kind of "ISP as copyright cop" legislation had they won government instead of Rudd.

    The big push for this stuff is comming from the commercial TV networks (7, 9 and 10), the Pay TV operators (i.e. Foxtel and all the various owners of the various channels) and the movie studios. All of these parties have been arguing that without some kind of "ISP as copyright cop" enforcement to stop piracy (why the same copyright legislation and court system that has served this nation for over 100 years is not suitable for this I fail to see), it will become more and more un-viable to continue to produce content in this country.

  • I guess this could mean that GSM operators can snoop on conversations made over their network.

    Or fixed phone operators can listen to conversations made over their network.

  • One would think that me sharing my movies that I bought with my own money would be considered appropriate use of my internet connection that I am paying for with my own money.
  • Problem solved. ( at least the mechanics, sounds like a revolution is needed to get to root of the problem )

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake