Australia Back To Censoring The Internet... Again

from the haven't-we-gone-through-this-before? dept

Not again. It seems that every single year or so, politicians in Australia suddenly decide that it makes sense to filter the internet to block out "bad stuff." And every time they do this, people point out how this is censorship, it doesn't work, it harms legitimate uses, and it's a waste of time and money... and eventually the whole thing dies down. But... it's back again. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is pushing a plan to filter out a list of "criminal" sites. Amazingly, Conroy is claiming that a recent trial showed that filtering technology was 100% effective. That seems unlikely. Every year that this comes up, there are widespread protests about the censorship, but once again, the politicians don't seem to care. They just want headlines about how they helped "protect the children."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Bradley Robb, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 5:01pm

    Throw some math at 'em

    I coined a theory based on the bit about 100% accuracy when I read that story this morning:

    As a sample size grows, the probability of achieving 100% accuracy in anything falls towards zero.

    That is to say, it's highly improbable that Australia can achieve a filtered Internet at anywhere near 100% accuracy. However, I'm glad that they're finally going ahead with this.

    It is my hope that after a string of embarrassing false positives and open secrets for evading the AU filters, that Australia decides to officially remove their filters and that somehow, other nations learn from the mistakes of Oz.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      cass, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 8:27pm

      Re: Throw some math at 'em

      haha I like this...
      well maybe they could 100% filter all internet content altogether - then they could get that stat - but that would be s**t so lets not suggest that :P

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:23am

      Re: Throw some math at 'em

      you didn't coin anything that is simply a well known fact of probibility.
      stop thinking you're so smart

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    McBeese, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    Good deal

    I'm for this, but only in Australia. Those Aussies are a tender and fragile bunch and they need to be sheltered from the evils of the Internet. They haven't yet figured out how to take care of themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 6:04pm

      Re: Good deal

      "I'm for this, but only in Australia. Those Aussies are a tender and fragile bunch and they need to be sheltered from the evils of the Internet. They haven't yet figured out how to take care of themselves."

      Well yeah. They're all marsupials, they just can't compete with us mammals.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        painter, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

        Re: Re: Good deal

        Mr Church, some of us are large goannas, none of the top predators in australia are mammals of any kind and Placental Mammals ,which cost too much to run , sadly died out in Australia .

        This filtering is one of those symbolic/moral panic thingos, When I was young it was reds under the beds now its child molesters under every bed.
        This is the same gov that thinks doling out computers to kiddies is a better use of public money than employing more teachers to supervise the same kiddies.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      ausdub, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

      Re: Good deal

      We are from being fragile, do not judge Aussies by the corrupt mindless Parliamentarians who consider us incapable of choosing what we can see on the 'net. This has little to do with child protection and all about autocratic control of the masses. That being said, we can take care of ourselves thank you very much. No help is needed from the self appointed world sheriff known as the USA.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Igor Zevaka (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    Just a few corrections

    There was only one push to filter the internet and it started in 2007 as a Labour Party election promise. The online came in waves corresponding to major announcements of the scheme.

    Unfortunately it hasn't been completely abandoned as just yet and it looks like we are looking at live trials in the near future.

    The latest wave of #nocleanfeed (#openinternet) outrage is due to farcical trial results (http://www.inquisitr.com/52298/australia-confirms-censorship-plans-tells-fibs-on-the-filtering-tria l/).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anthony, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 5:49pm

    It could be 100%

    Since it was an extremely small sample size then it's easy to get to 100%. Only 6 ISPs in Australia participated in the trial, and all 6 were extremely small and not part of the biggest 12. About 1 week before the trial started the most participants from any one ISP was 15. So if no other people signed up in the last week then at most there were 90 people taking part in the trial. Since it was optional I'm assuming that all 90 people would be people that would never visit anything even remotely close to being adult content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 5:52pm

    100% makes perfect sense. That's 100% of the sites they think are bad. They probably googled it and blocked all the ones that came up. *Boom* 100% effective.

    That's politician thinking right there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    diode, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 6:04pm

    This is actually the same mandatory ISP filtering plan that has been hovering around like a bad smell for the last couple of years. The real news here is that it has now actually been given the go ahead (despite almost universal opposition), and implementation is due to commence March 2010.

    As for the type of content that will be targeted, Senator Conroy's "criminal sites" is a hugely misleading term which in actual fact refers to any content that is refused classification (RC) under Australia's conservative censorship laws. To give you some idea of what these laws are like, there is no R18+ classification for computer games here. The maximum rating a game can receive is MA15, therefore anything that is deemed unsuitable for anyone over 15 years of age is RC (banned), and by Conroy's definition falls into the category of "criminal content". The introduction of the new filter will enable this law to be extended to online games (Second Life is a common example), and the sites that sell them.

    The crowning turd on the whole debacle is due to the fact that it's obviously completely unrealistic to expect the Australian Board of Classifications to review this quantity of content, the federal government will be relying on submissions from the public for blacklist entries.
    It doesn't take a genius to imagine the level of abuse that will arise from such a system.

    The government also announced it will additionally be offering ISPs a "bonus financial incentive" (aka. bribe) to block other kinds of content, such as gambling sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      diode (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 6:16pm

      Re:

      should of course read "anyone under 15 years of age" :P

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anthony, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

      Re:

      "The real news here is that it has now actually been given the go ahead (despite almost universal opposition), and implementation is due to commence March 2010."

      It won't happen. It needs to pass through the senate which won't happen. It will be introduced into parliment early next year and will pass through the house of reps no problems. But the zenate will block it. The ALP and the 1 Family First(ie. Right-wing Chrisitan Fundamentalist nut jobs) member will pass it. But the Greens won't pass it, nor will the Liberals/Nationals.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        painter, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Given the recent transformation of the liberal party into something... words fail me-- Authoritarian reactionary?? I would not be so sure about Nationals/Liberal voting intentions.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Conroy on the Barbie, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    "Conroy is claiming that a recent trial showed that filtering technology was 100% effective."

    But did he specify exactly what it was effective at?
    My guess is that it is effective at getting him campaign contributions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ., Dec 15th, 2009 @ 7:02pm

    100%

    Anyone who says something is a 100% is a lying [something] LoL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    for those that havn't read the report its very light on details.

    Yes 100% of website addresses added to the blacklist were blocked (after the initial stuffup where the blacklist didnt update properly-lol) as you'd expect.

    But the interesting bit is with the heuristic scanning. It claims no decrease in speed with the lowest level (without mentioning how effective it was) and around 84% detection rate at the highest setting (without mentioning how slow that made things). There is also a small paragraph that mentions that it will only prevent "accidental" exposure as anyone who wants to get around it could via encrypted proxy. But the large part of it seems to be telling the GG & minister what they want to hear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    cc, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 10:29pm

    I haven't read the report, but seeing mention of "heuristic scanning" proves to me their software cannot be 100% effective.

    Heuristic means it makes big guesses (see: luck) so it runs faster. When you leave things on luck, it means you lose on precision...

    On a different note, what is WRONG with Australia??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Again, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    Bread and Circuses

    Her we go again, rather than solving real problems (which would require they do their job) Australian Pollys will:
    1) Drag out the Flag debate (Union Jack, evil or not).
    2) Drag out the republican debate (as long as the people dont directly elect the head of state) they may elect someone competant.
    3) Or as here blame Movies, video games or the Internet for all the worlds woes.

    Do any of you notice that no mater how often the politicions debate (drone on) about these so called issues they never actauly do it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Aussie, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:51am

    ...

    "I'm for this, but only in Australia. Those Aussies are a tender and fragile bunch and they need to be sheltered from the evils of the Internet. They haven't yet figured out how to take care of themselves."

    You smartass, Im sure i could take care of myself a lot better than you could, the internet is a needed resource for my business it brings in 45%+ of my revenue, oh and before you call us tender and fragile, why dont you come live here for a bit and see how you like 100F+ Heat? Hm. ass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    The Visible Dentist, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:44am

    Hogwash...

    Protect the children? That's only a dodge for the pervs.

    Australia in particular likely has the highest number of pedophiles and instances of cover-ups within its control hierarchy of politicians, elite families, judges and law enforcement than any nation on Earth.

    jb

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This