Australian Internet Porn Filter Cracked By Kid; Politicians Get The Wrong Message

from the spend-more-money! dept

Remember a few weeks ago how the Australian government was getting ready to spend many millions of dollars on internet porn filters? We ridiculed the second part of the plan, which was to force ISPs to filter the internet, but the first part of the plan was to hand out free client-side filters that could be installed on computers by parents. The cost to the government was a mere $84 million Australian (about $70 million US). It should come as no surprise, though, that a teenager claims it took him all of about half an hour to crack the filter. Even better, he says he did so in a way that the icon still shows on the computer, so parents will think the software is still working. Of course, there are always ways to get around filters and it's not hard for many kids to figure them out. Still, rather than recognizing that the government has wasted many millions of dollars on a futile program, one of the main political backers of the program said it only highlights why the country needs to spend even more on filters, including those ISP filters that won't work either.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    MiniDevil, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 7:14am


    Governments always want to control their subjects. It is up to the parents to monitor their kids. The government has no right to say what people can and cant do. Soon Australia will be banning video games because they dont want people playing PokerStars.

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

  2. identicon
    Java, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 7:44am

    Certainly, parents need to be more involved with their children.

    However, your comment about Government Control is not entirely accurate. Governments can and do control their subjects everyday, it is called rule of law. Without it, we would live in total chaos.

    I am not saying we should live in a "big brother" society and that the rights/freedoms we enjoy should be removed. Only that without some level of "control", we would live in chaos where everyone does whatever they want.

    I like knowing that I can safely cross a street because their are laws that control driver behavior. I like knowing that I can go out without the fear of being mugged.

    Where the lines become blurred is when governments try to legislate morality. One could argue that we do this today (i.e. murder is a moral crime...see 10 commandments). Other things like porn are much more dicey to deal with. As the saying goes, one mans porn is another man's art.

    When it comes to minors, do we legislate morality? Certainly, there are age limits on buying things like Playboy. It is a slippery slope, but lines must be drawn somwehere, I am just not sure where that line should be drawn.

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

  3. identicon
    Benjie, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 7:54am

    gg porn

    seems that the countries with the lowest rape rates/safest for women, are also the countries with the easiest access to porn. sounds to me like this is gonna be as affective as abstinence programs in the US. now children still have a sex drive but don't know how to be safe with it. governments telling men to get not hard-ons.. Good luck. better to teach children right from wrong than to force them to follow a rule 'just because'. remember parents, your job isn't to force your children to follow your rules, but for you to set an example that they will teach their own children some day.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 7:58am

    Yay porn

    Speaking as a male who was highly unpopular with females (which is turning around thank God) during my teenage years, I can safely say that if I were not able to access internet pornography I would have committed many crimes out of sheer frustration.

    Bravo, internet porn, for keeping violence off the streets and in my pants.

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

  5. identicon
    Benjie again, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 8:09am

    they're probably pointing at the fact that most people who rape/etc probably look at porn. well guess what, most people who are fat eat food and most people who are violent like to play violent video games(if they like playing games). zomg!! lets get rid of food and video games!! omg!! people who kill other people read the internet!! lets get rid of the internet!

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

  6. identicon
    The infamous Joe, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 8:17am

    I'm down with OPP.

    seems that the countries with the lowest rape rates/safest for women, are also the countries with the easiest access to porn.

    Ignoring the fact that you give no data to back up that claim, rape has very little to do with sex and everything to do with power and control. So, porn has nothing to do with it. Nice idea, though.

    Back on topic, the government really has no business telling anyone how to raise their children.. though I still don't get why naked people are so bad for children. (I probably never will understand it, until (maybe) when I have a kid of my own!) Unless porn is illegal in AU, I can't even see how they would think they have the authority to block porn. Even then, as is seen, it's an effort in futility. For every wall the government throws up, someone will find a way around it.

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

  7. identicon
    G, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 8:22am


    All of this could have been avoided by having a .ent (entertainment) domain specifically for adult content. The established dot com sites could redrect to the .ent for transition. Then kid-friendly browsers that don't support .ent could simplify the process of filtering. Proxy sites could be added to the browser for blocking by ip if needed. It ain't rocket science.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 8:38am

    protecting the children...

    Senator Coonan, a government official did the best she could to salvage the sorry situation with, "Unfortunately, no single measure can protect children from online harm and ... traditional parenting skills have never been more important." Basically what I interpret that to mean is; "Tom is really getting on our tits; if you don't want your kids looking at porn don't have them in the first place."

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

  9. identicon
    Bengie, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    no data

    i don't remember the report, sure you can google it or something or find something similar. anyway, i think it was like Japan and some other European countries with lax laws for porn/etc, but also very safe for women. not to mention that when i was looking at doing a semester abroad for japan, i was told you don't even need to be worried about being mugged. many long time people who lived there to teach English said they feel so safe compared to big city USA.

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

  10. identicon
    Koresho, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 9:31am

    bengie... as if

    Bengie, the reason why there is not so much rape and muggings in Tokyo is because Japanese culture, like so many other Asian cultures, is very... repressed. They are not encouraged to show their emotions in public, and that includes rape and muggings.
    Now, you should see what they do behind the scenes. Over here, a president getting frisky with a secretary is at least noticed and commented on... over there, it is very common for stuff like that to happen. (This information provided to me from my cousin who lives in Japan)

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

  11. identicon
    Over The Top, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 11:35am

    No surprise

    "Kids" have found ways around many of the software programs out there desgined to filter Internet access or content. There are actually forums where kids have discussed holes and work arounds for several of the popular (and in some cases expensive) software filters. Patches and re-engineering are often defeated within weeks of coming out. The facts are; that many kids are much better educated regarding computers than their parents; many kids have unsupervised access to a computer in their home or a friend's home, and in some cases sitting with their kids and looking over their shoulders is the only way the parent will know what the kid is doing. "Fool me once shame on me- Fool me twice- I pull the plug"

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

  12. identicon
    FumDuck, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 12:06pm

    'Twas ever thus

    Just like politicians: take something that isn't working and scale it up to massive proportions so that they can claim they are "doing something".

    For a couple of glaring examples here in the US, take a look at the "War on Drugs" and income redistribution through taxation.

    Despite many billions of dollars per year in drug law enforcement, any high school kid can get whatever drugs he or she wants. After 40+ years and trillions of dollars of taxing the "rich" to give to the "poor", there are now more "poor", per capita, than ever before.

    But yet, in the current policital debates, we hear how we need more drug enforcement and higher taxes to redistribute still more income.

    Let's just hope the government doesn't try to socialize medical care, or we'll have more sick and dying than ever before as well.

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

  13. identicon
    Dale Flannery, Aug 27th, 2007 @ 4:45pm


    Child pornography was and is always illegal even in the land which worships the first (or whatever) amendment that allows 'free' speech. Have you liberal bozos considered that kiddie porn is the record of children being assaulted? You still think a government should not block sites devoted to it? You morons who think child pornography should be protected speech are fanatical followers of a very unsavoury religion of 'free speech' irrationality.

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

  14. identicon
    lilyofthevalley, Aug 28th, 2007 @ 7:14pm

    I hate uneducated people.

    The clue phone is ringing people...pick it up and learn something. Three things in particular are jumping out at me at the moment.

    * One recent study about the ratio of available porn to sexual assault is here: . But there are many others as well.

    * As far as how "easy" it would be to just require an .ent (I bet the vanilla entertainment industry will just be thrilled at given .ent over to the adult world as well.), although .xxx is the more commonly sought after, do you understand anything in regards to how the internet works, in particular related to extensions? One of the reasons so many extensions were created is so that so many sites could essentially have the same root domain name. (And, please, look into the multiple times that folks (specifically the ICM) have tried to get ICANN to not only add the .xxx extension, but force sites to use it.)

    This issue has already been discussesd to death--even here on this site. This issue is a lot more complicated than people want it to be, and of late, has caused a bit of a lashback that folks are now asking that child friendly sites be required to have .kid extensions so as to make things even easier on parents because that could be the only extension allowed. See where this is going, folks? It's NOT easy to just add an extension. It costs time, money, and will have a lot of legal fights over who gets the right to use certain .xxx domains for things like this to happen. Most adult sites are run by one or a handful of people, they are not huge corporations that can afford such things. Many sites that are intended for adults do not actually contain porn, but would get lumped in because someone, somewhere, found their contents offensive will also be affected by this. (Remember the problem with libraries banning the words breast? Now you can't look up breast cancer.) And there is more to consider, which I'm not going to get into again because I've done so, on this very site, when articles related to the .xxx have come up. (Do a search!) Do not say things like "oh just force them to use a set extension" because it's just not that easy, and has already been evidenced, such things are all too easy to get around by those who want to, so it'd be a huge waste of time and money for very little results. Adult sites run by sound business minded people go to great lengths already to try to prevent minors from accessing their sites. There are so many tools available to parents, some even free, that this is just another dog and pony gesture. There will always be certain sites that will break any rules set before them. There will always be people who will find ways to look at both legal and illegal sites if they want to. The extension argument is just not as simple of a solution as it may seem.

    * There are so many studies concerning the ratio to child porn and actual pedophilia, just do a web search before you type way and let everyone know exactly how little you know about it. (Hint: any site that belongs to a so-called pro-family group often does not have reliable data or cherry picks only the stats that seem to support their mantras, because:) It has been proven, again and again, that the majority of sexual assualts on children are done by family and friends of family--not strangers, and that kiddie porn has little if anything to do with triggering their actions. Not many folks seem to like admitting to that uncomfortable truth, but it is the truth. It's just so much easier to talk about how these random strangers will snatch up a child and spirit them away for such things. Wake up people! The boogeymen (and women) are already in those kids' homes more often than not--and not because they pretended to be the electrician or cable technician to get in the door.

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

  15. identicon
    Yazan, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 9:09pm

    What gives the government the right to tell me that I can't watch porn? I'm entitled to my porn and I will find a way of watching it, even if there are 50 porn filters in my way!

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

  16. identicon
    Thomas Anglero, Feb 20th, 2008 @ 5:39am

    Protecting children on the internet with WiHood

    Protecting children online is complex. Technology can assist but nothing replaces the role of the parent. Parents should use the internet as a new opportunity to discuss life’s difficult challenges with their children.

    Technology like what we use at WiHood protects children from inappropriate web pages and is updated daily. It is astonishing that every day over 100,000 pedophile, sex, and gambling web sites are created. Parents don't have the time to find and block all these sites but they do have the time to learn with their children what good habits to have while using the internet.

    The internet is a wonderful development and children should be allowed to use it but in a safe and secure environment. We have done this but we also emphasize that the role of the parent is the most important role of a child's and tomorrow.

    Thomas F. Anglero, Father and CEO

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

  17. identicon
    tom, Mar 3rd, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    they should let that little boy watch porn there is nothing wrong with it

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

  18. identicon
    grant holden, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 5:23pm


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

  19. identicon
    grant holden, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    go kid

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

  20. identicon
    Flic, Dec 27th, 2008 @ 7:50pm

    im 11 years old, so im a kid, and i dont get why adults hate kids from seeing naked people. really, its only disgusting to them because they have dirtier minds than us. we just look and go "ok someone without clothes on, big deal". i think humans are definitely the only animals who care about being naked, and its pretty weird.
    i think adults who react to 'inappropriate' online stuff and think OH NO THE KIDS WILL SEE IT have a much less mature attitude than us kids.
    and i know im definitely not the only kid who thinks this way. i think a majority of kids would agree with me.
    and especially people who are like 16 and 17... theyr old enough to take care of themselves mostly... im pretty sure they dont really care what they see on the internet.
    adults are overprotective and dumb. if they actually asked the kids for our opinions for once, they would realise we dont get affected by 'innapropriate content'.

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

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