Saturday, November 1, 2008

Say NO to Internet Censorship

The Australian Federal Government is undertaking a $40+ million plan to censor the internet.

They are going ahead with this plan DESPITE experts, both Australian and from overseas criticising the plan. Internet providers and the government's own tests have found that presently available filters are not capable of adequately distinguishing between legal and illegal content and can degrade internet speeds [b]by up to 86 per cent[/b].

Colin Jacobs, chair of the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia said: "I'm not exaggerating when I say that this model involves more technical interference in the internet infrastructure than what is attempted in Iran, one of the most repressive and regressive censorship regimes in the world."

Critics of the ISP-level filtering plan say software filters installed by the user on their PC, which are already provided by the government for free at, are more than adequate.

Mark Newton, an engineer at Internode, has heavily criticised the Government and its filtering policy on the Whirlpool broadband community forum, going as far as saying it would enable child abuse.

He said the plan would inevitably result in significant false positives and degrade internet speeds tremendously. Those views were subsequently widely reported by technology media and blogs.

With all due respect to the government, their intentions are well meaning, as they hope to block out child pornography, but this is a waste of money, damaging to the internet and does not respect the right of freedom we have in this country. This filtering system CAN be used to block a lot more in the future, and it could possibly be used to restrict freedom of political expression as is done in China.

The government is being very tight lipped about this. I also cannot recall this ever being mentioned on the list of policies they intended to follow through with that they presented to the Australian people during the election. Please note that the policy states that it is compulsory for ALL Australian ISP's to enable this filtering. It is NOT optional.

They do have the technology to do it, it's just shit technology that can slow internet by up to 86%. We can get around it, and the Government know we can. It's not about that, once they get this through as legislation, it's law, and they'll eventually make the internet filter better. It's also a matter of freedom of thought, speech and practice, and this legislation does not respect that.

The filter will block pro-euthanasia websites, pro-anorexia websites and hardcore pornography/fetish websites as well as child pornography sites, demonstrating how it has the potential to block freedom of political expression in the future. Will I be allowed to post something like this in 10 years? What is even more worrisome is that the Government has been actively repressing and intimidating critics of its legislation (see below).

And by the way guys, the Governments definition of hardcore pornography means anything with penetration in it. They are now trying to ban porn. Now it's personal =_=

"Family First would consider a mandatory ISP-based filtering system that protects children by blocking illegal content like child pornography, but allows adults to opt out of filtering to access material classified R18+ or less," Senator Fielding's spokeswoman said. According to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, X18+ content includes hardcore pornography, while content that is refused classification includes that which depicts drug use or sexual fetishes. Both are a step above R18+ content, which typically includes adult themes. <---- READ THIS LETTER!
Please. Attend protests, write letters to your MP's. Remember, all petitions are useless. The only way to get your message across is by mailing, (and actually mailing a letter to your local MP), don't send an e-mail, it's useless. Calling your local MP also helps.

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