back to article ISP boss pledges to undermine Great Aussie Firewall

The Australian technology industry is starting to fight back against the government plan to force all ISPs to filter everyone's internet access. Michael Malone, boss of iiNet, an Australian ISP with 700,000 customers, said his firm would take part in the trial, but only in order to show the government how stupid it was. Malone …

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*Cough* *Splutter*

"the worst minister in the internet's 15-year history."

Please tell me that was his mistake and not yours, El Reg!

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

I remember Richard Alston (a previous Minister for Communications) and he was bloody awful. It's not impossible to imagine someone worse, but it's too soon to say if Stephen Conroy is that man.

Has it not occurred to our Ministers that sometimes, it's OK to say "No" to a law enforcement or spy agency that wants more powers, or a narrow-minded lobby group that, despite what it says or the name it chooses, does not represent anything close to a majority?

This is not what we hired our Government to do for us - and I believe that that is the most appropriate way to think about the relationship between Govt and the people. If I wanted my very own Taliban, I'd bloody well move to Afghanistan!!

Finally, I blame Microsoft. No reason - I just don't like them.

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Joke

use da grid

"Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we'll be publicising it and every time it blocks legitimate content, we'll be publicising it."

I hear the LHC Grid might have enough capacities for storing all that :)

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@ Greg

The OZ government only got hooked up properly in '93.

I think dingoes kept eating the modem or something.

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15 Years

Hang on, what month are we in? September 1993 - November 2008. Seems he's about right, give or take a month or two, for those now making the rules up. I wonder if Malone is a Monk?

The AOLers have taken over governance of the 'net (where net==www). It was inevitable.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow.

""They're not listening to the experts, they're not listening to the industry, they're not listening to consumers, so perhaps some hard numbers will actually help."

Reminds me of someone.

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Anonymous Coward

Australians are Children

Look, you as a parent can dictate to your child that their feed will be filtered. They are children and you are an adult.

For some reason the minister sees adults as children and will substitute his choices for theirs.

Which in practice means some bloke in an office will decide on what is and is not filtered, and you have to just trust him, that he's not filtering say legal sites featuring adults because they dressed in school uniforms (like Sweden's block list did), or , for example that this won't end up filtering out BoingBoing as a sex site (a company filter does this).... or you can't get the booking form for a nudist beach because he's seen some kids bottom in the banner of the site, or like when YouTube gets censored for 1 single video witness one single time by some censor in an office (like Thailand).

Indeed you have to ignore the stupid arbitrary filtering that exists now, and imagine a perfect filter as it exists only in the head of the minister and trust the adult in the office because you are a child.

Trust him and don't mind your little widdle wuddums head over it.

Or don't and complain, because this will be used to filter legal sites and there is no feedback mechanism on the censorship so it will only expand. Adults choosing a filter for their kids is parenting, one adult choosing for another is censorship. It will end up like it always does with large parts of the web filtered and self serving politicians pretending criticism of them is terrorist talk (like JS does).

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Coat

They are copying from Britain

Well, they are simply copying from Britain where ALL Internet served by domestic providers is filtered via CleanFeed. So while we may be having a laugh it is a bit of a misguided and misjudged laugh by all means.

Me coat,

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

"Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we'll be publicising it ..."

But how will they know?

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Thumb Up

Personally...

I'm pro the firewall - particularly if it keeps Aussies from spreading their horribly malformed version of English across the globe (heaps keen, etc etc). Now if we could only silence our other 'too big for its boots' accidental colony!!

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Anonymous Coward

kids sharing 'adult' connections

of coure that never happens. Kid's sharing their parents connections...or if you have kids can you only sign up to the 'child-friendly service'..anyone heard of anonymous proxies?

Anyone got a copy of the list of the banned sites, need that for my favourites list.

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Silver badge

15 Years

Probably referring to the amount of time the world wide web has been around (since around 92). That's around about the time things got practical.

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Anonymous Coward

@Greg

so come one whats wrong?

the minister?

the worst?

the 15 years?

Is it the 15-year hyphon?

or are you misunderstanding the possessive apostrophe?

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Joke

As Dilbert once put it...

"Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we'll be publicising it ..."

"I hope that wasn't the sound of eyeballs getting really big..."

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APNIC

How many EU centric businesses prefer to block APNIC (which includes our 4X swigging relations) as a cheap and nasty way to block over 40% of spam and viral attacks.

My only problem with a complete APNIC block is the once every month communications with family in .au - ignoring that, I am happy about cutting APNIC off from my systems.

Jacqui

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A present for the Minister

A pitchfork and a piece of straw.

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Silver badge

Smaller scale version:

Filter politicians internet access to hide the fact the other Australians have unfiltered access.

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Paris Hilton

I wonder

If they actually get this to run - then are they then taking responsibility to ensure all internet traffic is now legal. So your excuse to the Music Mafia lawyers - is it must be legal, because of the government allowed me to do it.

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the ONLY firewall ruleset UK citizens will ever need

0. Block all

1. Allow 212.78.84.50:80

All the truth of the World available there, no need to look anywhere else

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Anonymous Coward

Blocking APNIC is nearly par for the course

so the Aussies are already probably blocked from a lot of stuff anyhow.

My feeling is we go to IPv6, then the consumer gets to decide if they want to be in the filtered or non filtered category. They then get given an IP number in a range befitting their choice. The range that is to be filtered gets made publicly available and sites with perhaps questionable content blocks those ranges. Job done.

It can be so easily self policed, and most of these sites would happily block people you don't want people who have actively wanted to opt out anywhere near sites they don't want to be in. Some of these sites have used aggressive marketing in the past, but that is because most people only opt out publicly not privately.

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Coat

What?

"and one filtered for adult Australians"

Why would ANY sound minded adult (even adult Australians) require filtering?

Surely any adult could make up their own minds as to what they do and do not wish to see or read.

Sounds more like they want to filter material THEY dont want the public to see, You know a bit like China.

So that be no more speaking out against the party members or the states ever growing tyrannical control over average ozzies then.

*\. Anyone got a spaceship?, we're just about done here.

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Paris Hilton

@greg

well said - 15 years is NOT the age of the internet - it is the age of the WWW.

Hey, its not a big deal - its just daft! If we use "internet" and "www" as synonymous terms - what term do we then use to collectively describe the many non-www bits; email, p2p, streaming video, IM etc... do we need a new name ? why not use "internet" :)

paris: because she isnt smart enough to know there is a difference between WWW and INTERNET either, in common with some replies here :)

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Boffin

men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent . . . the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

Justice Louis Brandeis

Olmstead vs. United States,

United States Supreme Court, 1928

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Black Helicopters

Unwanted Content

"But he failed to answer Senator Scott Ludlam's question as to what "unwanted" meant."

To begin with probably anything criticising either the trial or Stephen Conroy would be my guess...

Clam

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Hercules or Sisyphus?

"Conroy said the pilot would filter a blacklist from the Australian Communications and Media Authority as well as 'other unwanted content'."

So The Great Barrier Chief reckons he and ACMA (well, mostly ACMA I imagine) will be able to monitor and list every bit of Internet content that fits the "unwanted" criteria, 24/7, and instantly apply it to ISP filters? I know that we here in Blighty are filtered at the point of entry into our shores but that's (currently, anyway. Give Ms Smith time) a very narrowly defined set of criteria. Widening the list to "stuff that's inappropriate for children" is a massive task that global organisations struggle to manage and even then can be circumvented with a proxy or waving SOCKS about.

I hope he is made to look very, very silly in this trial and the reulting stink means that nobody in their right political mind will touch an idea like this again anywhere in the western world. Jacqui Smith I'm looking at you.

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Alien

What is Cleanfeed ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanfeed_(content_blocking_system)

It is only used by BT, who although large are not the only ISP in the UK

Proxy servers are one way to bypass it, packing files into archives is another way..

What about usenet ?

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What's happening is this....

Perhaps the context of this kerfuffle may help people understand what's going on.

About a year ago we elected a new government headed by a clean-skin, virtually unknown, religious, Mandarin speaking centrist called Kevin Rudd and his team to replace a tired, cynical, compromised bunch of conservatives in power for over eleven years. There was a an air of excitement and expectation for change in the whole country. The incoming team was especially strong on the need for leading edge technology and went to the polls with all kinds of grandiose infrastructure schemes on offer.

So what happened? Simple. Rudd has turned out to be, not to put too fine a point on it, an unstable freak in the grip of the minuscule Christian Right and its noisy lobbyists. His ministry is pockmarked by some real nutters and the whole trust of his government policy has moved towards centralized authoritarian control from Canberra.

The minister in charge of communications follows a long line of incompetents in the portfolio, from both sides of politics, but this one has added stubborn ignorance, an abrasive stupidity and almost unbelievable chutzpah to the mix. From my reading of people in the industry who have met him, and as you can see for yourselves, he is one of the most off-putting politicians on the planet.

No matter what happens, this government WILL filter the Internet. Those of you who believe that filtering is impossible are wrong. It's simply a question of cost and resources and when you are doing God's work such trivia don't matter. The fact that some people, at their own cost, can get around some of the roadblocks most of the time does not matter either. This bunch is not interested in practicalities or reality. The whole thing is based on ideology and as our US and UK friends have already found out to their cost, when ideology governs sanity goes out the door.

I would desperately like to point the finger at others but in this instance I share the blame. I voted for these fools.

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Alert

What he actually said was...

For Greg and others - the full quote was "This is the worst Communications Minister we've had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed."

Hope that clear up the confusion.

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Joke

This is Australia, right?

This is the country where they put the pr0n mags right next to the till, in newsagents?

I'll never forget the day I was queuing to buy something and looked down to see a copy of SWANK in front of me. There was a price tag obscuring the first letter of the title...

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Unhappy

Conroy was here...

[*** content deleted ***]

[Please don't attempt to view this again, we know who you are and where you live]

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Silver badge

We think changing gov makes things better?

Blair -> Brown.

Howard -> Rudd.

Bush -> Obama?

I shudder for the future.

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About time

There was no rational argument in government about this one.

You either supported it or got branded in the media as supporting child pornography.

No one mentioned that it was a parenting issue...

I don't think filtering out 10,000 sites is going to do much to prevent 15 year old kids looking at tits, do you?

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Silver badge
Joke

@ AC (Pro firewall)

Oi! Whaddaya mean, we Ozzies don't speak propa English!? Our lingo comes strite from Cockney-land mate, right down t' th' rhymin' slang - ya know, tea-leaf, thief, dead 'orse, sauce - dropped aitches an' all that! Crikey mate, we might not talk like th' queen, but you pommy buggers can und'stand us right enuff, ay, mate?!

Fackin' pommy drongo! Bloke'll 'ave us doin' the 'ole stiff uppa lip bit next! ;)

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Black Helicopters

@Dave

I just stuck in the ip address 212.78.84.50:80 in my address bar at work.

The computer told me that access to this resource has been disallowed.

There's going to be a couple of lads from the IT dept coming to my desk with torches and pitchforks any second now, and I can hear the sound of a helecopter by the window.

Damn you.

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Blocking APNIC?!?

Are you serious? That may fly in some mom and pop business but try it anywhere else and you'd be out on your ear. Admins that let arbitrary technical decisions interfere with business really get on my tits.

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Conroy's Interference

Like this ISP I think your interference is just another Big Brother act. Do your job Conroy rather than appeasing your own sense of power. Get out of the filtering business, that's not yours to do. Let parents do their job.

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