The Great Australian Firewall has claimed another victim - some pages of Wikileaks have been added to the blacklist of websites which Australians are not allowed to look at. The reason for the block is that Wikileaks published a list of websites banned by the Danish government. Australian websites which link to the pages face …
It's AU$11000.00 per day of infrengement, by the way.
Anyone ever watched Monkey Dust? Paedo-Finder General was my favourite character... Sounds a lot like the folks behind the firewall software. To paraphrase:
"All websites are innocent until speculated guilty!"
Lets start a campaign....
Although I'm not an Aussie, for the good of our Antipodean brothers, and indeed net freedom and neutrality in general, perhaps we should organize a campaign in which every one of us submits one website to the rating body for banning. It could be the most harmless thing ever, just try to turn something innocent into something offensive and get it banned.
This will lead to either the censors being overworked through the sheer volume of work imposed by the millions (I hope there are millions) of studious El Reg readers, or they will block all websites presented resulting in pretty much an internet black out. Lets look for health education websites that might show pictures of cha chas and willys, the evil Google which is used to search for illegal things, the horrendous YouTube which hosts a disturbing clip by one Rick Astley, El Reg which often disagrees with the Aussie gov on this issue, Amazon which can sell sexual material including books and movies....
The list is endless.
Would be nice to hear some expert comment on this story, especially given the significance that pages about censorship are themselves being censored. Significant because it can lead into a censorship spiral where the public are ignorant that their world view is censored so believe their view to be complete. A great mind tool of opressive regimes throughout history - hiding the censorship.
Some kind of record attempt?
I'm not entirely sure but is the aussie firewall reaching some kind of new record?
From what it was advertised to a tool of political censorship?
If you're an Aussie take note...
... this makes your country look completely stupid. Way to go dudes....
Follow the lemmings
In the global quest for equality, the OzGov has made progress. In this instance, they have managed to screw everyone equally by attempting to slow Internet speeds.
Even when there is a private organisation that ISPs voluntarily sign up to for standardised blocking, those people get it wrong too. With a government in control, there is no such thing as voluntary, there is certainly no such thing as efficiency, and they can never get things done right.
Of course, the real issue here is not Internet speeds or ineffectiveness, but rather private property rights and whether people actually have them or not. In this case, the answer is clearly a resounding "NO!" If people are not free to use their own property (computers) to access information stored on other people's property (servers), then private property means nothing here. But then, who's surprised about that?
I've seen the videos these anti-abortion places like to show people, they purposely use the most gruesome and old/outdated video they possibly can, stuff like that should be blocked.
Though the same could be said for half of the media, I welcome it...
not really, filtering is bad, very bad, mmmkay.
Here's a thought
Under these (bizarre) premises, could you also be fined for linking to a page which in turn links to a "bad" page?
Following the well-established "Six degrees of Kevin Bacon" legal attack, every site on the whole interweb would be legally culpable, forcing us all to disconnect from the web and return to the good old days of faxes and looking stuff up in books.
Not Happy Skippy
It's a great shame that The Register did not compound the ACMAs problems by also including the blacklisted links in its article.
Its only by continuing to populate the WWW with the ACMAs banned links that the utter stupidity can be brought home to the majority of Australians who – to date – have been ambivalent to Minister Conroy’s proposals.
I would post the links here but fear they would be censored.
This poem is dedicated to Stephen Conroy, the Australian minister for Internet Censorship.
'Twas silly, as the slimy dude
Did lie to people in the news:
All flimsy were the platitudes,
And the logic trail confused.
"Beware the Naked C---, my son!
The jaws that bite, the maws that catch!
Beware the big jugged bird, and shun
The curious Mandersnatch!"
He took his corporeal sword in hand:
Long time the minxsome bird he sought --
So rested he by the Cumcum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in oafish thought he stood,
The Naked C---, with heart of flame,
While grappling with the turgid wood,
Did burble as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The corporeal blade went snicker-snack!
His sword was dead, the C--- was fed,
So he made the journey back.
"And, hast thou slain the Naked C---?
Come to my arms, my righteous boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas silly, as the slimy dude
Did lie to people in the news:
All flimsy were the platitudes,
And the logic trail confused.
I lived there once...
.... for about 3 years. Lovely place, lovely people. Mostly.
In a sweeping generalisation it seems there are the 'good, honest, open-minded proletariat' and then there's the politicians and their wannabees. For some reason these latter twunts seem to think they know better than any other fucker in the country and try to impose their will on the great unwashed.
I like the idea that we should all submit a site and see just what sort of mess they'll end up with. Can any of our Aussie brethren post the site or email address where you submit these? I wonder what would happen if someone submitted the censors site...
Where's the problem?
I'd never heard of Wikileaks until today. I went to the link because it mentioned a list of sites blocked by Danish ISPs. I don't see why they're complaining. I scanned over the list of sites blocked here in Denmark and all I see are dodgy sounding porn sites, likely harbouring kidporn like it says. I wouldn't visit sites with URLs like that anyway, so I don't care that they're being blocked. The Wiki page makes it sound like some huge conspiracy, which it's not. I don't see any legitimate sounding sites being blocked and the ISP clearly shows you a page explaining that the site has been blocked, i.e Piratebay, so what's the issue? They don't explain why it's an issue, they don't say which sites are being unfairly blocked or why. Conspiracy theory crap, in my opinion.
I think this is just a kneejerk reaction by the Australian government to the Fritzl case... You have to remember, we didn't even have internets when he started doing his dirty dealings...
TO MY FRIENDS AT THE REGISTER
With Lots Of Love and Feelings Of Absolute Devotion you have blogged your case.
I fear however that you have already come under the spell of Satan's evil Web.
Our nation is in danger, and must be saved from the insidious influence of your lesbian publication.
All is not lost, however. I am a politician, so my people trust me.
I pledge to shield them, every one, from all things pink and ***illating.
Or controversial. Or disagreeable. Or with bad feng shui.
Remember, I love them one and all, and am acting in their best interests.
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It is filtered.
Minister for Internet Censorship
they are blacklising pages that link to pages that are blacklisted?
What about pages that link to pages that link to pages (ad infinitum) that are blacklisted?
It's already slow enough
Yes, the Internet in Australia is already pretty slow, rates are artificially kept high, and penalties for using more than your volume quota are beyond good and bad. And YouTube blocks videos that can be watched in the US with misleading error messages. McDonalds in Oz even blocks sites like http://www.ein-o.com. Very heavy surveillance in general (they call them "street safety" cameras, etc.), and people in Australia buy this without any questioning at all, all in the name of "protecting" the people from themselves...
Something else they should ban
It is of course a Well Known Fact that paedos recognise each other using a SECRET SIGNAL of dangling corks from the brims of their hats. The australian government should ban all sites showing pictures of such filth at once!!!!!!
Shouldn't the firewall be called The Web Barrier Reef?
Yes, really. So it's just about pornography and not politics?
This page? Or the comment on it? Well I just about feel like tearing up my australian passport. Glad I don't live there anymore. This is whole sham is disgraceful.
Not suitable for Australians?
What are the rules for inclusion on this blacklist?
Rule 1: No pooftas
And is there a rule 6? We should be told.
Re: Lets start a campaign....
Here's my suggestion: http://www.myfirsttime.com/
It's a collection of reader-submitted stories of people's first times (having sex, that is). Some of the stories might be considered, by some, to be paedophilic erotica, due to the ages involved. But who would regard honest, intimate accounts of people's first times as paedophilic? Erm, paedophiles, perhaps?
If it gets submitted, and then gets blocked, it'll mean that Australians can't be honest and open, on the web, about their first times, if they were a bit too young at the time. What will Aussies think of that? What will it say about the censors?
Does anyone have a handy link for making submissions?
Freedom...we've heard of it!
Looks like its time to move - anyone know of an english speaking country in a non-tropical climate with reasonable infrastructure that hasn't turned into a bad parody of a 50's movie about life in comunist Russia?
I'm thinking either New Zealand or Canada but New Zealand makes me feel even more remote than Australia and Canada...well I'd be too worried about the people next door.
So can someone answer, is this trail phase actually being used to filter 'live' users Interweb feeds yet? And if so did they get a choice, or were they just herded into it like BT's Phorm trials?
I'm an Aussie and it's like living in....
[REDACTED - by order COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT of AUSTRALIA]
A pertinent ditty
We stand by our Government.
If we stand in front of them, they f*** us.
If we stand behind them, they s*** on our faces.
(Graffiti read on a poor Venezuelan Street)
Censoring the content and the conversation
If I read this right, if any web site carrying links to content or presumably mentioning it are also banned, then this makes any conversation about them also banned. So not only are the Ausies banning things, but they're banning discussion about the things that they banned.
We had similar at work where the filter was putting a serious big left foot in the conversation about various political discussion because what they were discussing were, in fact, banned words. DOH!
It seems our old deported criminals have got a bit too inbred and turned too stupid for their own good.
As soon as it moves beyond removing pages with illegal images on them, this is the online equivalent of banning books.
I hope you have found a way around this. I would link to one but fear my comment might be banned.
PS Don't give our crazy govt any ideas, they love anything that costs too much money and demonstrates no understanding of technology. How long before you would have to insert your ID card to access the internet?
It was never about protecting anyone
Whether in China, Iran, North Korea, the UK, USA or Australia, it has never been about protecting anyone. It is, and always will be, about CONTROL.
Why do we act surprised when each new revelation confirms what we always thought?
Address your complaints here
You can send complaints about websites directly to the ACMA from their website here:
Aparently you are supposed to be an australian in order to rais a complaint but thats just a piffleing detail.
Aparently banned subjects are the following:
"Any online content that is classified RC* or X 18+* by the Classification Board (formerly the Office of Film and Literature Classification). This includes real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act."
Who is going to be first to complain about google, I bet you can find most of that there.
What's the problem anyway?
I thought it was normal for prisons to have their communications regulated...
And why hasn't someone
decided to post "Inappropriate links" to government websites and get them taken down?
Re: Comment please!
I agree with Man Outraged, could we have an article from Outlaw addressing this topic?
Well, we can't say we weren't warned
Robert Heinlein said:
When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.
i know here's an idea.
lets have a super top secret blacklist , listing where no-one can see it .. so when people upload or link to sites on the blacklist we can fine them..
err.. if we cannot see the damn list how the hell are we meant to know if the sites we are linking too is actually on this blacklist that we cannot know about or view lol
i'm just waiting for them to start charging for oxegen i really am because that will be the cherry on the top of the cake, it's just madness gone insane at the thought of this whole clusterFk
and this actually got passed though into some government law??? lol
just when you think the government or these goverement schemes they come up with cannot get any more ridiculous they lower the bar and still find a way under it!
@ Andrew george
"Looks like its time to move - anyone know of an english speaking country in a non-tropical climate with reasonable infrastructure that hasn't turned into a bad parody of a 50's movie about life in comunist Russia?"
Germany? It is possible to find people there who don't speak English, but not easy.
"Whether in China, Iran, North Korea, the UK, USA or Australia,..."
Last time I checked, we still had a constitutionally guaranteed protection of free speech in the US. And I'm, as of yet, unaware of my government saying that 'the internet needs to be regulated', arresting people for looking at 'extremist' literature, or putting up a huge, nationwide censorship firewall.
It might make you feel better to think that the dumb hick 'merkins are just as bad as you are, but things are really pretty good over here. You should come try it out. Brits and Aussies are hella popular around here - what with the accents and all. And you can visit whatever web site you want, I promise!
Nicely done sir. Well said.
I guess Australia never really did get over being a prison camp. Maybe they're doing this out of angst over lost traditions?
How many polititions does it take to screw a democracy?
First they came for the kiddyporn, but that was fine with me,that stuff is horrid.
Then they came for the gay porn, but I don't swing that way anyhow,
Then they came for the strait porn, but I have a big enough stash to last me.
Then they came for the politically inconvenient or controversial content, and that started to get me worried.
Then they came for everything else some right-wing nut-job thought could possibly be bad for someone somewhere, and the internet died.
Re: Freedom...we've heard of it!
Hey, NZ's not so bad... it's only a 3-hour flight to the West Island and it's only 30 hours door-to-door Auckland to London. We're practically neighbours! Our Prime Minister is atheist or at least very agnostic. We can effectively close our borders the next time an asian chicken gets a nasty cough. And we use proportional representation when we vote every 3 years. Keeps 'em reasonably honest.
At the rate this country is going, those in Oz will be laughing at us in the near future...
"You can send complaints about websites directly to the ACMA from their website here:
I just thought up a belting use for the BBC botnet.
Stephen Conroy is Jaqui Smith's long-lost bastard twin and it was an anthropological disaster they both didn't end up gracing the pages of an anti-abortion site.
"ACMA's online content complaint forms are currently offline for maintenance."
mmmkay, sure, <ahem> "maintenance".
Not because thousands of mischievous activists have been bombarding you with requests to ban every web site under the sun.
No, I'm sure it wouldn't be that.
Paris, because she has high maintenance requirements too.
Read between the lines
Australians need to read-between-the-lines on this fiasco.
This whole internet filtering mess is due to the current government needing to appease the loony-right wing christians, in particular Senator Fielding, to help get their legislation through the senate.
I reckon that Conroy et-al, don't have a deep personal commitment to the filtering.
Of course, the delicious irony is that Senator Fielding recently voted against the governments alco-pops tax, leaving them with a major budget hole.
I expect there will be a major push on the internet filtering front very quickly by the government, to get Senator Fielding on-side for a 2nd attempt at getting the alco-pops legislation through the senate.
The first thing the Australian public should ban is incompetent Communications Ministers.
Since the liberal wanker Richard Alston, Australians have suffered under sucsessive incompetent morons.
The latest dickhead, Stephen Conroy, is just the latest to be lead by the nose, and too stupid himself to see the error of the bullshit he's feeding us. It needs to be remembered he's first of all a politician which really means self-serving arsewipe interested primarily in feathering his own nest.
Banned Site List Leaked
The Australian blacklist of censored sites has just been leaked. See http://www.wikileaks.com/wiki/Australian_government_secret_ACMA_internet_censorship_blacklist%2C_6_Aug_2008
Positive action at last!
Good, I hope this ACMA witchfinder general can block this piece of Satan-spawned online gambling software that has been on almost every PC, Linux and Mac I have ever seen - SOLITAIRE!
Ban the personal computer! Burn them! BURN THEM!
Now Here's A Funny Thing
I am in the UK, and BT is my ISP (no choice out here in the countryside) and, guess what, I can't access Wikileaks.
Are BT or the IWF or someone even worse blocking this site?
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The document contains no data.
The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again.
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