The inevitable has happened - the secret Australian blacklist of banned websites has been published on the internet. The list contains some 2,395 sites about half of which do not contain child sexual abuse images. It includes online poker sites, fetish, satanic and Christian sites, Wikipedia pages, gay and straight pornography, …
Stephen Conroy, the Australian Minister for Internet Censorship, is claiming that the published list is not the official government blacklist. Technically he is correct, as it looks like the published list is the blacklist as it was in August 2008, padded with a number of additional sites.
This is in keeping with the theory that the list leaker works for one of the filter vendors.
There is a method for determining which of the leaked sites are on the current blacklist, and that information will no doubt be revealed in due course.
Can I add my domain to the leaked list? I could do with some new visitors to my site.
Can They Sue?
If it lists travel sites and dentists can these people sue for defamation and lose of earnings, becuase a lot of Joe Public will now assoicate them with child porn.
These business might never know that the Aussie government are blocking them, and the reasons why!!!
sigh. . .
Another *faceplam* caused by our hopeless government.
If the blacklist is used:
1) A few people will find their favourite porn/satanist/knitting site blocked.
2) They'll go to Google .
3) Tor will get a few more users.
End result: Fail.
Paris 'casue she'd do a better job.
I'm fascinated to know...
...what did the poor dentist do? Does he have film of operations which presumably count as extreme porn? (A phrase that makes me think of people having sex whilst base-jumping)
satanic and Christian sites
Even handed bigotry. That's all right then.
We probably can't fight this politically, so the need for subversive behaviour is required. If we can get enough content and peers on either, there's no stopping the free flow of information on the web.
Black helicopters and anon? On Freenet, everyone is anonymous.
In with both big feet
Through its utter stupidity the Oz government has managed to put itself up there amongst the most oppressive and corrupt regimes in the world. Well done guys!
Now we see the true stupidity of this type of censorship. The only way we can trust the censors is if they publish the list. But that just publicises the sites they don't want us to see. Maybe security through obscurity is a better approach?
Now when do we get to see the IWF list? I'd bet a week's wages that will have similar problems.
Are you listening, IWF?
"Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told the Herald that such secret censorship was inevitably corrupt."
To quote the late, great Douglas Adams, Id trust them about as far as I could comfortably spit out a dead rat.
Wikileaks been zapped?
This might explain why all I'm getting from wikileaks this morning is a lot of blank pages, ditto wrt the https://secure. even the tor connection appears to be borked.
Big brother, or have their servers been hammered into death by all the interest.
"satanic and Christian sites"
Hey, at least they're not persecuting the satanists at the behest of the christians.
That said, the concept of a secret blacklist is ludicrous.
"You, you're breaking the law by posting links to sites on this list"
"I'm so sorry, can I see the list so I know what I can't post?"
There are fools, idiots, morons and
Who'd have thought it
When the cold war was raging and media in the Soviet block was censored by government staff for the 'greater good' by secret censors making secret choices, who would have thought that only a few decades later, the free west would be subjected to secret censorship.
Or for that matter mass surveillance that the Stasi could only wet dream of?
I think we lost our way.
If implemented by idiots
"The list would have been sent to all ISPs in the country - at which point it would definitely have leaked."
Only if implemented by idiots (yeah, I know...)
The thing that amuses me is that the UK already pretty much has this system but it gets far less press. Most UK ISPs have a deal with the Home Office that compares every requested url with the Internet Watch Foundation's 5hit list and blocks unacceptable pages by (normally) returning a 500 error. The ISPs don't actually have access to the list of urls in the UK, it's an automated system whereby an encrypted list is sent/updated from the IWF to servers in each ISPs network which act as transparent proxies. There is no accountability.
Yesterday I surfed wikileaks from here in Oz
zip, nada, zilch, nothing!
Conroy is a nutjob.
"every parent's worst nightmare"
I'd never realised that Australian parents were far more worried about their children seeing a list of possibly mucky websites than about them being run over in the street, or abducted and murdered, or any of the other far nastier things that could happen.
These Australians are crazy!
Well I'm not surprised
Everyone knows that Dentists are as bad as Satanists and Pornstars! Ban the lot of them!
Except when our teeth rot from eating Government Approved (tm) Candy, made from 100% Finest Organic Bullshit.
Need to be Wary of Fake "Leaks"
It occurs to me that we need to be wary of fake "leaks".
Say, for example, the IWF's blacklist was to be "leaked", and it turned out that it really was only indecent images of children that were on the list. But suppose the "leak" was deliberate, and the "leaked" list incomplete. It would give the impression that the IWF was really only doing what it claims to do. If, instead, the IWF is also engaging in political censorship, with such blacklisted political sites omitted from the "leaked" list, such a "leak" would itself serve to hide the true nature of the censorship.
If a genuine, genuinely leaked list contains, say, sites blacklisted for political reasons, the authenticity of the inclusion of such sites can easily be checked by attempting to visit those sites and seeing whether or not access is blocked. If access to such sites is consistently blocked, that confirms such sites really are on the list.
"The inevitable has happened - the secret Australian blacklist of banned websites has been published on the internet."
No it hasn't.
"University of Sydney associate technology professor Bjorn Landfeldt told the Sydney Morning Herald the leak was every parent's worst nightmare because curious children would now be looking for the list."
What a lot of unsubstantiated nonsense. I am a parent and I am definitively against child pornography. The leaking of this list is not my worst nightmare. I do not in any way believe that wikileaks now will be the main place for children to surf to. Why on earth would any journalist with some brain of their own allow such nonsense to be presented without any reflection? Sorry but this is just not good enough.
The idea that there would be governmentally sponsored secret lists in the first place is what should be every citizens worst nightmare. Including parents...
I am all for lists that are not secret and not compulsory. I am also for a governmentally sponsored list service which can have a number of different types of lists (not secret) available for the public to use in their personal internet browser settings etc.
Totalitarian control and imposed secret censorship is not only incompatible with the ideal of the democratic society - it is also completely undermining the political agenda for the "knowledge society"... So this is another wonderful example of a political self goal - unfortunately this political practice by self righteus ignoramus of leaders does not appear to go away - perhaps now in the post-modern era we as a society are heading towards a new "dark age"...
Gambling Sites Make Sense.
Imagine being able to cut an entire continent off from you competition. All it takes is an anonymous take down request.
Through a completely unrelated reason I've been trying to access Wikileaks for the last 16 hours (I currently live in QLD) *cough* Barclays*cough* and Wikileaks has bean as dead as a dodo. Am I rightly suspicious as to why this is? Has the Ozzie government secretly prioritised sites that might let people know that they've brought forward the blocking software earlier for a few certain sites early? It seems like it. Wikileaks? What does the Ozzie government have to fear from Wikileaks? Apart from the list of banned sites straying away from the field of child porn?
Stop: because it's similiar to the *Wrong way go back* that's all Firefox has been giving me all day.
I'd say that this would be the death knell of the censorship scheme, but then I've thought that at a few points in this sordid story. The Aussie censorship law is like SCO... headed by an insufferable idiot, blind to reality, evil, and keeps El Reg flowing with copy!
A big round of applause!
Firstly for Bjorn Landfeldt for winning this week's statement of the bleedin' obvious award!
Secondly for those who decided that ignore this idiotic idea, publish and be damned! Well done!
TOR! TOR! TOR!
I'd think about setting up a paid for proxy service and advertising heavily in Aus. That will surely be a money spinner.
If we are looking for anime porn...
...shouldn't that be "Daisy-chan" not "Daisy Chain"?
Never trust the government to censor anything...
@secret censorship was inevitably corrupt.
But I doubt that is going to stop our Government studying the Aussie plans with great interest....
presumably Wikileaks will be on the next version of the list?
i don't believe any of it without the list
and the appropriate playmobil version for the better ones!
High time someone leaked the IWF blocked list...
Wikileaks back up...
For me at least, in the semi-free (for now) USA.
The blocklist is up too:
IWF watch list should be examined
Well I've just checked 10 at random with provocative names and found the common false alarm.... adult porn images with photoshopped models that make their skin look younger. If you don't recognise the image, the cropping and photo shopping makes them look younger but it's not reality.
If they're false flagging porn sites then I wonder if the IWF list is as bad. That would explain why they claim 2000+ sites, when I believe the number to be much lower.
It would mean the same thing, lots of false flagged sites.
I'm also in Qld, and wikileaks is working OK here. Got the list too! Maybe it's because I have the OpenDNS numbers as well as the Optus numbers in the net conn.
I do hope that either the gov drops the censorship plan*, or I can keep accessing wikileaks for updates on the list!
Black helcopters because...
UK next then
Last year we laughed about the Oz guy getting arrested for caroon pictures of Bart and Lisa Simpson - now they are illegal in the UK too (wtf??)
This will just appear to be a good idea to our nanny state bunch of idiots! When will govenrments remember that they work for us and are not voted in to be our moral guardians??
"Stephen Conroy, the Australian Minister for Internet Censorship, is claiming that the published list is not the official government blacklist."
It is pretty well irrelevant what Stephen Conroy claims (after all he is a Politician....), until or unless he is prepared to prove otherwise we have no proof that the list is not at least as deeply flawed as the one published.
This of course is the problem with Secret lists....
Black helicopters ? well - I hear the distant sound of Black hawks doing 'anti terrorist exercises' up and down Pitt St*, so I am off to my Blue mountains bunker complex for a few Coopers*1 and a lie down....
*Pitt St - one of the main streets through the CBD of Sydney - a street down which Helicopters with known 'power droop' issues are known to be flown (between buildings) at high speed in the name of 'anti terrorist' exercises - in actual fact we are in much more danger from these exercises than any mythical Terrorists....
*1 Coopers - a beer that is significantly better than Fosters (not that this is at all difficult - in fact I do not know anywhere in Sydney that you could even buy Fosters as this is just an awful Beer we export to give foreigners a bad opinion of Australian Beer...)
That didn't take long
Great Aussie firewall claims first victim (17 March 2009)
Aussie firewall blocks Wikileaks (18 March 2009)
Secret Aussie blacklist leaked (19 March 2009)
The best way to fight the blacklist is to break it. Spread links to the non-child-porn pages all across *.au . Follow 'foad's lead and get legitimate sites added - the more pageviews the better (and extra points if you can get El Reg banned). Let's see how long the censors are willing to play whack-a-mole with red herrings.
Oh, that hurts! Wait, I'm not numb
Ah shut up, open wide, here I come.
Why secret anyway?
If every URL on the list is blocked by the ISPs in said country, why does the list need to be secret?
Since people within that region shouldn't be able to access sites/pages on the list, there's no need to hide it.
As demonstrated, the filtering is still working despite the list being on Wikileaks, and how much more supportive of the list would the public be, if they can just go to a site and see that sites aren't being blocked for political/religious reasons.
Oh, I see the problem now.
@AC 23:04 GMT
"Follow 'foad's lead and get legitimate sites added"
Unfortunately, since shortly after this latest bruhaha began, the ACMA websites' complaint submission page has been offline for <ahem> "maintenance"
Otherwise, I would have already submitted a whole raft of "complaints"
Well, I think the list is appropriate...
I think the dentist got in on a text comparison - 'root' canal work
As for the kennels, maybe something about beastiality, and I think that anyone who looks at LOLCat pages definitely needs jailing - or at least some psychiatric care :)
Overall, it's doing an exemplary job. All hail our caring government censors.
This isn't funny. The ignorance; utter stupidity of those that are supposed to be leading the country is frightening. If you want to publicise anything, ban it. Prohibition has never worked and never will, until we all degenerate to the intellectual level of blokes like Conroy.
A list of banned dentisis?
"Is it safe?"
Australian censorships history...
tbh the Ozzie government are sticking with a tried and tested method. When there was a list of banned books in Oz (around 5000 titles) the list itself was also secret.
Literally so scary.
I feel like I'm watching the world change before my eyes. At alarming speed. It's so crazy that I can only think of it being llike witnessing the start of Nazi Germany.
Powerless to not only stop it, prevent it, but even speak out.
It's such a scary day when you know that the whole nation is being ignored, and that laws restricting freedom in this way are going to go ahead and there's nothing you can do.
I don't even live in Australia (UK) but it's still incredibly scary and will probably be here not long after.
I feel like some kind of toddler who has no power and no options to protest against any 'authority figure' except to maybe have a little tantrum, but knowing that I have a tantrum I'm going to grabbed by the scruff of the neck at the first peep, be rolled violently into a cellar and have a door slammed in my face.
re: wary of fake links
If you visit the links to test them... this is incredibly dodgy because not only are you accessing information the government says is (already) illegal (even though it's harmless,) you also run the risk of actually coming across real child pornography or similar websites. VERY bad.
Why don't they spend their time and effort sending DOS attacks or something to any genuine and should-probably-be-illegal-sites. Or better yet, why don't they get off their ass, and try to track the criminals down. Then, instead of treating them nicely, throw them in jail.
Re: Oh, that hurts! Wait, I'm not numb
>Ah shut up, open wide, here I come.
Now imagine that when you're having a vasectomy. I can still remember it 16 years later and "Oh, that hurts" doesn't even begin to describe it.
filter unsavory sites or unsavory filter for sites
This whole idea is just loony.
One of the first signs of dictatorship/socialism is to ban information and broadening the banned subject matter in an ad hoc manner which is usually subjective.
S Conroy and the whole filter thing should be scrapped and overturned like the ridiculous 'Aloco-pop' fiasco (ironically this is where regulating quantity and content is worthwhile).
Ooops - saying these things may very well get this page banned. Phhhhtt -
Grow up government and get real with tackling Child Porn. This is not the answer when the whole blocking strategy can be abused outright.
Let's see - Labour is in ... has anyone seen if any Liberal/Democrat/Family First websites are blocked YET? After all it won't take much to add those 'other nasty' sites to the filter.
From a truly concerned citizen of the Austalian community.
Re: IWF watch list should be examined
As mad as it sounds, those fake cut-n-paste and photoshopped images may well be illegal too - they are in the UK ("pseudo-photographs") and presumably in Australia (given that even cartoons are counted as child porn, there). So despite it clearly not being under the intention of combatting child abuse, from the Government's point of view, it still comes under the aim of "blocking illegal child porn".
Hell, in the UK, images of consenting adults can now be illegal (so-called "extreme" porn - nice unbiased term that the Government uses), and drawings of under-18s (or even drawings of adults with some impression of an under-18) will soon be illegal. Though the IWF does not yet appear to be blocking these (although who knows, since the list is secret).
@ Need to be Wary of Fake "Leaks"
Jeezzz, and I thought I was paranoid!!
@ Well, I think the list is approtriate
Hey, you leave lolcats alone! They get me through my working night :-)
Where's the list then?
Did I miss something? Was there a link to the list which my eyes skimmed over?
If not, why not? It would seem reasonable to link to the list the article is talking about. I would hate to think that the register (or its advertisers) feel pressured by this rediculous attempt at mass censorship into restricting easy access to information about it.