Thursday, December 4, 2008

Regarding 'The Free World', 'The Internet' and You.

It's not often that politics gets my back up about something that I feel the need to post it here, but while watching Question Time in the Senate last night, the topic of the great firewall of Australia came up -- again.

For International Readers: This isn't exactly new, compulsory ISP-level filtering was tried in closed-quarters in 1999 and 2001 -- however, these were opt-out and focused on guarding against underaged illicit content.

For Local Readers: There's a protest going on in the state capitals for the weekend of the 13th and 14th of December, if you care -- you should be there.

For everyone: The EFA has a very well researched document into why said filtering of this type is a flawed exercise, which you should read.

This time around, there's at least two lists -- one banning underaged illicit content and the other banning 'undesirable content'.

Couple this with the fact both of these lists are privately built, without public consultation -- and the fact -- there's no ability to opt-out.

"Canberra, We may have a problem."

(oh, and the rest of the world is laughing at you, just by the by.)


While Conroy was discussing porn and blocked keyword sites that the ACMA list comprises of during the trial run (beginning on December 24th).

Senator Bernardi said:

I note that the minister failed miserably to answer that question, which was specifically about the number of people needed for a trial to be credible. I also note that in the expression of interest documents the second stream of the trial includes a filtering of other unwanted content. I ask the minister:
Has this unwanted content been identified, and by whom?

Senator Conroy came up with an interesting number in regards to the number of blocked sites, that i'd not heard before:

The list could contain 10,000 [potential sites].
When you look around the world at Interpol, the FBI, Europol and other law enforcement agencies and you look at the size of the lists that they are actually using at the moment, 1,300 would not be sufficient to cover the URLs that we would have supplied to us with the purpose of blocking.

(Quotes from Australian Government Senate Hansard - 03/12/2008) (any emphasis mine)

I wonder, Supplied by whom?

Given the ACMA already have a link for people to report prohibited content, one wonders if the government plans on listing these sites as well as the ones supplied by law enforcement verbatim, or at least vetting them to ensure rogue parties aren't submitting them for their own ends.

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