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Australia Scales Back Internet Blacklist, Nixes Full-Scale Censorship

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the now-with-less-poison dept.

Australia 51

littlekorea writes "The Australian Government has officially abandoned plans to legislate a mandatory internet filter. The news ends a four-year campaign by the ruling party to implement legislation that would have compelled ISPs to block a list of URLs dictated by Australia's telecommunications regulator, the ACMA. ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL." Also at ZDnet.

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Just block? (4, Insightful)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#41918621)

FTFS: "ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL."

I say make Interpol shut them down!

Re:Just block? (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41918681)

Why the hell is INTERPOL running child pornography sites in the first place?!

Re:Just block? (1)

unix_core (943019) | about 2 years ago | (#41918701)

No stupid, they just use their bookmarks.

Re:Just block? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41919293)

I imagine that since all government employees spend all their time on porn sites they through it would be a good way of keeping track of them.

Re:Just block? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#41919715)

Why

$$$$$ Profit!

Re:Just block? (4, Informative)

djl4570 (801529) | about 2 years ago | (#41918763)

INTERPOL cannot just shut down a site. It has to be shut down by law enforcement where the server resides. INTERPOL can work with local law enforcement but it can be difficult to get local law enforcement to cooperate. Look at a timeframe here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Ukrainian_child_pornography_raids [wikipedia.org] to see how long it took to shut down these notorious sites.

Re:Just block? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41918893)

the joke is that the summary makes it sound like INTERPOL is "maintaining" the sites.

Re:Just block? (4, Insightful)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 2 years ago | (#41919849)

So if there is copyright infringement going on the US readily twists other countries arms so they shut down the sites and extradite the owners, but if there is child pornography going on there is wringiing of hand and "so sorry, nothing we can do, must have cooperation of the locals, incidentally we have this censorship thingy so that we can hinder our own citizens from seeing what we don't want them to"?

It's almost as if fighting CP wasn't the real priority here...

Re:Just block? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41920203)

I'd dispute the US 'readily' twisting other country's arms over mere copyright infringement. It's rampant overseas, far more widespread than child porn.

The Ukranians will eventually bust the child porn servers. They'd laugh at any efforts to shut down equivalents to megadownload and piratebay.

Re:Just block? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 2 years ago | (#41924461)

I'm straying far from what we're talking about here, but just shutting down the sites doesn't do you much good, you need to find the people responsible for actually abusing the children and bring them to justice. Stopping the pics from flying around just makes you look like you're "tough on crime" (TM) but doesn't really help anyone.

Re:Just block? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41925401)

I'd imagine that a crack down on the abusers in such pictures would just result in less identifying details. There is quite a bit of information on GPS (meta data) and how to hide or remove other forensic info. Wall outlets, t-shirts, and even coke cans can narrow down places. However why do people think that such individuals won't just prep the room ahead of time where the pictures are taken? White bed sheets, censored voice, properly blurred (or completely cut) heads, etc?

The only people getting caught by these actions are the ones who would likely have been caught anyway.

Re:Just block? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953517)

I remember a story involving a specialist from the AFP identifying a Russian child abuse victim and her location due to some of the things in the background of pictures, i.e.: the street signs, the mural on the side of her school's main building, etc... Unfortunately the whole investigation, including getting local police interested enough to actually get involved, took over ten years and by that stage she was an adult and not prepared to press charges.

Re:Just block? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41919157)

So instead of dictatorship by local government possibly abused to censor unfavorable political ideals, they have dictatorship by the International courts possibly abused to censor unfavorable political ideals? (Yeah, okay, child pornography IS an unfavorable political ideal; but I mean things other than stated, under the guise of being related to what is stated in some way.)

Re:Just block? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41919557)

I'd worry more about the prospect for expansion. Law aside, this means that ISPs have to have a filtering system in place - somewhere, there must be a configurable lists of forbidden sites or servers, and the routers must be capable of comparing against it. Once it's established that blocking a site is just a matter of updating a list, it becomes much easier for either future acts or just judges to order that sites be blocked for other crimes - like copyright infringement, or libel, or whatever Australia's version of hate speech is.

Difficult one (-1, Offtopic)

unix_core (943019) | about 2 years ago | (#41918645)

How can i make a first post if i have nothing insightful nor informative to say. Saying something funny would no doubt get me labeled as some kind of pervert.

Re:Difficult one (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41918703)

Don't worry, you're probably already labelled as some kind of pervert. But admitting that you have a problem is the first stage in dealing with it...

Re:Difficult one (1)

unix_core (943019) | about 2 years ago | (#41918761)

You insensitive clod! What makes you think I wasn't trying to say something funny? No one will ever take my perversion seriously now!

Re:Difficult one (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41918709)

How can i make a first post

Well, you didn't, so why worry?

Weird. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41918671)

Still sounds like a mandatory internet filter to me. If anything, a worldwide blacklist of websites seems more troubling than an Australia-wide blacklist.

Re:Weird. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919109)

Still sounds like a mandatory internet filter to me. If anything, a worldwide blacklist of websites seems more troubling than an Australia-wide blacklist.

It wasn't just a an Australian Wide block of sites in Australia it was going to be a Block of any site worldwide deemed unsuitable by the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) from porn to torrents to radical politics anything they wanted and the blacklist was to be secret (well until wiki leaks got it) at least now it is only kiddie porn sites and not anything else they wanted to block. FWIW I am in Australia

Re:Weird. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919935)

They are probably less likely to block sites due to Australian politics, but at the cost of potentially blocking sites due to non-Australian sensitivities.

Go Aussies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41918739)

Interpol is not in the pocket of your local politicians, it does not have a side in your environment vs. corporate-benefits debates. And the order was specific to kiddie porn sites, not file sharing.

Sounds like a reasonable compomise. If I were an ISP, I'd probably have been doing this before the government asked for it, but the legal cover that I'm complying with the law would be appreciated.

Thank goodness (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | about 2 years ago | (#41918839)

The censorious nature of this Labor government has puzzled me. It isn't part of their heritage. I'd have expected it from the opposition a few decades ago, not from this government now.

Perhaps blame senator Conroy or his hairdresser.

This is the case in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41918851)

The only sites that are currently blocked in the UK are those that are on the IWF blacklist, of course there are sites where ISPs are ordered to block on copyright grounds, but that is usually the exception.

Re:This is the case in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919047)

I'd rather have INTERPOL set up the list. The IWF answer to no-one and keep everything secret. Seems like a recipe for corruption to me.

Re:This is the case in the UK (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#41919265)

"there are sites where ISPs are ordered to block on copyright grounds, but that is usually the exception"

Now they are, but probably not for long.

Re:This is the case in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41921513)

The IWF is much, much worse than Interpol. Want some examples. Here;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7770456.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7774102.stm

Awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41918877)

Now just remove the mandatory data caps and It'll almost be a decent internet.

Dont forget their plans for mandatory logging (4, Interesting)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | about 2 years ago | (#41918905)

While this seems like a small victory for common sense, don't forget that Conroy wants the ISPs to store years of traffic for every customer.
Rather than prevent a site from working (via blocking against a secret government list), they want to be silently collecting "evidence" instead.

Re:Dont forget their plans for mandatory logging (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41919541)

Damn, just as I was feeling good free speech battles had been pushed back to where they should be, child porn, rather than something actually encroaching on freedom.

Re:Dont forget their plans for mandatory logging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41924821)

Conroy is an idiot, he knows nothing about IT and tech, why is he the communications minister? And people are voting for Gillard who supports him (and all the other shamed ALP ministers), just because they want to vote for a woman and feel 'equality'

Re:Dont forget their plans for mandatory logging (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 2 years ago | (#41925725)

Turnbull is an idiot, he knows nothing about IT and tech, why is he the shadow communications minister? And people are voting for Abbott who supports him (and all the other shamed Coalition ministers), just because they want to vote for a man and feel justified in xenophobia.

Politics is a popularity contest, not a ministerial meritocracy. The options are generally equally poor but you have to work with the bunch that were popular enough to get elected. See the problem now?

Re:Dont forget their plans for mandatory logging (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 2 years ago | (#41927233)

Turnbull is an idiot, he knows nothing about IT and tech, why is he the shadow communications minister?

Turnbull was the chairman of OzEmail and owns part of online CD retailer Chaos Music. He may not be an IT specialist, but he definitely knows more about the industry than Conroy. He also knows damn well how the NBN stands to hurt his current business interests (outside Goldman Sachs, that is). Thinking he's an idiot is a mistake...he is in fact quite clever and very, very dangerous.

Re:Dont forget their plans for mandatory logging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928479)

Don't forget Turnbull was Peter Wright's defence barrister. Look up the "Spycatcher" trial in Australia 1987 and 1988. Turnbull made a mockery of the British attempt to ban Wright's book.
 
Not directly relevant to this situation, but it reinforces the point that he's not stupid.
 
Unlike Conroy.

Pics or it didn't ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919165)

ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL

Pics or it didn't NOMYEYESTHEYBURNNOOO*pokes out eyes*

**

captcha: viewable
Is that karma, or what?

Now, if ROMNEY had won the 2012 Election... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919171)

things -might- have been different.

'just saying.

+1 Australia (1)

kivig (2526134) | about 2 years ago | (#41919205)

Ideally an illegal activity should be dealt with in person, not by any blacklist. Apart from that +1 Australia!

Re:+1 Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919727)

Trying to work out how "Australia" is an adjective.

Re:+1 Australia (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 2 years ago | (#41924427)

I get an Australia boner for Australian porn. (www.abbywinters.com)

Re:+1 Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41925999)

A boner... down under?

Re:+1 Australia (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 2 years ago | (#41931007)

Most boners are down under, so yes. You're not thinking of an Australian kiss are you?

Good money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919239)

Maybe the Treasury should start selling advertising space on currency. "The $20 bill, brought to you by McDonald's."

Ineffective anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41919945)

Much more effective to collect everyone's data for two years anyway and then selectively apply copyright law/lisa simpson is child pornography/hate speech against your political enemies.

And remember, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41921867)

...the term "child pornography" is horrifically broad.

Especially if you live in the UK and are into anime characters...

FiXrst#! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41922123)

turd-suckingly and arms and dick The channel to sign And exciting; of prograaming right now. I tried,

Yeah, they just mandate it without legislation... (1)

Willbur (196916) | about 2 years ago | (#41924579)

Govt: "Give me all your URLs"
ISPs: "No"
Govt: "OK, will you give me half?"
ISPs: "OK"

This is not a win. It is true that the government is no longer proposing new legislation. This is because they seem to be getting much of what they want without new legislation. In particular, it appears there will be a new industry "Code of Practice" which will then have force under current legislation (think of it as like changing a regulation). There is also going to be a 'police request' to the ISPs. It isn't clear to me at this point which of these, or how the combination, leads to enforceability, but it seems all Aus ISPs are now going to be filtered.

Good:
    - The black-list will be the Interpol black-list, which I understand is at least reasonably well monitored and is quite small. It is also outside of political control in Australia.
    - I'm guessing the filtering will be DNS based for domains on the list, forwarding them to a proxy that checks the URL. This means it will not affect people not accessing those domains.

Bad:
    - We have a filter. This will have two effects: it will lead to worse enforcement of child abuse as people get complacent. It will cause the occasional problem like the Wikipedia/Scorpians cover (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Watch_Foundation_and_Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] )

This is a shame. Child porn sites stay up longer than phishing sites because banks actually want the phishing sites down, not just covered up.

It will also be interesting to see what effect DNS-SEC has on this, but that is in the longer term.

Re:Yeah, they just mandate it without legislation. (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41924785)

Seriously folks, filtering the internet is like trying to filter the air.

Are you absolutely certain that you filtered ALL of it, ALL the time, in EVERY circumstance?

It's also kinda like locking your door to prevent burglary. A skilled and determined burglar will find a way in, locks just keep only slightly dishonest people out.

For example: if this is based on DNS lookups then what happens when $USER runs a local caching DNS server rather than "pointing at their ISP"? What happens when $KIDDY_PORN_ADDICT simply turns up his VPN-TO-AMERICA and routes ALL his internet through there?

What sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41924969)

Anybody have a link to this list?

A small victory for commonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41925775)

Now to get rid of the data retention proposals, and commonsense will finally have prevailed.

Existing legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41926365)

Everyone seems to think it's a new law/technology brought in to implement the child porn filter, but it's existing (and has always been there), they're just adding INTERPOLs list to the existing AFP/ASIO/ASIS one.

Doormat in disguise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929477)

Australia isn't really a country, it's a doormat disguised as a country. Hell,they don't even have their OWN flag,even India has got it's own flag.Crown Corp of London's fools.the stench coming off of it is so bad....it's been dead a long time now.

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