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Tuesday, January 01

Rant

New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss

The Rudd government has started its term off with a thud, vowing to build a Great Firewall of Australia to block out naughty pictures.

Actually, it's worse: They're forcing other people to pay to build and operate that firewall:
AUSTRALIANS will be forced to contact their internet service provider to avoid having their access to the web restricted.

The restrictions are planned by the Federal Government to give greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites.

Under the plan, all internet service providers will be required to provide a "clean" feed to households and schools, free of pornography and other inappropriate material.

Any internet users who want to "opt out" of the clean feed will have to contact their ISP.

The Howard government looked at a similar apporach nearly a decade ago, but backed away in favour of end-user filtering applications.  The Rudd government, it appears, is made up of the same sort of "think of the children!" nanny-state authoritarians, only with added stupid.  After all, in 1998 it wasn't painfully obvious to the uneducated that this can't possibly work.  In 2008, there's no excuse for this:
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said everything possible had to be done to shield children from violent and pornographic online material.

"We have always argued more needs to be done to protect children," he said.

Senator Conroy said the clean feed, also known as mandatory ISP filtering, would prevent users accessing prohibited content.

"We will work with the industry to get the best policy. (But) Labor is committed to introducing mandatory ISP filtering."

Everything possible has to be done, eh, Senator Conroy?  How about we just ban the internet entirely?  That'll protect the children real well.


Quick note on the logistics of the thing: There is no centralised control of the internet in Australia.  There are hundreds of ISPs here.  As far as I am aware, zero of them are set up to enforce this sort of idiocy.

Give me ten seconds and I can dig an SSH, SSL or PPTP tunnel out of Australia and bypass any security they care to implement short of a central firewall, and a central firewall would disrupt business and communications all over the country.

On top of that, we have a clear the Web is the Internet mentality here, not something you want to see in a federal communications minister.  Or, Senator Conroy, were you planning to filter Usenet and email and BitTorrent and FTP and IRC and Gnutella and eDonkey and Kademlia and DC++ and fifty other P2P protocols?

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