Wednesday, January 09


Put Them All In A Blender And Set It To Puree

Warning: The following post contains more than the usual Ambient Irony level of vulgarities.  But it fucking well needs to.

More insightful coverage of the proposed Great Firewall of Australia:
BROADBAND Minister Stephen Conroy faces an uphill struggle in his plans to increase internet censorship by boosting the official blacklist from a puny 1000 web pages to many millions of banned websites.
Quick aside: The 1000 web pages mentioned here is a list of sites that the Australian censors make available to web-filtering companies.  It is not a list of sites currently blocked or banned by the government.
Industry commentators say the task may be beyond the capabilities of filtering mechanisms and procedures, and it would be impossible to block all such material.

Senator Conroy will seek to halt access to child pornography, X-rated and violent material for all home users through mandatory filtering by internet service providers.

Actually, child pornography has only appeared as a (deeply dishonest) rhetorical point; the filters are intended to block access to violent or pornographic material in general.  Child pornography is, of course, already illegal to create, distribute, or possess.
The scope of the problem is, however, immense. Policing child pornography alone could be beyond present capabilities.
True, the police have been unable to stamp it out, but that's not what this article is saying:
According to Bernadette McMenamin, the chief executive of anti-child-abuse group Child Wise, more than 100,000 commercial websites offer child pornography and more than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the internet every week.
I can certainly believe the 20,000 images a week, considering the sheer volume of stuff that hits Usenet alone.  The 100,000 sites seems rather high, and Ms. McMenamin offers no evidence to support her numbers.

But that's not the point here.  The point is this:

Various international groups have estimated the number of child pornography websites alone to be in the millions, while one local internet service provider told The Australian it could be as high as 30 million sites globally.
The point is, the people writing about this are completely clueless.  There are 30 million child porn sites globally?  Thirty million?  Are you out of your fucking minds?

Are there 30 million sites on the web with violent or sexually explicit content?  Yeah, maybe, and if these morons go ahead with their plans this will become number 30,000,001.  But to equate pictures of women who have temporarily mislaid their clothing with something that is outlawed in every civilised country in the world is either incredibly stupid or outrageously dishonest.

Senator Conroy's office is, however, not deterred.

"Admittedly, it will be difficult, but that's the intention," Senator Conroy's spokeswoman said yesterday. "Obviously there are many sites out there and they change their names. It's going to require a fairly vigilant monitoring system and it's not going to be 100 per cent foolproof."

So, they're going to pay people to track down these 30,000,000 sites, check them carefully for restricted content, and add them to the list?

(Snipped - a few paragraphs regarding the technical limitations of internet filtering and the fact that Senator Conroy's plan is doomed from the get-go and will cause nothing but damage to Australian business and Australia's reputation.)

The internet regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, has struggled to stem the flow of prohibited web content, as most of the material is hosted offshore. Moreover, it can only act on complaints.
Struggled to stem the flow of prohibited web content, eh?  And how much has it struggled?
In 2006-07, there were only 602 complaints, resulting in five take-down orders over locally hosted content; 494 overseas-hosted items were referred to internet filter makers for inclusion in their products.
Good grief.  And these are the people you expect to police the entire internet?  I had more queries regarding in that period (albeit not about offensive content) (mostly) and I operate that in my spare time with a budget of zero.

Oh, and five take-down orders?  And now you're planning to escalate that to 30 million blocked sites?  Good luck, guys.
The US is by far the largest source of illegal and offensive material. In 2006-07, it accounted for 53 per cent of the total, according to ACMA, followed by Russia at 11 per cent.
America, fuck yeah!
ACMA's Donald Robertson confirmed there were "currently 1000 pages on the blacklist".

"We're also part of an international network that generates 300,000 investigations per year into offensive and illegal internet pages," he said. "The majority of these investigations relate to child pornography."

300,000 investigations per year?  That's quite a lot.  I'd like to know what these investigations involve; I suspect that most of them involve "Go away you idiot; there's nothing illegal about that site."

Senator Conroy's spokeswoman said the blacklist would be expanded through liaison with the Australian Federal Police, and international agencies such as Interpol and the FBI.

Oh good, the police will be involved in a national internet censorship scheme.
She said technical difficulties would be resolved in filtering trials being conducted by the ACMA in Tasmania. "We have a lot of experts coming to us saying, this can be done," she said.

"We'll be testing the best overseas models, the best advice and the best new technologies." Three previous trials by ACMA - in 2001, 2003 and 2005 - all found problems, including filters allowing banned material through and wrongly blocking legitimate content. A test of six filters recorded a relative loss of network performance ranging from 18 at best and 78 per cent at worst.

Only 18 to 78% performance reduction on a small-scale test?  Let's make it mandatory for the entire country!
Senator Conroy has been prodded into action by Family First senator Steve Fielding, and the Australian Family Association, which scorned the former government's $85 million free filters for families package as wholly inadequate.

It called for automated content filtering technology to scan for objectionable content, and a new "grey list" of sites, such as those promoting anorexia.

And the agenda becomes blindingly clear: Following the ideology of a single senator who isn't even part of the governing party, the Australian government is supposed to examine every web page in the world and decide who can and can't read what.

Who voted for these cretins?  Because, if it's you, this is your fault.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:27 PM | Comments (17) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 1045 words, total size 7 kb.

1 If it gets so bad you decide to move to the USA, I'll vouch for you.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at Thursday, January 10 2008 07:06 AM (UquFN)

2 Damn.  And I was looking at Australia as the place to move if the USA got too crazy. 

Posted by: ubu at Thursday, January 10 2008 09:02 AM (fURYZ)

3 I don't think this will actually pass, at least, not in its present form.  It came up in similar form twice during in the past 12 years, and was watered down to the present situation (five takedown notices in a year).  But it's incredibly annoying that it's come up again with the new Labor government.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, January 10 2008 10:31 AM (PiXy!)

4 Yeah, Pixy... we'll adopt you if you have to leave Australia suddenly. wink

In the meantime, let's look at their numbers and I'll take the smaller one - leaving the 30,000,000 alone.

We're also part of an international network that generates 300,000 investigations per year into offensive and illegal internet pages...

That works out to 822 investigations per day every single day of the year! Now add 3 more zeros onto that and you have the estimated number of sites that must be evaluated per DAY - every day - for the year... to keep track of all the porn.

I'm thinking that someone in the government is getting a real kick out of checking out this stuff - best of all they can claim it's all "legal" and part of the job description. Heh.

This kind of garbage pops up over here in America every few years.  Makes me want to find these people and smack them. 

Posted by: Teresa at Thursday, January 10 2008 12:15 PM (rVIv9)

5 You have to congratulate Mr Conroy. He has managed to push home loan interest rates off the front page. The Swan now has time to think of something intelligent to say.

Posted by: Big al at Thursday, January 10 2008 03:26 PM (XqSSr)

6 So, Pixy, (I have sent several e-mails to you that have gone unanswered, so I apologize for leaving this off-topic comment) - what is the possibility of getting my site moved to the minx server that everyone is raving about?

I thoughht I had gotten on the list a while ago. The spam attack crap is driving my readers nuts lately.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by: Mark at Friday, January 11 2008 01:57 AM (3W582)

7 Sorry Mark!  I think I did get your emails, but things have been insane the past month. sad

I'll get a site set up for you today.  I'll copy across all your existing content, and if you're happy with the new site I'll switch you over.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, January 11 2008 02:45 AM (PiXy!)

8 Aw, thanks, man!!!  I really appreciate it.  Sorry to keep on you, especially if things have been so crazed.  It's good to know there's hope on the horizon!

Posted by: Mark at Friday, January 11 2008 11:30 AM (3W582)


I voted for none of those cretins.

It's not my fault.

Losing your E-mail addy was my fault though. sad

Which is why this comment is not on topic, but is a tech question.

Is Live Journal a banned domain? A commenter on my site just said that she had to log out in order to comment as her site was "banned".

Here is her site

Umm, hyperlinks can't be generated in AOL, but the other HTML gadgets in the toolbar seem to be working fine.

Also pictures cant be inserted in a post using AOL 9.0. I'm in a cybercafe so it may be an issue with their set-up, but I've had a similar issue at home.





Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Wednesday, January 16 2008 10:47 AM (qBCpG)


This is the slippery slope to hell.

This is like banning the printing press because people are printing pr0n with it.

BTW I know how they get the 100,000 number: 1) they assume that many legitimate pr0n sites use underage models out of carelessness (failure to check ID, etc)  2) they include places in Europe where the age of consent is less than 18 (there are certainly 16-year-olds that a normal man would find attractive)..  The number of sites actually catering to those miscreants interested in pre-pubescents is probably very small because they are heavily targeted by LEO.  The number hosted in America is probably zero, for the same reason.

Also, when they say "violent content" they are likely referring to the many, many S&M/fetish sites out there.  Most of them are relatively tame, though some of the Russian ones are a bit disturbing.  Still, there's no evidence that I'm aware of that anything nonconsensual is going on.

Posted by: TallDave at Friday, January 18 2008 02:50 AM (oyQH2)

11 Brickmuppet - sorry, probably someone spammed us with LiveJournal links, and now the entire domain's getting filtered.  I'll fix that now.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, January 18 2008 10:46 PM (PiXy!)

12 TallDave - I don't know that nude photos of 16-year-olds are even illegal in Australia.  Certainly when I was 16, it wasn't that unusual for an under-18 girl to appear nude in a magazine here.

Of course, I only bought them for the articles!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, January 18 2008 10:48 PM (PiXy!)

13 Unless it's changed recently, 16-year-old erotic nude models are still legal in the UK, as well. I remember about ten years ago Mayfair's "coming next issue" section eagerly announced they'd be featuring a busty 16-year-old. Since I was reading this in California, I wondered what the importers would do about it.

The next issue arrived at local newsstands with carefully blacked-out and snipped sections. The girl was fully exposed, but all instances of the word "sixteen" had been removed...

In the Sixties, it wasn't unusual for Playboy models to be under 18, but it wasn't until the strict federal record-keeping law went on the books in 1985 that everyone really took it seriously. I know two Playmates from 1984 who lied about their ages; one added three years to reach a legal age, and the other removed three to avoid being "too old" for Playboy.


Posted by: J Greely at Thursday, January 31 2008 11:21 AM (9Nz6c)


That was after that one girl (damned if I can remember her name) made all those porn movies while she was underage. I remember hearing that one time she walked onto a set and announced, "Hey, guys, it's my 18th birthday! Let's party" -- and there were heart attacks all around. All her movies had to be recalled. (And there were a lot, because she was gorgeous and really popular.)

Then the porn industry started getting serious about checking ID.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thursday, January 31 2008 11:59 AM (+rSRq)

15 Tracy Lords has repeatedly denied that she outed herself, but coincidentally, the only film where her contract included royalties was the one made after she turned 18.


Posted by: J Greely at Thursday, January 31 2008 01:32 PM (9Nz6c)

16 Yeah, that was the girl. That was a real scandal in the industry; I remember it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thursday, January 31 2008 01:52 PM (+rSRq)

The girl was fully exposed, but all instances of the word "sixteen" had been removed.
That is truly beautiful.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, February 01 2008 12:24 PM (PiXy!)

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