The great Australian firewall

January 2nd, 2009 at 1:23 pm by David Farrar

There’s been quite a bit of media interest lately about the Australian Government’s daft idea to force Australian ISPs to install compulsory filters that will ban sites the Government deems undesirable.

did a piece this morning:

The Australian government plans to force Australian ISPs to filter out more than a thousand websites with content including child pornography, excessive violence, crime and drug information as well as promoting terrorism.

The policy, dubbed the ‘Great Aussie Firewall’, has been met with a storm of criticism across the Tasman.

New Zealand board member David Farrar says much of the banned content is traded over peer-to-peer networks which won’t be caught by filters.

He says the filters will also cause a sharp fall in download speeds for Australian users.

Internet Service Providers Association of New Zealand president Jamie Baddeley said the policy is insane and unworkable.

But he says it is symptomatic of pressure coming on ISPs to do more to police the internet.

One can also listen to the full item, at the bottom of the linked page. Jordan Cater is also interviewed.

I’ve also just been interview by for their 6 pm news tonight on the same issue.

I commented that luckily in NZ we have far smarter MPs, and I doubt more than a handful here would back some sort of compulsory government filter.

Also put in a plug for Netsafe, who provide really great resources for those worried about Internet safety.

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15 Responses to “The great Australian firewall”

  1. Alan Wilkinson (1,871 comments) says:

    I’m reminded of Tim Shadbolt’s remark from his concrete-laying days when he was called to replace a driveway because it had a crack in it: they didn’t need a concrete-layer, they needed a psychiatrist.

    Likewise the “net unsafe” neurotics. Teach life-skills. Life doesn’t come with a firewall.

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  2. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    Hi Alan
    This is one of those cases that if we weren’t so risk adverse and we all shared the same common values and common sense, most people would have the Life Skills you mention.

    At least the Ozzies are trying to do something to protect the weak and young, to reply on parents sadly is a lottery at best.

    I’m reminded of the film Minority Report, where they burst in on the bad guys and nab them before they do the deed.
    Would that happen to the pornographers and such like who deliberately stake out turf they know young people will go into.

    Which brings me to our MP’s that DPF lauds and especially his hero Prime Minister John Key.
    Methinks in good old safe green Kiwiland, they would nail every one of us (including all the decent ordinary Kiwi parents) instead of the bad guys and tell us it was to stop child (net ) abuse!

    But then as the Ozzies will find out, legislation and governments are a blunt instrument at best and there are areas they should keep their grubby fingers out of, like family life, except the bad guys of course :-)

    Do no harm!

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  3. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    I went to the link Jastowns and all it had was a debunking of the 911 report.
    What’s that got to do with the NZ government?

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  4. jastowns (126 comments) says:

    the NZ government has imposed new terror laws on us with false info
    if you think new laws which take away our rights based on bullshit dose not effect you think again,this info should be plastered all over the beehive why isn’t it happening

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  5. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    Is that the sound of black helicopters I can hear?

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  6. thomasbeagle (77 comments) says:

    Why are people getting upset about the Australians doing it when the NZ Government is already sneaking it in here? http://www.stuff.co.nz/4613287a6479.html

    Of course, that’s only for child pornography. For now.

    [DPF: I have no problems with ISPs choosing to block out known child porn sites, as they are illegal under NZ law. Sure it can be argued thin end of the wedge, but a long long way removed from what Australia is doing]

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  7. Don the Kiwi (1,706 comments) says:

    Good on Telstra Clear for blocking porn sites. They – the porn sites -are a symbol and a tool of our society’s degradation.

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  8. Swampash (114 comments) says:

    The most concise and coherent arguments against this (retarded) policy that I have found are contained within correspondence between Mark Newton (network engineer at Aussie ISP Internode) and his local MP Kate Ellis. Newton has posted his correspondence online to assist in discussion.

    First letter:
    http://users.on.net/~newton/ellis-2008-10-20.pdf

    Second letter:
    http://users.on.net/~newton/ellis-2008-11-17.pdf

    Believe it or not, the Australian Labor Government “leant on” Internode when Newton’s arguments became public. Hell hath no fury like a Nanny State resisted.

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  9. Alan Wilkinson (1,871 comments) says:

    At least the Ozzies are trying to do something to protect the weak and young, to reply on parents sadly is a lottery at best.

    Daft beyond belief. It will be as successful as the war on drugs. Relying on parents might be a lottery, but relying on the Government is a dead cert loss. Heaps of bureaucrats and contractors will get fat and happy, taxes will rise and in twenty years time the “problem” will be an order of magnitude bigger than it is now.

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  10. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    So if the Aussies rein in the IS P’s what will come next, filters on political blogs, filters on opposition websites. Sounds like a very dangerous idea to me. Just imagine if the NZ Liarbore party had the ability to filter out all websites except arse licking ones like the Standard. LEAVE THE NET ALONE.

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  11. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Sounds like the filter system they have in Cuba.

    Message to Rudd; Dont fidel wit the net

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  12. joeAverage (311 comments) says:

    REDTUBE opps youtube is a good site :) got to stop thoughts um thoughts naughty boy

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  13. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Sounds like some consultancies are going to ream the AU government so hard they’ll wake up with a massive hangover, no wallet and a vague recollection someone said they’d call them.

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  14. Zippy Gonzales (485 comments) says:

    It’s a Habit-Proof Fence.

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