Australia Set to Join China in Internet Censorship

Before the Election in Australia, The Labor Party (Formally the Communist Party of Australia 1922-1991)
added a little section to their election campaign promises, to provide controlled internet to "protect" the children. This started with the government providing a filtering service for each household (which was broken in 20 minutes by a kid).
Now in 2008 it seems that the battle has started up again with Senator Conroy re-iterating his stance on Mandatory ISP filtering to all household and schools. In which if a person does not wish to receive the Filter can opt out of the service, "well thats fine" I hear you say, Wrong! all the opt-out service does is shift you from BlackList filter 1 to blacklist filter2.

This comes directly from Mark Newton who works for Internode (a fairly large ISP in Australia.)
‘The Government’s plan is for there to be two blacklists, one for “unsuitable for children,” and another one for “unsuitable for adults.”

The much-touted “opt-out” would merely involve switching from blacklist number 1 to blacklist number 2.

Under their current proposal, there’s no scope at all to switch to no blacklist at all. Regardless of your personal preference, your traffic will pass through the censorship box.’

There have been tests run in Tasmania of this Internet Filtering. Let us first examine what Senator Conroy said about the tests and then look closely at what the test report actually said.
(information provided by
"What Senator Conroy says: The performance or ‘network degradation’ for one of the tested products was less than 2%, whilst three products were less than 30% and two products were in excess of 75%.

What the report really says: The filter that showed less than 2% network degradation was also one of the least accurate filters at identifying illegal and inappropriate sites. The more accurate filters showed a larger drop in network performance.

What Senator Conroy says: Successful blocking (the proportion of illegal and inappropriate content that should have been blocked that was successfully blocked) was between 88% and 97% with most achieving over 92%.

What the report really says: It probably won’t take anymore than 12 or 13 clicks before a filtered user can access a site containing adult or inappropriate content.

What Senator Conroy says: Overblocking (the proportion of content that was blocked that should not have been blocked) was between 1% and 6%, with most falling under 3%.

What the report really says: Even if you choose the best result (1%), out of every one million websites, 10,000 will be be blocked when they shouldn’t be.

What Senator Conroy says: All filter products tested were able to block traffic entirely across a wide range of non-web protocols such as instant messaging and peer-to-peer protocols. However, most filters are not presently able to identify illegal content and content that may be regarded as inappropriate that is carried via the majority of non-web protocols.

What the report really says: The only way the filters could block traffic on non web protocols was to ban access to them completely. That means if you want to chat to Gran about her garden or drinking habit on Messenger, you wouldn’t be able to. No matter how innocent.

Those are just the starters. Here’s the main course:

1) Load testing was based on just 30 simulated users. Large ISPs have hundreds of thousands of customers and even small ISPs have thousands. Any network performance testing based off 30 users is not reliable when the plan is to filter every Australian’s Internet connection.

2) During the trial, only 3930 URLs were filtered. When you consider Mr Conroy wants to block ‘inappropriate content’ to children, 3930 URLs is simply too low and doesn’t show the potential real impact on network performance or filtering effectiveness. The Internet contains hundreds of thousands of websites not appropriate for children by our classification standards.

3) The report claims all but one of the six filters was able ‘filter’ HTTPS traffic. This is unlikely, considering HTTPS traffic is secure. The filters can probably only blanket ban access to such traffic. Nobody wants their banking and online purchases monitored by the Government.

4) There is no analysis of circumvention methods and that’s crucial to understanding why filters - ISP and software based - are ineffective. Filtering can be bypassed in minutes by a savvy net user and in hour by anyone following instructions.

5) There is no analysis of the costs of deploying and implementing a filter at ISP level, nor is there any analysis of the associated costs that will be passed onto customers."

What is to be filtered:
Pornography - As it currently stands X-rated Porn (online and offline) is illegal to purchase and/or view but is not enforced unless caught. With the FIltering to come in both blacklists will block Porn although BL2(adult BL) will stop short of R18 porn.

Inappropriate Materials: There is no definition as to what this actually means it could be anything from "hate" speech (which could included anything said about the government), to Bittorrents to even the friendly forums of SOLDIERX.

An interesting little tidbit I found also:
"Notably Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was a former Australian Diplomat in China, and speaks fluent Mandarin; given Australia’s boom is fueled by mineral exports to China, it would seem that Australian Government policies are now by China in return."

As far as I can see Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (who is never in the country and 9 time out of ten is in China, hint hint) and his Ministers believe that to protect the children we must all suffer the consequences of a ill-concieved and lie ridden Plan.Now It would be unfair of me to blame this solely on China because there are other countries that have Filtering, United Kingdom and Scandinavia also have it, now to me it all seems a sensless waste of money and resources, for one thing its only going to hinder those who never do anything wrong anyways, and considering out Internet is already slower than some 3rd world countries ( from 2002 - 2007 I lived on 28.8kbps dialup most country/rural areas are the same in some places people get 14.4kbps), adding filtering is only going to render the internet Useless and considering we all ready have incompetent ISP companies running around (i.e TPG, who wouldn't have a clue how to implement SQUID if they had the developer standing there telling them how to do it, I would be worried what ISP filtering would do to the country), now for myself Yes I believe that children do need to be monitored and controlled on the internet BUT that is the parents responisibility, this all seems to me to be a "wrap them in wool" approach to the world, what the hell are the kids of the next generation going to be like? when they can't even jump onto a porn site to learn or to develop an awarness of how messed up and shit this world can be if they have wool thrown over their eyes, how are they ever going to know that old Mr.Herbert up the road is best friends with PedoBear when they are never exposed to the horrors of the internet because I know over here its almost taboo to discuss Pedophillia to your chilren and what to watch out for, and don't get me started on the anti-smacking bullshit either...., so all in all the Australian Government needs to leave well enough alone because like all governments they are only going to fuck things up......
Read the Sources provided to discover in greater depth what is actuall happening