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Australia to Offer Widespread ISP-level Filtering 208

Posted by Zonk
from the definitely-thinking-of-the-children dept.
Phurge writes "According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, the Australia government has decided to take the controversial step of having internet service providers filter web content at the request of parents, in a crackdown on online bad language, pornography and child sex predators. 'The more efficient compulsory filtering of internet service providers (ISPs) was proposed in March last year by the then Labor leader, Kim Beazley. At the time, the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, and ISPs criticised his idea as expensive. Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, which promised free filtering software for every home that wanted it. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania. That trial was scrapped. Today Mr Howard will hail the ISP filtering measure as a world first by any Government, and is expected to offer funding to help cover the cost. Parents will be able to request the ISP filter option when they sign up with an ISP. It will be compulsory to provide it. The measures will come into effect by the end of this month.'"
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Australia to Offer Widespread ISP-level Filtering

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  • What's the big fucking deal with profanity?

    Jesus H. Fucking Christ Almighty, it's only goddammed fucking words.

    • In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity. It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.

      We choose not to profane our conversation.
      • We choose not to profane our conversation.

        Choose is the correct word here. I choose what profanity I use. I choose what profanity I find offensive and ignore it. Others should not be able to decide for me what is profane.

        However the article did say that the filters was upon request. However, I think people need to be educated about filtering. They need to know that it is far from perfect and no substitute for good judgment.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          I choose what profanity I use. I choose what profanity I find offensive and ignore it. Others should not be able to decide for me what is profane.
          Unless of course you are a child and the "others" are your parents, which happens to be the basis for the filtering discussed in TFA.
        • Because it isn't just about you: the language you use affects the listener (or reader) and how they perceive you and your message.

          If you know your audience and they know you, all say anything that you want any way you want. If you don't, why not use neutral words? It is possible to provide emphasis without profanity, if that's your intent.

          • Because it isn't just about you: the language you use affects the listener (or reader) and how they perceive you and your message.

            Key point there is that it effects how they perceive the speaker, therefore it's the speakers choice how he wants to be perceived. If you self censor what you say because you're afraid of what others will think of you, fine, that's you're right. Likewise it's my right to say whatever I want to say at any time I want to say it to anyone I want to (with the exceptions that have snuck in recently that I can't make "threatening" statements, and I can't make certain statements while in the employ of a company)

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by XueLang (1070368)
              Being of Scottish descent, I take offense to your offense at plaid! I demand an apology! =P

              On a more serious note, I have to agree it's my job to censor myself. If I want people to think I'm an asshole, that's my right to do so. But they then have the right to snub me for it.

              I will admit I tend to censor myself around kids and around my own family (I'd never hear the end of it if I failed to to the latter). But if it's just me and a group of friends, I'll curse up a storm. For the most part none of us care.
      • by Von Helmet (727753) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:52AM (#20182871)

        Profanity is the crutch of inarticulate motherfuckers.

        • Speaking of that, English is not my first language. So "motherfucker" doesn't carry weight with me, it's just funny. It reminds me of black thugs in bad Hollywood movies saying "I otta bust a cap in yo ass, motherfucker." Hilarious. I could use it all day around my friends and nobody would mind other than if I got carried away and the joke got stale.
        • by Pig Hogger (10379)

          Profanity is the crutch of inarticulate motherfuckers.
          That's because I'm relatively inarticulate motherfucker in english. If I would be sure that slashdotters could read french en masse, I would have posted instead

          Sacrament d'hostie, c'est quoi la câlisse d'affaire, tabarnak???
          Viarge de criss, c'est juste des ciboire de mots, bâtard!
          which is far more articulate (notice: no reduntancy).
        • by Deadplant (212273)
          Profanity is like high volume in music. Mozart uses it to great effect. There are lots of musicians who don't use it well... they just play at full volume constantly. Profanity is very powerfull and if used well it can be an important part of great writing.
      • And your point is? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by brunes69 (86786)
        The web is not a uniform medium when it comes to discourse, and people should not expect it to be that way. Even a 6 year old surfing the web knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse. Unless you like to live in a walled garden, filtering profanity does nothing but shelter kids from the real world. Do these parents actually think their kids don't hear this kind of stuff every day at recess?

        • by russ1337 (938915) on Friday August 10, 2007 @11:05AM (#20183047)
          >>> ....knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse

          Let me guess: One is full of sexy pictures, trash, lies and people manipulating the truth, the other is myspace?
          • by kestasjk (933987)

            >>> ....knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse

            Let me guess: One is full of sexy pictures, trash, lies and people manipulating the truth, the other is myspace?
            Eeee... Bad guess.
            • >>> ....knows there is a difference between CNN.com and MySpace.com when it comes to community discourse

              Let me guess: One is full of sexy pictures, trash, lies and people manipulating the truth, the other is myspace?

              Eeee... Bad guess.

              Right, they're both full of sexy pictures, trash, lies and people manipulating the truth. Although not necessarily the same lies, trash, and manipulation. Note, except in Math, all truth is relative and often subjective (although some truths are truer than other truths).

        • I get your point but I'd be pretty impressed with a 6yro who could read CNN and discuss how it's "community discourse" differs from that of MySpace. An average 6yro might call you a "mother fucking poo-bum-head" but I doubt they would recognise the words in text without prior coaching.

          After 40 odd years, I still vividly remeber getting a slipper thrown at me the first time I said "oh fuck" in front of my mum, I had no idea what it meant I was just parroting the "big kids".
          • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirstea d . o rg> on Friday August 10, 2007 @11:55AM (#20183765) Homepage

            After 40 odd years, I still vividly remeber getting a slipper thrown at me the first time I said "oh fuck" in front of my mum, I had no idea what it meant I was just parroting the "big kids".

            And you don't think that is ridiculous? All you were doing was making sounds come out of your mouth. Without knowing the meaning behind the words, it is not profanity, it is just language.

            If I sit there and swear at you in Japanese (assuming you don't speak Japanese), is it going to offend you? Of course not cause you have no idea what I am saying. So those words would not be profanity then.

            The proper response should have been for your mother to sit down with you and explain what that word means, why some consider it offensive, and how it should only be used in the presence of people who find it acceptable - and if you do not obey those rules then you will be punished.

            Kids are not as stupid and ignorant as some lawmakers and parents make them out to be. In actual fact they're usually ahead of the curve.

            • If I sit there and swear at you in Japanese (assuming you don't speak Japanese), is it going to offend you?

              My wife is Mexican, so we listen to/watch a lot of Spanish-language radio and TV. I find it hilarious that, on the Spanish-speaking stations, they bleep out the Spanish swear words, but if they play an audio clip of somebody speaking English, they let the swear words fly (remember, this is over US airwaves, ostensibly under the iron fist of the FCC). And, occasionally, I'll hear Spanish swear words

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vtcodger (957785)
        ***In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." ...***

        Well, we don't actually. We did sorta four decades ago. It had its pluses and minuses. It was nice to be able to let your kids watch network programming without too much risk of having to explain homosexuality to an eight year old or having your six year old inform you that her first grade teacher is a bitch.

        But those days are gone and their demise is not the fault of the Internet in any way shape or form. IMO, the enemy is us, not our in

        • by russ1337 (938915) on Friday August 10, 2007 @11:30AM (#20183387)
          >>> ...without too much risk of having to explain homosexuality to an eight year old

          Yes, the enemy is us. For those that think its a 'risk' to tell a child about same sex relationships the adult is the one with the issue. At what age do you tell a child they're adopted? At what age do you tell a child that in some families a man/woman and another man/woman can be together. If they grow up with it, there wont even be an issue. The wider generation behind us are going to grow up with it as acceptable, except for those homeschooled and only learn about it in college - along with a fear of many other things.... those of our generation who cannot get their heads around it will have to live with it.

          In Samoa, they may raise a boy child as a girl (see here [wikipedia.org], where some might call that Transgendered and 'unnatural' it is actually normal in their society. So this boils back the the OP's comment: "In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." It depends who defines "society" and its usually the aristocracy that are calling things indecent, not the general public.

          Aussies are well known for using bad language, and are pretty open about sex, un-married sex, wet t-shirt competitions, male strippers, Dame Edna and the guy who entered Australian Idol as a girl.

          Come to think of it - knowing the number of Aussies I do, if wider society of Australia was setting the filter parameters of their entire internet they'd probably only ban Goatse and tubgirl.... or they'd only let it through if it had Johnny Howards, or Warwick Cappa's face on it..
          • by kestasjk (933987)
            We're just the same here in Australia as in any western country like England or America. I've lived in England, and I've heard we're more similar to America than England.

            So some of us don't care about profanity or perverts, and just trust that kids will understand what's appropriate/dangerous by themselves, others are paranoid and scared about this dangerous "internet" thing.
            And, just like elsewhere in the world, if you're paranoid then an official easing your fear is a big incentive to vote, if you're
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "Yes, the enemy is us. For those that think its a 'risk' to tell a child about same sex relationships the adult is the one with the issue. At what age do you tell a child they're adopted? At what age do you tell a child that in some families a man/woman and another man/woman can be together. If they grow up with it, there wont even be an issue. The wider generation behind us are going to grow up with it as acceptable, except for those homeschooled and only learn about it in college - along with a fear of ma
            • by russ1337 (938915)
              I agree with pretty much everything you've said, and it boils back to a comment I made earlier which supports your view; that I believe it is up to the parents to understand the content that is available on these things we give our kids access to, so WE determine whether or not it is appropriate for our children. i.e Many parents want their kids to have cell-phones and (I believe) are then responsible for ensuring the services available are appropriate for that child - say a phone that offers Texting and c
          • by dbIII (701233)

            they'd probably only ban Goatse

            Not that either, It's just pure election year hypocracy. The *.cx domain is under the control of the Australian government since it is the domain for the the territory of Christmas Island.

            What we are seeing here is an election stunt appealing mostly to a cult called the "Exclusive Bretheren" which has recently started putting a lot of money into Australian politics. There is also a mob called the Hillsong Church which is an almost purely commercial local copy of the worst

        • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@gmaCOWil.com minus herbivore> on Friday August 10, 2007 @11:56AM (#20183777) Journal

          Well, we don't actually. We did sorta four decades ago. It had its pluses and minuses. It was nice to be able to let your kids watch network programming without too much risk of having to explain homosexuality to an eight year old
          And what is wrong with that? I recall asking my mother, some 40 years ago (when I was about 8) what is homosexuality, and she answered "it's just a man who loves another man instead of a woman", just like if I asked her what's a bandoneon [wikipedia.org].

          There.

      • ... but sir, in all honesty, it's not the job of the fucking government to fucking tell me what words are fine for me to use.

        Fuck my government, fuck it right in its collective neck. This pandering to the extreme christian right by our Prime Minister is completely sickening.
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Hey, I don't object to this sort of pandering. This is fine, if people want filtering give it to them. It is everything else they have done, to joining the Iraq war, to signing away our rights that I have a problem with.

          Go ahead, install as many filters as you want, but please leave our basic freedoms intact.
      • And often, profanity is the proper way to express oneself. Strong situations require strong words. Sometimes, you just have to say fuck.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sohare (1032056)

        In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity. It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.

        We choose not to profane our conversation.

        You're assuming the existence of an absolute morality. Clearly, certain words tend to be associated with negatives or insults, but it always takes two parties for this to happen. Namely, one person to say a word (which at this point is devoid of meaning) and another person to place some value on this word.

        The perfect example is "taking the Lord's name in vain." When I say, "Jesus fucking Christ", "Goddamnit!" or "Holy shit" these words pack about as much punch as "Oh man!", at least to me. This is be

      • by plague3106 (71849)
        Hmm, I didn't realize it was the governments job to enforce decency. I don't see that part anywhere in the US constitution... can someone point out where it is in the Australian one?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pig Hogger (10379)

        In modern society, we have a thing called "decency." Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity. It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.

        No. What there is, are some retarded middle-ages numbfucks who give the utmost attention to fucking superficial details, and do not give a flying fu

      • by florescent_beige (608235) on Friday August 10, 2007 @01:00PM (#20184749) Journal

        This really needs to be parsed in some detail, because it's a wonderful example of marketing techniques applied to social debate.

        In modern society, we have a thing called "decency."

        What It Says

        This is a declaration that asserts three things: that there is a thing called "modern society"; that we are part of it; and that "decency" is a mandatory characteristic of "modern society".

        What It Literally Means

        Since it is written in the present tense, for any of it to be true "modern society" must mean the collection of all people in the modern age who are alive right now. It must be that generalized, because of the further assertion that "we" are part of it, and "we" could well be people from anywhere, living in any circumstance.

        This group of people has a defining characteristic called decency.

        Its Marketing Purpose

        Modern marketing has a few crude tools that get used over and over again. One of them is what I like to call "The Boss". The Boss tells you things with presumed authority so they sound axiomatic while in reality they are no more than unsubstantiated statements. This is popular amongst amateur marketing enthusiasts who have read "How to Win Friends and Influence People", and various books on how to pick up women. Those types of books tell you to give people orders in such a way the targets don't realize they are being pushed around. For example, have you ever heard a person start a pitch to you like this..."Listen, I have something to tell you..." The word "listen" is a command. You are being ordered to listen to that person.

        In this case we are presented with three declarations that, objectively, are various degrees of wrong. Any definition of "modern society" that is so general as to include anyone who might read this can only share the most basic of characteristics. Any property as nebulous as "decency" can't possibly be uniformly defined. But the Boss tells us it can.

        Part of it is that we have enough self-respect so as not to debase ourselves with needless profanity.

        What It Says

        "We" are members of "modern society" who share a new property called "self respect". This property is responsible for making use feel like "needless profanity" reduces our self worth.

        What It Literally Means

        All members of modern society are now presumed to share two characteristics: decency and self respect. A further characteristic is implied, the ability to tell the difference between "needless profanity" and (presumably) "mandatory profanity".

        What's more, we members of "modern society" agree that "needless profanity" is debasing.

        Its Marketing Purpose

        This is more Boss talk. The purpose here is to inject the words "self-respect", "debase" and "needless profanity" into the text. The implied meaning is that we must share these properties since we are necessarily part of modern society.

        We start to see the emergence of a second age-old marketing bludgeon here: Exile. Don't be left out. Don't be left behind. Don't be a loser. This second use of the meme "we are part of modern society" starts to sound like a threat: if you don't act this way you won't be a member.

        The problem with The Boss is that if you hit people over the head too hard for too long they start to notice. This second sentence starts to sound a little preachy, reducing the overall effect of the spot. The Boss is completely useless if the target catches on.

        It's pretty much the same reason that we tend to use more formal language in formal writing - we similarly don't consider our everyday conversation so uncouth as to warrant whatever curses we can think of.

        What It Says

        Formal language is to formal communication as lack of profanity is to everyday conversation. We consider it uncouth to use profanity in e

    • by Control Group (105494) * on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:38AM (#20182669) Homepage
      How apropos - from the Colbert Report last night:

      Judd Apatow: "What do you think of profanity?"
      Stephen Colbert: "I think it's bullshit."
    • by secPM_MS (1081961)
      The use of profanity as a rare emphasis allows it to convey emphasiis and deep feeling. In routine use, the information content of profanity approaches null. After being stuck with a bunch of teenagers revelling in the use of profanity on a camping trip 30 years ago, I burned out on its usage.

      So, if the information transferred with use of profanity is approximately null and the side effect of the usage is needlessly offending others, it is wise to desist. If you are attempting to upset others and antagoni

    • by nurb432 (527695)
      Its illegal in Australia apparently.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:27AM (#20182511)
    ... implementing a government-controlled mandatory filtering infrastructure for the web in Australia. All it will take would be the change of a config file or two, and the government can censor whatever it pleases.
    • by malsdavis (542216)
      "All it will take would be the change of a config file or two, and the government can censor whatever it pleases."

      Ignoring the complete lack of technical insight behind this statement, why exactly would the Australian Government want to do this?

      No paranoid delusions please.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mgblst (80109)
        The Australian government has already shown its uncaring for our right to the freedom of speech. They had a parody website shut down, merely because it showed them up. This is why we are afraid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuietLagoon (813062)
        Ignoring the complete lack of technical insight behind this statement

        The government is telling the ISPs they have to install the filters. Currently the government is telling the ISPs that the control of those filters is delegated from the ISPs to the ISP's customers.

        My "complete lack of technical insight" sees the filter control delegation as a configuration that the ISP manages. All that needs to be done is for the government to tell the ISP to stop delegating the filter control to the customers o

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:29AM (#20182535) Homepage
    Today Mr Howard will hail the ISP filtering measure as a world first by any Government...

    I don't think that's something I'd be proud to admit.
  • Maybe it will go some way to shutting up the people who constantly cry "think of the children" and complain about "teh dangers of teh intarweb", and it's not like it's being forced upon those who don't want to use it.
    • by computational super (740265) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:57AM (#20182945)

      Right now, my TV is "filtered" - even my cable TV. I can call the cable company and unblock the "filtering" (e.g. get access to channels that are not "filtered") - as long as I'm willing to pay $19.95 a month extra per unfiltered channel. ISP's are salivating over the prospect of applying this "business model" to their service. "Unfiltered" internet (that is, paying them to stop doing something you didn't ask or want them to do in the first place) will CERTAINLY end up being more expensive that "filtered" internet. I give it one year, tops.

      • by megaditto (982598)
        Not meaning to be glib, but why do you expect your neighbors to pay for your porn and "moviez"? It makes perfect sense to charge people extra for these tipes of extras, expecially on a shared connection such as residential cable.

        Insurance companies charge smokers or drunk drivers, or speeders more for coverage because they impose undue burden on the system. Why should smut users be any different?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CamoCoatJoe (972244)

          Not meaning to be glib, but why do you expect your neighbors to pay for your porn and "moviez"? It makes perfect sense to charge people extra for these tipes of extras, expecially on a shared connection such as residential cable.

          Insurance companies charge smokers or drunk drivers, or speeders more for coverage because they impose undue burden on the system. Why should smut users be any different?

          First, there's the possibility that they'll filter out more than porn. (See the already existing debates on other threads.)

          Second, if they want to charge by the amount of data transfered, then they should just charge by the amount of data transfered. If I want unfiltered access to essays on dissident website X, why should I have to pay more than the guy who watches YouTube all day?

          Even if they never filter out anything other than porn, are you going charge people who look at still image porn more than the

    • by QCompson (675963)
      There's really no way to shut up the hard-core "think of the children" crowd. If you offer optional filtering, they'll call for mandatory filtering (but little Johnny might come across a computer with unfiltered internet access!). If you block all pornography, they'll want to block all nudity (medical diagrams and otherwise). If you block all profanity they'll also want to block all sexual-related email, chat, and text.

      To me, it always seemed like it would be simpler for a think-of-the-childrener to n
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:29AM (#20182545) Journal

    Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, which promised free filtering software for every home that wanted it. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania. That trial was scrapped.
    This isn't filtering at the ISP level
    The ISP is just being forced to provide filtering software at your request.

    It's censorship... if you want it.
    What's the big deal?
    • The big deal is the step taken by the government to force ISPs to provide filtering. Unheard of so far in a western democracy.
      • by charleste (537078)
        Um... sorry, but *very* heard of. Every heard of the FCC? Howard Stern? Censorship is done all the time, people just get used to it and (most) people don't even complain.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      The ISP is just being forced to provide filtering software at your request.

      I'll take a copy of the NetBSD version, please ... source code only.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NoMaster (142776)
      Where's the "-1, Wrong" mod option?

      What you've quoted was the old election promise, from 1 or 2 elections ago. As well as dropping the trial, the filter software deal was later watered down to become "ISPs are encouraged to offer web-filtering software to customers at a reduced price" (which turned out to be "somewhere between $RRP and actual retail sale price").

      The current one - as far as can be told from the announcements, which are as slippery as a bucketful of grass snakes in a lard factory - is ISP-b
  • by SkiifGeek (702936) <info AT beskerming DOT com> on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:30AM (#20182557) Homepage Journal
    Or, alternatively - $162 Million to Stop Aussies Looking at Porn.

    Considered part of the campaigning for this year's Federal election in Australia, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced [abc.net.au] a $162 million USD plan to protect Australian Internet users against various Internet nasties, including porn, during a web video address to a number of Australian churches. The address was also joined by the leader of the Opposition, which suggests that the proposed plan will be left in place if they succeed in taking power later this year.

    With plans to provide free internet filtering software for families, more funds for online predator detection, opportunities to lean on ISPs to stop allowing access to objectionable content, and a working group to work out ways around the privacy protection enjoyed by predators (but apparently not by the people they are supposed to protect), it is likely to become a $162 million dollar black hole, for a number of reasons [beskerming.com].

    It is important to consider who the presentation was pitched to, and who supported it. Unfortunately most of the dissenting voices from within parliament seem to be based on lines of religion (i.e. die-hard atheists complaining that Christian representatives spoke to Christian gatherings), and not on the technological shortfalls of the plan.
  • by Syncerus (213609) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:33AM (#20182593)
    You know of course, that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions?

    This sounds so nice and sweet on the surface: the government is going to protect your children by filtering the Internet content to which they have access. What could be wrong with that?

    Of course, once you have an official filtering mechanism in place, it can be used to filter other "anti-social" content. And it will. It's just a matter of time. The next step will be the restriction of some universally loathed faction, like the Nazis. Neo-fascist sites will be banned as will sites from other "extremist" groups, terrorists, etc. Then illegal drug related sites will be banned, and later hard alcohol sites.

    Eventually, you can be expect to be protected from Twinkies and Ding-dongs. But not the Ding-dongs that you voted into office. Somehow they will always be exempt from filtering.

    • Damn. And my mod points expired yesterday.

      Well said.

      Every time I hear this argument I harken back to the days of the PMRC in the U.S. (and to think there was a point I wanted Tipper to be the first lady).
  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:34AM (#20182605)
    ...between the ISPs doing the filtering and software doing the filtering? Wouldn't it ultimately end up being that the ISPs will use software to filter? Therefore won't it have the same pitfalls as individual filters (ie: blocking sites with info on 'breast cancer' etc.)? And won't people eventually find a way around it if they really wanted to? When I was younger, if I was restricted access to something, usually that only made me want it more and go to greater lengths to get it. When will people just trust kids. Tell them they shouldn't, but give them the choice to actually listen. If they get caught, make it known your disappointed in them. I find that if the kid was being raised properly with emphasis on integrity and responsibility, usually they'll feel guilty and enforce the restrictions on themselves. And I know this will be stately repeated... Why do ISPs have to fill in for parents anyway? Can't they just keep an eye on their own kids?
    • by couchslug (175151)
      The ISP doing the filtering means errors are not easily corrected.
      OTOH, client-side filtering software can be extremely restrictive because the people who want filtering can have their preferred internet experience without shitting up yours or mine. Churches and other groups could even provide whitelists to parents who want that.
  • Gosh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:37AM (#20182659) Journal
    I hate it enough when my ISP decides to filter e-mail at the source. I don't get spam regardless, and sometimes actual people sending me actual attachments don't make it through because it "could be a dangerous file". It's yet another one of those things that keep stupid people "safe" (and stupid forever).
  • What the Hell (Score:5, Informative)

    by eboluuuh (1139173) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:40AM (#20182695)
    So they're basically making a V-Chip for the internet? The real reason why teenagers are sexually abused by predators online is, essentially, bad education. http://www.apa.org/releases/online_sexabuse.html [apa.org] Though my favorite is this: http://rotten.com/about/obscene.html [rotten.com] "Certain people (including parents and schoolteachers) have complained to us and stated that rotten.com should not be "allowed" on the net, since children can view images on our site. One US schoolteacher wrote us a very angry email that complained some of her students had bookmarked images on this site, that our site shouldn't be on the net, and other claptrap. This is our response. The net is not a babysitter! Children should not be roaming the Internet unsupervised any more than they should be roaming the streets of New York City unsupervised. We cannot dumb the Internet down to the level of playground. Rotten dot com serves as a beacon to demonstrate that censorship of the Internet is impractical, unethical, and wrong. To censor this site, it is necessary to censor medical texts, history texts, evidence rooms, courtrooms, art museums, libraries, and other sources of information vital to functioning of free society. "
  • Election pandering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:41AM (#20182709)
    There seems to be an election in the wind (I think I saw Nov mentioned), and Howard is on a downslide at the moment. I see this stunt as the Liberals (and that is the conservative party) playing the "think of the kiddies" card to drum up support.

    Previously Howard has played the "OMG the illeagal immigrants" card (google for Tampa and babies overboard).

    Hopefully this time the Oz public won't fall for it, bu then again we re-elected Howard in the election after the Tampa incident even though it had been shown that that was all a stunt.

    Of course my opinion of Howard has been coloured ever since I listened to "How green was my cactus" many years ago, and he was always referred to as "Little Johnny Howard" (this was before he became supreme ruler).

    I also liked it when a Japanese (I think) paper referred to him as "Shrub" .. ie a little bush.
  • From TFA [smh.com.au]

    Many US state attorneys-general want laws that would require children to get permission from their parents before joining such sites,
    and would require those sites to verify the parents' age and identity.
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:45AM (#20182773) Homepage
    It should be individual parents who want this service that pay for it. Furthermore, parents should have the ability to choose an alternative censorship system without paying for the default one.
  • by Joohn (310344)
    A similar thing is going on in Sweden. The government is forcing all major ISP:s to filter out sites that are known to provide child pornography. Recently, the popular bit-torrent tracker http://www.piratebay.org/ [piratebay.org] was threatened to be added to this filter because rumour had it "there where child porn available from the site". This is of course just an excuse used by the Swedish government, which is controlled by the American government, which is controlled by the record and movie industry. I understand that
  • How long before we line up at isp's with photo ID to have the internet turned back on?

    Australia only had one internet policy over the past 10 years:
    How can we filter it?

    Please join or donate to Electronic Frontiers Australia
    http://www.efa.org.au/ [efa.org.au]

  • by middlemen (765373) on Friday August 10, 2007 @11:12AM (#20183143) Homepage
    Only pedophiles think about the children :D
  • I don't for one minute accept that there is this huge horde of paedophile predators on the Internet - sure, they probably exist in small numbers but kids today are far more likely to be mugged for their mobile phones, bullied or be filmed being beaten up by one or more of their peers.

    However, assuming that child pornography is manufactured purely because it makes someone rich, if that material is sold over the Internet then it's pretty safe to assume that a bank or credit card company is involved when som

  • Anyone who has played WOW knows that filtering is worthless.
    You just get people cursing in misspellings and haxor looking garbage.
  • .. how much for the unfiltered internet? ROTFLOL.. can you really successfully filter the bad stuff on the internet without filtering out some of the good too? I don't think anyone has done that successfully so far.
  • Is this another V-chip fiasco? [wikipedia.org] The government is convinced everybody needs it. Almost nobody wants their access to information filtered or restricted. And the costs and complications go up for everybody regardless of whether they ever wanted or need it in the first place.
  • Will they get to compile their own copy?

    • by toriver (11308)
      Nah, to ensure the filter can be used by anyone they will mandate Windows and prohibit the sale of such "filter circumvention programs" as Linux and Mac OS X. Only goodfacts for Autralians.
  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Friday August 10, 2007 @01:25PM (#20185155)

    I saw a program on our local community TV station that was made by high school kids (I'm guessing they had an average age of 14 years old). This show had a voxpop style segment where kids spoke about issues arising from the Internet.

    It was amazing to see how mature they were about the evils that they had found on the net. Sure, they said, they had come across some "creepy guys". Sometimes they string them along a bit, but mostly they just ignore them. They had seen porn, and they spoke of how it was a pain how much porn-spam they received. We can talk about this stuff without sniggering behind our hands - and kids can do that too.

    I really wish that the hysterical parents and politicians would actually spend some time listening to the kids. They are not fools. Talk to them about the potential dangers that they may face before they start surfing by themselves so they know what to expect and how to avoid problems. Don't be sensationalist; just be straight forward and mature about it. Do this so they know they can come to you to get advice on more mature situations.

  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Friday August 10, 2007 @03:05PM (#20186737) Journal
    Looks like Australia will have to censor its own ads. Time for a new slogan I guess. [youtube.com]

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