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Conroy Still Hell-Bent On Internet Filter 254

Posted by timothy
from the different-word-for-everything dept.
lukehopewell1 writes "In an interview for the ABC's PM program yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that there would be no conscience vote on the Australian government's proposed mandatory internet filter. 'Conscience votes go to matters to do with life and death in the [Australian] Labor Party,' Conroy said. The minister said that the filter debate was not about censorship, rather it centred around refused classification material — an issue up for review in parliament. 'I'm not sure that the censorship claim stacks up. This is about classification systems. At the moment in Australia, there is no conscience vote on refused classification for movies, TV, DVDs or book stores,' the minister said. Conroy then called on the newly installed Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to justify his position on the filter to families concerned about child pornography. 'According to the latest information I have here from the [Australian Communications and Media Authority], there are 430 child pornography sites on the [World Wide Web] ... that are accessible to anyone...[Malcolm Turnbull] has to explain to Australian families that he is prepared to do nothing about blocking access to those sites,' Conroy added." I hope some Australian and UK readers can help the rest of us understand the significance of conscience votes, though Wikipedia helps.
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Conroy Still Hell-Bent On Internet Filter

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:12AM (#33607934) Homepage Journal

    Fielding will be gone in six months [heraldsun.com.au] so maybe the policy will change then.

    • by vandan (151516)

      While I will rejoice in Fielding being dumped, I'm sceptical that Labor will backflip over this issue without being pressured. We'll see.

  • 430? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by YoshiDan (1834392)
    430 sites? Surely there are more. It's not like a child porn site is going to go around advertising itself is it? God he's stupid.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Never ascribe to stupidity that which can be explained by religion.

    • I bet if they would just publish the sitenames the problem would be dealt with quickly enough by online vigilantes.
    • Re:430? (Score:5, Informative)

      by srjh (1316705) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:44AM (#33608072)

      Well since the blacklist contents is blacklisted itself, there's no way of knowing. When the list was leaked last year, there were about 1300 sites and not a single one of them contained any child pornography. Most of it was plain old adult content, with dentists, dog boarding kennels, caterers, poker websites, and anti-abortion sites making up the balance.

      We know that most of the worst stuff on the net is much further underground, with P2P and private trading via email.

      What limited child porn there is on the web specifically falls under only a handful of categories.

      * Hacked websites. Supposedly this is why some of the sites appeared in error in the leaked list - they were "hacked by the Russian mob". An Aussie dentist website with a known hosting company had some child pornography buried under several "backslashes" (as Conroy put it) after being hacked. Instead of contacting the owner/host and getting their co-operation in removing the content and prosecuting those responsible, the whole site was just blacklisted without notifying anyone. The guy running it only found out when the list was leaked. A "just ban it" filter will only encourage laziness such as this when we should be policing it.

      * Trolling attempts. There was a rather unfortunate case a few months ago of a certain imageboard trolling the facebook memorial of a murdered eight-year-old girl by flooding it with gore, bestiality and child porn. Not a lot really needs to be said about the perpetrators here, I think most will reach the same conclusion. It was jumped on by the censorphiles in Australia, but even in the best case, classification of websites takes months (I know, I've tested the submission process). Legislation is probably years in the future, and certain to fail with the current parliament. Sites like Facebook would actually be exempted because "high traffic" websites would break the filter and embarrass the government. Rather than the filtering approach, Facebook removed the images themselves in a matter of hours (and the police would have if they didn't), and the guy who did it was eventually prosecuted. Good riddance.

      * Honeypots/sting operations. I think Conroy's even said he'll exempt sites from the filter if the filter would interfere with a police investigation. People dumb enough to access/post child porn on the open web deserve to be caught. With the proxying of the filters making online forensics more difficult, and policing resources being diverted to an idiotic waste, this is yet another example the filter will only make worse.

      And that's without even mentioning the fact that the filter is being sold as a child-safe filter. The government has already dumped its "voluntary filters for parents" program, and has left almost all hardcore material accessible under the filter because blocking it all is obviously impossible.

      Every time I think about this plan, it makes me furious. It's the main issue I voted against the government on last month, and I wouldn't be surprised if enough people joined me to have cost them their majority. But the independents hand the reins back to the ALP and it's full-steam ahead with the filter despite no-one outside of the ALP supporting it, the ALP being in minority in both houses of parliament, significant elements within the party opposing it, and ALP members only likely to vote for it because they will be expelled from the party if they don't. (That's basically what a conscience vote is for those who aren't familiar - a "we won't kick you out of the party if you don't vote for this" vote. By refusing one, anyone who doesn't toe the line is out of the party. The ALP is extremely strict on this.)

      • Re:430? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:45AM (#33608330)

        Most of it was plain old adult content, with dentists, dog boarding kennels, caterers, poker websites, and anti-abortion sites making up the balance.

        I got some accidental inside information from a religious political lobbyist some years ago when this furor began... he was happy to get anything done to filter the net. But the religious lobbyists don't have that much clout .. he pretty much provided his perspective on legislation that happened to fall into his area of knowledge or got laws tweaked here and there to fill loopholes, that sort of thing.

        The real reason that the lower house members listened to this suggestion was because the casino operators sided with the religious lobbyists to try to stop off-shore internet gambling, which is of course losing them loads of cash and losing the government loads of tax revenue.

        If this filter were to be implemented (which appears to be next to impossible at this point) the first additions to the list would be every identifiable offshore gambling website. The 'child porn' is just to raise public outrage / support and imo the rest of the sites just added to the list as white noise to hide it's purpose. I'm guessing here that the secure gambling connections to offshore sites would be a damn site more difficult (impossible?) to pass through a proxy and that the average on-line gambler may not even bother to try ... just hop in the car, and go to the casino.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I'm guessing here that the secure gambling connections to offshore sites would be a damn site more difficult (impossible?) to pass through a proxy

          No harder than any other site; but obviously the people who think the proposed filter will do anything at all are banking on the majority of people never trying to circumvent it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by scdeimos (632778)

          I'm guessing here that the secure gambling connections to offshore sites would be a damn site more difficult (impossible?) to pass through a proxy and that the average on-line gambler may not even bother to try ... just hop in the car, and go to the casino.

          It's very simple to block SSL sites. Though SSL connections are encrypted once they are established, clients still have to pass a "CONNECT domain.com:443 HTTP/1.x" request through the proxy to create a tunnel. If the domain is in the proxy's blacklist it can just respond with a "forbidden" instead of establishing the tunnel.

          Of course it was already demonstrated in the filter trials that the system can be bypassed trivially.

      • Re:430? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TwistedPants (847858) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:16AM (#33608458) Homepage
        Also - think of the cost! I believe it was around $42 million set aside to implement such a filter - a hair over $100k per site. Are you really telling me that there is value in this? Are you really telling me that you could not put $100k under a police investigation per site in order to shut some of them down? I'm aware there was already funding for the AFP included in the initial proposals; but if you are going to do something, why not do it right? Give $42 million to those that can actually prosecute the offenders in some % of cases.
      • Considering the way you say you voted, I'm curious as to what you think what the opinion of Abbott is on the filter. I know the Joe Hockey was opposed but his word count for as little as they did on environmental policy.
        I think Conroy should be in another job with no responsibility where nobody has to listen to him, but with the filter he's a symptom of trying to catch fringe votes and not the actual problem.
        I'm pretty happy that we didn't end up with both the Liberal party AND the filter, and for at least
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by srjh (1316705)

          Not sure about Abbott, but both the Libs and Nats officially rejected it, and appointing the even more anti-filter Turnbull as Communications minister suggests that they're sticking to that opposition.

          Abbott did make it a difficult choice, and the Libs didn't get my first preference, but the filter is worrying enough to be the most important issue for me (although it was a pretty uninspiring campaign overall from both sides, so that might have had something to do with it). I know the filter is very unlikely

      • Re:430? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by divisionbyzero (300681) on Friday September 17, 2010 @07:22AM (#33609248)

        I wonder why there is such a disconnect between the ALP and its constituents? I wonder if they understand that their position on this issue may have cost them their majority (among other things like the refusal to follow-up on environmental promises)? Conroy should have been sacked with Rudd (or re-assigned as the case may be since he's now Minister of Foreign Affairs). How do you get it through their thick heads that they are losing votes? We have the same problem in 'America. All of these Attorneys General think that they are gaining votes for shutting down Craigslist's Adult Section but really they are losing votes. I certainly won't vote to re-elect my Attorney General based on this one issue. Her opponent could be a stuffed doll and I still wouldn't vote for her.

  • Total control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:14AM (#33607950)

    I swear child porn is the big boogyman to control the internet just as 911 was the big fear monger event to justify totally immoral wars against countries that had nothing to do with the event....

    • Re:Total control (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:21AM (#33608236) Journal
      It works because it is a real problem. Child porn is a bad thing. 9/11 was a bad thing. There are real terrorists out there who want to kill Americans. Whenever there is a threat, or a serious problem, there will always be hucksters and power-seekers trying to take advantage of other's misery for their own benefit, or to push their own agenda. That's what happened during the McCarthy era: there were actually Russian spies, and McCarthy played on that fear.

      That's why it's so important to not believe every person who can describe the problem, but rather look at their proposed solutions and see if they actually help, or will take you somewhere you don't want to go. Because for any given problem, someone who is offering a solution is trying to twist it for their own benefit.
      • But it does help (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:57AM (#33608674) Journal

        If you censor the entire net, then you DO shutdown the pedo sites. If you lock up everyone who isn't a right wing american KKK card carrier, then you do lock up the traitors. If you ban all Muslims and Muslim symphatizers from the US, you ban the Muslim terrorists as well (you still keep the abortion clinic bombers and seperatists and other home grown nutters).

        THAT is the problem. The holocaust and WW2 did solve the German unemployment problem.

        The REAL question is NOT to ask wether a measure will solve the problem but at what cost it comes.

        Simply put. More kids are killed in traffic then by pedo's. Solution, ban cars. Why doesn't this get proposed? Because nobody wants to surrender their SUV with cattle bar for those hellish suburban roads.

        We CAN hunt down pedo websites. BUT what is the price? Is the loss of freedom of speech and freedom of information worth saving a few kids? Yes? Then hand in your cars keys today... AH, thought so. You want to save a handful of kids from predators but not thousands from car accidents.

        Same with 9/11 and the war against terror. We CAN stop the terrorists, but is it worth the total collapse of privacy and ruining internation trade and exchange of ideas?

        Is the war on drugs worth Mexico being the latest country to slide into civil war? Locking up people who are just addicted enough to risk life in jail for smoking a joint for the 3rd time?

        With extreme measures, we can solve all the worlds problems. But is it worth it?

        So "That's why it's so important to not believe every person who can describe the problem, but rather look at their proposed solutions and see if they actually help, or will take you somewhere you don't want to go."

        It is that last bit that is the important thing. Not wether it will help. That is easy enough. But do we want to life in that kind of world.

        And that is hard. It requires people who value freedom of speech to defend smut peddlers like Larry Flynt. Not because they are pro-porn but because you either stand for freedom of speech for all or for none. Because if you allow stuff to be banned because it upsets people, you end up banning everything because everything upsets someone.

        But that is VERY hard to sell. It is like argueing about the evils of various religious institutions in a religious country. Once a mere questioning of religious practices could get you in serious trouble. Thank god the Catholic and other churces have lost a lot of power and you can't simply be put to death for questioning the pope.

        Right now you can just be cast out for daring to question the wrongness of child porn crusaders. Question this minister and you are automatically pro-pedo. A brave man/woman who dares to risk that. And so he gets away with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It works because it is a real problem. Child porn is a bad thing.

        It isn't a real problem. Child porn isn't bad -- child molestation/abuse is. The porn itself are just images/videos, and trying to filter it will change nothing.

        • Re:Total control (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Schadrach (1042952) on Friday September 17, 2010 @08:14AM (#33609526)

          More specifically, the production of child porn is bad.

          I've always wondered on this topic, why the law is the way it is. It seems to me that child porn is evidence of a crime being committed. Why not simply render production, sale, purchase, and distribution illegal but not possession and actually encourage anyone that ends up with it in their possession to provide it to police, in order to help identify and rescue the victims thereof? It just seems like the manpower/funds freed up by doing that might allow some actual good to be done.

          Make the economic side of child porn as difficult as possible and see what happens. I know back when it was legal there were only a handful of companies that did it even then, Color Climax being the most notorious. Even they barely sold anything that was entirely kiddy porn because it wouldn't sell, so their more common scenario was to add in an underage actor into an otherwise mostly vanilla scene -- and even that wasn't *that* common.

          It makes me think there's not a huge economic incentive to kiddy porn, so the question becomes why does it get created? After all, explicitly filming evidence of your crimes seems like an unbelievably stupid thing to do, then turning around and distributing it on the internet seems even dumber.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by alexo (9335)

            More specifically, the production of child porn is bad.

            I would not have taken issue with this statement if stick-figure drawings could not be (legally!) classified as CP.

      • Re:Total control (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:21AM (#33609016)

        It works because it is a real problem. Child porn is a bad thing.

        While child porn is extremely bad, preventing access to it will not protect Australian families from pedophiles at all - infact, with one method of release denied to them (and no, thats not me condoning access to child porn), they could become more dangerous toward Australian families.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>It works because it is a real problem. Child porn is a bad thing. 9/11 was a bad thing. There are real terrorists out there who want to kill Americans.

        I am more likely to get hit be a meteorite, than to encounter a terrorist or child pornographer. These are NOT real problems. Real problems are how to pay the bills, or navigate to work without a car accident, or how to keep the boss happy.

  • Conscience votes (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:22AM (#33607982)

    Normally in Australia, party discipline and solidarity is such that any member going against the party line on a vote is taboo and noteworthy - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_floor#Voting_against_party_lines . If the party allows a conscience vote, then they don't lay down a policy on how they expect members to vote - so they can vote whichever way they want.

    • by Nursie (632944) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#33608010)

      In a parliamentary democracy, non-conscience votes are an abomination, IMHO.

      You vote for your local representative, they are supposed to represent the needs of their constituents to parliament. In the UK there's the Whip, in Aus a similar party line thing. what this means is that a few people at the top decide policy and it then gets pushed through on the threat of kicking dissenters out of the party.

      It's so anti-democratic it hurts.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Slotty (562298)
        Worst part is policy isn't even dictated by representatives. It's dictated by media frenzy or party hollowmen. The ABC's hollowmen is actually a very realistic representation of governance.... Just not as funny
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not that I agree with non-conscience voting but the parties expect your reasoning for choosing your local member is different to what you say.

        People, in general, vote for one party or another. Not for the personal beliefs of their local member. Most people have never met or even seen significant campaigning from their local member. Therefore, if a person is voting for a party, they expect their member to believe and vote the same as their party (rather than the other way around).

        If you truly want someone in

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zumbs (1241138)
        Where I live, people most often vote for a party, not a person. It is quite seldom that they know that much about the personal beliefs of the local members on the party list. It should also be noted that the only thing stopping someone from breaking party line is that they can be excluded from their party. Depending on the situation their career in politics may also end at the next exection, but they do not lose their seat until a new parliament is elected. Indeed, since the last parliamentary election 3 ye
      • I can't speak for Australia, but in the UK there's generally no sanction [wikipedia.org] for voting against your party unless a three-line whip is issued.

        I think most votes are covered by single-line whips, where the party line is spelled out but you don't have to vote that way, vote at all or even attend. The Public Whip [thepublicwhip.org.uk] logs the incidence of rebellion for each MP.

        The fact is that most MPs vote with their party of their own free will, rather than under duress.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kingturkey (930819)

          So there's no official sanctions, e.g. removal of positions or expulsion from the party, but surely an MP with ambition (almost all) would strongly consider the unofficial penalties before crossing the floor. Surely when the ministerial positions are being handed out, being a "team player" would be a strong factor in the decisions.

      • Especially in states like Australia, where you vote by ranking a list of maybe 50 candidates, it's ridiculous to expect citizens to study the individual preferences of every single candidate. Candidates join parties (of which Australia has pretty much as many as they care to) in order to signal where they stand on the issues. The parties also implicitly say which issues are "conscience issues" to them, in which case it's the voter's responsibility to research the individual candidates' position.

        Compared to

  • I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agendi (684385) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:28AM (#33608006)
    Internet still hell bent on filtering Conroy.
    • by dkf (304284)

      Internet still hell bent on filtering Conroy.

      Bonus points if you can persuade any Australian filter to put in the websites of both Conroy and his party.

  • by glowworm (880177) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#33608012) Journal
    It has always been the case where Senator Conroy has desired this filter, he has long been a pawn of the Australian Christian Lobby. Before the recent elections the party he belongs to, Labor (a middle left party), could have passed it on their numbers alone, however the recent election puts Labor into a minority government position. Even with the Labor parties internal rules saying that all members must vote to the party line they are simply outnumbered, everyone else in government is on record as being against the plan. Now there is nothing to say that Labor can't strike a deal with the opposition party and the independents who make up the majority of the government, say tie it being passed to not putting a price on carbon, but I think the chances of that are slim. A minority government is a very tenuous hold on power. As far as a conscience vote, all other parties are free to vote how they like, members of the Labor party are the only ones tied to the official party line, however for things like Gay Adoption (recently passed) and Abortion (passed quite a few years ago) those rules are relaxed.
    • members of the Labor party are the only ones tied to the official party line

      Thats not true. Every party tries to keep their members voting the party line.

      • by glowworm (880177) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:45AM (#33608080) Journal
        Yes tries, but Labor is the only one where the members need to agree to always support the caucus decision upon joining.

        The Liberals and Greens and of course the independents are able to step outside the party line if they really need to, when they do this it is called crossing the floor.

        Quite recently Liberals have been crossing the floor to vote for climate change laws.

        http://www.google.com.au/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=liberal+cross+the+floor [google.com.au]

        No matter matter what the issue a Labor MP is not allowed to cross the floor unless he has been given a conscience vote. He must vote as caucus directs or lose membership.

        • by dbIII (701233) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:54AM (#33608660)
          Conscience votes from the Liberals and Nationals are very rare. While they can in theory cross the floor on any issue, in practice they get disendorsed so that somebody else will take their seat next time or they get thrown out of the party entirely. Consider how many ex-coalition independants there are in both State and Federal Australian politics. Don't you think they would have stayed in a party that let them speak their mind?
          It's ironic that the only other conscience vote I remember in the last decade was to tell Tony Abbott to stop playing pretend Catholic games to raise his profile with religious voters and instead do his job as health minister.
    • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:47AM (#33608622) Journal
      "Before the recent elections the party he belongs to, Labor (a middle left party), could have passed it on their numbers alone"

      No, before the election the libs + greens had the numbers and the inclination to block it in the senate, that situation has not changed. When the libs were in power they were the ones pushing for a mandatory filter and labor + greens were blocking it in the senate. It's never really been a serious proposal, it's a political distraction aimed at certain independent senators, an endless "Yes Minister" style inquiry that has been going on now for a decade with the libs and labor occasionally changing roles from good cop to bad cop.

      There is no chance in hell the inquires will ever come to a conclusion since that would mean both major parties would have to give up the carrot/stick they use to placate the christian right and their nutjob senator(s).

      I'm actually looking forward to Downer's answer, he's more than a match for Conroy.
  • Scare Mongering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by muphin (842524) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:31AM (#33608018) Homepage
    Child Porn is the new "terrorist" if you dont attack them you support them.
    considering the ISPS are VOLUNTARILY blocking these sites, there is no reason for the filter.
    Filter is just an excuse for a hidden agenda for slow and gradual control of information, if its there people will abuse it, ask any psychologist.
  • No Conscience? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:34AM (#33608030) Homepage Journal
    Senator Conroy is a religious fanatic, according to any modern definition of the term. This is POLITICS BY FAITH, and if that's what I want well there are OTHER countries for that.

    This policy is ABSOLUTE INSANITY, and if I wanted a country run by a religious NUTBAG then there are also other countries for that.

    His policy of deliberate insanity *almost* lost his party THE ENTIRE ELECTION, and now we have a government balanced on a knife-edge (ie more than likely, crippled beyond your worst nightmares).

    This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.
    • by fabs64 (657132)

      I would say this policy was net-neutral and potentially net-positive at the election for the government. The number of people who voted for the Liberals rather than Green with Labor preference or Labor outright because of this policy would be miniscule. The number of christians who were swayed to stick with Labor because of it would be very small but likely larger than the first group.

      It's a stupid policy and it's dead on the water, just quit with the hyperbolic screaming, you already won.

    • Re:No Conscience? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dangitman (862676) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:18AM (#33608224)

      This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

      In the USA everybody has (or is able to have) guns, yet we have much more rampant lunacy going on among our politicians. I've yet to see guns stop any of it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

      What the fuck has that got to do with anything? Unless you would resort martyrdom to stop this filter; in which case need to redo your cost benefit analysis :).

    • This is POLITICS BY FAITH, and if that's what I want well there are OTHER countries for that.

      This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns.

      Are you trying to say that faith-based politics and gun ownership are mutually exclusive? Because I can think of a few notable exceptions.

    • Re:No Conscience? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:25AM (#33608802) Journal
      "His policy of deliberate insanity *almost* lost his party THE ENTIRE ELECTION"

      No, this issue wasn't even on the radar of mainstream voters. Those people who know anything about the politics behind it know that it has been going on for over a decade now and will never be passed into law. It's rhetoric just like every US president since Nixon has called for "independence from foriegn oil" but has done jack shit about it, every Aussie PM since Keating has called for "cleaning up the net" but has done jack shit about it. If there was any political will behind the rhetoric then we would have had a mandatory filter back in the 90's when the libs first proposed it.

      "This kind of rampant lunacy only succeeds in countries where only the criminals (and fed gov police enforcement) have guns."

      Yeah right, guns have definitely prevented rampant lunacy from taking over US politics. /sarcasm
  • by pesc (147035) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:36AM (#33608036)

    'According to the latest information I have here from the [Australian Communications and Media Authority], there are 430 child pornography sites on the [World Wide Web] ... that are accessible to anyone...[Malcolm Turnbull] has to explain to Australian families that he is prepared to do nothing about blocking access to those sites,' Conroy added.

    Maybe Conroy could explain to Australian families why hanging a blanket in front of the sites is better than shutting the sites down and prosecute the operators? Especially since it is so easy to peer behind the blanket by using a proxy, or alternate DNS resolver, etc, etc.

    Are all those sites operating from countries where child pornography is legal? Which countries and sits are we talking about?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Because the sites are not in Australia. Having said that free webmail services seem to be major channels for hosting porn so maybe a filter will have to block billions of yahoo mail URLs.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Some would be protected under US/EU free speech laws??
      Others would have been 'used'/'hacked' servers noted in the past??
  • by freman (843586) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:40AM (#33608058)

    He's hell bent on hiding sites that contain child abuse material...

    That doesn't prevent a child getting abused.
    That doesn't help the child already abused to create the content.

    Who the fk knows what these sites are anyway?

    Sick bastards are going to work around his filter quicker than he can think.

    How about, policing, work within the international community to have these sites removed and keep up the pressure.

    If he put half the budget and pressure on law enforcement as he is putting on stringing a tarp over the crime scene he'd actually have a hope of getting somewhere!

    FIX IT! DO NOT HIDE IT!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who cares what he still thinks? He hasn't got the numbers in either House of Parliament to get any Bill passed.
    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Mod parent up.

      Conroy can scream at anyone who will listen and stamp his little feet as much as he likes. He's made it clear that he basically knows the policy is doomed, but it's like a personal crusade to him and he won't let it go.

      The filter is dead for a number reasons, not least of which is that it is now a mathematical impossibility for it to pass either house of Parliament.

      Strongly recommend that people (especially those outside of Australia who aren't up to speed on things here) read this: http://mic [michaelwyres.com]

  • I hope some Australian and UK readers can help the rest of us understand the significance of conscience votes,

          It's like when in America Nancy Pelosi tells you how to vote.

  • by Netshroud (1856624) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:03AM (#33608150)
    430 out of >1,000,000,000,000
  • by atomicstrawberry (955148) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:04AM (#33608170)

    "'I'm not sure that the censorship claim stacks up. This is about classification systems."

    The Australian Classification system is a system of government-run censorship. Media which is refused classification is not allowed to be sold in the country.

    The debate is fundamentally about censorship.

    It is legal to possess and view unclassified and refused-classification material in most of Australia, provided that it is not material which is actually illegal (child porn, for example). What Conroy wants to do is circumvent the ability for adults to decide what they can view. To make it illegal to view online things which are legal to possess in reality. It is censorship. To argue otherwise is completely dishonest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Namarrgon (105036)

      Different debate. Most governments censor their citizens; that debate is only over how much.

      The debate going on here in Australia is about how to implement that censorship. Currently it's done at a legal and retail level. Conroy wants to extend that to ISPs too, by means of a URL blacklist.

      The problem is, any attempt to explain that it'll only block < 0.001% of the RC content on the net, or that it's trivially bypassed by altering the URL (e.g. adding a "?" to the end), or that it's far too open for erro

    • he's just trying to change the debate into one he can actually argue. Why should we spend millions on a system that slows down the internet and does nothing else even mildly effectively? this is a question he cannot answer.
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:11AM (#33608746) Homepage Journal

      The debate is fundamentally about censorship.

      Yeah but I think the actual agenda is the National Broadband Network. Basically the TV network owners don't want competing, free content bypassing their networks and going directly into the home. The idea behind filtering is that reasons will be found to block this content, thus preserving a revenue stream for the TV networks. Its just a way to encourage them to keep paying their license fees to the federal government.

  • We have built this information highway to transport "raw" information. This raw information is packages that have inside packages that have inside packages of other information. Some of these packages can be encrypted, the final information encrypted.
    You can't really censor internet on topic X for people that really want X, since theres no absolute way to stop all X on the internet, more than theres to stop it on the real world.

  • I may support the block list if they would put the Vatican and the rest of the Holy Roman Child Abuser Church on it.
  • by kiddygrinder (605598) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:21AM (#33608480)

    [Malcolm Turnbull] has to explain to Australian families that he is prepared to do nothing about blocking access to those sites

    Conroy has to admit that he's not prepared to do anything to prosecute the creators or help the children being abused in the creation of this material, but really just wants to pretend it doesn't exist.

  • by devent (1627873) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:30AM (#33608528) Homepage

    430 child pornography sites. You got to be kidding me. That like what, 0.000000000000001% of the websites worldwide? And for a hand full of sites they have to filter 100% of the traffic and spend millions of Australian $ for it?

    How about a total filter on the catholic church, after all there are 10% of Catholic Priests Were Pedophiles [alternet.org]. How about spend more money to protect real children in Australia? There was 5,591 sexual abuse and 11,789 physical abuse in 2008 [aifs.gov.au]. There were 339,454 notifications but only 162,259 investigations, that's only 48% coverage. How about dropping this stupid filter and spend more money on protecting real children, living in Australia right now?

    But what will happened is that Australia is going to spend millions to block 430 child pornography sites but then they have to cut spending on education and on child protection services.

  • Once again Conroy is full of made up bullshit. It's a pity that the alternatives such as Barnaby Joyce are far worse.
  • by enter to exit (1049190) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:48AM (#33608908)
    This man is nothing but a fool. Why can't he see that no one _wants_ the filter and that it is simply useless. He has said himself that the "tech savvy" can easily get around what they are proposing. What does "tech savvy" mean to him? - it's all relative.

    Does he honestly think that an undesirable is going to be deterred by a filter that can be worked around? The same man goes around and threatens to filter google because it's videos are RC - it' nothing short of surreal.

    Every possible form of protest has been exercised and they still persist. What else can we do? What ever happened to the idea that laws should reflect the values of the community? The vast majority of AU is apposed to this. Who exactly are they trying to please with this filter? The 'religious nut' demographic can not be that big.

    If this goes ahead we're going to have is an extra government layer to get through to use the internet and we all know how good the government is with technology. We can expect delays and failures that no one will take responsibility for.

    If people want a filter they should buy one, the government can even subsidise it if they want - it'll be more effective anyway (not to mention cheaper). I don't want my tax dollars being spent on censorship policies like this.

    It's ironic that the same government that can be so forward thinking with things like the NBN (regardless of how wasteful you think it is) can be so incompetently backward with it's filtering plan.

    I'm sensing that this is increasingly a matter of ego for him and that is very dangerous.
  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:13AM (#33609004)

    If the Aboriginals had just implemented stricter immigration control.
    It's the bloody immigrants i tell you, stealing all our jobs an bushmeat.

  • Conscience Vote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Maclir (33773) on Friday September 17, 2010 @08:11AM (#33609516) Journal

    In most Westminster democratic systems - of which the UK parliament is the original, and convention in Australia follows closely, members of parliament are elected on the basis of a political party. The party system is much stronger in those countries that in the US, in many ways:

    1) The party organization chooses who will stand for a particular seat as that party's representative in a process known as "preselection". This can be a combination of votes by paid up party members in local branches, with "head office" votes as well. By the way, in those countries, to be a member of a political party, you pay a membership fee and join a branch - and there may be an acceptance process. In the US, you simply say that you are a member of the democratic or republican party - and in some states, mark that preference when you enroll to vote.

    2) Because there is no popular election for head of state / executive members, formation of government is done of the basis of which party can command a majority of votes on the floor of parliament. This is generally a no-brainer, but as we have seen in the last few weeks following the Australian federal election, can take a lot of negotiation. The party forming government determines who the Prime minister and other cabinet ministers are, and they can change their mind on who fills these positions at any time. The general population don't elect the Prime Minister directly.

    3) Votes in both chambers are along party lines. If an individual member votes against the their party's policy, that is a big deal - known as "crossing the floor". The argument is that since you were elected as a member of the party, based on the party's platform, you support the party's vote.

    4) There are some limited number of issues that are seen as having very personal implications - for example, abortion, matters affection religious beliefs, things like that. So the parties allow a "conscience vote" - where there is no binding party position, and each person may cast their vote according to their own beliefs.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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