No Opt-Out for the Great Firewall of Australia

So it appears there will be no way to escape from being blocked from seeing sites that are false positives due to buggy & broken filters or incorrectly classified, etc.. 🙁

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government’s pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.

According to preliminary trials, the best Internet content filters would incorrectly block about 10,000 Web pages from one million.

I guess if John Howard was still around he’d want us to be blocked from seeing un-American content too.

11 thoughts on “No Opt-Out for the Great Firewall of Australia

  1. And so it came to pass that Australians did create tunnels trough the firewall.
    And the tunnels were obfuscated and cloaked to avoid detection.
    And so the firewall breach was undetectable.
    And the bad programs, and bad knowledge did enter the country anyway.
    And the firewall was a waste money that fostered a false sense of security and encouraged irresponsible on-line behaviour.
    And the citizens did lament unto their leaders suggesting they had “a few ‘roos loose in the top paddock”, and further commenting that “10,000 Web pages from one million is a bloody poncey way of saying 1%”.

  2. That false-positive rate was for the best system, which was also the slowest system. So you can have fast and inaccurate, or slow and a-bit-less inaccurate.

    What this means for you is you’ll have more expensive broadband, that runs slower and inexplicably blocks random things that it shouldn’t.

    By way of comparison, the filtering system at my work blocked the OpenCMS Wiki until I got them to whitelist it. Something I need for my work, and certainly nothing controversial.

  3. No matter what they implement, it will be defeated within 30 seconds by Tor or some other system which will continue to allow people access to ‘illigal materials’ while slowing down the connection for the rest of us.

    I wounder if they will have that 15 year old TV on again who bypassed the last one.

    It might also be worth directing people to (Run by the EFA, the Aussie version of EFF). Says where you can take action with letters and such.

    I get the feeling this is also aimed at allowing monolopies on digital content distribution for giants such as Telstra and MSN to sell TV eps online, blocking places like PirateBay and Mininova which could be conisdered ‘illigal’ would be failry necessary with most people just downloading TV shows free from such places.

    I also wounder if Wikipedia will be blocked, some of the images for entries like Ejaculation and Masterbation have images that are basicly porn.

    Hopfully more webservers will start to allow https for all traffic.

  4. Might Interst Wouldn’t special interest groups feel obliged to pressure the government to include their own black list into the filter? Unless the blacklist is backed by specific legislation, there is no way this is going to have a positive outcome for Conroy and his fellow right-leaners

  5. Might be worth pointing out that both Tor and other VPN tunnel-out solutions work well EVEN IN CHINA. Furthermore, it is continuously possible to access Western sites on ongoing scandals in China, such as the melamine scandal, FROM WITHIN CHINA – even without tunnels or anonymity software – because the filters aren’t updated fast enough to keep up with the changes on the net. I know, because I just spent 3 months over there during the melamine scandal. After the Olympics my VPN tunnel-out solution to the US got really slow and nearly unusable. It took about 30 minutes to sign up for another one that wasn’t yet blocked and my unobstructed service was restored. The simple truth is that government cannot police these matters. Legislative processes are slow – technology almost always responds faster. The Internet is global and by its very design originating in defence technology conceived to re-route and bypass obstructions (multiple redundancy) whereas all governments are bound by local jurisdiction. This is the essence of why policing the net would only be possible if the same laws existed in every country. This would make tunnelling out pointless. However, we need to realize that governments are under immense pressure from associations such as the RIAA and other media content providers to clamp down on the money that is being lost through piracy. This I think is the real issue. Legitimate content will get caught up in this as well. However, if the people of Australia don’t wish to see filtered internet, the way to achieve this is to get users to employ anonymity and tunnelling on a massive scale now. Obsolete government plans before they bite. Get a mail account in a another country and use encryption to connect to it. This makes email data retention laws in your own country pointless. Get a high speed OpenVPN connection to a gateway in another country. Service providers are abundant. Start using Tor. If you use P2P, switch to the encrypted variants of P2P. Take the bone away from the dog before it wakes up, and it won’t bite you !

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