Minister of Enlightenment turns off the lights

Its official, Australian Minister of National Enlightenment and Propaganda, Comrade Conroy announces the death of the internet as we know it in Australia.


ABC News, Dec 15 2009
The Federal Government will introduce compulsory internet filtering. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced the changes today following a controversial trial to filter the internet which was conducted earlier this year.
Senator Conroy says some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilised society.

"It is important that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material," he said.

He says the Government will not determine what is blacklisted on the internet in Australia; rather an independent body will determine what sites are rated as RC for refused classification.

Legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material which has been refused classification in other countries.

The filtering trial attracted criticism from some who said it would not work and would slow internet speeds.

But Senator Conroy says the trial has been successful.

"Our pilot, and the experience of ISPs in many western democracies, shows that ISP level-filtering of a defined list of URLs can be delivered with 100 per cent accuracy," he said.

"It also demonstrated that it can be done with negligible impact on internet speed."

Grants will also be offered to ISPs to voluntarily block other content.

After the legislation is passed the filter will take 12 months to implement.

Senator Conroy says the Government will take steps to ensure the filter is transparent and people know why material is being blocked.

In May 2008, the Government said it would spend $125.8 million over four years on several measures to strengthen cyber safety, including the filter.
Analyzing this lunacy:
1) "Some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilized society, it is important that all Australians are protected from this material".
I was under the mistaken impression that individuals in civilized society had the capacity and freedom to autonomously discern good from bad, and accordingly make a decision to consume or not consume, thank you Senator for correcting my misguided perception.

In all seriousness, protecting the children just doesn’t wash. There are currently around 110 million operational websites online with in excess of 25 billion indexable pages, plus a few more pages that haven’t been indexed by Google or Yahoo.

How in the f*ck do you review 25 billion pages and counting? Even if only 1% of those pages were “prohibited content”, no organization (government or otherwise) could hope to apply a meaningful filter solution, it would be like trying to arrest a locust plague with a butterfly net.

It is clear from the outset that this policy has nothing to do with “protecting citizens” and has everything to do with creating additional government authority for the purpose of censoring any internet content that they so choose, in a very targeted manner, as this is the only manner feasible.
2) "Government will not determine what is blacklisted; rather an independent body will determine what sites are rated as RC".
Independent in the way that the “Peoples Daily” is an independent newspaper in the People’s Republic of China. The “independent body” comrade refers to is otherwise known as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), a government organization.


3) "Legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material which has been refused classification in other countries".
I assume that should read something like “Legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material from other countries which has been refused classification in Australia.”


After all, (don’t quote me on this) but I would suspect that classification codes are not quite up to par in Uzbekistan or Uruguay. Conversely, any content outside the Chairman Mao fan club is RC in China.

My next thought was, are websites actually classified in Australia? I mean, I have never seen a website with classification info, like the logos that appear on DVD movies.



Upon investigation, as near as I can tell from available info, the Australian Classification Board provides classifications on internet content to the ACMA on request, if and only if, the ACMA receives a complaint about internet content. According to the ACMA website: “The ACMA can only take action about material that is prohibited, or potentially prohibited, under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.”

As for legislation being introduced next year, it would appear that media law imposing “access prevention notices” on ISPs is already active, as gleaned from the Act, thanks ACMA for the tip.


In summary, the act (amended just weeks ago) bestows the ACMA government organisation with the power to enforce that all ISPs deny access to any internet content that is rated X 18+ or refused classification (RC).
If, in the course of an investigation, the ACMA is satisfied that Internet content is prohibited content or potential prohibited content, the ACMA must: Give each Internet service provider known to the ACMA a written notice (a standard access-prevention notice) directing the provider to take all reasonable steps to prevent end-users from accessing the content.
See below at bottom of this post for important excerpts and a link to the Broadcasting Services Act.

Already RC is applied to an ever increasing number of films by the Australian office of censorship (Classification Board), making them illegal in Australia, and all video games (online or other wise) are RC by default if they cannot meet the MA15+ standard.
4) "Our pilot, and the experience of ISPs in many western democracies, shows that ISP level-filtering of a defined list of URLs can be delivered with 100 per cent accuracy."
Hugh, come again? Back in March it was revealed with much fan fair in the main stream media, that the web pages of a Queensland tour operator, boarding kennel and a dentist had all been included in this “defined URL list” being trialled.

In addition, online gambling sites, You Tube links, regular porn and fetish sites and Wikileaks pages were also found in the black list.

Wikileaks reported at the time:
"Apparently without irony, ACMA threatens fines of up to $11,000 a day for linking to sites on its secret, unreviewable, censorship blacklist. This week saw Australia joining China and the United Arab Emirates as the only countries censoring Wikileaks. We were not notified by ACMA."
Comrade Conroy guest starred on ABC TV and made rather bemusing claims about the Russian Mafia hacking the web-page of the dentist in a pathetic attempt to justify why the blacklist filter had been less than “100% accurate”.


Minister of National Enlightenment and Propaganda, Stephen Conroy.

See - Russian Mob Hacks Dentist

5) "Grants will also be offered to ISPs to voluntarily block other content."
Perhaps the most nefarious line in the ABC article, WTF does this mean, block other content?

Before closing comments on this article, the ABC was swamped with 350 of them. Scrolling through, I detected about 7 comments in favour of the filtering, but I suspect one of those was Minister Conroy, who under the handle Kex wrote:
I think it's a good compromise between protection and freedom of expression. The commitments to transparency are a pretty good inclusion as well.
And then there were the super delusional. -
Comment by Delta:
Hmmmm reading most of these posts seems a lot of people are into the hard core porn, sexual abuse and the like, well what ever turns you on.... Remember it’s designed to protect young children and people who have a clean and decent outlook on life.
Overwhelmingly though, about 343 from 350 comments expressed outrage and a desire to burn the government at the stake.

It would appear from the comments however, that the public is oblivious to just how sinister the filtering announcement really is.

It’s not merely a dumb filter programmed with a black list; our government has been less than forthcoming in disclosing the technologies which will be utilized under the legislation. Most ISPs in the trial were all using appliance based products with signature blocking capabilities able to filter P2P, IMs, anonymous proxies and online gaming.

See - ISPs reveal clean-filter technologies

Conroy may be less articulate than a baboon’s asshole and apparently arrogant enough to fly in the face of all considered and professional advice on this issue, but this is not about the Rudd government, this is a world wide attack on public freedom to access information.

In the UK, a new Digital Economy Bill is currently under review in the House of Lords. It contains a provision (clause 11), which begins:
The Secretary of State may at any time by order impose a technical obligation on internet service providers if the Secretary of State considers it appropriate….
The definition of a "technical obligation" and "technical measure" are inserted by clause 10:
A "technical obligation", in relation to an internet service provider, is an obligation for the provider to take a technical measure against particular subscribers to its service. A "technical measure" is a measure that— (a) limits the speed or other capacity of the service provided to a subscriber; (b) prevents a subscriber from using the service to gain access to particular material, or limits such use; (c) suspends the service provided to a subscriber; or (d) limits the service provided to a subscriber in another way.
See - government-wants-new-powers

Authorities in the UK are claiming these measures are designed for combating copyright infringement, probably less insulting to the intelligence of the public than the story about protecting children, but my point is governments are not behind this attack on our freedoms, they are just facilitating it.

The Howard Gov (previous Aust Gov) was in the process of implementing this action and an Abbott Gov (new leader of opposition Gov) would not deviate from this course either.

Governments are not elected; they are selected, by the people who own them and whom the government is always answerable to, the few who really run this world from behind the curtain. These are the people we need to dethrone.

Protest action is already alive and well, in September; Prime Minister Kevin Dudd’s own official website was attacked and shut down, allegedly by the group “Anonymous” who had given prior warning that government websites would be targeted.

See - Rudd website attacked in filter protest

For more info on the trials, which have gone unreported despite promises to the contrary, click here.


Broadcasting Services Act 1992
Amended Nov 20, 2009
Vol 2


Extracts:
Schedule 5 - Online services This Schedule sets up a system for regulating certain aspects of the Internet industry.
• If the ACMA is satisfied that Internet content hosted outside Australia is prohibited content or potential prohibited content, the ACMA must:

(a) if the ACMA considers that the content is of a sufficiently serious nature to warrant referral to a law enforcement agency—notify the content to an Australian police force; and

(b) Notify the content to Internet service providers so that the providers can deal with the content in accordance with procedures specified in an industry code or industry standard (for example, procedures for the filtering, by technical means, of such content).

• The ACMA has a reserve power to make an industry standard if there are no industry codes or if an industry code is deficient.

• The ACMA may make online provider determinations regulating Internet service providers.

If, in the course of an investigation under Division 2 of Part 3 of Schedule 7, the ACMA is satisfied that Internet content hosted outside Australia is prohibited content or potential prohibited content, the ACMA must:

Give each Internet service provider known to the ACMA a written notice (a standard access-prevention notice) directing the provider to take all reasonable steps to prevent end-users from accessing the content.

The ACMA may, by written instrument, declare that a specified arrangement is a recognised alternative access-prevention arrangement for the purposes of the application of this Division to one or more specified end-users if the ACMA is satisfied that the arrangement is likely to provide a reasonably effective means of preventing access by those end-users to prohibited content and potential prohibited content.

Industry codes and industry standards

• Compliance with industry standards is mandatory.

Matters that must be dealt with by industry codes and industry Standards

General matters

(1) The Parliament intends that, for the Internet service provider section of the Internet industry, there should be:

(a) an industry code or an industry standard that deals with; or
(b) an industry code and an industry standard that together deal with;

(j) subject to subclause (8A), action to be taken to assist in the development and implementation of Internet content filtering technologies (including labelling technologies);

(m) procedures directed towards the achievement of the objective of ensuring that, in the event that a participant in the Internet service provider section of the Internet industry becomes aware that an Internet content host is hosting prohibited content in Australia, the host is told about the prohibited content.

Other matters

(d) subject to subclause (8A), procedures to be followed by Internet service providers in dealing with Internet content notified under paragraph 40(1)(b) of this Schedule or clause 46 (for example, procedures to be followed by a particular class of Internet service providers for the filtering, by technical means, of such content).

(8A) If the Minister is satisfied that Internet content filtering is not viable in relation to access to Internet content using a particular device (for example, a mobile telephone handset), the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine that paragraphs (1)(j), (k) and (l) and (2)(d) do not apply in relation to access to Internet content using that device.


Schedule 7 - Online services

11. Eligible electronic publication

For the purposes of this Schedule, if:

(a) content consists of:

(i) an electronic edition of a book, magazine or newspaper; or

(ii) an audio recording of the text, or abridged text, of a book, magazine or newspaper; and

(b) a print edition of the book, magazine or newspaper is or was available to the public (whether by way of purchase or otherwise) in Australia; then:

(c) the content is an eligible electronic publication; and

(d) the print edition of the book, magazine or newspaper is the corresponding print publication in relation to the eligible electronic publication.

Division 1 - Prohibited content and potential prohibited content

20. Prohibited content

Content other than eligible electronic publications

(1) For the purposes of this Schedule, content (other than content that consists of an eligible electronic publication) is prohibited content if:

(a) the content has been classified RC or X 18+ by the Classification Board; or

(b) both:

(i) the content has been classified R 18+ by the Classification Board; and

(ii) access to the content is not subject to a restricted access system; or

(c) all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) the content has been classified MA 15+ by the Classification Board;

(ii) access to the content is not subject to a restricted access system;

(iii) the content does not consist of text and/or one or more still visual images;

(iv) access to the content is provided by means of a content service (other than a news service or a current affairs service) that is operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise;

(v) the content service is provided on payment of a fee (whether periodical or otherwise);

(vi) the content service is not an ancillary subscription television content service; or

(d) all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) the content has been classified MA 15+ by the Classification Board;

(ii) access to the content is not subject to a restricted access system;

(iii) access to the content is provided by means of a mobile premium service.

Eligible electronic publications

(2) For the purposes of this Schedule, content that consists of an eligible electronic publication is prohibited content if the content has been classified RC, category 2 restricted or category 1 restricted by the Classification Board.

21 Potential prohibited content

(1) For the purposes of this Schedule, content is potential prohibited content if:

(a) the content has not been classified by the Classification Board; and

(b) if the content were to be classified by the Classification Board, there is a substantial likelihood that the content would be prohibited content.

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Comment by Jeff on December 20, 2009 at 12:32pm
No, but there are how many people on that list??????
Comment by Jeff on December 20, 2009 at 7:08am
I know I'm on the no fly list. I'm absolutely certain.

Peace
Comment by Fred Black on December 20, 2009 at 5:54am
Sure, I would love to join you for dinner Jeff, in your sector of the New World State. Being the government critic that I am though, I suspect I'm on the no fly list. Maybe in the not too distant future, when we become merged with our Second Life avatars in a matrix kind of way, coupled with nano replicators to construct before me the fine food you have on offer, we can make a date.
Comment by Jeff on December 19, 2009 at 12:51pm
Yeah, the wars created to combat 'anything' are all a hoax, or rather a legislative political process with perhaps good intentions at the onset but slowly morphed into matters that are predicate upon financial gain as special interests become involved.

True, parents are ultimately responsible or at least should be. Big Brother has slowly begun to monopolize that entire affair. Our children are raised by the machine as our personal responsibilities and our time are consumed by the state.

Also true, the difference between life in Australia and life here in the US is minimal. Does that mean you'll be by for dinner?
Comment by Fred Black on December 19, 2009 at 4:13am
That's funny Jeff, I'm usually quite glad I don't live in the US. There is not much to distinguish any western nation from another though these days, all the same generic culture served by the global corporate machine.

The censorship has already grown markedly before it has even started. We were sold this filter plan initially, solely on the basis that it was for stopping child porn and protecting children from other undesirable content. I would be in agreement with that if, a): a filter could achieve that goal, it cannot, and b): if that were the real intention, it is not.

The war on child porn is like the war on drugs, the war on terror, its a hoax. With today's surveillance and tracking technologies at the disposal of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, I find it absurd that they can not locate and prosecute the animals that this material originates from.

Every so often there is news in the MSM reporting massive busts on a whole network of end users caught with hard drives full of child images, but I don't think I have ever seen a media story reporting the arrest of a producer of these images. This just doesn't add up.

Anyway, the filtering which hasn't yet begun (apart from the trials), is now aiming to deny access to anything refused classification (RC), which will include anything special interest groups (we call them wowsers in Australia), have complained about and successfully lobbied against.

I have to question from the outset, why parents should not be responsible for providing guidance to their children relating to their internet consumption, just as they are with all other matters, such as drug use or indeed the type of entertainment they choose beyond the realm of the net, theater movies, video games etc.
Comment by Jeff on December 18, 2009 at 10:11pm
By the way, glad I don't live in Australia.
Comment by Jeff on December 18, 2009 at 3:13pm
No censorship is palatable, ever. However, before I get too wound up and since it isn't happening here and doesn't appear that it will, I'd prefer to wait and see what this censorship actually looks like. If you can still access all of the sites you'd like to, no harm done unless the censorship grows. I can understand censoring sites that portray naked children. Anything beyond that is more than distasteful.

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