Skip to main content

Aussie Gov't Ponders Killing BitTorrent

According to, the Federal Government in Australia has extended its scope in the controversial Internet censorship scheme. The original intent of its censorship plan was to filter out offensive and illegal content such as child pornography and adult content but it is now considering to cover BitTorrent traffic as well.

This is not a “Net Nanny” style of service were users could opt out of censored content ; communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has revealed that this censorship will be mandatory.

Many activist groups in the country have expressed their outrage over the censorship proposal. Colin Jacobs, an Electronic Frontiers Australia board member, said during an interview with, “If the Government would actually come out and say we’re only targeting child pornography it would be a different debate."

Jerry Yang, the still CEO of Yahoo welcomes this legislation and praised the new code of conduct as “a valuable roadmap for companies like Yahoo operating in markets where freedom of expression and privacy are unfairly restricted.”

Australia has already been criticized for their harsh National Classification Scheme (NCS), where books, films, games and publications are often denied to be sold in the country. The latest example was Grand Theft Auto IV, where the country received a re-edited version of the game. How is the Australian censorship scheme different from countries such as China ? According to Conroy, the difference is that Australian government will not be blocking “political” content. He claims that the scheme will follow the existing methods adopted by the NCS but will simply be applied to internationally hosted content.

In democratic societies, freedom of speech is the corner stone of basic human rights. What the Australian Government is planning to do is a very slippery slope indeed. Senator Conroy has been posting on the Digital Economy Future Directions blog, launched earlier this year by the government to encourage public feedback.

As of press time, there are 130 comments on the Senator’s post with his plans for traffic filtering. A live trial of the filtering technology is scheduled to start sometime this week but has been in contact with local ISPs and they are all clueless as to when it will actually occur or if their filtering proposals have been accepted.

  • Tindytim
    There are so many sites on this issue, this is rather old news.

    That said, Australian government sources have commented that there could be an overall slowdown for internet usage up to 80%.

    You can find more information here:

    And the whole idea of outruling torrents is retarded. Just because someone uses a tool for illegal purposes doesn't make the tool bad, it makes the people using it bad. I used a torrent to download Ubuntu 8.10.
  • pocketdrummer
    It is such a violation of personal freedoms to censor citizens use of the internet. I can't see why people aren't fighting this harder...
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Stopping child pornography and other non-consensual exploitation = very yes.

    Going even a step beyond that sort of mandate = very no.
  • gm0n3y
    This is somewhat similar to US ISPs limiting bandwidth for torrent traffic. At least we can still access the content I guess, but how useful is it at such low speeds...
  • Tindytim
    pocketdrummerIt is such a violation of personal freedoms to censor citizens use of the internet. I can't see why people aren't fighting this harder...
    It says adult content. The Australian government plans to filter the Internet in the whole country, so that it's appropriate for children of an indeterminate age. It's complete bull, and a serious blow to free speech. And they will end up hitting a lot of innocent sites in the process.

  • Complete and utter rubbish again from the labour government. Us aussies are going to go back to the dark ages :(
  • fulle
    lol, what's your favorite Open Proxy or VPN service Aussies?

    Another case of an IDIOT government official trying to make decisions concerning technology they don't understand.
  • randomizer
    The whole idea is a total waste of money. The ISPs don't want it, the consumers don't want it, the non-government political parties don't know what's going on and only the government actually pushes for it. Anyone bent on accessing "inappropriate" material can simply do as fulle mentioned; a simple VPN service is sufficient to bypass any content filter the government could think of. And guess who was the first to make sure we know that? The ISPs. :sarcastic:
  • ravenware
    In democratic
    societies, freedom of speech is the corner stone of basic human rights.

    Jules: Good. Looks like me an Vincent caught you boys at breakfast. Sorry about that. Whatcha havin'?

    Brett: Hamburgers.

    Jules: Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kind of hamburgers?
  • malveaux
    Australia is becoming more and more like China with this kind of crap.

    Keep your communism ways.