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Australia Wants to Censor the Internet

Australia has been heavily criticized for its plans to implement an ISP-level Internet content filter. While the government's initial statement was that the filter would block "inappropriate" material, a recent leak of the supposed blacklist has shown that seemingly innocent business websites are also in the process of being excluded from access by their customers, including a dentist.

Wikileaks.org, a website created for publishing confidential government and corporate documents while keeping sources anonymous, posted what it claims to be the Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) blacklist last week. Naturally, the ACMA and Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, denied that the list was authentic.

Among the websites in the list obtained by Wikileaks is that of the dental office Dental Distinction. The ACMA confirmed to the office that its website was indeed on the official list as well, but did not provide reasons. A school cafeteria consultancy company was also included on Wikileaks' blacklist, however the ACMA denied that the company's website would be blocked. Additionally, several Wikileaks pages have also made the ban list, which is what prompted the site to leak the information in the first place.

According to Conroy, “There are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist. However, ACMA advises that there are URLs on the published list that have never been the subject of a complaint or ACMA investigation, and have never been included on the ACMA blacklist.”

The ACMA said that the list dated August 6, 2008 can not possibly be real because the official list at the time contained 1061 URLs, while the list obtained by Wikileaks contains 2395. Wikileaks later posted lists dated March 11 and March 18. The site also said that the ACMA did a cleanup between these two dates, resulting in a current official list containing only 1172 URLs, a number much closer to what the ACMA said the number was in August.

Shortly after the possible leaking of the government's blacklist, Internet Service Provider iiNet released a statement (PDF) saying it is pulling out of the current content filter trials. Michael Malone, Managing Director of iiNet, said that the ISP “only agreed to participate in the trial to demonstrate that the policy was fundamentally flawed, a waste of taxpayers' money and would not work.”

In a press release, Conroy stated that he may involve the Australian Federal Police because the release of information regarding the blacklist “undermines efforts to improve cyber–safety and create a safe online environment for children.” Wikileaks hit back at Conroy, saying, “Under the Swedish Constitution's Press Freedom Act, the right of a confidential press source to anonymity is protected, and criminal penalties apply to anyone acting to breach that right.”

  • Ronrico
    See what happens when you give up your gun rights? Australia is headed towards a very dark place and there is nothing they can do to stop it.
    Reply
  • sacre
    Unbelievable. The Internet being censored, the only place we can go too to see what we want when we want, that we pay for, is going to be Censored.. well, not ours but Australia's.

    If this were to happen here, I would definantly throw my words in and join "Rallies" or w/e the hell. This is too much, TV censored, Radio, Internet..

    We know what is bad for us, why do they feel forced to censor stuff for us like they know whats good and bad for us? Too much man, too fucking much.
    Reply
  • sacre
    RonricoSee what happens when you give up your gun rights? Australia is headed towards a very dark place and there is nothing they can do to stop it.
    gun rights? Listen, what is that going to do? If America did this.. what would you do, grab 100 of your buddies and storm the whitehouse with weapons? Yea, the Army/Police would be on you shooting. Even if nearly all citizens in America have weapons, it don't make a difference. It makes you feel like you're able to take control but you can't. considering theres thousands in the military, and thousands in the police force that would easily stop you. And on top of that, the president can easily be transported away if you tried... This whole "we have guns, so we can overthrow the president" thinking is like a blanket of "control" thrown over your head.. Guns or not, you don't have real control over the top dogs.
    Reply
  • Thunderfox
    Yes, they'd be much better off storming their government buildings and shooting everyone in the head.
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    Australia is really turning up to be the land of the darkness in recent years - I'm glad my parent's didn't choose to immigrate there.

    Seriously though, censoring the internet? You can't censor something like the internet! If the Australian government's spent perhaps one day on the internet they would realize this, but seemingly no.
    Reply
  • hillarymakesmecry
    If I were in the military and ordered to shoot citizens determined to oppose governmental tyranny and oppression I think I'd shoot my commanding officer before laying my life down to protect said tyrants.

    Hopefully the men in our military are not military drones, but people.

    I'm in favor of blocking child porn and other nasty bits but blocking most anything else would pretty well irk me.
    Reply
  • frozenlead
    Where's Randomizer?

    And since when is it the governments responsibility to choose the environment children live, work, and play in? Isn't that parents' jobs?
    Reply
  • TheCapulet
    sacregun rights? Listen, what is that going to do? If America did this.. what would you do, grab 100 of your buddies and storm the whitehouse with weapons? Yea, the Army/Police would be on you shooting. Even if nearly all citizens in America have weapons, it don't make a difference. It makes you feel like you're able to take control but you can't. considering theres thousands in the military, and thousands in the police force that would easily stop you. And on top of that, the president can easily be transported away if you tried... This whole "we have guns, so we can overthrow the president" thinking is like a blanket of "control" thrown over your head.. Guns or not, you don't have real control over the top dogs.I'm sure he was joking, moron. Besides that, Giving up the right to bear arms would only start a massive downhill trend for the removal of every right that we american citizenes value.

    Giving up firearms rights to a publicly ran government means that the 'people', and things stop being 'for the people, by the people', and instead staring being 'for the order, by the new world'.
    Reply
  • sacre
    TheCapuletI'm sure he was joking, moron. Besides that, Giving up the right to bear arms would only start a massive downhill trend for the removal of every right that we american citizenes value. Giving up firearms rights to a publicly ran government means that the 'people', and things stop being 'for the people, by the people', and instead staring being 'for the order, by the new world'.
    No, you're wrong "Moron". There are other Countries with just as many rights, and if not, better living then America atm and they're not allowed to weaponry. You people are taught that without the right to bear arms, the Government is going to control you all and your rights will be gone. Give it a rest, christ. You think that if ANY country, that doesn't have the same exact laws as your country has, is oppressed and controlled and the citizens rights are gone.

    Really, get real "moron". I personally would love the right to own my own weapon, but I don't need one because in my entire lifetime I have never been robbed, mugged, or hurt from others. Nor have my friends, family co-workers. Well, maybe it is needed in the US, since the US has one of the highest Crime rates overall.
    Reply
  • dbmbe1969
    To sacre:

    Would you care to site the sources for your assertions? Please, enlighten us...
    Reply