[clug] Internet Censorship - Advice?

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Thu Dec 4 01:17:55 GMT 2008

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Paul Matthews wrote:
| If each ISP has the same mandated filter, then each ISP's filter will have
the same weakness, and can be broken in exactly the same way.
Again I think you're proposing an overly dramatic scenario.  Even if each ISP
uses the same software to do the filtering - and there's no evidence that that
will be required - then each of them will protect it in different ways.  Even
a vulnerability in the filter such that a particular URL causes it to die can
be avoided by transparent proxies or pre-filters on a separate box.

Senator Conroy has not yet said on record (AFAICS) how the two lists -
'illegal' and 'inappropriate' - will be made up.  Are they URL fragments?  Key
words?  IP addresses?  No-one knows.  Will the solution be implemented with a
black box in the ISP, an ISP-controlled filter, or something else?  We don't
know.  Therefore, it is useless to speculate on what vulnerabilities the
solution might have.

This vagueness, to me, is the whole proposal's greatest weakness.  Imagine if
the Government were putting in a new TV classification where they said "we're
going to ban a list of films we consider 'inappropriate', but we're not going
to tell you what they are, the process behind the decision to ban them, how
we're banning them, the consequences of watching or distributing a banned
film, or even if an Australian citizen is allowed to see it overseas".  It'd
be ludicrous.  The whole thing would be laughed out of the Senate.  The film
censorship process is not only rigidly defined, but the guidelines are public
and broadcasters and movie theatres are required to tell you how the film got
the classification it has.  To expect a mandatory internet filtering solution
with the kind of nebulous, unspecified language that Senator Conroy is using
over it is sheer folly.

David, it's absolutely fantastic that you're getting this opportunity to speak
to the Country Liberal party over this.  Keep up the great work.  How did you
get that set up?  Did you have to say you were anyone 'important'?  I'm
thinking of trying to contact my local Representative and Senator and seeing
if I can tee up a similar meeting.

Thanks in advance,

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