Filtering plan goes from bad to worse

The Federal Government’s unspeakable internet filtering plan just got a whole lot scarier:

THE Federal Government’s controversial internet censorship scheme may extend to filter more online traffic than was first thought, Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy revealed today.

In a post on his department’s blog, Senator Conroy today said technology that could filter data sent directly between computers would be tested as part of the upcoming live filtering trial.

“Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial,” Senator Conroy said.

Oh good. Because stateful inspection of every peer to peer connection in Australia is sure to go off without a hitch.

When the government first came out with the filtering plan, I remember mentioning to less tech-savvy friends that it would be useless at stopping child porn because it couldn’t filter P2P networks. I didn’t mean that as a suggestion.

Interesting that Conroy’s statement includes the phrase “peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic”, which is sort of like saying “Australian state capitals and Sydney”, or possibly “idiots and Stephen Conroy”. It makes me wonder whether he has any idea what the hell he’s talking about, but of course he must, being Communications Minister and all.

20 thoughts on “Filtering plan goes from bad to worse

  1. “I remember mentioning to less tech-savvy friends that it would be useless at stopping child porn because it couldn’t filter P2P networks.”

    Hmmmm. Is that why we are still being held to IPv4 rather than IPv6, so they don’t inspect the network but the hosts?

    (And MESH wireless networks starting to emergy will make ISP-based filtering somewhat moot)

  2. This filtering madness is just a symptom of a bigger disease. Socialism is back in fashion.

    The past lessons of socialism have not been learned.

    Would anyone here care to speculate on how long it will be before Australia tries it hands at prohibition ?

  3. Jono; Wasn’t the tax rise on mixed drinks a form of prohibition? Of course it could have been that Rudd felt that it was more desirable to give the youth of the nation the skills required to be able to mix their own, in which case its merely social engineering.

    Oh Hell, social engineering is socialist as well.

  4. Jono – a year or so ago I would have said you’re being alarmist with that comment about prohibition, but I’m not so sure now.

    Defining ‘binge drinking’ as more than two per day, and trying to censor the web is freaking scaring me.

    Please tell me Turnbull is actually opposing this?

  5. I rely on BitTorrent to get my Linux and Solaris distributions, and this dudd wants to get rid of them? G-f-damn >_<

  6. @ Stephen
    We do not have an opposition, just some jellyfish needing a backbone transplant, hopefully over the Christmas break.

    Fortunately the filtering will be useless especially if the ISPs tell the Gov. to go jump, unfortunately we will all pay for it.

  7. Conroy’s plan is going to end up in tears fro the Labor party, it’s just technical nonsense. My bet is Conroy will back away before an 8 year old demonstration to journalists how easy it is to look at porn when parents aren’t looking, turning the 40 million spend into a very expensive joke.

  8. Jono — I thought they already inroduced prohibition for selected areas of Australia during the “aboriginal intervention”.

    Stephen — I don’t think Conroy wants to get rid of P2P. He just wants the government to control what is sent.

    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on… or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Mark Twain

  9. I often ponder on this John, I think the first option make the decisions while the second option votes for them along party lines.

    I think in Conroys case I would have used: –

    “The problem is not that we have too many fools, it’s that the lightning isn’t distributed right.” Mark Twain.

  10. I wonder WHO do they think they are to tell us what we CAN and what we CANNOT watch on the internet.

    What’s next? They are planning to tell us also what we can and cannot read?

    I pay my respects to Mr. George Orwell and I can’t help but wondering how much longer until they turn our world into somthing like what’s described in 1984.

  11. Sergio — they think they’re the government.

    I actually think the anomoly is that we have had the internet for the last 10 years (or so) with relative freedom. Now the government has realised this anomoly and is “fixing” it.

    I think the move to regulate the internet is entirely consistent with government control in our non-internet lives. If the internet had existed 100 years ago it would have suffered the same regulatory creep that has existed in the other parts of our economic and social lives.

    Consequently, our generation would never have known what it’s like to have unregulated internet. And instead of being *shocked* at regulated internet we would find it totally normal (like all of the other over-regulated parts of our lives). Mainstream people would be laughing at those “crazy libertarians” who want to deregulate the internet. They would be shouting “think of the children” and “the internet won’t work properly without the government” and the usual BS.

  12. Sadly Sergio, there is no constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, although there seems to be an implied sense of it.

    John’s point is valid, in that were we to attempt to remove the classification system for films etc. think of the outrage that would be leveled at us, centering on “think of the children” sliding down the slope to decadence and so on. People are afraid of any move from the status quo, but find safety in state intervention which is funny in a sad sort of way when you consider that most intervention is to correct the disasters of previous interventions.

    Despite our country not having a ‘public’ newspaper and doing very well with the private ones, try arguing that the ABC should be sold off and made commercial and see the arguments about lack of freedom of choice that would ensue.

  13. We actually use movie ratings to help decide what to show our kids and what not to. Ironically the people I know that most strongly defend government involvement in rating of movies also seem to totally ignore it when it comes to deciding what they show kids (including what they will try and show my kids). Strange.

  14. @Eric H:
    I’m actually seriously considering wirelessly meshing my neighborhood together if I can gather enough other people. It would be great to just screw over all the governments plans to even watch traffic if we were careful how we went about it and accepting new people

  15. Could someone please clarify:

    Rudd ‘promised’ broadband during his election campaign.

    Now that the govt are planning a national broadband network (is it a centrally planned ‘public good’?), does this mean that the Federal government OWNS the network infrastructure. Can someone please shed some light on this, or am I wrong, i.e. the network will be own by many private groups and individuals.

    If the real owner of Australia’s network infrastructure is the government, wouldn’t it follow that they, the government, have the power and the right to make the rules?

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