Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Conroy’s rush to censorship

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-11-10

Censorship Sucks

Censorship Sucks

The worst part of censorship is ...

Nice pickup over at Public Polity article Expressions of interest release for ISP filtering, because they found some odd things, like the blacklist being secret, and the blocking of non-web-based applications.

The full documents from are here.

Looking through the docs, I find that the current blacklist is 1300 URLs, the pilot test is 10000 (where are the others coming from, and why are they not already on the blacklist?), and both figures pale against the number of URLs out there that are probably objectionable.  My guess is that they will be setting the bar low on the bandwidth-throttling effect.

Looks like worries about feeping creaturism and secret ever-expanding censorship might not be invalid.

Seriously, the Conroy plan is populist but not practical, or about as practical as throwing cats in the air to stop IP datagrams travelling according to IETF RFC’s 1149 and 2549 (it’ll only work if you throw enough cats into the air so no pigeons can get through).

See Also/Notes:

  • The expression of interest documents are coming from Conroy’s, which I’ve previously criticized in "NOIE reincarnated and poor protection of critical infrastructure" (2008-02-05)
  • Imagine the havoc if perverts start using
  • "Ce N’est Pas Une Image" (2008-10-27) contains more links on this subject, including the Howard government inquiry into content filtering and other reviewers keeping an eye on things.
  • By the way, Avian Transport Protocol or Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol HAS been tested in the real world – see this and this (pictures here). Of course, it’s UDP not TCP! And the following is an anecdote from one of the implementors:

    One of the last frames (i.e. pigeons) we released actually crashed into a neighbor’s bathroom window, after which Alan Cox himself commented; “Oh no, windows causing problems again.”

    Other tests indicate the bandwidth of 3 pigeons over 100km compare favorably with ADSL, at 2.27 Mbps, (see this)

  • UPDATE: Lauredhel over at Hoyden About Town is doing a great job on this, keeps the links coming, and includes a transcript of Conroy’s Senate Question Time arrogance in "Internet censorship in Senate Question Time today" (2008-11-11)
  • Relevant Facebook groups including discussion and draft letters to parliamentarians (and responses from the likes of Minchin) include:
  • SomebodyThinkOfTheChildren – an informative blog "about censorship and moral panic in Australia, with a particular focus on Internet censorship."
  • YouTube NoCensorshipAus

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