Aussie Firewall Meets US Extinguisher

Aussie Firewall Meets US Extinguisher

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US Academia has pointed out to Australia exactly why you can't police the internet unchallenged.

Derek Bambauer, Harvard graduate and Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School has laid out a paper explaining why Stephen Conroy's great Aussie firewall is just a load of hot air.

The paper has a number of juicy quotes, but I think this one says it all:

To assess legitimacy, the process-based framework asks four questions. First, is a country open about its Internet censorship, and why it restricts information? Second, is the state transparent about what material it filters and what it leaves untouched? Third, how narrow is filtering: how well does the content that is actually blocked - and not blocked - correspond to those criteria?

Finally, to what degree are citizens and Internet users able to participate in decisionmaking about these restrictions, such that censors are accountable? Legitimate censorship is open; transparent about what is banned; effective, yet narrowly targeted; and responsive to the preferences of each state's citizens.

Conroy (pictured) can argue that the first part is narrowly defined, but the next three push his arguments into the mud and stomp on them.

Whilst his plans to filter BitTorrent and the other child unfriendly sites include 10,000 sites that he wants blocked, Bambauer asks: Do they actually have a clue which these would be? Without proper figures given by the Australian Government(transparency), there is no way that the general public can tell if it's working or not.

And finally, the last two points nullify the first one. If certain sites are being blocked to adults as well as children, then there has to be a referendum on which areas of "indecency" are allowed to be covered; otherwise it is not a democratic system.

The IWF (the UK's Internet Watch Foundation) allegedly has one of the greatest databases on child pornography and regularly track 800-1200 sites. Now, if the Australians have a list of 10,000, that suggests there are roughly 9,000 other offending sites that the Australians can find but the IWF can't.

Here in the UK, we have our own "freedom fighter" in the form of Lilian Edwards, Professor of Internet Law at Sheffield University, who has already fought the IWF on its Wikipedia ban. In her blog, she laid out a set of five rules that need to be kept to for "Policing the Internet", which are that it needs to be transparent, open, democratically determined, judicially backed, and accountable. Just as Derek Bambauer has said.

Given that the Australian four year plan is the model that the others might follow, it's gratifying to note that somebody actually is watching the watchmen.

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watching the watchmen isnt the same as policing the police. Academia telling government agencies/politicians their being naughty/undemocratic means nothing on its own

This government wasn't voted in on their merits, it was voted in on the demerits of the previous government. In two years time, we'll vote in a new government for the same reason.

Call me dense but I still don't fully understand this. Why are we (well, they) denying access to web sites because they are inappropriate for children? There are TV stations that have content that children should never see, but they don't ban those. If the parents can't keep their children from where they don't belong it's not the government's responsibility to act as a safety net.

They won't listen. Why? Because this will get them votes from the same idiots who keep Michael Atkinson in power, ie. the parents who can't parent, and the people who believe in a nanny-state.

Conroy, what does the scouter say about her power level? That she beat you down, that's what. It's good somebody else is standing up to this though wasn't this phantom 'firewall' supposed to be put in place a while back?

that "best beaches" tax is also follwoed by a "battlestar galactica firewall" to block all internet in case the Cylons invade and nuke us

Man, we have it GOOD in Canada, and it'll be better when Obama comes into power here.

LewsTherin:
Man, we have it GOOD in Canada, and it'll be better when Obama comes into power here.

Invasion imminent.

Ronmarru:
Call me dense but I still don't fully understand this. Why are we (well, they) denying access to web sites because they are inappropriate for children? There are TV stations that have content that children should never see, but they don't ban those. If the parents can't keep their children from where they don't belong it's not the government's responsibility to act as a safety net.

Totally agree with this, it's the parent's responsibility, not the governments, to watch what children do on the internet.

This has the same flaws as EA anti piracy. Your punishing the majority to stop the minority who are causing the problem.

Internet access in Australia is bad enough as it is. Anything that has a negative effect on our speeds or connectivity is going to put a real hurt on our country's presence on the internet.

And yes it is the parents responsibility. We have tools available for parental monitoring and blocking of unsuitable sites. This firewall was redundant before it was even conceived.

Rooster Cogburn:

LewsTherin:
Man, we have it GOOD in Canada, and it'll be better when Obama comes into power here.

Invasion imminent.

Don't worry Canada, you'll like being the 51st state. There are lots of benefits. And every Tuesday is Donuts Day!

Beowulf DW:

Rooster Cogburn:

LewsTherin:
Man, we have it GOOD in Canada, and it'll be better when Obama comes into power here.

Invasion imminent.

Don't worry Canada, you'll like being the 51st state. There are lots of benefits. And every Tuesday is Donuts Day!

Hey! Us British are the 51st state already!

Rooster Cogburn:

LewsTherin:
Man, we have it GOOD in Canada, and it'll be better when Obama comes into power here.

Invasion imminent.

in 2072

So wait, the US has stopped Australia from filtering the internet?
What's it got to do with them? Especially as they aren't willing to stop China from doing it, and they've got a much bigger problem with it there.

*Apologies if I've misunderstood something, it's early here.*

Aardvark:
This government wasn't voted in on their merits, it was voted in on the demerits of the previous government. In two years time, we'll vote in a new government for the same reason.

Sad, but looking like it will be true. We thought we had another Keating, damnit.

AceDiamond:

Rooster Cogburn:

LewsTherin:
Man, we have it GOOD in Canada, and it'll be better when Obama comes into power here.

Invasion imminent.

in 2072

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortress_North_America

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Now, if the Australians have a list of 10,000, that suggests there are roughly 9,000 other offending sites that the Australians can find but the IWF can't.

Hi. Just to point out that a website with "child pornography" isn't the same as a website "unfriendly for children". While 800-1200 doesn't seem outrageous for the number of websites with child pornography, I'm sure that the number of websites unfriendly for children is way higher than 10.000.

cuber7:

Now, if the Australians have a list of 10,000, that suggests there are roughly 9,000 other offending sites that the Australians can find but the IWF can't.

Hi. Just to point out that a website with "child pornography" isn't the same as a website "unfriendly for children". While 800-1200 doesn't seem outrageous for the number of websites with child pornography, I'm sure that the number of websites unfriendly for children is way higher than 10.000.

This is true, 4 Chan for example; but would you really want sites like say FHM, which is hardly child friendly, to be banned just because Stephen Conroy doesn't want kids seeing it?

"Child Pornography" is an easily defined term, "Child Unfriendly" seems to be a blanket that could cover almost any site.

 

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