Australia to mimic China online

Mikey 14 comments
Australia to mimic China online

The ALP plans to censor regulate Internet traffic by introducing a mandatory firewall. Good luck with that. Seriously.

Jokes aside, if we know anything, it is the Government knows nothing about the Internet and associated technologies, which makes announcements like this nothing more than a gimmick.

The worrying part though is, because of the Governments incompetence in regards to these matters, is they will be putting false assurances on parents who will be thinking they children will be protected from online nastiness.

Here's an idea - how about letting parents - you know - be parents? It's not the Government's job to protect my children online. That's my job, and I will do it far better.

As a side thought, and this is something they probably haven't even thought about, is if I use the Government firewall and my kid manages to bypass it and become exposed to porn or worse, can I sue them for incompetence? Or is incompetence just a standard accepted part of using Government software?

Full story at SMH.

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Thursday 3rd January 2008 | 12:25 PM

Let parents be parents. Yeah right. Where are you living Michael?
If a child wants to access something, I am sure the government realise they cant stop them. This system will only help those that stumble across it or have it Pop up on there screen. That is not a bad thing is it?
Are you one of those weirdos suggesting the Government are starting this now aiming it at kids but are going to develop it to censor the whole web for everybody one day?

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Thursday 3rd January 2008 | 12:48 PM

"If a child wants to access something, I am sure the government realise they cant stop them."
You would think so hey. But you just said it yourself - the gov knows they can't stop kids getting access to what they want, yet they are still prepared to waste our money on a device designed to do that. So exactly what is the point? There is none, hence this being nothing but a gimmick which is really odd considering they already won the election. No need to make fantasy promises any more.

"This system will only help those that stumble across it or have it Pop up on there screen. That is not a bad thing is it? "
No it's not a bad thing, but as mentioned it's a waste of time and money. All it takes is one person to get around it and publish the work-around online. And seeing as kids love MySpace, news will travel fast.

Do you know how to access your router? You will be able to specify a list of users and what sites they can access. Put a secure password in and problem solved. My kids have never been able to venture beyond the sites I have specified. Anything outside of the domains I have specified are simply blocked - be they in pop-ups or redirects it doesn't matter. You should look into it. It's as easy as composing an email.

The Gov needs to be educating people on how to protect kids online instead of trying to do it for us. The funny thing is it's piss easy, so don't dismiss it as something you wouldn't be able to do.

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Thursday 3rd January 2008 | 04:21 PM

gee isn't there more pressing needs the government should be doing, umm let me think..hospitals umm more police..i would think seem a little more important than parting with millions which i am sure it would cost to do something that probably will not work..

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Thursday 3rd January 2008 | 05:00 PM

Perfectly said Andrew. Spending millions on health and education actually benefits people. Gimmicks like an Internet filter is a waste of money.

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Thursday 3rd January 2008 | 06:58 PM

Quote Mike\
The Gov needs to be educating people on how to protect kids online instead of trying to do it for us. The funny thing is it's piss easy, so don't dismiss it as something you wouldn't be able to do.]\\ End Quote

Yes that makes perfect sense and I will probably seek advice on what you have said here.
Seriously though do you think many parents really care that much?
One of the (alleged) wisest men in the world stated it was important to train your children correctly at a young age. Extra Police are only needed in a violent community where people run amok.
I cant see how trying to limit porn and violence over the net to children is a bad political decision as opposed to other taxes wasted on other stupid ideas some governments come up with.
No ones arguing about Policing or Health or even Politicians earnings or perks

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Thursday 3rd January 2008 | 09:25 PM

Banning violent porn, etc online is of course not a bad thing. It is of course, however, impossible. We can argue all day about the merits of even attempting, and what a waste of money it is or isn't but the key issue here is, who draws the line?

By allowing the government to censor the Internet you begin down the slippery slope. At first they ban specific sites which should be banned. Then they start making claims that "torrents" can contain porn, so they should be banned.

This is exactly what happened in Sweden, where the government blocked (and other torrent engines), until outcry had it unblocked.

Of course, this all sounds perfectly reasonable to the layman - some people no doubt do download porn via torrents from thepiratebay.

However the net effect was serious business tools, such as Linux distros, security toolkits, etc became difficult to source, crippling many businesses.

The real problem here isn't the good or otherwise intentions of the Rudd government. It's the fact that absolute Luddites are making business and life effecting decisions about cutting edge technology they can't even spell, let alone understand, purely on emotive "gut-feel".

For this reason, Australia is one of the laughing stocks of the "online world".

(This is why we have a government promising to bring us broadband in the next 5 years which is 1/2 the speed we can already get).

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Friday 4th January 2008 | 03:47 AM

Well said Rodney. Honestly I don't see how this can be much more than one, or a handful, of politicians talking out of their ass. I'm not familiar with Australian laws but I assume any mandatory firewall like that would violate numerous free speech laws and the like and would never go active due to lawsuits, even if it did pass the executive/legislative branches.

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Friday 4th January 2008 | 10:50 AM

Thanks CT,

The bad news for us is Australia doesn't have freedom of speech laws. We have so many US law shows on TV everyone thinks we do but the reality is, we don't. We also don't have a Bill of Rights.

Australian's really only have two basic rights, afforded by our constitution:
1. The right to a fair trial, by your peers.
2. The right to vote.

That's it, guys. All the other rights we have are through law, not through constitution, therefore the government of the day can change them at will (assuming they can push the bill through the upper and lower houses of parliament).

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Saturday 5th January 2008 | 03:00 PM

Whoa, I had no idea that Australia was so flawed government-wise. The whole internet firewall thing is absolutely a waste of money; determined kids will get around it within a couple weeks (rules were made to be broken, after all)

But your civil rights situation is abominable! No Bill of Rights?! No freedoms (speech, press, etc)?! WTF?! As a member of the British Commenwealth (I think), aren't you entitled to at least some of the rights as others in the English empire? Or for that matter, any other civilized country?

That statement may be completley wrong, as I don't really know a lot about Australia. If your situation is really that bad, then you guys should start a changing the system.

Viva la Revolution!

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Saturday 5th January 2008 | 10:23 PM

ah hell i did not read the heading right "Australia to mimic China online" is that because kevin 07 speaks fluent chinese!!!

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Saturday 5th January 2008 | 11:54 PM

Australia is currently reviewing the need for a bill of rights but thus far in, we haven't *needed* one. This doesn't mean we won't ever need one but so far, things have gone well enough that we haven't needed to have one.

This doesn't mean you don't have free-press laws, etc - it just means the government could theoretically take these laws away, without changing the constitution. However to do this, they'd need to get it through the upper and lower houses of parliament, who are independent and very, very rarely controlled by a single party (and in the odd cases when they are, only by a single seat, as was the case with Howard).

The system actually works very well, to be fair, as laws don't often get through which are contradictory to the good of the people.

The US has much more problems with government, patriot acts, homeland security, etc. The big difference is, you have a constitution which should theoretically protect you more, if you ever got a real shocker of a government - but in practice this doesn't seem to be working. :-p

The nullifying factor is, if either the US or Australia had a government in power who didn't give a crap what the people thought, then no constitution would protect either of us, so really, it's no big loss! :-)

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Monday 7th January 2008 | 11:59 AM

Kids access what ever the hell they want to, they are curious and often have questions they are too affraid to ask their parents.

My eldest often asks me female questions that I have no idea about, so I tell her to google it, I think that is a pretty common trend!

With the exception of online chatting, there is really nothing on the internet that I would have a real problem with my girls accessing. My wife and I have done our darndest to instill in them the importance of finding multiple sources to answer questions and not just 'do the bible thing' and accept one source as infalliable.

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Monday 7th January 2008 | 09:31 PM

WOW Jake, you could be my Hero?

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Tuesday 8th January 2008 | 09:35 AM

One can only hope!

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