Print 73 comment(s) - last by Magius.. on Feb 26 at 3:17 PM

Protesters in Perth demonstrate against Australia's plan to filter the internet. Protests also popped up in Sydney, Australia's biggest city.  (Source: WA Today)

More protesters rally in Sydney, Australia.  (Source: itNews)
Proponents say its all in the name of protecting children; could similar laws come to the U.S.?

Most societies have laws or traditions to protect children from exploitation.  However, modern society is grappling with what to do when implementing such laws introduces government-sponsored censorship of the media and online world.

In China, such practices are well publicized and long standing. However, Australia and France have quietly taken steps to adopt similar internet filtering, both on the grounds of piracy and child protection.

In Australia, the Labour party has defied critics on the left and right and repeatedly tried to enact legislation to censor the internet, filtering out what it deems harmful websites such as those hosting content that depicted or condoned child exploitation.  Such legislation was considered to expensive and overreaching, and was shot down in 2008.

However, in December 2009, the legislation was reborn; this time the government agreed to public trials that would shape the final bill, raising its likelihood of approval.  Meanwhile, the government is pursuing other means to censor offensive material; the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) actively is using takedown notices and threats of fines to prevent Australian-hosted sites from linking to a blacklist of prohibited sites.

In France the debate is similarly raging.  The French Assembly passed a bill entitled "Bill on direction and planning for the performance of domestic security" last Tuesday.  The bill contained provisions to filter internet traffic to filter out child pornography.  It passed by a 312-214 vote.  The bill now awaits a reading in the Senate, in which the government, who sponsored the bill, has a majority -- in other words it looks likely to pass, and soon.

Both the Australian and the French legislation would force ISPs to filter their traffic, a potentially expensive proposition.   Some are opposing it on a grounds of its scope.  Google, which filters sites that promote child exploitation, criticized the Australian legislation in a blog, characterizing it as too broad.  It writes:

At Google we are concerned by the Government's plans to introduce a mandatory filtering regime for Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Australia, the first of its kind amongst western democracies.* Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide.
Exposing politically controversial topics for public debate is vital for democracy. Homosexuality was a crime in Australia until 1976 in ACT, NSW in 1984 and 1997 in Tasmania. Political and social norms change over time and benefit from intense public scrutiny and debate. The openness of the Internet makes this all the more possible and should be protected.

Others criticize it as being too hard to implement accurately.  According to the legal sex industry in Australia, many filters mistake small breasted women for minors and block legitimate adult entertainment.

Protesters have fought the legislation via a variety of means.  Last week protesters demonstrated in Sydney, Australia's most populous city.  They unfurled flags and handed out materials pointing out the bill's flaws.  Online, the group Anonymous fought the legislation in a much more destructive manner, using distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks to cripple government sites.  States a group member, "The Australian government will learn that one does not mess with our porn."

Ultimately, both the French and the Australian filtering proposals raise a common question.  With support mounting in industrialized "free" (democratic) nations internationally, could the U.S. become the next to embrace such internet censorship?  As unbelievable as it sounds, some are already calling for similar government legislation to force ISPs to monitor traffic for infringed materials.  As much as the U.S. strives to be a leader and not a follower, a lot hinges on how the plans in Australia, France succeed -- or don't.

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Small Breasted
By Zok on 2/22/2010 5:24:06 PM , Rating: 5
According to the legal sex industry in Australia, many filters mistake small breasted women for minors and block legitimate adult entertainment.

I LOL'd.

RE: Small Breasted
By MrBlastman on 2/22/2010 5:28:37 PM , Rating: 4
Don't knock smaller breasted women. They don't sag, they don't droop and they don't get nasty and wrinkly with stretch marks like bigger boobed women's do when they turn 30 and beyond. Pair the smaller breasts with a tight, fit body and you have a winning combination.

RE: Small Breasted
By Zok on 2/22/2010 5:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
Way to jump to conclusions there, pal. Perhaps I found it funny that software can't tell the difference between the two. You know, the whole point of the quoted sentence.

But thanks for the lesson. I hope you enjoy them...

RE: Small Breasted
By MrBlastman on 2/22/2010 5:38:08 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not your pal, bub. ;)

RE: Small Breasted
By Brandon Hill on 2/22/2010 5:34:21 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not your bub, guy!

RE: Small Breasted
By CloudFire on 2/22/2010 5:53:58 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not your guy, friend!

Oh wait...that sounded wrong :T

RE: Small Breasted
By amanojaku on 2/22/2010 5:58:00 PM , Rating: 4
So you WANT to be his guy friend? :-D

RE: Small Breasted
By barjebus on 2/22/2010 6:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not your friend, champ.

RE: Small Breasted
By jimbojimbo on 2/23/2010 11:02:10 AM , Rating: 3
Most of these people just aren't getting the South Park reference.

I'm not your champ, buddy.

Go Terrence and Phillip!

RE: Small Breasted
By ksherman on 2/22/2010 6:07:10 PM , Rating: 5


RE: Small Breasted
By Omega215D on 2/22/2010 9:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
Time to tag it "thinkofthechildren" and move on.

RE: Small Breasted
By quiksilvr on 2/23/2010 12:19:26 AM , Rating: 1
It seems like everyone thinks a blog is twitter these days...sigh...

RE: Small Breasted
By Omega215D on 2/23/2010 3:51:56 AM , Rating: 5
This is SPARTA!!!!!!

RE: Small Breasted
By RubberJohnny on 2/22/2010 10:27:33 PM , Rating: 1
Perhaps I found it funny that software can't tell the difference between the two. You know, the whole point of the quoted sentence.
...and i found it bloody funny that you and perhaps the 'legal sex industry in Australia' thinks the govt has boob size detection software as part of the filter, i LOL'd too.

As i understand it, someone actually looks at the site, then adds it to the blacklist if the content is illegal. It's NOT an 'on the fly' software driven content based filter, tests have shown those slow internet access unacceptably.

RE: Small Breasted
By semiconshawn on 2/23/2010 10:38:12 AM , Rating: 3
Wait so the plan is to have people stare at "inappropriate" sites all day and then I guess rate them as ok or bad. How much does this job pay?

RE: Small Breasted
By semiconshawn on 2/23/2010 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 3
It may not be on the fly btw but it will be software based. The software can actively scan billions of sites for anything including *gasp* boobs. It wont be necessary to screen every requested site in real time if the site has already been pre screened and blocked. There would be no slow down to the user as his content is not really "actively" filtered.

RE: Small Breasted
By jimbojimbo on 2/23/2010 11:03:24 AM , Rating: 2
No kidding. I was wondering what kind of people they have looking at potential kiddy porn and then evaluating them. Hmm, could this be a child porn sting operation? Apply for the job and get busted!

RE: Small Breasted
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/24/2010 5:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
Porn all day at work, then go home, eat, unload, then go clock in some over time hours at the home office.
Do you get free access to all the paid sites too? You have to get full access to give a fair evaluation OH, my, oh my, oh my.... back ground noise: THUD, boom, crack, crash!!

Sorry guy passed out over here..... I think I broke my nose.

RE: Small Breasted
By Performance Fanboi on 2/22/2010 10:02:43 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. Anything over a handful is wasted.

RE: Small Breasted
By Zensen on 2/23/2010 7:06:18 AM , Rating: 2
haha I don't know where to begin with this comment..

dude you sure you've seen women naked past 30? or a woman at all.

Unless you're a woman or have a PHD in Breasts, getting breast fed doesn't count. hahah /FACEPALM

btw ladies. I love all breast sizes ;)

RE: Small Breasted
By MrBlastman on 2/23/2010 9:35:53 AM , Rating: 3
I'm over 30 and have a kid. Any more questions? Perhaps instead of facepalming you should go back to palming yourself in a corner next time--you seem very talented at it. ;)

RE: Small Breasted
By semiconshawn on 2/23/2010 10:32:17 AM , Rating: 5
Why would you keep a woman past 30?

RE: Small Breasted
By invidious on 2/23/2010 1:57:12 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Small Breasted
By kyleb2112 on 2/23/2010 10:52:51 PM , Rating: 2
Experience, young man. Experience.

RE: Small Breasted
By MrWho on 2/22/2010 5:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yay for us big boob lovers! \o/

RE: Small Breasted
By messyunkempt on 2/22/2010 6:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
I LOL'd as well to be honest, but mainly because I initially misread it as miners.

RE: Small Breasted
By MadMan007 on 2/22/2010 6:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
Don't knock that hot and dirty miner porn!

RE: Small Breasted
By Sunday Ironfoot on 2/22/2010 7:53:30 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, dig that coal bitch!

RE: Small Breasted
By MadMan007 on 2/22/2010 10:05:54 PM , Rating: 2
I was going for more of a play on words with 'dirty' but your post made me literally LOL.

RE: Small Breasted
By Spivonious on 2/23/2010 9:38:42 AM , Rating: 2
Miner 2049er!

RE: Small Breasted
By Lastfreethinker on 2/23/2010 12:57:42 AM , Rating: 3
Actually they have a law as well allows a number of beaches or all I cannot recall exactly that makes them topless. UNLESS you have and A-Cup or less. The reason? It may give the pedophiles ideas because it would be close or similar to children.

RE: Small Breasted
By Magius on 2/26/2010 3:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
I understand their concern, but that's discrimination against all boob challenged Australian women.

As a way of compromise I request free breast implants from the Australian government for all topless beach girls, cup A and lower? (There is less than A cup, really? Like negative A?)

RE: Small Breasted
By FaceMaster on 2/24/2010 7:42:47 AM , Rating: 2
Don't worry, fat boy cp still squeezes through the filters

One day it ill happen.
By bbomb on 2/22/2010 5:23:08 PM , Rating: 5
Opposition to such governments will reach critical mass and it won't be pretty when that happens. There are too many older citizens running governments that are stuck with the ways of bygone era's.

They no longer have 100% control over all content like they used to. They are fighting the internet and that is one huge battle that will either bankrupt governments or bring them to their knees. There are far too many people who know their way around and will make life a living hell to enforce tactics like these. Only when we reach that critical mass will they learn that you cannot beat the internet.

They say its to protect children, but what they mean to say is that it is the first step in silencing opposition.

RE: One day it ill happen.
By bbomb on 2/22/2010 5:27:22 PM , Rating: 5
Just wanted to add that protesting will do nothing to sway governments. Only one thing has ever gotten any governments attention, force. I think it will take a civil war before governments listen to its citizens and not corporate entities.

RE: One day it ill happen.
By Etsp on 2/23/2010 12:34:53 AM , Rating: 5
I don't know... there were several movements that did make big changes in the US government that did not primarily involve force. The Women's Suffrage movement for one, the Civil Rights movement for another.

Outside of the US, we shouldn't ever forget the teachings and accomplishments of Gandhi.

RE: One day it ill happen.
By cptObv on 2/23/2010 5:15:33 AM , Rating: 3
And how exactly did those movements "not primarily involve force" ?

In Gandhi's fight there was a lot of violence involve. Both from and to Indian populations. And that is, without mentioning the massacres that gave birth to Pakistan.

There is always violence. Even if some people wants peaceful changes. It may not be call a war, but governments know very few way to answer to calls for change. And most of them involve violence.

RE: One day it ill happen.
By reader1 on 2/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: One day it ill happen.
By bodar on 2/22/2010 6:37:56 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah all that silly, free information getting in the way of reader1's dream of buying the score to last night's game for $0.99 from iTunes.


RE: One day it ill happen.
By MrWho on 2/23/2010 6:53:37 AM , Rating: 2
I find it amusing that you keep bashing the web and still here you are posting on this webpage.

Either you're joking with us or you really believe deeply in what you're saying.

RE: One day it ill happen.
By fleshconsumed on 2/23/2010 7:59:58 AM , Rating: 2
Dream on, it will never happen.

*$#@ You
By amanojaku on 2/22/2010 5:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
That is all

RE: *$#@ You
By amanojaku on 2/22/2010 5:17:01 PM , Rating: 5
And fuck this filter. I wrote FUCK, not *$#@.

RE: *$#@ You
By MrBlastman on 2/22/2010 5:26:59 PM , Rating: 5
Well said.

Perhaps they could call these "immigration filters," as I'm sure many others including myself will now be scratching these countries off of our list of habitable countries... not that I have ever considered France as an option (I haven't) but Australia--that is a loss indeed. Australia has been going downhill for the last decade though.

Good thing the kiwi's just south of the aussies still are free and clear. :) That is, assuming they don't route their data through Australia first. I'd be heartbroken if New Zealand caved in; such a beautiful place that is.

RE: *$#@ You
By StevoLincolnite on 2/22/2010 9:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
Good thing the kiwi's just south of the aussies still are free and clear.

Looks more to the east to me! :P

That is, assuming they don't route their data through Australia first. I'd be heartbroken if New Zealand caved in; such a beautiful place that is.

The filter is yet to be brought in, and I doubt it will ever succeed either, the Government is saying it "Protects the children" - but a look at the ACMA blacklist shows that it blocks more than just pornography. (Government websites, dentists and legitimate company's were on the black list to it seems).

Our Government also approached Google on the matter asking them to possibly filter Youtube, Googles answer was more along the lines of: "You can shove that idea where the sun doesn't shine!" - Reason being is that the filter would impact Youtubes streaming performance so getting Google to do it would mitigate those effects.

Personally Steven Conroy our Minister for broadband is the biggest *Beep* *Beep* *Beep* to ever enter Parliament... I would rather a monkey doing his job.

RE: *$#@ You
By Frallan on 2/23/2010 3:32:52 AM , Rating: 2
Personally Steven Conroy our Minister for broadband is the biggest *Beep* *Beep* *Beep* to ever enter Parliament... I would rather a monkey doing his job.

Hey - there is a monkey doing his job and i bet he get a whole bunch of bananas for every control law that goes through.

RE: *$#@ You
By randomizer on 2/23/2010 8:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
Personally Steven Conroy our Minister for broadband is the biggest *Beep* *Beep* *Beep* to ever enter Parliament... I would rather a monkey doing his job.

This is not about Conroy, it was never about Conroy. It's about Kevin Rudd and his craving for absolute authoritarian power over the population. Conroy is just a puppet taking the fire for His Majesty, Supreme Lord of Downunder. We need to stop putting Conroy in the firing line and make this policy stick to Rudd. Only once he is out of office can we have a chance of restoring the democracy we've lost over the last 20 odd years.

Check out this article, it's an excellent read:

RE: *$#@ You
By bennyg on 2/24/2010 3:41:17 AM , Rating: 2
The very unfunny joke is that the Labour party is supposed to be the "left"... and if Rudd's out that means a biblebashing Catholic leading a righter-wing party is in...

If Rudd and Conroy don't understand that this filter is pure steaming crap and is destined to blow up in their faces (like Battflip is currently) then how is the big-eared small-brained Abbott going to get it.


Note to Australia and France:
By Motoman on 2/22/2010 11:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
Dear Upside-Downers and Frogs:

The time has come for you to rise up and beat down your feeble-minded governments. Use your democratic voting power to remove from power those who seek to dictate to you what is or isn't proper for you to see/hear/read/think. Failing that - time for a revolution.

People should never be afraid of their government - it should always be the other way around.

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By Jalek on 2/23/2010 4:25:45 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah.. that sounds good and all.. We've seen how America's faring, I'd expect this to be proposed before this administration begins it's next election campaign.

For the children, you know. The RIAA/MPAA will also assist in formulating law so ISP's are burdened with monitoring, tracking, and enforcing law. Haven't you seen the lists of new federal authority requests just in the last couple of months?

If "they" hated us for our freedoms, they should be liking us more by now.

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By Motoman on 2/23/2010 11:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't be surprised at all if such legislation shows up in the US. Our leaders are at least as stupid as the Australian and French governments.

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By Lerianis on 2/23/2010 4:06:50 PM , Rating: 1
Funny thing is that the children see all this stuff, and (I am totally serious here) are thinking to themselves "They are worried about protecting me from pedophiles/pedosexuals? HELLO! I have a mouth on me, and I can do that myself if I truly wanted to! So can my friends if they have been raised correctly, with the idea that NO ONE has the right to touch their genitals without their permission!"

Truth of all this is that most 'child molestation' is really adults and teenagers having consensual sex with children..... i.e. no force, no foul!

Most of the police officers who I have talked with are getting DISGUSTED by this, because they have realized that in 20-something years of law enforcement experience.

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By marvdmartian on 2/23/2010 8:52:11 AM , Rating: 2
Blocking offending images, words and concepts from the public eye:

20th Century Nazi Germany = censorship

21st Century France & Australia = "filtering"

Remember, those who are willing to give up freedom for security deserve neither security nor freedom.

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By Motoman on 2/23/2010 9:49:11 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. France and Australia are well on their way to authoritarian regimes with this kind of crap. WAKE UP!

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By bennyg on 2/24/2010 4:25:26 AM , Rating: 1
Dear Yankee,

Great job on showing us the way. If G. W. Bush wasn't the personal embodiment of "feeble-minded" then who is.

RE: Note to Australia and France:
By Motoman on 2/24/2010 1:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
No, you have it pretty spot-on there. At least everyone else's leaders are as moronic as ours...

whats next
By Litt on 2/22/2010 11:17:41 PM , Rating: 5
Soon western governments will start censoring websites that talk badly about their government.

Oh great
By TheRequiem on 2/22/2010 5:24:43 PM , Rating: 4
here comes all the "New World" regulation...

By gt1911 on 2/22/2010 10:17:51 PM , Rating: 4
As an Australian, I am terribly embarrassed about what our Minister for Communications is trying to do. The only ray of hope is that our current Government has shown itself to be totally incompetent in delivering on its promises, so there's a good chance it will never happen.

Interestingly, the Governments own public broadcaster did this piece on the filter proposal:

I don't know that identifying with China really helps his argument.

By Bioniccrackmonk on 2/23/2010 8:47:22 AM , Rating: 2
I blame this on the parents, why is responsibility being taken from them and being placed on the government.

I forget whose quote this is from, but here it is:

"Censorship is like saying I can't have steak because the baby can't."

By UncleRufus on 2/23/2010 11:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
Robert Heinlein.

In the US?
By zinfamous on 2/23/2010 3:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
I see this happening only in places like Utah, and other Red states where censorship, ultra-nationalism, and other facets fascism are endorsed as public policy, or as the other de rigueur term of the day: "patriotism."

This isn't going to fly in the democracy-supporting states.

RE: In the US?
By kyleb2112 on 2/23/2010 11:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because the left is never for censorship. Unless you count the speech codes they impose on every college campus they get their hands on. But not PORN!

By Orac4prez on 2/22/2010 6:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
Before you all get on your "high horses", just look at how many people are protesting! The legislation is specific (Aus), although as anyone knows a lawyer will argue "Did the lawmakers actually that white can mean black". When the One World order comes in they won't allow filters. Porn will probably become mandatory as a new "opiate for the masses"

Declaration of war
By snyper256 on 2/24/2010 9:14:49 AM , Rating: 2
This is literally a declaration of war against free speech . They will not succeed.

Hell no!
By majBUZZ on 2/22/2010 8:15:20 PM , Rating: 1
These measures will only drive these people back underground and they will come up with a way to circumvent it anyways. Censorship is just bullshit ,

its like saying men have to live on skim milk because babies can't eat meat.

Im against child porn and people who do it should be locked up forever they never reform they are human defects. But censorship is just the wrong method to deal with these issues. Besides if its out in the open law enforcement can monitor it, there just needs to be political will to pursue them at the source. they need to fix the wound instead of cover it with a band aid.

Trying to block other porn is just doomed to fail and its a pretense as a precedent for further future legislation to come.

The Web is doomed to fail.
By reader1 on 2/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: The Web is doomed to fail.
By ClownPuncher on 2/22/2010 5:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
You are a bad apple.

RE: The Web is doomed to fail.
By amanojaku on 2/22/2010 5:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
Bad apple? You must have worked in the Department of Redundancy Department. ;-)

RE: The Web is doomed to fail.
By cmdrdredd on 2/22/2010 11:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote: People throughout history have consistently exchanged freedom for security Mikhail Gorbachev would laugh at you. Hard.

Actually he would agree. Like I said, some cultures are just so set in the idea that they have to be threatened and more or less forced under severe penalties up to and including death, to behave. In a free society they cannot function like a normal human being because they have never been taught certain values in their culture. It's not necessarily the average person's fault, they didn't have a choice as to where and how to be brought up. All they know is one way. When given the choice between civil war where you never know what's going to happen or a dictatorship with a set leader who everyone fears has spies watching them etc. They might just take the dictator because they know no other way.

RE: The Web is doomed to fail.
By Pirks on 2/22/2010 7:12:01 PM , Rating: 1
People throughout history have consistently exchanged freedom for security
Mikhail Gorbachev would laugh at you. Hard.

RE: The Web is doomed to fail.
By cmdrdredd on 2/22/2010 11:22:38 PM , Rating: 3
When people don't have restrictions, they do harmful things to each other. Anarchic, open platforms, like the PC and the Web, are inevitably replaced by closed platforms because they're more civilized. People throughout history have consistently exchanged freedom for security. It will be no different with the PC and the Web.

In the United States we don't have restrictions on speech but for the most part it polices itself does it not? Also, the US is a self policing society, a few bad apples here and there commit crimes, but most people go about their lives in relative harmony with those around them. How many societies can say that? I've come to the conclusion that some cultures are so far gone and set in the idea that they have to be forced to act a certain way under penalty of death or torture and other threats, that they cannot function in a social structure that allows them to choose their own path.

The Internet is much like the US in this way. It's self policing, sure there's some bad areas but most people, despite whatever ridiculous claims you want to come up with, don't go to those sites.

RE: The Web is doomed to fail.
By frobizzle on 2/23/2010 8:22:39 AM , Rating: 1
It will be no different with the PC and the Web.

But it will be different with the Apple and the Web? OK, now I get it!

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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