and then, Australia went dark

by Violet Blue on October 17, 2008


Another great image by friend Richard Kadrey/Kaos Beauty Klinik.

What the hell is going on Down Under? There’s some kind of sexual identity crisis happening on a governmental and cultural level — like, the government has decided to ignore its own study that said net porn filtering was stoopid and they have decided to filter the whole goddamn everything for all Australians to prevent “objectionable content” from being seen by anyone. WTF!? This totally blows my plans for escaping to Australia when the nukular shit hits the fan after Vice President Palin releases the Cold War stockpile on Russia. Ack! Snip:

Australians may not be able to opt out of the government’s Internet filtering initiative like they were originally led to believe. Details have begun to come out about Australia’s Cyber-Safety Plan, which aims to block “illegal” content from being accessed within the country, as well as pornographic material inappropriate for children. Right now, the system is in the testing stages, but network engineers are now saying that there’s no way to opt out entirely from content filtering.

The Australian government first revealed its filtering initiative in 2007, which it expected to cost AUS$189 million to implement. That money would go toward imposing filtering requirements on ISPs, who would have to use the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s official blacklist, which is in turn based on the country’s National Classification Scheme.

Australia moved forward with its plans despite widespread public outcry and began testing the system in Tasmania in February of this year. At the time, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said that the filters would be enabled by default and that consumers would have to request unfiltered connectivity if they wished to opt-out of the program.

Well, it turns out now that those promises were only partially true. Internode network engineer Mark Newton told Computerworld that users are able to opt out of the “additional material” blacklist—which targets content inappropriate for children—but not the main blacklist that filters what the Australian government determines is illegal content.

“That is the way the testing was formulated, the way the upcoming live trials will run, and the way the policy is framed; to believe otherwise is to believe that a government department would go to the lengths of declaring that some kind of Internet content is illegal, then allow an opt-out,” Newton said. “Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked—end of story.”

A spokesperson for the Australian Communications Minister seemed to confirm this revelation by saying that the filters would be required for all Australian citizens. (…read more, arstechnica.com)

{ 14 comments }

1 Justin December 31, 2008 at 12:13 am

actually wolf, it’s out-Out, not opt-In. The Aus Gov currently provides free net-filter software for download from their website, the new proposal would be ISP based, and there would be two parts, a non-optional black list of extreme content, and an Opt-Out-possible extra list of non-kiddie-friendly stuff. That’s the Proposal, but a Lot of Australian professional groups are working to show the government how impossible and wasteful this project is.

2 mia October 22, 2008 at 7:04 am

@wolfstar Yes it’s still ok now because they haven’t introduced it yet. I am fearful of the demise of my late night porn indulgences :(

My boyfriend and I were just as shocked as you, Violet, but we wouldn’t at all mind you moving here (Melbourne is the best city, just as a heads up) ;)

3 zinta October 20, 2008 at 1:48 am

Oh dear. I am an australian, but choose to live in europe for now, (they are not so up-tight here). Not sure what to do when the nuclear shit hits the fan :-) but I think you will be fine in the US, they got it planned so that it all lands in the EU.

4 wolfstar October 19, 2008 at 2:48 pm

actually, you have a choice. we still watch porn! (i am australian) its ony elective for if you have kids/dont believe in porn etc. its up to the payer of the internet acc. to activate it or not, k? so dont worry violet, it still safe here!

5 Agile Cyborg October 19, 2008 at 6:51 am

If Australia infringes on your adult right to view deviant material (unrelated to that which affects children or that is crime-based) then the free-thinking citizens of Australia need to unite and kick some ass.

The problem here is classic: Most free-thinking pluralists have no express desire to impose their sexual habits onto others and as such lack the initiative to invest considerable resources into the maintenance and protection of sexual liberty and freedom.

Classic, also, is the technical and exploitive effort of the massive conservative religious cabal consisting of ALL faiths (numbering in the billions of members) that will ‘battle’ the demon-possessed and infidelic UN-repressed until all remnants of adult sexual expression are pushed into the dark corners and back alleys of social acceptance.

6 Fiona October 18, 2008 at 11:47 pm

I’mm just going to have to enjoy living in canberra while we can still buy real porn here.

7 violet October 18, 2008 at 9:31 am

NOOOOO! don’t let them take tinynibbles away from Australia!

8 Vampyre October 18, 2008 at 9:04 am

They’re forever censoring things here in Australia. It went way past overboard years ago. Not only will we not be able to look at porn, but I bet we won’t even be able to like at sites like tinynibbles. We all know that tinynibbles isn’t a guide to being a deviant, but I bet the censors won’t see it (and other sites like it) like that. Come on Australia, lighten up.

9 Tony Comstock October 18, 2008 at 4:38 am

And no uproar from Alison Croggon and the 2020 club. No surprise there either.

10 Jacques Richer October 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm

@MichaelK: It’s quite possible. What you would have to do is get a netblock list from the Australian equivalent of RIPE, then parse it and pull out the AU government netblocks. From the netblock list, you could then generate a minimal set of firewall rules to block those IP addresses. With a little care and a few dozen lines of python, that would take a few man-days. The toughest / most annoying part of that would be making arrangements with AU RIPE to get the netblock list – the rest is just scutwork.

11 LibertyVini October 17, 2008 at 7:42 pm

And all this under John Howard’s alleged ‘liberal’ replacement Rudd – just goes to show how unreliable politicians are once they achieve power. Too bad, hope we don’t suffer the same fate here.

12 MichaelK October 17, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Too bad everyone else on the planet can’t simply deny access to all Australian government IPs. What they can’t see won’t hurt anyone else.

13 violet October 17, 2008 at 5:47 pm

well maybe it’s no surprise from your end, but I just can’t believe they’re going to go ahead with this. I publish so may fantastic erotic writers form Australia, I know a lot of great porn sites and sex shops from Australia, there’s a HUGE sex-positive queer culture there, and more sex bloggers than most poeple are even aware of. it seems to me that the government is really not in touch with the people’s needs. and it seems to me that if they’re going to censor something as beautiful as “Xana and Dax” then Australia needs to be able to access sites like mine and yours more than ever.

so I’ll just sit here still in shock.

14 Tony Comstock October 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Wish I could say I was surprised. Oh, by the way last month “Xana and Dax” was banned from an Australian film festival (2008 Sexy International Film Festival). Sadly, Australia banning things just isn’t as newsworthy as it used to be.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: