A False Sense of Security

No Clean Feed - Stop Internet Censorship in AustraliaPossum points out that even the current crop of clowns in the Federal Libs can make the occasional good point:

Thirdly, the Libs have already got a line to exploit any anti-filtering vote and it was deployed within an hour of the release of Conroy’s report. It basically goes “The internet filter will not protect kids from nasty things on the net, but will instead give parents a false sense of security leading to the very outcomes that they are trying to prevent”.

Exactly. Any kid who doesn’t already know how to get around the nanny-filters at their school just isn’t interested in trying, and it won’t be any different with a filter like this. All that will happen is that child-pornographers and terrorists will optimise their content for people who want to access it using proxy systems to bypass the filter, and proxy systems are much harder for law enforcement to monitor and track, so this filter will actually result in fewer child pornographers and terrorists being stopped and prosecuted.

I feel safer already, how about you?

Categories: culture wars, parenting, Politics, technology

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4 replies

  1. Every single time the Australian Federal Parliament gets its collective knickers in a twist about teh intarwebs and the terrible things therein, we wind up with a piece of legislation which enshrines a group of measures approximately as useful as a chocolate teakettle. There’s all the anti-child-porn laws (which have resulted in the Australian web-hosting scene folding in on itself), the wonderful “internet blacklist” laws (report offensive websites to the ACA, and get their names added to a blacklist which is handed on to ISPs, who can choose to implement it… if they want to), our anti-spam laws (which don’t stop spammers for longer than about six microseconds, and which were out of date even before they were written) and so on. Now we have the Great Internet Firewall, designed to stop the adult citizens of Australia seeing anything naughty on the world wide web – and only the world wide web. Child porn fans won’t be able to get their fix through the web via HTTP. Oh dear. Of course, they’re still welcome to use SMTP, FTP, IRC, newsgroups, peer-to-peer, IP tunnelling, VPNs, and anything else except straight HTTP to get their fix, so it’s rather like clearing all the heroin and ecstasy out of the pharmacies to crack down on the drug addiction problem, but let’s not worry about that. Instead, let’s treat the majority of Australian adults as though they were disobedient six-year-olds, and send them to bed without supper.
    Gods above, I just wish someone, somewhere in the whole process had actually read the history behind the creation of TCP/IP, and realised that Senator Conroy’s firewall is something which is attempting to do the very thing which the internet itself was designed to get around: block the flow of information. The phrase “broken as designed” springs strongly to mind here.

  2. I’ve just been poking through the report, and all of their “solutions” had an over-blocking rate of around 3%. They say that an acceptable rate would be 2%. At my rate of internet use, this would mean at least a dozen webpages blocked every day – very likely more, since I read about ladyparts and stuff. “Acceptable”? On whose planet?

    • I found Telstra’s own technical report on the blacklist trials interesting:
      1. The proxy servers that will act as the filter can only cope with 10,000 URLs in the blacklist
      2. If they try to block a popular video site such as YouTube, the proxy server will be overloaded because of the bandwidth/TCP socket demands, so the proxy server will fail and will not route any other internet requests for anybody (how will it cope with Facebook and Twitter I wonder?). Hmm, do I smell Anonymous gearing up for recreational DDoS attacks on the entire Australian internet structure through script-kiddy botnet shenanigans? I think I do.
      3. The only way they can block circumvention attempts would be to restrict all Telstra customers to accessing only Telstra DNS. I’m sure they’ve put that line in there because they know that there is absolutely no way that businesses will accept such a restricted customer base for their online presence – either only Telstra BigPond customers or only NOT Telstra Bigpond customers? The same for any other Australian ISP? No way will that ever pass the commercial smell test.
      The proposed system is so vulnerable to both circumvention and falling over with an ephemeral surge in hits on just one blacklisted site that Australia will have to cope will rolling cyber outages within days (if not hours) of it being implemented. The howls of outrage about how “this isn’t how it’s supposed to work” will toll its deathknell within a week.

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