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January 02, 2008

The Great Firewall of Australia

Looks like Australia will be following China’s footsteps and build its own mandatory state-wide firewall. Aussies will bid goodbye to
smut and say hello to “clean feeds”.


According to TC, to be censored by the Australian Government is “pornography and inappropriate material.” X rated pornography is illegal online in Australia, as are casino style internet gambling, certain forms of “hate” speech and R rated computer games.

This proposed legislation aims to protect children and minors from unclean feed that pollutes the internet and requires mandatory filtering of internet content where children may have access to. It is not yet clear if this is either an opt-in or opt-out system but by making it mandatory, it would mean everyone is filtered unless otherwise you want out.

Australia will be the second state to implement a nationwide internet censorship policy patterned after China’s Golden Shield Project (or what we commonly know as the Great Firewall of China). It should also be noted that the Australian government has been very active in this area for years now and have been giving away free copies of NetNanny (parental controls and internet filtering software) to any household that requests it.

There are many different ways to implement filtering — most common is IP Blocking (sites belonging to a specific IP or a range of IPs are blocked although this can be circumvented by a proxy), next is URL filtering where URLs are scanned for keywords in the blacklist (this could affect legit domains with permalink urls that have blacklisted keywords in them) and the other one is packet filtering which is most comprehensive since it will monitor traffic and content for target keywords and block them once count/density is reached (say a page which mentions the word “sex” or “jihad” five times).

In the Philippines, we also have these sort of internet censorship although they are happening in small pockets like your corporate offices, schools and universities as well as government offices and institutions. What Australia is doing is making it nationwide.

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10 Responses to “The Great Firewall of Australia”

  1. Ordnacin says:

    Why do adults always assume children need protection from pornography ? I’m pretty sure 99.9% of the adults now had taken a peek at playboy/penthouse and watched the occasional x-rated betamax tape as children. We turned out OK didn’t we ? We did right ?

  2. Andre Marcelo-Tanner
    Twitter: kzapkzap
    says:

    having it optional opt out would be good

  3. Cesar Noel says:

    They can filter it online but still user will find a way.

  4. Ian says:

    Remember the gazillion-dollar porn filter the Aussie government installed? Yup, the one hacked by a teenager in a few clicks, that one.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/25/1258257

    Point is: “Clever circumvention of imposed limits.” ;)

  5. jhay says:

    This is what you get for having conservatives running the government.

  6. porn and internet gambling would always find a way on every pc :P

    theres no stopping them hehe

  7. JALANI C. MONTILA says:

    hehehe. ma implement rin kaya yan dito sa pinas? :P

  8. Daemon says:

    even in UAE they are filtering porn, Back in Australia a kid had hacked and bypassed the million dollar firewall for porn… Kaya wala ring silbi

  9. Leo Lagdameo says:

    Even here in Saudi Arabia internet is filtering porn and gambling, and I think Saudi Arabia is the first state that able to do that.

  10. Just hope that as internet users and viewers, we shall always take responsibility and accountability in everything that we do (including what we watch and the things which proceeds after)

    Usual problem is that even adults do become very careless after using their computers leaving it to the prying eyes of the minors. Always remember that the internet is an open window to to the world of almost everything, be it a positive or a negative web page. If we won’t be careful, we’re actually helping in the corruption of the mentality of our kids.

    Feed them the right way of understanding things. This will be their strong foundation later on when they pass judgment on things that we can’t avoid from them.

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