Australian government plan to kill the internet

It’s for the children of course.

Last year when an American friend was visiting, he was appalled at how expensive and limited internet access in Australia is.  That’s OK, I’m appalled too.  Because of my YouTube obsession I’ve gone for basically the fastest service available.  It’s cable access but the broadband speeds are capped at 25GB.  When you’re on YouTube and other video sites as much as I am (all right, fine – when you download as much porn as I do) it’s dead easy to go over that limit.  So much so that I’m constantly monitoring usage so that my connection doesn’t get strangled down to dialup speeds.

Oh, and it costs $99 per month.

In other words it sucks.  But the new(ish) federal government had promised to go ahead with some much overdue investment in infrastructure so the future was looking brighter.  So I was delighted to learn of the government’s first major internet initiative.  No, wait a minute.  Not delighted.  What’s that other thing I always feel?  Oh yeah.  Really fucking angry.

Outraged in fact.  It seem the government has decided that nobody in Australia is enough of a grownup to deal with all the naughtiness on the internet and so plans to force a mandatory filtering/censorship program on the entire internet.

This is bad on so many level it simply boggles the mind.  It’s a disturbing level of censorship.  It won’t work.  It will cripple internet speeds that are already shit.  And it will be absurdly expensive.  And they can talk all the shit they want about “protecting children” and “illegal” content.  Any filter they put in place will be trivially easy to get around.  But at least they’ll have fucked up the internet for law-abiding citizens.  Not one iota of difference to criminals but we can’t have everything, can we?

This has been my venting topic of the week on YouTube.  Here’s the ranty version of my thoughts:

And here’s my more rational take on the topic:

I’ve been recommending concerned Australians support the EFA and make some noise themselves.  It might be an horrific Big Brother/nanny state/police state nightmare we facing but at least we can have a laugh about it as well.



Filed under Internet, Politics

43 responses to “Australian government plan to kill the internet

  1. E0157H7

    One of the few things that I still love about the US is that we cannot go one nanosecond without connectivity, so we get great Internet access pretty much everywhere. If China has taught the world governments anything, it should be that trying to censor the Internet is like trying to nail down any amorphous mass – nigh impossible. It may be infuriating to the politicians, but all they’re going to do is piss people off by mucking up their connectivity.

    “For the children” is just below “Counterrevolutionary” and ” National security” in terms of implied bad shit. Whenever anybody busts out those bad boys, it’s time to get leery.

  2. lizzybee

    I’ll second the need for constant connectivity. When my husband and I went on vacation three weeks ago, we spent a couple of nights in a hotel that *charged for internet.* We had, of course, brought our laptops with us for said vacation. Suffice to say, we couldn’t live three days without, so we ended up paying $20.00 for the privilege of 48 hours of a T-1 connection that was so shared that it ran barely above dial-up speed… Pathetic! Though I’m not sure whether I think the connection speed or my internet dependence is what’s really pathetic…

    You have my sympathies! I read something about the firewall proposal on Reddit and it made me cringe to my very marrow… I wish you luck, since where you go, we may well be going tomorrow, especially if Obama loses. I wish I could remember where I’d read a projection that eventually *all* of the world’s governments would be filtering the internet at some level in the next ten years. That future frightens me…

  3. No Orwellian society for me. How could I do my research? The government needs to get out of people lives and stop fear mongering the sheep. I monitor my child’s internet use. I do not need the government to do this for me.

  4. E0157H7: Don’t overstate your security on that front. The big telcos are pushing hard to do away with the “quaint” notion of net neutrality. Corporate enforced speed bumps are at least as effective as government enforced censorship.

    lizzybee: it will be a constant stuggle around the world to hold back government attempts to censor the internet.

    Alan: Damn straight – we have a clear separation of duties here.

  5. Love you videos mate. I hear that Malcolm Turnbull might be comenting on it. He might use it to gain some political mileage.

  6. E0157H7

    I’m under no illusions as to the security of mass communication within the US. Corporations would love nothing more than to engage in a free-for-all content denial war amongst themselves, but as it is now they aren’t doing it in any large and official scale and our crippled government won’t be able to attempt anything on the scale of what China is doing or what the Australian government is trying to slip through for some time. The situation is both tenuous and fluid, but still nice right now. I’m sure of McCain wins, corporate interests and (ostensibly) whatever the threat of the day is will spell both the end of neutrality and the introduction of more widespread censorship.

  7. DOA

    Australia? Seriously? I can see this in a communist country, but Australia??
    Man, that’s what I call money well spent. Pay taxes so the state can censor your online access. Maybe it’s time to find a bell tower and a high-powered rifle?

  8. custador

    Hold on, 25 GIG download speeds?! I have fast fibre-optic and it’s only 20 MEG!

  9. custador

    ““For the children” is just below “Counterrevolutionary” and ” National security” in terms of implied bad shit. Whenever anybody busts out those bad boys, it’s time to get leery.”

    I am SOOOO stealing that paragraph.

  10. @custador

    I think Angry was meaning a 25 gb download per month before the speed gets capped at dailup speed. I get 54 mb per second download and I presume Angry gets the same. Unlike Angry, I never exceed my download limit. 🙂

  11. custador

    18776kbps download speed at half past six in the evening… Love my fibre optic. Love it.

  12. Dave

    lol re: “already shit internet access!” :] nice one brother, brilliant, just brilliant..

  13. gap

    Only one thing left to consider: come to the states. We want you. Well, I want you (for your brilliant mind, so I can perform brain experiements, of course – nothing more!), but that’s not the same thing. Oops.

    Ok, as GOD as my witness, as soon as I typed that out, the window started scrolling down, all by itself. that should alert me to the fact that I need to backspace and start this reply all over again, huh?

    As if signs ever stopped me.

  14. Sean: Yeah and I’d trust him about as far as I could spit a watermelon. It was his party who first proposed this bullshit.

    E0157H7: One of the things I dislike most about the Democrats is they way they sell out consumers to entertainment and telco cartels. The fragile internet is far from safe no matter who wins.

    DOA: There is a long and embarrassing history of censorship in Australia

    Dave: shit internet is a sad fact if life.

    Gap: I’m actually almost certainly visiting the states in November. Only for about a week though.

  15. gap


    what part of the US?

  16. gap


    what part of the US?

  17. I think we should have an angry protest about the internet censorship, and ill bring my crowd control horses 😛

  18. Gap: LA and San Francisco.

    fawnz: sounds like an excellent idea!

  19. gap

    well, you know I’m only teasing with all the flirting…I really am harmless. Being that I’m close to LA and you’re coming here for a big your red carpet rollout youtube book signing (that IS why you’re coming here, right?) I’d be honored to have you sign my copy -or would that require a digital imprint instead?

  20. Angry: While your in San Francisco, can you please check out that building at 624 Taylor Street. BTW, don’t get caught. 🙂

  21. Gap: There’s a YouTube party in San Francisco 🙂 In LA I’ll just be hanging out.

    Alan: Don’t freak me out – I’m scared shitless about homeland security.

  22. You’re angry? Damn… I wish I could get a 25GB cap. In South Africa the top end that you get as a home user is 3GB. Yeah, I always use that up. And it’s pretty hard capped – get internet banking and that’s about it.

    I hear other folk else where in the world moaning about huge caps! I mean… damn… give me a break. I wish I had your problem.

    Ok… rant done 🙂 Lets hope that the internet is opened up a lot more in the near future for all.

  23. De

    Hi Angry,

    I think you are a wonderful person, you say what you think. I like that, the truth is always the best.
    Plus you don’t give a shit what other people think of you. Good on you! All the very best and a safe trip to the USA.



  24. And shall we protest. This just in from No Clean Feed.

    “There are also protests planned for Saturday November the 1st (tomorrow!) outside your state parliament house”

  25. Here’s a 1 minute video from the above mentioned “No Clean Feed” protest I thought Angry and readers might enjoy.

    Youtube – A message to Australian Politicians – NO CLEAN FEED

  26. lawrence

    Tell rudd to go fuck himself im sooo angry at the filter arrrrrrr

  27. GettingAngrier


    Maybe Ruddy is forced to wear a blindfold next time he goes into a stripclub, then he might get the point we are trying to make! What do you think?

    It goes to show that a government that is so out of touch with how to deal with the “binging youth” problem decided to use a very similar blanket policy on “illegal” sites. Denial of access to both the bar (after 2am) and to potentially dangerous websites……

    Ruddy you lose my vote next time we are forced to go visit the booth. My solution, denial of access to parliament house front door….

  28. joe

    I had no idea a first world country could be so backwards when it came to censorship. After a brief mention about how shitty the censorship of Australian video games was (from another angry Australian, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw), I looked on Wikipedia for a bit. I feel very sorry for you and everything that gets shoved down your throat because of some prick who think’s they’re protecting people.

    Censorship doesn’t work and it never will. When i was in high school i downloaded about a gig of music while on the school’s network. The norton ghost that they had on the computers only made it easier for me to hide my tracks. It’s like gun control or DRM. Anyone who’s really determined to get ahold of something will find a way, and everyone else just gets fucked.

  29. gap

    my dearest angry,

    you have a message from me on my lil blog.

    in addition to my thoughts on disneyland i’d like to add my thoughts on melrose avenue. don’t bother, unless you’re planning on marketing y0ur t-shirts.

    and you should start planning that soon…i believe you have a seller.


  30. Robert: Ah yes, I’ve had friend in SA tell me all about it – how it was cheaper and faster to get 4GB of data to Hong Kong by burning it to disc then buying a ticket to fly there and back than it was to try to use the internet.

    De: I kinda give a shit what people think of me 😉

    Alan: I am pleased to see the amount of resistance that is growing

    Posty: thanks for the link

    Lawrence: cathartic but unlikely to be effective

    GettingAngrier: I think you are right regarding “out of touch” – I’m hoping the growing opposition to this policy will wake them up.

    Joe: Censorship can be a serious problem in Australia

    Gap: Thank you for your lovely message. I think you have learned, people who get up in my face will be kicked. Hard. But reasonable people will be treated reasonably, even when I disagree with them.

  31. Maldris

    Hey if you think the CNN example was bad, my father works in local government and had a page on state legislation open and his local content filter blocked it as illegal. Yes thats right the filter blocked LEGISLATION (the law) from a member of government, and the system they had was actualy prety good, think how much worse it would be at ISP level.

    Anyway I’ve sent several letters and have been informing asmany people as I can about it, your right about it being done in a hidden manner, I’ve always considered myself an informed geek and I only heard about it a while ago (then again I’ve been away from the internet for a while for HSC preparations, NSW people know what I mean)

  32. Nigel Norfolk

    I am in the UK, and found out about this proposed censorship a few months back. As a member of NZ based forum, I mentioned it, and an Aussie who is also a member of that forum got to find out about it that way, we now keep in contact, passing news items to each other – it is quite surprising how news concerning your own country, is NOT reported in your own country, and has to be found elsewhere.

    It turns out that the British government are trying to do something similar, in a similar fashion; the British government are also trying to setup a huge database to keep records of ALL phone calls, and Internet traffic which originates and/or terminates in the UK, along with the details of phone numbers/IP addresses of the people involved.

    As a result of our governments intentions, I have been in touch with parliament, to make my feelings known; I did receive a nice letter of acknowledgement, but still, there is nothing in the news, or most public discussion groups about it.

    When I try to speak to people about these issues, they don’t get the point, and often respond with “Well, it’ll protect the kids” “I’ve got nothing to hide” “They have to catch terrorists/paedophiles/criminals somehow”.
    If you ask them how they would feel about the government opening and reading their ‘snail-mail’ you get a completely different response (surprisingly)!!

  33. custador

    The British government is trying to build a database that the US already have. Menwith Hill is a Project Echelon station (where somebody is about to read this post because it mentions Menwith Hill and Echelon) already. All internet traffic, emails and ‘phone calls in the UK already go through there. Don’t for a second think that we’ve ever had privacy; a foreign government has carte blanche over our communications.

  34. I’m a Tech at a school and i manage a Website Proxy known as Dans Guardian, we have had it in place for 3 years and STILL it always blocks a few good website here and there, there is no real effective way to block unwanted sites as the internet grows to such an extent that it is unmanageable.

    The only company that could ever Censor the internet is Google as only there inventory System ins powerful enough to fully scan a page and deem its content intent.

    Even though this Would make my job alot easier because kids would not be able to get to the bad stuff, it still worrys me. Even though i do own stinger software systems and my company designs software to counter Network and internet misuse by monitoring, this sceme is a bad one.

    Also Torrent Site WILL be blocked and their Trackers so you can forget Limewire, Rapidshare and Utorrent and the piratebay all and more of these sites will be gone. I work for the gov and i know the kind of stuff they are suggesting and it will kill the internet.

    Jared w
    School Network Administrator

  35. Maldris: I am doing my best to spread the word. Thankfully, this is starting to get more mainstream coverage.

    Nigel: Britain’s all about surveillance. Australia’s all about censorship.

    Custador: Oh thanks dude – now “the man” is onto my blog!

    Jared: What this sort of “filter” would do is fuck up internet speeds for everyone, fuck up access for ordinary people and present an absolutely trivial road bump to criminals. Wrong and bad on every level.

  36. Maldris

    I sware that if they somehow manage to make this go ahead then a huge amount of Aussie hackers are going to band together and take any and all such systems down (hmmm, this sounds like a good idea wonder if I can get involved somehow. lol) but the whole idea if immensely flawed and is going to bring about an enormous uprising (military dictatorship anyone)

    btw. I dont think you have much to worry about “The Man” knowing about your site I’ve known sites that are far worse than this than never got taken down even when they breached their server conditions. lol.

  37. Maldris

    Yes this just got coverage on Good News Week.

    For those overseas and those who just don’t know, Good News Week is a comedy show that takes the piss out of current affairs and widely insults politicians (as they deserve).

  38. Ross

    I have so far written two letters and am about to send a third letter to both my local member as well as to Senator Conroy and have received no response at all, I would of thought I’d get a response by now and I used a copy of the letter I found on the EFA website, I find it very strange, that’s all.

  39. Kyle

    Maldris Mate that’s not going to really stop us.

    I’m gonna be honest I participate in some fairly colorful behavior on the net anything the government can throw at us is avoidable however thats because we know these systems.

    Most people get this outlook on things a certain look “we’ll put this program in place and that will fix it” Thats not the case people fail to realise that hackers work on making these programs and know them inside out.

    For every system they put in place people who really know what there doing and that are a danger on the internet already know how to bypass it heck even high school students know how to bypass some of these mechanisims.

    All the government is doing is screwing over the average guy. There is no other way to put this issue.

    And as for the internet speed and usage.

    I live in australia myself and I know were your coming from it is so anoying and having a slower intnenet speed than the rest of the world is a fair disadvantage most people wil notice this when playing online games such as World of Warcraft.

    The reason for shit intenert is becuase unlike in america Australia has no real big compotion heck it’s like everything else they did a survey and it turned out farmer’s were paid shit conpared to the ones in the US the big telco companies can charge us big prices and get away with it.

    This Idea is stupid it will not stop hackers, It will not stop porn, People know how to bypass it.

    Although I do have a fresh breath for everyone should this absolutely ludicrous idea go to pass I personally will be making sure to get out information to bypass the systems as early as possible if the government is gonna be Idiots I’m gonna help the people who don’t know how to bypass it.

    Unfortunately thou this might pass it is as many have stated playing on the “innocence vote” and the “security vote” also and we all know when they start using big words like “Kiddie rape” and “terrorist web threats” that everyone gets scared and goes with what the government ses and mark my words that’s the angle there gonna sell this to the public as and low and behold if we ever get a referendum you guarantee the christian vote will be there too cause lets be reasonable folks “yes I mean you” when your Christian (or any other religion conflict this is just a example) and the internet allows stuff like the church of sadism of course there gonna have the vote to axe it.

    But I agree with angry Aussie a public outcry is in order, However I do not think it should stop at internet censorship we need proper laws put in place for freedom of speech we need them it is absolute bullshit that the government can legally at the moment say to lets Channel seven nope you can’t say that on public TV cause we said so and there is no laws saying otherwise!

    This censorship idea is crap needs to be scrapped

    We need more market competition for better internet

    And freedom of speech the most basic foundation for a society how can we claim to be a democracy when we can not talk freely

    Nuff Said

  40. stan

    ..& 2010 now & nothing has changed. You can rant & rave about it but the “fix is in” now. Exorbitant fines for “illegal” downloading soon will come into effect in most Western countries shortly. No point blaming certain religious folk when the powers that be are more likely to be of the non-religious order, for example, highly unlikely that CEOs of major corporations like Columbia or Warners are devout christians when their world is dog-eat-dog – same goes for the recording industry.. all on that same ladder on the slippery slidey way “down”. This is a world of money & power, not ethics, the only people screwing your free-to-air porn-viewing time on the net are more likely to be of the same frame of mind as yourself – just more subversive about it…

  41. Jeff

    If it wasnt for porn I would go back to dial up less money for the isps.Internet banking,a bit of utube and emails that is all id do.

  42. Pingback: Internet Censorship? No Way!

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