Internet Censorship To Be Introduced into Parliament

On the 16th Dec 2009, the Government announced it will introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to require all ISPs to block RC-rated material hosted on overseas servers. To find out more about cloud-based host, please visit the page!

The legislation will require all ISPs to implement mandatory filtering for “Refused Classification Websites” (RC), with incentives provided to those ISPs who offer additional filtering services.

The RC-rated material includes but is not limited to, child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence including rape, and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use. While it is designed to protect children, the ISP mandatory filtering system, will effect every person and every household.

In a media release yesterday, Senator Conroy said “The report into the pilot trial of ISP-level filtering demonstrates that blocking RC-rated material can be done with 100% accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed.”

However, on closer inspection of the Enex Report, this only applies to the current ACMA Blacklist. When applying the filtering measures to non ACMA Blackists, the filters only blocked 78-84% percent, with just over 3% of those being legitimate websites and access to sites such as YouTube were slowed by 23% running under the filter.

The unnamed ISPs involved in the pilot also expressed concerns that filtering every website may generate extra load on the filter, with concern that 10000 URLS may cause the system to crash.

While we at Flamingcow are advocates for Child Safety, we believe in a free and open Internet where parents are responsible for censorship within their own homes,(barring criminal activity of course). We do not believe that Censoring the Internet via Mandatory ISP Filtering is the correct or effective course of action.

While the legislation is to be brought before parliament next year(2010), it is not too late!

In the media release yesterday, Senator Conroy indicated that, ” The Government will immediately undertake public consultation with the release today of a discussion paper on additional measures to improve the accountability and transparency of processes that lead to RC-rated material being placed on the RC Content list’s.”

Diaspora – “Private by Default”

On September 15, Diaspora, will release it’s open source code, inviting discussion, development and evaulation from the developer community. To find out more about Mandatory ISP Filtering, please click the link!

Diaspora was developed by 4 students from New York in response to Facebook’s privacy debarcle earlier in the year. With an emphasis on privacy and user ownership of content, it is tipped to revolutionise social networking as we know it.

Diaspora, “aims to be a distributed network, where totally separate computers,(seeds) connect to each other directly”, without compromising privacy. The seed is owned by the user and hosted via web host, a cloud-based host, an ISP etc., cutting out the use of “hubs” where information is stored centrally, such as with Facebook. This then gives the user complete ownership of their content and information.

Now while, I am very supportive of anyone attempting to help people communicate online in a safe and “private by default” manner, my only concern is, will people, who souly wish to communicate with their friends and family, also then take the time to create and set up something which is automatically determined for them already in an online social network, such as Facebook? (albeit, in an entirely anti-privacy manner.)

Will people actually be bothered take the opportunity to exert some agency over who can and can’t see their personal information or will Diaspora only attract a Geek niche market who already understand how to use this social medium effectively?

Will Diaspora just be too complicated for the “Average Joe” internet user to understand and implement effectively?

I personally, am very excited by the prospect of creating my own “node” and will definitely be watching this one closely on September 15!

Listen to what Dan, Max, Ilya and Raphael have to say and make up your own mind… Is Diaspora really the next generation of social networking or will it be just another niche communication tool to add to the ever growing list?