Feeds

Oz watchdogs howl over 'Cyber-Safety' net filter

Can you opt-out?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Aussie civil liberties watchdogs are warning the country's "Cyber-Safety" internet filter plan won't actually let adults choose to opt-out from web censorship.

The Australian Labor party's $125.8m proposal is being pitched as a means to prevent children from accessing online pornography. The scheme includes a choice to opt-out, but many are now claiming the option won't in fact prevent internet censorship altogether.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) said even those who don't want their internet filtered will still be put on a second, secret blacklist designed to block "illegal" content.

"The news for Australian Internet users just keeps getting worse," said EFA spokesperson Colin Jacobs. "We have legitimate concerns with the creeping scope of this unprecedented interference in our communications infrastructure. It's starting to look like nothing less than a comprehensive program of real-time Internet censorship."

The concern appears to have its origins from a forum post by Mark Newton, a network administrator for the ISP Internode.

"The Government's plan is for there to be two blacklists, one for 'unsuitable for children,' and another one for 'unsuitable for adults,'" he wrote.

"The much-touted 'opt-out' would merely involve switching from blacklist number 1 to blacklist number 2."

"Under the proposal, there's no scope at all to switch to no blacklist at all. Regardless of your personal preference, your traffic will pass through the censorship box."

Reports of a secret secondary blacklist remain unconfirmed, due to the government's mixed messages on proposed opt-out provisions.

But the threat of such a system is enough to make pundits rather uneasy. Not only because the filter may incorrectly block websites or even controversial opinions, but because it may have an effect on Australia's internet speed and availability. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.