Oz net censorship apparatus to target BitTorrent
Peer to government filter, and then possibly to peer
The national web censorship apparatus being built by the Australian government will also include technology to restrict peer-to-peer traffic, according to the minister responsible for the plan.
Until today it had been thought that what opponents have called the "great Aussie firewall" - in a nod to Chinese internet censorship - would target only data transmitted over HTTP or HTTPS.
In response to suggestions by commenters on his blog that censoring web content would drive more peer-to-peer traffic, broadband minister Stephen Conroy wrote: "The Government understands that ISP-level filtering is not a 'silver bullet'. We have always viewed ISP-level filtering as one part of a broader government initiative for protecting our children online.
"Technology is improving all the time. Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial."
Conroy didn't offer any further detail on how BitTorrent traffic will be "filtered" during the trials, which are set to run during the first half of 2009 with volunteer ISPs. They will filter websites against a blacklist for a minimum of six weeks.
In the UK ISPs use a blacklist of "child porn" websites maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation, an industry-backed group rather than government organisation. The recent climbdown over its censoring of a Scorpions album cover on Wikipedia demonstrated the pitfalls of even a self-regulatory approach. The Australian plan proposes much more government influence.
Prime minister Kevin Rudd's Australian Labor government has committed AUS$125.8m over four years to what it calls "cyber-safety measures". The great Aussie firewall is the centrepiece of the initiative, and has provoked strong opposition.
Hundreds of protestors gathered in major Australian cities last week, and some in the country's internet industry have derided the plans too. In November, Michael Malone, boss of ISP iiNet, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "They're not listening to the experts, they're not listening to the industry, they're not listening to consumers, so perhaps some hard numbers will actually help." He pledged to take part in the pilot to help demonstrate that the system would be ineffective.
Conroy's offhand announcement today that peer-to-peer traffic will be filtered is likely to add criticism of the Australian government from the filesharing community to that being voiced by free speech campaigners and the internet industry. ®
time for an erasure
Smith would be proud
By Adrian Jooste Posted Monday 22nd December 2008 14:16 GMT
Jacqui Smith would be positively creaming herself for coming...
EWWWW...please kill all those brain cells RIGHT NOW.
BitTorrent can be run on ANY port, I assume they will only sniff the default port.
The data sent and received has been encrypted for years anyway.
Internet Filtering and the DRM coincidence.
Recent moves from prominent Labor party politicians in Australia to implement a government 'big brother' on the country's Internet usage have uncovered a web of questionable motives. The plan would see a 'middleman' hardware installation being placed in a consumer's Internet service provider (ISP). By way of decrypting and monitoring every single packet of data, the plan promises to rid the Australian consumer of illicit data such as child pornography and other objectionable material. Even though highly educated critics have opposed the plan saying that the ability to 'url swap' (that is, change the name of a site in a matter of seconds) means that the filter couldn't possibly keep up, and a range of literally thousands of other methods of data transmission could make the system a multi million dollar white elephant, Senators seem consumed by something other than concern to proceed.
Recent revelations have emerged as 2 large media stakeholders have shown a very large interest. The figureheads that cannot be identified for legal reasons have followed and supported the process to date, and it has been suggested that they are hoping for a large success of this scheme in Australia as it fits neatly with their intentions to enforce DRM (digital rights management).
Phase 1 would see the smokescreen of 'child pornography' and 'terrible violence' being filtered and its sources identified, phase 2 could see the sharing of licenced media (MP3's, Movies etc) dealt with in the same way. Reports that prominent Labor politicians could be receiving benefits to rush this bill through are all too troubling, especially when recent efforts to take individual consumers to courts over MP3 violations have failed.
"This is the perfect smokescreen" explains Reece Shaw, advocate of DRM watch group, "By tricking consumers into having a monitored data delivery system, you're setting them up for the ultimate pay as you go system, you can control what music files and videos a consumer shares with another, and subsequently cut off anyone that doesn't' co-operate"
Reece Shaw suggests that political advocates of this legislation, their friends family and immediate acquaintances should be monitored for a spike in asset and/or income levels, "Unfortunately when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck" he said.