Thursday, March 19, 2009

Australian Web Filter Blacklist

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist of banned internet sites has been published on Wikileaks. The Australian Government has testing underway for a mandatory internet filter that will block access to “dangerous websites” contained within this blacklist.

The blacklist, we are told is designed to catalogue sites containing child pornography or other criminal content. It is now revealed however, that the list of 2,395 pages also includes online gambling sites, YouTube links, regular porn and fetish sites, and websites of a tour operator, Queensland boarding kennel and a Queensland dentist.

Wikileaks pages themselves have been added to the Australian blacklist, in particular the published list of sites banned by the Danish government.
There is no bigger issue than net censorship

"These pages have been put on the blacklist (Australian), presumably as part of a worldwide compact, formal or otherwise, between national web censorship authorities."


"While Wikileaks is used to exposing secret government censorship in developing countries, we now find Australia acting like a democratic backwater. Apparently without irony, ACMA threatens fines of up to $11,000 a day for linking to sites on its secret, unreviewable, censorship blacklist -- a list the government hopes to expand into a giant national censorship machine.

This week saw Australia joining China and the United Arab Emirates as the only countries censoring Wikileaks. We were not notified by ACMA.

"In December last year we released the secret Internet censorship list for Thailand. Of the sites censored in 2008, 1,203 sites were classified as "lese majeste" -- criticizing the Royal family. Like Australia, the Thai censorship system was originally pushed to be a mechanism to prevent the child pornography."


Making a link here to Wikileaks 3863 site Danish censorship list may expose me to criminal charges and fines as outlined above.

The pilot for the Australian mandatory internet filter currently running involves 6 major ISPs. They are:

Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1.

Customers are reporting problems such as dramatic decreases in service connection speeds, but this is as predicted. Not only is connection speed affected with these listed ISP customers, but any traffic passing through major hubs operated by any of the named ISPs.

Of course all of this extremely expensive, service retarding filtering, in the name of child protection, can be completely bypassed simply by browsing behind a proxy such as hidemyass or anonymouse.

see also


Australia’s Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says a list claiming to be the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s blacklist for a proposed internet filtering system is not the real blacklist.
"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said.

"ACMA is investigating this matter and is considering a range of possible actions it may take including referral to the Australian Federal Police. Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution."

If indeed it is not the real list, why is “the leak grossly irresponsible” and “undermining efforts to improve cyber-safety”?

Why is “any Australian involved in making this content publicly available, at serious risk of criminal prosecution,” if after all, the list is not real?

Since the blacklist story broke, Wikileaks has mysteriously disappeared from the World Wide Web. This is not the first time and I wouldn’t credit Australian authorities with the credentials to make this happen. Friends in the US confirm the disappearance is not an Australian phenomenon. If Wikileaks is unavailable at your time of choosing and you would like a peak at the blacklist which is allegedly not real, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can people not in Australia sign this? This is a major load of bulls**t, and shouldn't be allowed to go through. Protecting children from internet violations would be better served by teaching people how to monitor their children and hunting down child predators, not massively overdone and unneeded internet censorship.