Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mandatory censorship of the Internet??!?

Chairman Rudd you must think you're still in China! What on earth could give you such an idea?

To set the record straight at the start, let me say I'm totally AGAINST the sort of things he wants to block. Kiddie porn, incitements to crime (including terrorism), email spam and phishing are BAD things. I symathise with His Kevinship's wish to have them gone - but this is not the right way to go about it.

Let's weigh it up against the two criteria which should be employed in assessing just about any new move (and not just by governments).

1. Will it work?
Does any government intervention on the internet work? Hardly ever (to coin a phrase). The internet is full of geeks who know so much more about packet routing protocols and all that guff than any lawmaker will, that they'd look like an ant on a runway looking up at the cab of a 747-8I. So all Australian ISPs are ordered to block certain IP addresses and test every packet to see if it might be suspicious? I'd estimate that a good geek will take all of five minutes to script something completely legal, completely according to all the Internet standards documents, completely convenient to use, which will get those packets through.

The nature of the internet is that it doesn't recognize national borders. (That's one reason why spammers can operate with relative impunity - they just do it from a country where it's not illegal to spam people. Even if it is illegal, the international laws concerning a crime in one country which affected people in another country are something of a grey area and require a lot of work in the courts, which nobody is prepared to do.) So all the geeks have to do is have the banned material whitewashed - by some offshore ISP so it can't be legally prosecuted under Rudd's censorship laws.

2) Will it have harmful side-effects?
Censorship is a difficult topic - again we have to balance the government's role of protecting the people (that's why we have police and a defence force) with the people's freedom.

To say nothing of the people's convenience! Mr Rudd apparently admitted that the filter would slow down our internet "a bit". No I'm not going to suffer reduced internet speeds just so you can have a press conference hailing yourself as the grand protector from terrorists and pedophiles! Go stick a length of Cat-6 up your nose!

Once again Krudd has shown himself to be completely clueless and unwilling to get a fact or two before opening his mouth. I'm getting to the point where I think Costello would be a better PM...

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