I trust The Brisbane Times won't mind me including their whole story - it is important because it is one of the few media outlets to note that Conroy still refuses to answer questions about ISP filtering, which is due to commence on 24 December (merry Christmas! Your present is a fail of internet). Parliament has now risen for the year, which means that no matter what the trials indicate and no matter what public objections there are, come 24 December, we are all in the shit, ISPs and consumers alike.
Note that this will, not possibly, will involve slowdowns of internet address lookups to as low as 1/6th or more of the present time. I have suffered this filtering trial at the University of Queensland for the past year, and it makes the internet basically unusable - if a web page has more than one source for its material, each individual link is checked against the "list". Since at heavy use times it takes up to a minute to access a link, it can mean it will take as much as ten minutes to load a complex site. As a result I did all my internet work at home before I went to work - as an academic I could at least do that. Now this option is gone.
Cash floods in to fight Rudd's web censorship
Asher Moses | December 5, 2008 - 11:04AM
Political activists GetUp have raised over $30,000 in less than a day to support their fight against the Government's plan to censor the internet, a response the group has described as "unprecedented".
The money will be put towards an advertising blitz designed to inform the public of the consequences of the plan, which experts say include slower internet speeds, significant false positives, failure to stop people from subverting the filters and the risk that the blacklist will be expanded to include the blocking of regular pornography, political views, gambling and pro-abortion sites.
Meanwhile, as the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, continued to dodge questions regarding the scheme in Senate question time, it emerged that protesters are planning anti-filtering marches for Saturday December 13 in Australia's capital cities.
Almost 500 people have signed up on Facebook to attend the protest at Sydney's Town Hall, while more than 1000 will picket at Melbourne's State Library. Thousands more are listed as "maybe attending".
Live trials of the controversial internet filters, which will block "illegal" content for all Australian internet users and "inappropriate" adult content on an opt-in basis, are slated to begin by Christmas, despite harsh opposition from the Greens, Opposition, the internet industry, some child welfare advocates, consumers and online rights groups.
Even NSW Young Labor has abandoned the Government's filtering plans, passing a motion last week rejecting the mandatory scheme and calling on Senator Conroy to adopt a voluntary opt-in system.
Ed Coper, campaigns director at GetUp, said the response to the anti-censorship campaign had been "astronomical" and "quite unprecedented".
Almost 80,000 people have signed GetUp's petition and the organisation has created a widget that website owners can embed on their sites, which allows their visitors to sign the petition and obtain more information about the filtering plans.
Mr Coper said GetUp's advertising blitz would begin next week, with the number of ads determined by how much money is raised.
"We're thinking about putting it [the ad] on high profile news websites but also on the websites that are trafficked by the more engaged internet users - the technological websites that the regular internet users visit a lot," he said.
Despite having yet to prove the viability of its filtering plan, the Government will by the end of the year shut down the existing NetAlert scheme, which was set up by the previous government and provides free software filters to all Australian families.
These are different to the filters proposed by Senator Conroy, which are mandatory and block sites from the ISP end.
In 1999, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, then the Opposition communications spokesman, told Parliament that ISP filters were "largely ineffective", citing CSIRO research that found software filters were better because they were voluntary and the level of blocking could be customised by users.
Newer tests released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in June found available ISP filters frequently let through content that should be blocked, incorrectly blocked harmless content and slowed down network speeds by up to 87 per cent.
Moreover, none of the filters will be capable of filtering non-web applications such as peer-to-peer file sharing programs. And the filters can easily be evaded by those set on accessing child pornography, using freely available tools.
During Senate question time this week, Senator Conroy refused to say how many customers an ISP would need to enlist for a trial to be credible or whether the results would be independently examined and verified.
He justified the closure of NetAlert by saying it was a "monumental failure of a policy" because the free voluntary filters had attracted "extraordinarily small usage".
Anti-filtering advocates have seized on those comments as a sign that there is little demand for internet filters in the first place.