“Large ISP” (TPG?) refuses to deploy Interpol filter


news The Australian Federal Police has revealed that its limited mandatory ISP filtering scheme based on a list of offensive sites supplied by Interpol has not yet been taken up by most of Australia’s ISPs, with only Telstra and Optus having implemented the filter so far and a further “large ISP” having flat out refused to comply with the project.

In November last year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy formally dumped the Government’s highly controversial mandatory Internet filtering scheme, instead throwing his support behind a much more limited scheme which sees Australian ISPs voluntarily implementing a much more limited filter which Telstra, Optus and one or two other ISPs were believed to have already implemented. Vodafone is also believed to be implementing the filter, and the process is also believed to be under way at other ISPs such as iiNet.

The ‘voluntary’ filter only blocks a set of sites which international policing agency Interpol has verified contain “worst of the worst” child pornography — not the wider Refused Classification category of content which Conroy’s original filter had dealt with. The instrument through which the ISPs are blocking the Interpol list of sites is Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act. Under the Act, the Australian Federal Police is allowed to issue notices to telcos asking for reasonable assistance in upholding the law. The AFP has issued such notices to Telstra and Optus to ask them to filter the Interpol blacklist of sites.

However, new documents recently released to the Greens have cast fresh doubts about industry uptake of the scheme.

On 11 February, Greens Senator and Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam filed an extensive list of questions to the Minister for Home Affairs with respect to the scheme. The Government recently filed a complete set of answers to Ludlam’s questions. While most of the answers provided information already known, a document consisting of a review of the Interpol filtering scheme was also tabled. You can see the full document here in PDF format.

The AFP’s review of the scheme notes that two large ISPs, Telstra and Optus, continued to actively block the Interpol list. One network gateway manufacturer was incorporating the filter capability into their product, which was being utilised by customers, one small ISP was no longer blocking the list as it had been bought by another ISP, and two large ISPs continued technical preparations to activate the filter, with “both anticipating commencement by early February 2013”. Additionally, Norfolk Island Telecom also plans to implement the filter, although it is not required to do so.

However, the AFP noted, one medium-sized ISP had not responded to its advances at all, and “one large ISP has refused to comply with a Section 313 Notice”, with the matter being referred to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for “adjudication”.

The AFP noted that as at 9 November 2012, when Conroy made his announcement supporting the scheme, some eight ISPs had received Section 313 notices requesting that they implement the filter, while a further 13 received notices from the AFP following that date. According to figures the AFP cited from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 81 ISPs operating in Australia with more than 1,000 customers.

As it has previously, the AFP declined to release the names of any of the ISPs concerned, as the agency claimed it “would prejudice ongoing law enforcement action and may lead to offenders moving to ISPs which are currently not participating”.

In addition, the agency claimed, disclosure of the names of the participating ISPs might have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of the AFP and would be “contrary to the public interest”.

However, it is possible to speculate on which ISPs are cooperating with the AFP on the filter and which are not. Out of Australia’s major ISPs, Telstra and Optus have already implemented the filter and Vodafone and iiNet are known to be working on the technical implementation of it. Another major player, M2 Telecommunications, has only recently become large enough to be described as a “large ISP”, through the acquisitions of smaller players such as Primus and Dodo.

Of the remaining ISPs of substantial size, TPG is the largest. Alongside Internode, now part of iiNet, TPG was one of several ISPs which Communications Minister Stephen Conroy publicly stated in May 2011 had already refused at that stage to implement the Interpol filter.

In July that year, TPG repeated its comments. At the time, a spokeswoman for the ISP told the AustralianIT: “Whilst TPG abhors (child) abuse of any kind, we believe that internet service providers should best let the question of censorship or filtering be determined by a suitable political process leading, if appropriate, to law.”

The other sizable ISP to have rejected the Interpol filter is mid-sized ISP Exetel. In July 2011, the company’s then-chief executive John Linton, who has since unfortunately passed away, said his company would do “whatever the law requires it to do”. “As far as I know, subject to correction, Australian law not only does not require Exetel to ban any IP address without a Federal warrant and should we do so would expose Exetel to action by people who are might claim to be inconvenienced by such action(s),” he said.

It’s not the first time Linton has opposed filtering initiatives. In November 2008, as the debate around the Federal Government’s much wider mandatory internet filtering scheme was gaining full force, Linton wrote a harshly satirical article about the initiative, noting that his company had been invited to “the fourth Reich’s official sub-site where we could find the details of how to participate in Herr Krudd’s and Obersturmfuhrer Conroy’s scheme to purge the Fatherland of the filth emanating from the diseased brains of the untermenscen”.

“… is that the sound of a heavy military truck screeching to a halt and the sound of jackboots on the drive?” Linton added at the time.

Delimiter has requested comment from TPG and the ACMA regarding the Interpol filter issue and will add in any comment received to this article.

Since Telstra and Optus implemented the Interpol filtering scheme in mid-2011, there have been no known public complaints about the system and no sites known to have been wrongfully added to the Interpol list apart from known child abuse sites. In addition, users of both ISPs have not complained publicly about speed issues with respect to the Internet filtering system. However, some segements of the community are still concerned about specific details of the Interpol filtering scheme.

For example, when Telstra and Optus implemented the Interpol filter, neither explicitly communicated with customers to let them know that the scheme was in operation and that their Internet connections were actively blocking a small list of sites; and neither is known to have updated their terms of service with customers.

In addition, in contrast with the mandatory Internet filtering policy (which was to have been administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority) there is currently no known civilian oversight of the scheme, which is administered by the Australian Federal Police and international policing agency Interpol, apart from questions which parliamentarians may put to the Federal Police.

Furthermore, Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act does not specifically deal with child pornography. In fact, it only requires that ISPs give government officers and authorities (such as police) reasonable assistance in upholding the law. Because of this, there appears to be nothing to stop the Australian Federal Police from issuing much wider notices under the Act to ISPs, requesting they block other categories of content beyond child pornography, which are also technically illegal in Australia but not blocked yet.

A number of sites which were on the borderlines of legality — such as sites espousing a change of legislation regarding euthanasia, for example — were believed to be included as part of the blacklist associated with the Federal Government’s much wider mandatory filtering policy. It is not clear what safeguards exist to prevent the Interpol filtering scheme being extended by the Australian Federal Police to include such extra categories of content.

The current attitudes of ISPs apart from Telstra and Optus towards the Interpol filtering scheme are also currently unknown, with it being unclear whether they would implement the scheme if the Australian Federal Police issued them with a request to do so. In 2011, ISPs such as TPG and Exetel said right out that they would reject such an attempt, while others such as iiNet and Internode said they were unclear as to the specifics of the situation.

The efficacy of the Interpol filter has also been publicly questioned. Optus has admitted that users would be able to defeat its implementation of the Interpol filter merely by changing the DNS settings on their PC. And information released under Freedom of Information laws by the AFP late last year shows as time went on, less and less requests were made by Telstra customers to access child abuse material on the list — presumably, as Telstra customers attempting to access the offensive material became aware that the telco had implemented a filtering system to block the requests.

For the first five weeks it operated, from 1 July through to 7 August 2011, Telstra’s filter blocked a total of 52,013 requests to access child abuse materials online, with 10,402 average requests per week. Average requests per day were 1,405, with the highest day recorded seeing 2,443 requests blocked and the lowest seeing 915 blocked.

However, over the succeeding weeks through to mid-October 2011, fewer and fewer requests were made. In the week commencing 13 August, 8,649 requests were made, but by September the figure was down to between 1,193 and 3,452 requests per week, and in the week beginning 15 October, just 989 requests were made — which had previously been close to the lowest requests received in one day, in the filter’s first month of operation. In the period from mid-September to mid-October 2011, the lowest day saw just 99 requests made by Telstra customers to access the blocked material.

Delimiter has encouraged the Minister to hold an open press conference on the issue to take questions from the media, as well as to issue a discussion paper on the issue which would allow the public to comment on the scheme formally.

The striking thing which has emerged from the documentation and responses to questions on notice which the AFP has released recently is that its Interpol filter scheme appears to being broadly ignored by the ISP industry. By its own admission, the AFP has contacted some 22 sizable ISPs and requested that they comply with Section 313 notices under the Telecommunications Act to begin filtering Interpol’s ‘worst of the worst’ list of child abuse sites.

In reaction, only two ISPs — Telstra and Optus — have complied, while two other ISPs have begun technical preparations. The vast majority of the other ISPs appear to have ignored the AFP’s request, while one “large ISP” has flat out refused to implement the system. And, of course, we already know, courtesy of Optus, that the Internet filter can be readily bypassed by merely changing the DNS server settings on your PC.

Hardly the raging success which the AFP and the Internet Industry Association, which developed the scheme in the first place, would have liked the Interpol filter to be.


  1. I know that there are no easy answers to the problem. But I wonder exactly why these ISPs have refused to implement the filter?

    I would support any ISP implementing this filter, although I was very much opposed to Conroy’s version.

    Is it a concern that implementing such a filter would actually do more harm than good? Or is it concern about legal implications or liability?

    • The reason for the Section 313 notices (as opposed to the general invitation into a filtering initiative) was because some ISPs (iiNet I think it was specifically?) indicated that they aren’t legally allowed to modify the internet because they think its illegal. The reasoning was probably something like they aren’t allowed to do law-enforcement things without law enforcement asking them to.

      As such the AFP crafted this Section 313 notice, as a request under the telecommunications act, that ISPs must comply with because it is a law enforcement action that the AFP is asking them to take.

      My main opposition to this; is it is busy work that “looks” like it is blocking child porn, but is so trivial to bypass it is beyond comprehension.

      It is fundamentally a waste of time and money.

      • I definitely get the concept that it will do no good. By being so easy to bypass, by potentially making offenders go further to hide their tracks (and so be harder for police to track), by giving a false illusion of security to parents. These are real risks that must be acknowledged.

        It would just be nice to get some kind of clarification from the ISPs about their reasoning. Perhaps that could help drive dialogue towards better solutions.

    • Steve Dalby, Chief Regulatory Officer of iiNet (i.e.: the guy responsible for compliance with regulations) has issued iiNet’s opinion here: http://www.iinet.net.au/filtering/what-we-really-think.html

      The short version: filtering the public Internet doesn’t work because most criminals use other means to exchange their material. By providing filtering through legislation there are two main concerns: first the false sense of security (parents won’t be as vigilant because someone else is watching for them).

      The unwritten complaint is that this law is a bad idea. iiNet originally protested the Government’s plans because there was no regulatory support for them. Now there is, which means iiNet can legally comply, but it’s still a bad idea.

      There is no civilian oversight of the Interpol list: you can’t get a copy to review for yourself. You have no input to the decisions made about putting particular items on the list, and you have no recourse to complain if your web site or other service is added to the list. It’s also worth remembering when introducing a new law that you have to weigh two major concerns: first is how much the law is likely to help when used correctly, and how much the law will hurt when abused (e.g.: by a corrupted Government serving Rupert Murdoch or North Korea). How hard would it be, for example, for a Liberal-controlled House and Senate to add pro-monarchy and pro-AFL sites to the blacklist without telling anyone?

      Personally, I don’t want to be subject to imprisonment for discussing issues like gay marriage, whether Sea Shepherd is doing good work, or ways to power my own home from sunlight rather than coal fired electricity. Thus I do not support Internet filtering schemes that are not answerable to me.

  2. As at 22 February 2013, the AFP has not agreed to pay the costs of any ISP (in accordance with section 314 of the Act) that are incurred in complying with the AFP notice or request issued under section 313(3)”

    Don;tg et me wrong, I’m dead again any censorship by goverment, but… What costs?

    Lets face it, the only way it can be done with NO impact to customers and no impact to ISP’s, is via DNS, just like Optus have implemented.

    An RPZ (or even just an empty) zone takes seconds of human intervention to add to (or delete from) DNS. So long as they were not getting requests every single hour of every day, I see no costs involved, staff waste more time walking from their chair to the door let along the waste they take going outside for a puff.

    • The notice asks you to implement a DNS filter.

      How can you do this with zero cost. I understand the cost might be *small* in most circumstances. But how you can do it for free I absolutely don’t know.

      Do you push the “filter DNS” button in your DNS software? Or do you have an employee modify your DNS software to import a list provided to you by the AFP. What is the cost (opportunity cost in this case) of having an employee figure it out? What happens if your “Employee” in this instance is a contractor (because you don’t employ any full-time techies that do this regularly).

      What if you don’t provide any DNS servers? What if the “DNS” you provide is a DHCP entry with google DNS servers defined??

      • Because the time it takes to modify an RPZ is, WAIT didnt I already say this? Yes, it seems I did.. but as some need to refresher…

        LIVE TEST espesh for PeterA

        Time to modify RPZ file and insert hostname (ssh nameserver, vi rpz.zponefile , enter data , save file, rndc reload, logout ) – 32 seconds (I should remove my test site delimiter from it I spose before I click post hah)

        Time for smoker1 to “get up, walk to door” – 19 seconds
        Time for smoker1 outside whilst non smoking employees work 4mins 37 seconds
        Time for smoker1 to get backto desk – 22 seconds
        * 3 or 4 a day, every work day

        So thats staff waste of nearly 20 mins a day for them to have their disgusting fix, yet, you cry about fact
        we should bill the AFP for 32 seconds once every so often.

        I think we can write that off by recovering that time by denying smokers the right to waste company time, which is clearly unfair to non smokers anyway.

        Non smoker? how many minutes a day of your employers time do you waste by getting up and getting coffee or tea, or whatever, how many minutes a day do you waste of your employers time by using that cesspit facebook, or reading twitter, etc.

        30 frickin seconds once in a very very very blue moon, is hardly worth it. even if you add the extra few seconds it takes to read the request.

    • Most larger companies have propriety internal systems to do configuration. The ability to do this must be designed, programmed (including database work), installed in a staging environment, tested, bug fixed. The testing/programming cycle may be needed to be worked through several times until the software and tools are proven to work. Other issues tend to come up at this stage that were not originally expected. Procedures must be written regarding who can send and action updates to the block list and proper process must be defined to make sure that nobody can fake an email or a phone call and trick the ISP to censor pages for their own reasons. DNS trouble shooting needs to be thought out and documented. Then each time a change comes in, that validation needs to happen before the changes are pushed out. Anything that breaks as part of this new process that needs diagnostics and fixing also come under the same cost banner. Perhaps mistakes are made and the large ISPS have thousands of support calls chewing up infrastructure and man hours if only for the help desk operators to say “yes, we know about that, the engineers are working on it and it will be fixed shortly”. Also any new hardware (possibly at multiple sites) to implement. These costs are real, and the filter only provides a false sense of security for the innocent.

  3. First paragraph says the filter is mandatory, yet the second says its voluntary. Which is it?

    • It’s questionable whether even the AFP knows whether it’s voluntary or mandatory.

      Item 19 in the list of questions asked whether the voluntary blocking trial (which commenced in July 2011 by issue of Section 313 notices) had ended. The answer says it hasn’t ended – which seems to imply it’s still voluntary.

      Nevertheless the AFP review report says that one ISP who refused to comply with the blocking request in a s313(3) notice has been referred to the ACMA for “adjudication”. How odd – if the AFP is certain that their s313(3) requests mandate “blocking”, it’s surprising that the AFP did not say: referred to the ACMA for enforcement action against the ISP. Sounds like the AFP wants the ACMA to decide whether or not the AFP notices do in fact compel ISPs to implement DNS poisoning (and in any case, it’s an open question question as to whether the ACMA has power to force an ISP to do something that the ISP considers is not reasonably necessary for a legislatively stated purpose).

  4. So Optus and Telstra have seen reduced traffic to the “banned” sites? That merely means that their paedophile customers have woken up to the filters and are either using Tor or routing through another DNS server. The answers to the questions merely assumed that paedophiles were giving up their sport – highly unlikely. Of course, you have also made them harder to track.

    This entire scheme stinks. Using “child porn” as the thin edge of the wedge to introduce internet censorship, the list will undoubtedly expand as senior police and government figures seek to stop access to things they as individuals view as “naughty”. Wikileaks is probably high on the wishlist, for instance, while Philip Nitschke and other people who speak out about euthanasia may be blocked. And if Tony Abbott becomes prime minister, abortion advice websites.

    I love how “the names of the ISPs have not been made public as it would prejudice ongoing Law Enforcement action and may lead to offenders moving to ISPs which are currently not participating”. Why not just say “It’s the AFP. Nothing is public”? The linked document also makes clear that the public was at no point consulted about the proposed censorship (questions 16 and 17), while only four ISPs were consulted. That’s pretty poor.

    I applaud all ISPs who take a stand against this filter.

  5. In what way is the internet filter “voluntary” if the AFP can issue “section 313” notices to ISPs and expect them to “comply”? Sounds very much like a stealth mandatory filter to me.

  6. I personally take particular humor from:
    The AFP to date has focussed on the major providers to gain maximum coverage, estimated by the ACMA to be over 90% of Australian’s internet users, through the market share of those providers, thus ensuring maximum effect to the blocking initiative.

    I am aware of one ISP that received one of these section 313’s that only barely hits the 1000 customers mark. Not to mention it isn’t what you’d call an ISP – it is a serviced office arrangement, so all the customers go home at 5pm!

  7. This has nothing with “save the children” to do. If the authorities wanted to really save the children, they could get to the webhotel and ask them to close the offensive sites.

    This is only a way to censor information for political and economical advantage for the elite-deciders.

    The Interpol filter is a modern way for old times bookburning.

  8. I think this would be a typically smart move of TPG. Even a cursory look at what the AFP are asking makes it clear its voluntary.

    This filter achieves nothing. It would be interesting to compare the downtrend in people looking up CP with the uptrend of secure SSL connection to known VPS’s! All this is doing is teaching people how to make their browsing more secure in a way that the AFP cant track.

    People dont get to these sites by accident, read up on the huge process required.

    When it comes down to it there is no such thing as an effective internet filter. All they do is add unavoidable overhead for the ISP while delivering no benefit.

    Regulation is too high in this area already, I imagine it is TPG protocol to say “piss off” as a first response to any demand whether it be from the AFP, the ACCC, ACMA etc.

    It will probably take the AFP a decade to getting around to any sort of court action anyway.

    • Similarly, Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 imposes obligations
      for telecommunications carriers and carriage services to provide such
      assistance as is reasonably necessary to assist authorities of the
      Commonwealth enforce the criminal law and other associated matters. The
      AFP considers this request for [insert company name] to participate in the
      Scheme to be a request under Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act

      I’d love to see how you get “Voluntary” out of that. It first states: “The law says you have to help us when we ask”, and then says: “PS. we are asking as part of the law”.

      But yeah sure; assume it’s voluntary.

      • The law does not say “you have to help us when we ask”. The law says ISPs must help the AFP (and various other agencies) when the action or information that the AFP asks for is *reasonably necessary* for the purpose of *enforcing* the (e.g. criminal) law. Some ISPs may be of the opinion (imo rightly) that it is not reasonably necessary for them to implement so-called “blocking”, given it cannot achieve enforcement of the law (nor even prevent intentional access to illegal material). The AFP documents make clear that the purpose of the scheme is to “prevent” and deter access – that’s a crime prevention measure which is a *not* a purpose stated in Section 313(3). The AFP documents also say that provision of IP addresses to the AFP is not required. Therefore the AFP aren’t even asking to obtain any information from ISPs that they could theoretically use to investigate suspects/persons of interest for the purpose of enforcing the law (laying charges) against persons who’ve allegedly attempted to breach the law.

        (Presumably the AFP don’t require IP addresses because the AFP must surely know that the Interpol blacklist contains entire domains even when there’s only one page/URL on the domain that contains child abuse material (e.g. could be a hacked page, or a material uploaded by a user in breach of a web site’s T&Cs etc). Hence the requesting IP addresses do not show that a person attempted to access illegal material – the person could have been attempting to access a page on the domain that contains completely legal material – and AFAIK ISPs who use DNS poisoning have no ability to know what particular URL on a redirected/”blocked” domain a person attempted to access).

    • I dare to agree with PeterA, but I must here…

      note the “must”

      (3) A carrier or carriage service provider must, in connection with:
      (a) the operation by the carrier or provider of telecommunications networks or facilities; or
      (b) the supply by the carrier or provider of carriage services;
      give officers and authorities of the Commonwealth and of the States and Territories such help as is reasonably necessary for the following purposes:
      (c) enforcing the criminal law and laws imposing pecuniary penalties;
      (ca) assisting the enforcement of the criminal laws in force in a foreign country;
      (d) protecting the public revenue;
      (e) safeguarding national security.
      Note: Section 314 deals with the terms and conditions on which such help is to be provided.

      314 says
      (1) This section applies if a person is required to give help to an officer or authority of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory as mentioned in subsection 313(3) or (4).
      (2) The person must comply with the requirement on the basis that the person neither profits from, nor bears the costs of, giving that help.
      (3) The person must comply with the requirement on such terms and conditions as are:
      (a) agreed between the following parties:
      (i) the person;
      (ii) the Commonwealth, the State or the Territory, as the case may be; or
      (b) failing agreement, determined by an arbitrator appointed by the parties.
      If the parties fail to agree on the appointment of an arbitrator, the ACMA is to appoint the arbitrator.

      So seems PeterA’s argument, and, most likely TPG’s (or insert other large ISP name here) , and one that I disagree with, is S 314.2 as basis for their non compliance

      … good luck with that :)

      • Cost / S 314.2 is not the reason for non-compliance. The answers to the questions state “”The AFP has not received advice from any ISP that they are declining to block based on cost. “

  9. I’ve read the Australian Constitution, and can say for sure “Interpol ” has nothing do with our Sovereign, Independent, Nation. (preamble Australia Act 1986)

    Unless there was a one world government in operation we all weren’t told about, Interpol can blow smoke up someone else’s chimney.

    • How is that relevant?

      If Australia chooses to use an international list (presumably because it is disassociated with local politicking) then that is our decision to make. It isn’t like interpol told Australia that we must use their filter, is it?

      • All politicians in Section 44(.i) of the Commonwealth Constitution are barred from having an; “allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power”.

        Yet a dozen unelected AFP can circumvent laws that apply to the government.

        Yeap, a one world government surveillance grid is being set up.

        Ask the AFP about TrapWire, that other international “allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power” scam we seemingly have going thansk to the expose’ of Scott Ludlam.

        It’s no accident that they are taking biometric face scans of us while getting drives licenses.

        We rejected the Australia Card – drivers license is that on steroids!

        The face prints will be used globally. No doubt Interpol will be given our information without our permission.

        The global police state is built in blocks. ISP filters are just a small part.

        Stand back and see the big picture.

        Start at http://www.Infowars.com

        • But no-one is saying that the AFP has “allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power”. So how is that relevant?

          Please remember that this is an evidence based site. If you want to talk conspiracy theories, then you are in the wrong place.

  10. What is the point of filtering websites when it is trivial to circumvent such filtering? Surely organisations such as Interpol would be far better off trying to shut down sites on their list rather than just trying to block them.

    • Used them much have we Tone, or just blowing Whirlpool anti TPG spam out of your opinionater?

      • What?
        Do you like paying for crappy service?
        I am Anti bad service on any company also I cannot stand company apologists either . Just check out TPG facebook page and product reviews and the complaints in whirlpool. They are hardly rosy TPG is junk they take your money and give people a half arsed service or sometimes no service at all.

        • I pay TPG for a service, well, two services actually, have done for a few years now, and it’s far from crappy, and its a lot better priced than most others.

          As for company apologists, why is it when ever someone agrees with a company or praises them, they are an “apologist” – Oh wait, I get my answer from your next line, when you reference WHINGEpool, that says all we need to know.

          • Well I am so pleased that you are getting a good service from them but what service I was provided was junk. I left them for another ISP and my issues dissapeared.

            They use to be good but they have really gone down hill and their tech support is nothing but a joke.
            I really wonder if the CEO of his company even cares about his customers I doubt it. Too busy rolling around his money.

  11. no known complaints. of course not.
    hey Telstra, I cant get to this kiddie porn website, sup wit that?
    I don’t hold the majority of people in high regard, but surely nobody is that dumb

    • It’s probably safe to say that any complaints would be about false-positives.

      • How can you get false positives from that list, rockspider.somedomain.tld wont be hosting anything legitimate that you need

        • On the contrary – Interpol’s blacklist scheme is intentionally designed to include blocking of access to URLs that most people would regard as a false positives, i.e. URLs that do not contain illegal material. Interpol claims such blocking is not wrongful nor a false positive, because they specifically intend to block access to all legal material on a domain.

          Interpol says on its website: “A whole domain is deemed illegal if any part of it is found to contain sexual abuse material with children. Even one image of a child that fits the above criteria will be enough to classify the whole domain as illegal until the illegal material is removed. This illegal content may not be immediately visible (it could be hidden with the exact location communicated only to certain individuals), making the blocking appear to be wrongful.”

          • If you are responsible for a domain, it is your duty to know what’s on it, never having been in that position, I can not say for sure, but I assume the LEA of the country listing it, would have made some attempt to contact the domain admin, after all , as you quoted “until the illegal material is removed” that to me implies notification issued.

            Further, given most hosting is based on your own domain, if foo.tld and bar.tld resolved to,
            and foo.tld had the illegal content, then only foo.tld will get the RPZ response, not bar.tld, which will still return the address to go to so the web server see’s the request for bar.tld and will serve that content.

            The only possible risk of FP would be if it was foo.bar.tld and foobar.bar.tld, this is not all that common even in shared hosting, because hosting providers dont tend to let hosts use subdomain, of the hosts domain, and since domain names can be got for very cheap these days.

            And before you say, but compromised site, well, you are responsible for your site, if you were r00ted because you used code you did not understand, how is that interpols fault? (But again, assuming the notification to domain admin, it too is likely a non issue)

            I’m one of the proponents of free speech and no censorship, but based on how this works, I really do not see the point in all the FUD going on here, FP’s would be a non issue for reasons above.

  12. Renai that link re Linton doesn’t seem to work :( Made me pull up his blog again, such a good read. I would have loved to read his reaction to both yesterdays leadership spills and the nbn catastrophe. I think my computer monitor might have exploded from the scorn though.

  13. I have no problem with this as long as it is applied in the fashion it is designed.
    All rock spiders need to be squashed and stepped on.
    But agreed that these sites also must be taken down.
    Yet some left running and all torrent sites shut down seems to me more value put on money than protecting innocent children

    • Indeed, if they know the domain name, and since this blocking is DNS based, they can simple have the domain name wiped out, just like megaupload. I can see though that this might not be the most immediate action, as leaving the site up online, gives la enforcement a chance to infiltrate and gather intel on who’s accessing it so they can prosecute the rockspiders as well as the scum that setup the site.

  14. What annoys me most about this is – yet again – there’s no attempt at transparency or accountability. I can live with internet censorship, even if it goes against every instinct I have, if there is a transparent and accountable system for viewing, adding to, or deleting from the list of blocked sites, with judicial oversight.

    Nobody with the genuine motives they claim to have would object to this. There is no need for the list to be secret, or the process for changing it being secret. The fact that they want to implement a secret system is a guarantee that they intend it to be used as a general-purpose tool to censor material they personally don’t like, but know isn’t actually illegal or offensive.

    You say they are using interpol’s list and not their own? How do we know this? How do we know that the list won’t magically grow longer once some future tyrant (Abbott’s mutant offspring probably) gets into power and suddenly holds all the reins?

    The whole thing stinks and it saddens me living here when such patently backwards, anti-democratic ideas are enthusiastically greeted by politicians and police alike. We should be thankful that our ISP management is mostly well-informed and aren’t just going to roll over for this nonsense.

  15. If the scheme is voluntary, then there would be no need for the police to demand compliance.

    On the flip side, if the scheme is NOT voluntary, then anyone pretending that it is voluntary would be a filthy liar.

    • On 14 Feb 2012, the Minister for Communications told the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee that: “For over six months now, three ISPs, including Telstra and Optus, have been blocking a list of child abuse material compiled by Interpol… . These voluntary arrangements are established under section 313 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.”

      Was the law being mis-used by the AFP in a pretence that compliance with the Section 313 notice was voluntary, and/or did the Minister provide misleading and non-factual information to the Senate Committee (persons who do sound can be found to be in contempt of the parliament). If compliance with the Section 313 notice was in fact voluntary in February 2012, how can it have become mandatory without any change to the law (and there definitely has not been any change to the relevant law).

  16. Melbourne Free University – the first high profile victim of the Gillard government’s internet censorship regime – are you on this story?

  17. Quoting the article quoting the AFP: ‘the agency claimed, disclosure of the names of the participating ISPs might have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of the AFP and would be “contrary to the public interest”.’

    **** Who the hell do they think they are***, claiming operational challenges are a valid reasons to spend our taxes hiding information about who is helping them hide information from us?

    I agree with the late John Linton on part of this; without any oversight, they are secretly implementing a Stasi-esque scheme so that they can do the work of the Fuhrer. Though I’d suggest that that person is more likely to be the Attorney General or Stephen Conjob, or one of Tony Abbotts mates when he gets landed with sooooo much pouwaaghhh! Or someone they are working for (a Chinese or Russian crime boss or Government, the Bush family, Gina Reinhardt, Clive Palmer, any one of many who could harbour an interest and crazed inclination.

    There are plenty of crackpots near enough to take over a land by stealth, or even just looking to rule the drug trade or run their own lucrative kiddie porn trade well above the law.

    We remain apathetic at our peril for it is not just those who set off bombs in public places or chose to cut up village loads of people in Africa (and individuals in London) with machetes who work to disrupt and destroy society, Terrorists and troops are just pawns, and have no monopoly on madness.

    History tells over and over, since before Roman times, that when civil servants keep information to themselves, the law eventually appears to be governing itself. It is however just the actions of individuals up to no good and left to their own devices- by others looking the other way (or joining in).

    Bah! Thieving bureaucrats, trying to ban the Internet and instead banning our freedom and poisoning democracy.

  18. When will people wake up and realise that the filter has nothing to do with just preventing child porn. Once implementation has succeeded, the government can and probably will add whatever it likes to the filter.

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