Talk:Internet censorship in Australia

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ED likely to be blocked by the filter[edit]

I included a statement from the SMH article which indicated that ED is likely to be blocked by the proposed filter. This was reverted as WP:CRYSTAL, but I believe this to be inappropriate. To quote WP,

"It is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur, if discussion is properly referenced."

cojoco (talk) 10:42, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Here is what the Sydney Morning Herald story said: "On the Australian Communication and Media Authority's blacklist of "refused classification" websites, which was leaked in March last year, was included. This means the entire site will most likely be blocked under the government's forthcoming internet filtering plan." True, but still has an element of WP:CRYSTAL, as does the whole ACMA filtering proposal at the moment. The article should avoid extrapolation as far as possible, and stick to the Australian government's known dislike of ED.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 10:51, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Why? A WP:RS is doing the extrapolation, so why should we not cite it? If the SMH says that it is likely that ED will get filtered, then that's a well-referenced statement which can be inserted into an article. In any case, I'm pretty sure that WP:CRYSTAL is usually used for deciding whether an article is appropriate, not a tiny statements in an article, especially one which is well referenced. I think that this article needs to cite discussions of what may or may not be blocked, because the government has not yet specified if the RC category will be changed at all if the filter is introduced. Stephen Conroy has stated that it would be limited to the "worst of the worst", but then again, he has not exactly spelled out if anything would be removed from the RC category. cojoco (talk) 11:10, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
This is a borderline call, but my understanding as a non-Australian is that the whole ACMA scheme could fail to be passed into law because it is so controversial. I'm not disputing that ED would be on the list if the scheme did go through, though. (See also [1])--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:16, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Your understanding might be correct. However, speaking as an Australian, and in my opinion, it looks like the scheme cannot possibly be implemented before the next federal election, but it is quite likely that that ALP will gain a majority in the Senate in 2011. If this is the case, then we will see if the filter is a genuine policy, or just a fake policy created to placate a single Christian Senator. I wouldn't say that it is "too controversial to be implemented", as the controversy is basically a bunch of nerds who care about civil liberties. After all, a mandatory Internet filter was pretty much implemented in the UK without anybody saying boo: how did that happen? Anyway, this is not the main point: it is possible that the filter will be implemented in Australia, and there is a lot of discussion of the filter in the media, and a lot of uncertainty about what the filter might entail. For this reason alone, I think it is important to keep track of citeable and/or factual comments about the likely reality of the filter, instead of a whole lot of "he said/she said" stuff which dominates the articles.
tl;dr If the SMH says that ED is likely to be blocked, then I think this is relevant to the article. cojoco (talk) 11:31, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
IWF isn't mandatory, it only covers child sex abuse material (vs RC), and it happened back in the days when newsgroups were the main means of distribution and so ISPs actually hosted the content on their servers. TRS-80 (talk) 16:14, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
When it's present at 98% of ISPs, the government wants to raise it to 100%, the blocklist is secret, and it has blocked Wikipedia, can you please explain the difference? Just to avoid being a complete rant, I'm wondering what to do in the article about all of the statements from people, such as Nick Minchin, which have been overtaken by events. Should they stay for historical interest, or should they go because they are no longer relevant? cojoco (talk) 22:57, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
It's not 98% of ISPs, it's 98% of users use an ISP that subscribes to IWF, there's plenty of small ISPs that don't (some who advertise that as a feature), and the UK government backed down on making it 100%. I'm not saying it's good that it still exists mostly for web filtering, just that its origins are much more understandable in their lack of controversy than pure web filtering. Note that Australia already has a secret list of newsgroups banned by law that only civil libertarians care about.
As for historical statements, given that an important part of the article is how the Rudd government has changed the scope over time, historical context is pretty important. TRS-80 (talk) 09:17, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

True 'blacklist' never leaked?[edit]

It was claimed above that

[the] blacklist of "refused classification" websites [...] was leaked [...]

In fact, Senator Conroy unambiguously and strenuously denied that the true list was ever leaked. See: [2]

See also guidelines of what constitutes RC material at [3]
—DIV ( (talk) 06:08, 1 April 2010 (UTC))

Reviewing the transcript, I accept that the Minister in fact acknowledged that something "closer to" the true list was leaked on the second occasion. So I retract my statement above that the denial was unambiguous. He made it clear that the true list was not identical to any of the leaked lists, but did not clarify what the precise differences were — for example, whether or not the true list was a subset (component) of one of the leaked lists.
—DIV ( (talk) 06:43, 1 April 2010 (UTC))
The March 2009 leaked list may not have been exact, but it clearly came from a well placed source. Stephen Conroy's denial has to be seen in the context of a politician trying to avoid embarrassment.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:19, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Especially a politician such as Stephen Conroy who cannot seem to give a straight answer to anything. That reference appears to have linkrotted; Newscorp links seem especially susceptible. All the Fairfax links, from The Age and the SMH, seem to have survived intact. cojoco (talk) 20:47, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I've replace "reportedly leaked" with "leaked", as I don't regard SC as a WP:RS, and he didn't ever actually deny that the list was real. However, it is not clear that the ACMA blacklist will be the list used for censorship, so I've added a "presumably" to the statement that the ACMA list would form the basis for the filter. cojoco (talk) 01:15, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Conroy does have an unfortunate habit of not answering questions, but reliable sources seem to confirm the second list's authenticity and it's not difficult to read between the lines. One thing that should be noted is that it was a list of "prohibited content" websites that leaked, not "refused classification" websites. There is a substantial difference between the two under Australian law, since even MA15+ content can be prohibited if it doesn't use a certified age verification mechanism. The scope of the filter was formerly the full "prohibited content" list, but it has since been tightened to "refused classification". Our classification system is certainly confusing. StuartH (talk) 02:13, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but this is now deviating from objective viewpoints when we say "I think this source is reliable, but I don't think that source is reliable". Consider the first leak. It now seems to be accepted that the first leak was not the blacklist; however, I'm sure that a number of newspapers would have carried reports saying that the real blacklist had been leaked. It's not that those newspapers aren't reliable sources: it's just that there's a difference between a reliable source and an infallible source. Since those reliable sources were clearly wrong about the first leak, there's no reason they couldn't be wrong about the second leak. After all, they also want to sell newspapers!
Wikipedians must figure out for themselves which specific sources are reliable and which are not, based on the general principles in WP:RS. If we had to have a reliable source to tell us that a source is reliable, we'd conclude that there are no reliable sources and we would all just stop. So "I think this source is reliable/unreliable" is implicit in the very act of adding or removing material supported by that source. --John Cowan (talk) 15:04, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, politicians have got a self-interest. But, aside from their own morals, they would need to balance the benefits of lying with the very real risks of being found out, and then suffering worse consequences (both personally and for the party). My own opinion is that politicians are more likely to 'accidentally leave out' crucial information, or avoid questions etc. when they are being dishonest. What (I don't think) they don't normally do is issue very clear untrue statements. Misleading statements, maybe. But the strength of the denial says to me that it is credible. You can have your own opinion, but whether that fit's into WP's philosophy about neutrality is a bit more iffy.
Some recent WP edits have it that Conroy "didn't deny" that the second leak was the real blacklist. He did deny it, and that was the point of citing the Q&A transcript. As I already noted above, he did not clarify what the precise differences were. Nevertheless, he specifically and clearly stated that both leaks were different to the real blacklist. We might speculate, for example, that the second leak was from an ISP that had added their own set of banned sites to the original 'true' blacklist. For the record, it should be noted that Conroy stated that he had never even seen the blacklist himself, and was relying on the ACMA to judge whether the lists were the same or not (and what the differences were).
Personally I think the "reportedly" should be retained in the introduction. (After all, I added it.) It is neutral, factual, and doesn't undermine the reality that the leak was reported on!
—DIV ( (talk) 05:16, 8 April 2010 (UTC))
I think "reportedly" is a needlessly weasel-y qualifier. It has been reported in reliable sources, and can go straight in unless we find compelling opposing sources. We don't normally add "reportedly" to claims. StuartH (talk) 05:37, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
The two lists were actually very different. The first list appeared to come out of a "Net Alert" list supplied by the ISP, and contained porn and gambling sites. The true ACMA blacklist doesn't go to any ISP, and SC never revealed any sites on the second list which were not on the ACMA blacklist. Indeed, he agreed that the most embarrassing errors on the leaked list were actually on the ACMA blacklist, including the Henson photos, and the QLD dentist. As the ACMA blacklist is changing all the time, it is very unlikely that any leaked list would match the current ACMA list exactly. In light of all of these factors, his quibble about the accuracy of the list don't seem to be very important, and many RS say that it's the ACMA list. DIV, you complain about "I think this source is reliable, but I don't think that source is reliable": As I understand it, the SMH is regarded as a WP:RS, especially as they talked to WL about the provenance of the list, and can be supposed to have more reliable information than we do. Also as I understand it, SC isn't, as he is not expected to have fact checkers for everything he says, and any comment by an individual is regarded more as opinion than fact. I also disagree that the papers were wrong about the first leak, as I don't think that they ever actually said that it was the ACMA blacklist, only that WL said that it was. For all of these reasons, I agree with Stuart that "reportedly" is weaselly, when everyone seems to agree that the source was the ACMA list. cojoco (talk) 07:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
There is a problem with the 25 March 2009 section, because both of the links are dead with WP:LINKROT. What matters is that Stephen Conroy initially denied that the list Wikileaks obtained was genuine, but accepted on 26 March that the second list was reasonably accurate.[4]--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:40, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Note that WP:LINKROT is not a reason to remove the statements related to the missing references. cojoco (talk) 00:33, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Effect on Wikipedia?[edit]

How wide of a swath of articles will be blocked to Australians by a single link ? This is actually a useful practical safeguard for American editors, since by blocking Australians from reading our work we can protect ourselves from lawsuits using their particularly exaggerated definition of libel. Wnt (talk) 21:53, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Dramatica are hosted under United States law, where they would have First Amendment protection. Also, Wikipedia articles cannot link to Dramatica articles. There is a link to the main page of ED (which is reasonably uncontroversial), but the rest of the site is blocked by the spam blacklist.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:04, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
What I mean is that things that link to any banned site will be "filtered" (NewSpeak for "censored") in Australia. But would it be only the single offending Wikipedia page with the link that is blocked, or all Wikipedia, or something in between? Oh, and is the "http://" required for a page to be blocked? (I'd doubt it) Wnt (talk) 19:14, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
This is all rather speculative, since the ACMA scheme may never be passed into law. However, it is not giving away any secrets to say that logging in to the secure server on Wikipedia ( prevents local eavesdropping on the pages being visited. Short of blocking the whole of Wikipedia, access to individual pages could never be restricted.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 19:32, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Surely they could simply prohibit the https connections (as I understand it crypto has never been all that secure of a right) or [other obnoxious things]. (Admittedly this strays from useful talk - I'm hoping mainly for some source that explains how large the scope of a ban on a site with a link has to be) Wnt (talk) 19:59, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
SC or ACMA has said that the filter is not on whole sites, but only on individual pages. If https connections don't let the proxy see which page you are visiting, then I really can't see how this would work. These seems like a somewhat glaring inconsistency. cojoco (talk) 23:59, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Conroy hasn't actually stated what is supposed to happen for HTTPS sites, but it's one of the (many) questions he's received on notice [5]. I wouldn't rule out them considering a man-in-the-middle attack. And while it's drifting even further into speculation and original research, there are still other issues that will remain if you take HTTPS out of the picture. The inclusion of a wikipedia article on the blacklist will repeat all the problems the IWF faced over its censorship of an album cover here - with all wikipedia traffic passing through the filters and resolving to a small number of IP addresses, users will be unable to contribute anonymously, may be unable to create new accounts, and will experience significant slowdowns in their connection speed. I also believe the filter doesn't work with query strings, so you'll just be able to access the content by going to instead of StuartH (talk) 05:26, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
A HTTPS site is unlikely to be hosting child porn or other illegal content. The issuers of SSL certificates insist on rigorous identification of the purchaser of the certificate, mainly as a means of preventing fraudulent financial transactions via an appparently "safe" site. It will be interesting to hear what the Australian government has to say about HTTPS sites, since they are one of the many reasons why the ACMA proposal has holes in it.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:14, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Just a reminder that Wikipedia's article talk pages are not a forum, I understand you're talking about what could happen if the Government is successful but this should be kept article related. Bidgee (talk) 11:20, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough, but I'm glad that this discussion has thrown up a link to some more technical details about HTTPS which could be incorporated in the article at some point. cojoco (talk) 00:38, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Possible vandalism?[edit]

Resolved: Vandalism removed. Ottre 14:58, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

This article has recently changed significantly, and at one point states that "over 9,000" websites will be blocked by the filter, with no sourcing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:46, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Maybe so, but it has said 9,000 for a long time now, and the nearby ref has disappeared. The article hasn't actually changed much in the month or so. Any ideas when it changed? cojoco (talk) 04:24, 7 May 2010 (UTC)


This page refers to an "Internet filter" but it seems said filter only filters www traffic. Was the author of the page ignorant of the difference between the web and The Internet? The www page even has a note Not to be confused with the Internet. If this filter is actually merely a web filter, the page should be updated to refer to it as a "Web filter" and not as an "Internet" filter. If it truly is an Internet filter, we need to introduce a section which enumerates all the ports and the transfer protocols it intercepts. (talk) 08:17, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

True, but a little bit pedantic. The terms "world wide web" and "Internet" are commonly used interchangeably, but they are not strictly speaking the same thing. The proposed filtering scheme, like the leaked ACMA blacklist, would probably block access only to specific www. addresses. FTP, P2P etc are different protocols.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:40, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that it is pedantic. Consider the popular analogy with roads. If the government announced it was introducing a universal speed limit of 40kmph on all roads to protect children from accidents, yet closer inspection of the proposed law revealed it only applied to roadways going over bridges (cf only monitors port 80) and it only applied to motorcycles (cf only monitors http protocol traffic) then would you still consider it pedantic if I objected to the "universal speed limit on all roads" title? Sure, technology novices might think the web is the only thing on the Internet, unaware of the existence of FTP, IRC, news, streaming, gopher, etc. but people editing wikipedia pages aren't so naïve and should strive for accurate representation. Consider the page on Referer - it acknowledges the official term as erroneous and explains how the error came about: because someone more aware of technology than English spelling made a helpful contribution. Here we have the opposite: bureaucrats who can rattle off jargon but not not know what the words mean are calling this filter something it is not. I think that should be redressed. (talk) 22:40, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I would observe that there are two "correct" uses of the name. There is the technically correct one being discussed above, and the popular usage one as understood by politicians, bureaucrats, mainstream media and the masses. Technical truth and logic does not make the latter, common usage one wrong. They are both now valid usages. HiLo48 (talk) 03:01, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I disagree entirely, the terms Internet and Web are very different. The Web was 'invented' in the late 80s while the Internet has been around since the early 60s. The two are completely different. The Web uses the Internet to transfer data. Many people have Microsoft Outlook software on their computer, this uses the Internet but does not use the Web. Why would Wikipedia promote an incorrect definition? It is demonstrably wrong. There is no reason not to change it. (talk) 13:19, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
The article is called Internet censorship in Australia per WP:COMMONNAME. Many of the citations use the phrase "Internet filter". The media and the public tend to see the Internet as primarily the web, it is the computer purists who say "What about IRC, FTP?" and so on.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 15:12, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't help that Windows Vista and Windows 7 label the shortcut to the user's web browser as "Internet". It also doesn't help that when Microsoft realised it was again falling behind the rest of the market and bought someone else's pre-made browser they rebranded it as "Internet" Explorer. Be that as it may, the term is wrong. Even if 40% of the population believe the Internet is a series of tubes that doesn't make it correct. (talk) 20:03, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
But common usage does. Do please click on that link and have a read. There are many parts (most parts?) of the English language that no longer have their original, pure meaning. Wikipedia's job is not to tell the world what to do. Its job is to describe what the world actually does. And most of it uses "Internet" to describe what they see in web browsers. HiLo48 (talk) 21:31, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, the common usage text says "ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. For example, tsunami is preferred over the arguably more typical, but less accurate tidal wave." Consider Pigeon, Adrenalin, Racial mixing and the article titles you're redirected to. I agree that wiki is descriptive, not prescriptive. In this issue, no amateur will be confused or misled by referring to the topic as a "web filter". Can you see any disadvantage to using such terminology? If anything, it will facilitate readers' understanding of distinct but related concepts. (talk) 23:55, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Although many amateurs might be unaware of the distinction between the web and the overarching Internet, nobody would propose merging the page for Internet into the page for web. Public misconception isn't a basis for encyclopedic misrepresentation. Here those two phenomena have two distinct pages with an explicit warning that they are not to be confused. If wiki's job were to never "tell the world what to do" such templates wouldn't exist. I would think wiki's job is to accurately represent information in a format that aids understanding. If people come to a page (on any topic) with a false or incomplete preconception of the issue (and let's face it, who doesn't?) they have the opportunity to take onboard the information wiki contributors provide. We do them a disservice to perpetuate urban myths we know to be false. It reminds me of Cargo cult programming but there's probably a more appropriate antipattern. (talk) 09:26, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
The article should make clear that the proposed filtering scheme applies to web addresses. The battle to prevent the media and the public from using the terms "Internet" and "web" interchangeably was lost years ago, so WP:COMMONNAME applies.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 10:37, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
If you say so, though I don't think that's really relevant to this discussion. We're not proposing attempting to dictate what the media and public say. We're talking about what wikipedia says being accurate and avoiding impedence of understanding. I already addressed COMMONNAME - did you see? I agree the article should make clear the filter applies to web traffic... but would go further and emphasise it filters only web traffic, such that it is more accurately known (and referred to) as a web filter. (talk) 23:40, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

OK I updated the page, taking into consideration the views expressed above. Go ahead and emphasise anything my addendum lacks. (talk) 02:37, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

For someone claiming to take a purist approach to the language here, all those capitalisations of internet are interesting. Are you aware that it was originally, for many years, written without capitalisation, until that old foe, common usage, led to it being capitalised. Quite ironic really. And you have changed several occurences of Internet in the text to web without changing any source, and guess what? The sources say Internet far more often than web. This is not really a great edit. HiLo48 (talk) 04:33, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, the page for Internet spells it with a capital letter and past edits to this page have addressed capitalisation so that's fine by me. I just tried to make it consistent. If you want to change the capitalisation, go ahead - it doesn't change the meaning and that's what I was getting at. Previously the meaning was wrong. I don't see any irony in that. I changed "Internet" to "web" at points where it was misleading / inaccurate to use Internet (see someone else's response to common usage above). I don't quite see why you call common usage a foe. I would think it's a factor to consider along with all the rest. It's not a trump card and it's not irrelevant. Calling it a foe attaches some emotional preference or antipathy to it. (talk) 07:52, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Added an image[edit]

I've added an image here to this article:

Usage of the Children's interest style of rhetoric as form of protest in Australia by supporter of Electronic Frontiers Australia.

with this caption: Usage of the Children's interest style of rhetoric as form of protest in Australia by supporter of Electronic Frontiers Australia. — Cirt (talk) 16:38, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Feel free to change it as you wish. — Cirt (talk) 17:01, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

UK / OZ Cleanfeed Page[edit]

Hi, I was hoping to split Cleanfeed (content blocking system)(talk) down UK and Australian lines because they are different programmes and technologies that happen to share the same name. Suggestions for naming:

Cleanfeed (content blocking system) and Cleanfeed (content blocking system - Australia)


Cleanfeed (content blocking system - UK) and Cleanfeed (content blocking system - Australia)

or even the popular[1] term:

Cleanfeed (UK Content Blocking System) and Cleanfeed (Great Firewall of Australia)

Or can I just put the Australian stuff on this page? Deku-shrub (talk) 19:15, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Attacks on government websites[edit]

The content of the section is false, misleading, and can not be proved. I would also assert the use of sexual content was ordered by the American Government or powers whom lie within it.

While the content describes sexual content it fails to understand if a real anon had done it there would of been images of guns - the fact sexual content was sent is well known and because of its use people are afraid to ask further questions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:52, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Google search 'Great Firewall of Australia'