It's Over: Australia's Site Blocking Anti-Piracy Bill Just Passed The Senate

Well that's it then. Say goodbye to The Pirate Bay at the very least, Australia: our Senate just voted to enact legislation to block websites in a bid to crack down on rampant piracy.

Read This: Why Australia's Site Blocking Law Sucks

The Senate has been debating amendments to the Bill all day, with Independent and Greens Senators attempting to water the legislation down.

The final vote was just held, with the Bill passing with 37 yay votes to just 13 against.

The Bill is now set to be signed into law by the Governor-General, and it's only a matter of time before the first sites start to get blocked.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who proposed significant amendments to the Bill today, tweeted a photo as the vote was taking place:

The Bill had bipartisan support from the Coalition and Labor, while the Greens opposed the Bill's passage without key amendments. The proposed amendments, which were voted down throughout the day, sought to delay the Bill until the IT Pricing Inquiry report could be tabled, and also called for the Bill to be watered down so as not to be used as a de facto internet filter against "objectionable" material.

Specifically, Senator Ludlam proposed the following:

- Amendment delaying Senate debate on the bill until the Government tables its response to Australian Law Reform Commission's 2013 report on copyright reform and the 2013 House of Reps IT price hike inquiry
- Clear up the definition of sites targeted by the bill so that it cannot include Virtual Private Networks which have legitimate purposes
- Remove the ability of the bill to target sites "facilitating" copyright infringement, as this could target legitimate sites
- Change the definition of sites targeted by the bill to specify that the sites must be "flagrantly" infringing copyright. This is referred to elsewhere in the bill but currently not required to be considered
- Allowing third parties (for example, consumer/public interest groups) to join the injunction applications as parties to help oppose websites being blocked
- Amend the Copyright Act to explicitly state that evading geo-blocking does not constitute copyright infringement - the bill is currently unclear
- Give any third-party the ability to seek a review of a website block

The Bill passed through the Upper House without a single successful amendment.


Comments

    Yeah, I've got a VPN...

      For now, at least. :\

        Seems that Malcolm Turnbull has made it quite clear that VPN use won't be a problem under the new legislation (https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-vpn-problem-leave-consumers-alone-aussie-minister-says-150617/)

        Quoting Turnbull from the article above: "VPNs have a wide range of legitimate purposes, not least of which is the preservation of privacy — something which every citizen is entitled to secure for themselves — and [VPN providers] have no oversight, control or influence over their customers’ activities."

        Last edited 23/06/15 10:10 am

          Ha! So this does really mean that I'll continue to use my VPN service "not only to access Netflix, but also to evade every site blocking measure this legislation hopes to impose."

          I've been enjoying IPVanish's service http://bit.do/ipvanish so now this means that I have nothing to fear. This is awesome news!

          Last edited 23/06/15 11:10 am

            Sucky thing about VPN's for geododging is the single end point. Someone needs to make a VPN/smartDNS combo service. Not really interested in anything that requires rebooting my router to go from Netflix USA to Bbc iplayer and back to SBS on demand.

              Hey mate,
              http://www.ibvpn.com/billing/aff.php?aff=3898&page=plans
              Check these guys out, they offer everything you need for a good price :)

              The only SmartDNS provider I know of that offers such a service, that does not require you to reboot your router, is OverPlay's JetSwitch feature. http://www.vpnworld.org/overplay
              Through your OverPlay account dashboard, you can set channel preferences individually. So let's say you can choose the US Netflix channel, BBC iPlayer for the UK, watch Hulu US all while accessing SBS on demand. And you can turn off SmartDNS for individual channels without having to change your router settings.

          and [VPN providers] have no oversight, control or influence over their customers’ activities."

          But ISP's do..... right.

          So then why fucking well block anything to begin with??

      I think the bill has wording in it to make using a VPN to get around these measures illegal

      Last edited 22/06/15 7:42 pm

        How exactly will they enforce that ? So simply using a private network you will be deemed to be pirating by default ?

          Yep.

            Just read on whirlpool forums that VPNs are unaffected.

              So now we have to pay a premium in Australia for open internet access. Wow. So that makes us worse at internet legislation than the US?

          They can block the IP of the VPN. Under their it's being used to assist in infringement clauses.

            I use VPN. They will have to block ALL the servers. There is no single IP address for a VPN.

              They know that, and it's exactly what they'll do. When this goes live they're not going to waste their time blocking one or two IPs, they're going to have a list of thousands to block in the first week. They already know is that it just becomes a massive game of whack-a-mole, but the complete waste of time, money and effort is lost on them.

        Not illegal, but not clear.

        Amend the Copyright Act to explicitly state that evading geo-blocking does not constitute copyright infringement – the bill is currently unclear

        More illegal than illegally downloading in the first place?

          Downloading is not currently illegal, uploading is (by civil code, not criminal)

    The most useless bill that does absolutely nothing to solve piracy, good job Turnbull on yet another failed success.

      Except it's not just Turnbull, Labor voted in full force for this too. The only ones opposing it were the Greens and Independents.

      I don't think it's to solve piracy. I thought this was all about appeasing the overseas trading partners, i.e. the US.

        I think you're right - if they honestly believe this will stop piracy, then that bunch of clueless c@#%s in Canberra may be even more clueless than we gave them credit for.

          Maybe everybody should pirate more, really hammer it for a year.

          That way they can have their next meeting and say, oh... wait a minute, piracy has actually increased since this bill came in.

          That'll show them.

            They'll just double down again and make it harder and more expensive to legitimately gain access to content.

            This kind of bullshit won't go away until we have a generational change in government. Most people governing modern nations today have little knowledge of new media practices and standards. They are still living in the analogue age, but technology has moved to the digital age and then on to the virtual age.

            They simply don't understand it and they want to control the things they don't understand.

      What it does do is shift "pirating traffic" off shore. By that i mean it looks like Australia's piracy has decreased which the media corps will proclaim as a victory but in reality they've all gone underground to vpns and such. Same thing happened in the UK

    If you're not using your ISP's DNS will this effect you?

      I will laugh if it's that simply bypassed.

        You'd probably be the only one.

        If that turned out to be the task, others and myself will fall out of our chairs with a resounding "WHY ARE WE PAYING FOR THIS?!"

      Yes. Because the request is still coming from within Australia. DNS is just the request to say "Where is this" but it still paths by usual routes in unencrypted form. All you're doing is asking an American for directions to a website instead of an Australian. You need a VPN. This makes it look like you have connected to a site in Timbuktoo (or whatever), and then from there made the request.

        Woh dude learn how the internet works.
        The simplest and most likely method will be to block this DNS entry for local DNS servers. It is almost impossible for carriers to conform if the government required the blocking of DNS requests to overseas servers. That would take an incredible amount of network level changes and packet processing to be possible let alone feasible.
        Imagine inspecting every international packet to identify it as a DNS request, locate the requested data, look it up in a blacklist and block it.
        If they did that people would have a field day with DDOSing the service.

        Last edited 22/06/15 8:24 pm

          A lot of people I see have Google's DNS setting, 8.8.8.8
          I cannot believe that would be enough to circumvent this blocking... learn how the internet works.

            Also, it would be almost trivial to block TCP/UDP port 53 traffic from overseas.

              That'd be great. I love only being able to use local DNS providers. They never have issues preventing me from performing basic tasks like browsing the internet.

              By the way, I was being sarcastic.

              Last edited 23/06/15 10:37 am

                Thanks for clarifying, the sarcasm really doesn't come across! ;)

                I'm not saying I want them to do it, I was just pointing out that it would in fact be easy for the government to block the use of foreign DNS servers if they wanted to.

      Hm, might be some meat there.

      If the block is only in the DNS there I think you found yet another flaw.

      But the pessimist in me thinks the IP headers will be monitored to ensure the block.

      Sadly this is just legislation for the sake of it. If the pirates don't use VPNs, they'll just change to dark nets which are not indexed and so forth.

      Are you saying that if I use a VPN, then I'm still going to get into trouble.?

        But do they even know you ? Dude, why'd you pay for a VPN if you didn't know how it works! haha!

          I know how it works but aren't they thinking about banning them as well.

      I am using a DNS server that keeps the main cache offshore (OpenDNS) which I have setup on my home router. If this is enough to bypass the website blocking then I will be laughing for weeks.

        can you explain how this works

          OpenDNS is a free DNS service (DNS being the internet equivilant of a phonebook that allows the web browser to get the webpage) which runs a manually updated list of entries meaning that it would be immune to DNS spoofing (When someone maliciously changes the phonebook listing for a website) which would most likely be the method by which the blocking is accomplished.

            Do we know of the DNS method will work yet

            Also would using Google DNS work the same

      There are ways to drop the routing for IPs on your local BGP community, so for example Telstra could drop the routes for known IPs of ThePirateBay on their community, so if you attempted to connect to those IPs through their services, the connection would hit their routers and get dropped. This negates whatever DNS you use, including manually setting your own local DNS through the Windows hosts file.

      Would they do this? Possibly, but its a lot of work and with IPv6 growing in prevalence, could mean a massive blacklist of IPv4/6 ranges to drop, and god knows what that would do to some routers.

      Source: I used a router once without dying or destroying the internet.

    So theyll block sites that are used the same way kid lingo is used by the elderly... oh youll block the pirate bay? Radical dude...

    https://thepiratebay.mn/ accessable for anyone?
    tpb removed the www. prefix

    I find it cute how the companies that pushed this through think it'll make a single download disappear.

    I'm not legally minded, but the way I read the amendments is that the pollies know they are screwed when it comes to copyright infringement.
    They cannot ignore the problem anymore, because certain organisations are making sure they cannot look the other way, especially when the former US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich (Mr "Australia, stop pirating") has a long history of enforcing intellectual property rights.

    As lawmakers, they have to be seen as upholding the law, but at the same time, do not want to have overseas interests pulling their strings every time there is an 'objectionable' website.

    The removal of the VPN issue, as well of the clarification of geoblocking and the enforcement methodology appears to be a clear sign of two stiff fingers to the likes of the MPAA, and their Australian counterparts.
    No one likes getting their chain yanked, and for once, I'm glad the politicians have made sure our US 'friends' aren't taking full advantage of Australians.

    Last edited 22/06/15 6:52 pm

      Is this serious or poking fun? I don't think any of the amendments were successful, the bill passed without them.

      The bill passed with no amendments. All the points above were proposed amendments that failed.

        Yeah, I missed that very last line in the article, which puts the entire thing arseaboutface
        So, everyone in Parliment is too scared to actually stand up for the legitimate rights of Australians.
        Awesome.

          The fact that none of these amendments were included is truly disturbing. To my reading, they seem like baseline, minimum requirement safeguards to keep the law from being used out-of-scope or being applied unfairly.

          The fact that not ONE was included is deeply concerning. It highlights what is either a staggering lack of foresight and a deep-seated ignorance of how and when laws fail, or indicative of massive levels of overseas-interest-based corruption.

        which senator proposed this bill to begin with?

    In other news, founders of Private Internet Access overnight have decided to retired after a massive number of Australian users decided to sign up in a show of spite to the Coalition's Piracy Blocking Bill.

    International law bodies were initially called in suspecting a sudden, global scale money laundering scheme but were left scratching their heads when they found the transactions legitimate and the motivations behind them.

    One founder who wished to remain nameless said after seeing the income from the sudden influx, said found decided to retire now having so much money he would never need to work again in his current life or the next three.

    Analysts are expecting the trend to be similar with other VPN providers.

    Meanwhile, instead of piracy in Australia going down, it has suddenly become immeasurable due to all users switching from classical Torrent distribution to darknets and Onion networks.

    Rumours are now circulating that after mere months in Australia, Netflix is deciding to pull out again. When reached for comment, one Netflix press officer had this to say.

    Thanks to a move that clearly shows Australian's are smarter than the Communications Minister, all our Australian subscribers have simply switched to DNS unblockers. There has been zero traffic with our content servers in Australia and we're taking a proactive move to pull out before the expenses for non-utility rise

    Local streaming service Stan is also seeing massive drops and cited similar reasons.

    -----

    Worst part is, it wouldn't surprise me if this actually happens.

    Last edited 22/06/15 7:00 pm

      They're getting my money as soon as I can find a spare $50 in my fortnightly budget

        I use PIA and pay like $6 a month for basic vpn. Just set your ahem torrent to use that adaptor (eth3 in my case) and its rock and roll. Spend the other 44$ on beer and chips.

          I prefer to pay for the year. Less to worry about that way

      I just wanted to put a "Make it Rain" gif in here

    So - lobbied tooth and nail to ensure a tax on Netflix and you wanted Pirates stopped and welcomed the TPP, you ensured that fibre to the home was delayed as you knew you streaming service was not ready yet - you just had to make sure no one had the bandwidth, now you lobby to block the sites to stop people downloading..... whats next will you force every aussie to be vaccinated so that the company you used to be on the board with Glaxo Smyth Clynne would benefit... hang on wait.. what?

    You got the party you wanted into Gov't so you could get your TPP, now rack off and leave us alone, we all know the Aussie Netflix catalogue is limited compared to USA - that was also your deal, so you dont like people using Geo's to see that catalogue.... how about you just offer a decent product you friggin TWAT

      Take out the antivax stuff and you have a point.

    "Say goodbye to The Pirate Bay at the very least, Australia."

    Yeah, for all of 3 seconds until those of us who actually understand this sh*t get around it with minimal effort. It'll be the exact same story as the UK - there will be an initial drop in visits to file sharing sites, followed by an enormous increase in traffic shortly afterwards as people figure out how to get around the block.

    All this idiotic bill will do is encourage people to be more careful with their online identities, just as the metadata retention bill has done.

    No particular surprises here. We already knew our government was fucked. Maybe things'll be marginally better after the next election but considering this passed with such widespread support I doubt it.

    I think we just have to wait about 10-20 more years for all the rock stupid dinosaurs currently running things to finally drop dead (or at least retire), and then maybe things will start to look up a bit.

      The ALP supported this. The Greens will never form government on their own. Maybe now people will see how the two major parties are basically identical except when it comes to election time when the opposition will just do the opposite of the party currently in government.

      And with that maybe a true third choice will emerge.

    Anyone got advice on setting up a VPN, which protocol is gonna be the easiest to setup whilst still being relatively secure? Do I need to mess with my router?

      I'm using PIA. Extremely easy to set up, been very happy with it. Create an account, install their client on your computer, turn it on when you want to use it.

      I'm using BUFFERED VPN... seems to be very fast. Also.. if you just want to view sites like Piratebay, try the Firefox TOR browser.. then use a VPN for the downloads.

        if all i need is to visit a torrent site and then grab the magnet link
        would i even need a vpn
        i use peerblock normally

      Im using PIA too , 9 dollars a month. Lots of servers. Unlike telcos They dont retain data of any sort on their users. To be sure use servers in the USA. They have no data retention laws. Don't use ECC encryption, PIA thinks its been cracked by the NSA. Avoid countries like Australia and the UK and other countries known to have data retention laws.

        $9 a month is quite a bit to pay for PIA.... its 39.95US a year at the top rate. If you look around they sometimes have coupon deals $49.95 for 2 years....

      PIA. They don't keep logs (currently) and the server speeds are very good from my experience, as well as being un-capped for data.

      Simply add the settings to your router (or use DD-WRT and flash your router), set up your mail servers (on Apple devices at least) to a white list IP (as opposed to the regular SMTP server names) and you're good to go. That way you know that everything behind the router is covered.

      Check if you have private trackers though as you may lose the ability to seed unless you use a seedbox and can also add the SB IP to the private trackers white list...

        Yeah....that last paragraph was too much for me, but thanks :) So to confirm, I will need to mess with the router for it to work properly? And then what type of connection? PPTP,OpenVPN? I am a bit of a novice in regards to routers etc. (I have no idea what "DD-WRT and flash your router" encompasses).

        Cheers though :)

        Last edited 22/06/15 10:26 pm

          No, you don't - PIA have a desktop client. Putting all of your traffic behind a VPN at the router level will just slow things down when you're doing more mundane activities.

            Yup - you don't have to put it on a router, I just prefer to do it that way so I know my family is covered regardless of the dozen or so devices that may be used... nothing changes for them and it just works.

            Client level access isn't secure, it gets around geoblocking but your original IP is completely trackable through leaks, so you can be detected torrenting. Check dnsleaktest.com and perform a full detailed track. Only router DDWRT level is truly on a VPN, why do you think it's slower?

      you subscribe to hide.me

    We really need I.T. literate people in government.

    Seems our government is being run by overseas companies more than ever.
    Our politicians should be forced to display logos of their 'donors' on their jackets at all times!
    You would at least think our own Prime Minister could tell them we won't listen to any arguments until they start paying taxes in this country, seems neither party has the stones.

    I wonder what the cost of the bill is. The consultation time, Ministers pay dedicated to this bill, outside researchers, etc. Because if you take all that money into account, you'd probably have double than what they spent into retail price esquires.

    Anyone with a brain knows that if the Government actually got off their asses and addressed the problems involving pricing, release dates, etc; then they would find that once those problems were addressed and fixed, then piracy would slow down a lot more than any stupid blanket filter would.

    the internet as you know it is dead... weve just moved closer to china's censorship... well done pollies

    I haven't read the comments yet... but from the perspective of the pirates, all this does is drive them 'underground' and into TOR or VPN routing to get to these same websites. This will effectively make it IMPOSSIBLE for the government to see who's accessing these sites. It's kind of working against their metadata retention laws.

    On the other hand.. it's a slap in the face of what the internet is all about. Very disappointing.

      Yep. Governments all around the world dislike the open nature of the internet. They will use 'piracy" and 'terrorism' to take away our internet freedoms. For our own good they say. Tony Abbott will be remembered as an arrogant sexist masochistic and ultimately stupid PM.

        hes neither

        he knows exactly what hes doing

        hes just corrupt

        Hes not acting in the best interests of his people
        That to me is corruption

    Ahahahahahahaa ahhh, so stupid.
    What difference will this make to tech savvy people? none!
    These government peanuts will pat themselves on the back once the figures on piracy look better.
    This is good because plebs will stop downloading illegally, the heat will go off piracy. And the rest of us can carry on as we were. Great news!

    Well, atleast now we're in line with china and iran with regards to censorship laws.

    This bill was brought to you by Fox! Who will keep donating to governments so they can control what you hear and see.

    I have a VPN and how long until they instruct telcos to block private VPNs ?

      Its harder to ban a vpn than it is to ban all the urls for a pirating site.
      You block a vpn site, on what grounds? Pirating? Proove it... and then even the case, similar to napster, how do you cut lff all current users that have the program/protocol.
      and this is just if they get passed that fact that most major businesses use private networks so is all that illegal to?

      They have no idea.

        Unfortunately it's no harder to block VPNs than pirating sites, and it will be more cost effective, as taking out a VPN provider could hit thousands of users/evil privateers. They're even easier to track than private IPs as the volume of traffic passing through them is greater. Prove it?? They have the same info on VPN IPs participating in torrent swarms as they do for people downloading Dallas Buyers Club, and that's apparently enough to start speculative invoicing as far as a judge is concerned.

        Business VPNs won't be hit unless someone in the company uses torrents, an activity that's usually a sackable offence, or at least has been for me for the last decade.

    Keep an eye on the VPN trend on google search. Expected to spike over the next 24-48 hours.
    https://www.google.com.au/trends/explore#q=vpn&geo=AU&date=now%207-d&cmpt=q&tz=Etc%2FGMT-10

    I am using torguard and it is great. For anyone interested, use the coupon code slickdeal50 and you will get 5o% off for the 1st 12 + 50% off future renewals. The total comes to $60 for 12 months / $5 per month.

    pffff just use Tor to get access to the websites LOLs . The existence of Tor means the bill was worthless before the pen met the paper.

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