Fight The Filter with Gizmodo

In spite of all the logic, evidence and simple common sense placed before them, the Labor government still wants to censor the internet. And we've had enough. Gizmodo is taking action.

Since the federal Labor government took power back in 2007, we’ve been riding a rollercoaster of truths, half-truths and intentional misinformation about their Cyber Safety policy. A policy that started life as an opt-in ISP service for concerned parents suddenly became a plan for mandatory censorship.

Ignoring rivers of expert testimony showing why the filter will be ineffective in its aims, and where the money could be better spent to achieve better results, the government continues to push for the filter’s implementation. Those who disagree with Senator Conroy are deemed by him to be supporters of child pornography, regardless of the logical merits of their argument.

The government, largely through Senator Conroy, talks in high-rotation sound bytes: “child porn”, “bestiality”, and “pro-rape” are used repetitively in an effort to reinforce the "importance" of their plan. All we hear is an echo chamber which shows the government is unwilling to listen to reasonable discussion nor logic when it comes to internet policy.

To date, the debate over internet censorship has happened on the government’s terms.

With a new Prime Minister and a federal election coming very soon, Gizmodo is taking the opportunity to fight the filter. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be bringing you posts from leading experts explaining not only how the proposed filter is doomed to fail, but also why its introduction is downright dangerous to our democratic ideals and the future of our digital economy.

We don't expect the Labor government to suddenly change its tune because we've decided to take a stand. But we're going to give you the arguments, the evidence and the information you need to put pressure on both this government and future governments to pursue a course of action for online security that won't infringe on our democratic freedoms.

If we don't all stand up now, it could be too late.

[Fight the Filter]



    i want that logo as a sticker for my car

      Stickers, T-Shirts etc. Let's get the message out there!!!

      great idea for the sticker. I'd buy 100

        The stickers, t-shirts, caps etc are a brilliant way to get the mesage out.

        We need some-one to sponsor TV ads exposing the awful truth behind the filter and the proposed spying on your emails.

      i'd by over 9000 ! :)

        i too support the sticker

    Awesome. Sounds like some real thought is going into this campaign. I'll support it and spread the word in any way I can.

    Preaching to the converted.. how effective..

    When I read the first part of the post I thought 'Fuck yeah, some organised collective action' then at the end - "But we’re going to give you the arguments, the evidence and the information you need to put pressure on both this government and future governments".

    Anyone reading Giz or any of the other countless Aussie tech sites are already well aware of the issue and the ignorance coming from the government relating to it. Many have already written their local members. We don't need to be 'informed' we need action.

    I'm sure we'll all learn a thing or two that we didn't already know, I just fail to see how this can make a difference.. maybe I'm just being overly negative.

      It's not about convincing Gizmodo readers. At least I hope it's not, as you're right that anyone who spends their time reading this site will probably already be against the filter.

      However, giving Gizmodo readers "talking points" that can be used when you're talking to family, friends & work colleagues CAN make a difference.

      I usually find that Australian's are (relatively) apathetic when it comes to policy, unless they understand HOW said policy impacts their lives.

      It's not the job of this website to convince people. That's OUR job, assuming we care enough to get of our arses and start talking to people. Remember; Your friends, family & workmates will listen to YOU more than they do to the news or politicians.

      Get out there and start making a difference, or shut the f*** up watch the world pass you by.

        Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself.

        I totally understand that its about giving us the tools to spread the word..

        As I said, we all might learn a thing or two reading posts from leading experts, but will it really be information that will be easily translated to non-tech minded friends and family?

        I already have a solid understanding of this issue along with the R18+ debate and ALREADY frequently discuss it with friends and family whenever the oportunity aries.. which is usually after Conroy is telling the masses that he can save us from the spam and scams coming through the portal on the radio or TV..

        I am quite adept at expressing my stance on this issue to whomever I may be talking to about it at the time, so thanks for making the suggesting that I should "shut the fuck up and watch the world pass me by".

        What I was getting at was, as other posters have suggested, is that a more agressive aproach is needed. An advertising campaing similar to what the mining companies pulled would be ideal. When I first saw the post I had hoped that is what was being proposed as I would have hoped that WE were already informed and discussing the issue with friends and family.

    nice of you to join us Giz

    Fantastic, bring it on where do I sign up to join the fight?

    Here here!

    Suggestion, the ISPs and major internet companies to sign an open letter to the government denoucing the filter.. and they pool their cash* and take out full page adverts in the major newspapers.

    OR... do what the mining industry did, take a spare $50 million (they all chip in some cash*) and get a whizzy TV advert made and broadcasted every second ad break on ABC, SBS, 7, 9 and 10.

    *Cash... obviously the cost of all these ISPs implementing the filter, the logging, the paperwork etc etc will be a *LOT* more than $50 million!! Sure the Gov *says* they'll pay for the work but they've never said when, how, etc.

    Im in. I like the fact i can sirf porn while downloading Family Guy. Where do i sign

    I want that on a t-shirt..

    Perhaps you guys should do some work in conjunction with GetUp!

    Also I agree with Tom there; make some bumper stickers if you need to get any funds rolling.

    Hell yeah, if Australia doesn't want to join other freedom of speech icons like North Korea, China or Iran there has to be action now! And btw, I want that sticker too! :)

    Quoting Simulcrum from another post:
    " Vote below the line and put Conroy LAST; after the election is announced and group voting tickets are published you will be able to download how to vote Conroy Last cards here:

    This is a great start to showing the Gov how many are strongly opposed to something that is going to potentially impact the speeds for every single Australian internet user. I'm all for the 'Netnanny' opt in solution, if parents want a false sense of security in that go ahead. just not a blanket filter, one size does not fit all.
    There are alot of dark corners of the internet where I think that this filter will be unable to prevent nor block. Eg P2P such as Limewire, Secured IRC channels where they distribute dodgy stuff and then there's Usenext and newsgroups to name a few.

      lol cheers mate! I've been flogging that link everywhere I can.

    It's a pretty simple argument really.

    Whilst a filter may protect innocent children from exposure to some of the more objectionable, even vile and disgusting content on the Internet (yes, it exists .... Online and probably even in your local public library), so will *adult supervision* and actually engaging with your kids' lives to help them grow up to be better people.

    On the other side of the argument, doesn't it make more sense to allow this sort of content to be accessed by the depraved individuals who engage in these illegal and immoral activities .... And monitor the traffic so that when they do, we can catch these individuals in the act and lock them up instead of driving them offline (read: into the physical world) where their actions can be so much more devastating to their victims and society in general ?

    Let the Internet be a funnel to catch these sick bastards, and not a misunderstood beast out to do wrong. The Internet doesn't provide or consume child pornography - People provide and consume child pornography. Catch the people and lock them up.

    For certain politicians who may find it difficult to understand the technology behind the "spams and scams coming through the portals" ... I present this short analogy that may help you...

    The Internet is like a collection of books.

    Centuries ago, the writing and printing processes ("publishing") were invented to help share ideas and information ("content") with other potentially like-minded individuals ("users").

    If you do not like what is written in a book, do not burn the books and ignore that they ever existed. Find out how you can help the reader to understand why the content is objectionable, and if it is absolutely illegal/immoral then catch the reader with the book in their hands and punish them.

    Mr Conroy, as my elected representative, I need you to be a little smarter and a lot more open-minded, and stop being a political animal. There are massive social and economical ramifications to your decisions. Please try a little harder to listen to the valid and logical arguments being presented by your community, and be a leader - not a politician out to make a name for yourself.

    If you make good choices on behalf of your community, we will continue to vote for you to represent our ideals and interests.

    If you make egocentric, poor choices and ignore your community's long-term interests, you will be looking for an alternate career before you know it.

      Whilst I am glad to read your rejection of the filter, I'd like to add some commentary.

      The suggestion that the filter will be in any way effective at protecting children from content that may be considered objectionable is rather spurious, and anyone thinking that this is going to happen probably needs to be better informed. This is one of the more serious problems with the pro-filter propaganda in my opinion, and will only do more harm than good, since the average person seems to think (based on manipulative, deliberately obtuse and misleading rhetoric from the government) that the filter will somehow protect their children on the Internet, however that is certainly not the purpose of the filter. Nor will it even be effective at blocking the content it's purportedly designed to restrict.

      The argument for allowing access to the content and then prosecuting is not really valid unfortunately, since they could still perform the same monitoring by logging attempted access that was blocked by the filter. The fact that they won't is another matter.

      The real issues are the total lack of efficacy of the proposed filter (for reasons too numerous to recount here), the lack of transparency in the blacklist, the inadequacies of the testing regime, and the false sense of security generated for parents. Taking these issues into account it becomes blindingly obvious that the filter may not only be potentially abused by future governments and impact the performance of the Internet for all Australians, but will fail utterly to deliver on it's stated goals due to a complete lack of understanding of the basic workings of the Internet. Hence the massively disproportionate sum of money allocated to the filter as opposed to additional policing or education will simply be wasted, rather than distributed to areas where it might actually do some good.

      To extend on your book analogy - the Internet is like a collection of books, where over 100,000 new books, and several /billion/ new pages are added every day, so trying to filter it with the government's proposed filtering strategy is like trying to herd cats. Not to mention that all it takes to render the filter useless is to do something like add today's date to the URL.

      I'll stop now before I start ranting on all the other obvious deficiencies of the proposed filter, but finish by saying that it's blindingly obvious that Stephen "spams, or scams, that come through the portal” Conroy obviously has absolutely no understanding of the technology under his portfolio and is simply acting on party policy to push the filter through at all costs, and for purely political reasons. Sadly, we see this all too often - how refreshing it would be to have politicians make decisions based on benefit to the populous rather than political posturing.

        Good read pdf.

        While Conroy, Gillard and just about every single proponent of the filter, loves to throw around the "child porn" reasons for filtering the internet, the biggest problem is that it isn't just child porn. They conveniently don't mention graffiti, euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, safe drug use, and (at the moment) computer games not classified MA15 and below etc.

        I'm against the filter... does that make me pro-graffiti? Doesn't have the same impact eh? :^)

        Filtering all R-rated material is dangerous. As we've already seen, they can put anything they like into this category.. small breasted women and female ejaculation were two not that long ago. How long before political dissent is conveniently R rated?

    Great start, now get the sensible arguments and information into the public domain through the mainstream media like The Age etc

    If you don't this won't be very effective because you're preaching to the converted here guys.

    Yeah, where exactly do we join up? I am struggling to find somewhere to add my name.

    We need action, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere to go, or any organisation to join. What can we do? How can we stop this?

    Somebody do something!

    What scares me is that this is going to go through simply because the misinformed public will blindly agree out of fear of being perceived as "pro child porn".

    Maybe you can go on sunrise agian and talk about this.

    Please look at the positive things of the filter (ie none of it)

    I will be glad to see these posts

    We need to get on television with adverts and marches in all capital cities.

    The protest needs to be marketed as "Net Choices" and bring back the theme of the Work Choices campaign that got Labor into power in the first place.

    We're running out of time and these lunatics must be stopped...(however not at the expense of voting Tony Abbot in and losing the brilliant NBN)

      Good to see someone else thinking like I do. It's all very well to oppose the filter and hopefully get the policy fixed, but there is no way in hell I'm voting Abbott in to achieve this. He'll not only cancel the NBN and computers for highschool kids, but will probably implement his own, slightly modified, filter because he's so far "right" he makes the pope look moderate.

    I am behind you 100%. lets really put the pressure on these fools

    Well done Giz.

    You're all your family's geek guy/girl, and they trust you on matters tech. Take these facts and educate everyone in your network about why they should vote against the blackwall.

    You can start learning here:

      +1 for you, Sir.

      I'd say there's a large percentage of folks here who are the "Family Nerd", Lord knows I am.

      Get out there and talk to people, Guys.

    yeah, inform us what voting options we have.. we don't need convincing that it's a bad idea.

    The information definitely needs to go way beyond Gizmodo, though this is a good place for the campaign to take shape. If you pose really compelling questions here major media outlets should take them up if we keep up the pressure.

    Is there a way to work with GetUp? They know how to get their messages out. [No, not Conroy in speedos, never.]

    Good onya Gizmodo!

    Thanks Gizmodo, I'll be eagerly awaiting these articles. I hope you can come up with some interesting ammo.

    This is a great step Nick, it certainly can't hurt the cause!! And don't forget the filter is only one part of the package now... there's also the Data Retention side of things, i.e. logging of all URLs and Emails for up to 10 years and linking them to your passport! Very scary stuff.

    What concerns me the most is the apathy of Australians. Being an ex-pom, I remember when Thatcher tried to introduce the Poll Tax, and the rioting that ensued, followed by the eventual backdown. I'm not saying that's the right course of action, but most Aussies are happy to do something, as long as it's from the comfort, safety and warmth of their keyboard.

    A previous comment mentioned marches... there HAVE been organised protests, and how many people showed up? No wonder Conroy pushes on.

    So while it's great to all 'virtually' rise up, it's simply not enough to defeat these policies.

      I don't know what you expect Nick, the majority here are pale nerds that won't even leave the computer for lunch, let alone a protest.

        lol. Exactly!! So they'll hardly be able to complain about it when it becomes law.

        "yeah man, I protested.. I sent out 14 tweets"


      Yeah man what happened to democracy and freedom... it's bad enough at work having the boss pull you up for an email he didn't like but to have the sh*t go into a government file like medical history is f'd up!

      I admire the efforts of Giz and the eagerness of the readers but man what word ever gets heard and taken serious now? The whole world stood up against going to war and nothing changed!

      What hope do nerds have against a government that is doing all this crap to pretty much have control and tabs on everyone.

        Great point about the war. A good example of governments with their own agendas, completely ignoring the people that voted them in.

        Obviously the only time we count is election time, and that's when they start either a) bribing us with payouts, or b) spreading the FUD. Once voted in, they change everything for their own ego & power trips... wasn't it Peter Garrett that made a comment about all the policies changing once they were voted in? He wasn't wrong eh!

        "What hope do nerds have against a government that is doing all this crap to pretty much have control and tabs on everyone."

        Nerds invented the Internet. Nerds invented the protocols and codecs that allow us to voice our opinions. And nerds invented DDoS attacks such as Operation Titstorm that hit Australian gov sites earlier this year.
        So, the answer to your question, "what hope do nerds have" is, PLENTY!!!

        RISE UP NERDS!!!

        Titstorm was a counterproductive joke. All it did was give the Government the moral high ground.

        Focus on winning the war, not on pointless lashing out.

    Just a though Nick, I wonder if it would help if you could set something up whereby those people who definitely won't vote Labour purely based on this policy could be recorded.

    There are lots of people who don't want the filter, but will vote based on other policies as well, and I think Labour are assuming that these other policies will force most people to forget the filter come voting time. Funny how the boat people suddenly becomes an issue on the run up to an election? Does anyone else smell the stench of John Howard's 'People Overboard'?? Oh hang on... maybe Conroy feels that if the internet and our privacy is so screwed, people won't want to come to Australia!! :^)

    Anyway, there are an awful lot of people on Twitter who have commented they will vote on this policy alone, myself included, and if Labour knew how many votes this really represented, then maybe they'd be a little more concerned. Get Up had a great petition for people against the filter... but how many of those signatures represent a vote? If there was a petition that said 100,000+ people will NOT vote Labour because of this policy alone, do you think Gillard would listen?

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