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Australian ISPs under pressure to use filters, cut off alleged pirates

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 02 Sep 2007 5:43 User comments (12)

Australian ISPs under pressure to use filters, cut off alleged pirates Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia are under pressure recently by both the music industry and the government to filter/block illegal downloads and pornography. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) presented a plan in which ISPs in the country would cut off "repeat offenders", but the Internet providers have some major concerns about it.
While the ISPs say that they respect content providers and condemn piracy (as an illegal use of their networks), they don't want to become an enforcement agency for content providers. The IIA sent a letter to the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA), its Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) arm and AFACT highlighting several problems with the proposal.

The ISPs believe that the Australian court system is adequate for the enforcement needs of copyright owners. Also, they are not in a position to judge when provided with an IP address from an organization like AFACT whether the subscriber is guilty of infringement or not. The IIA believes that a court must make a finding of infringement before a subscriber could be labeled as a repeat offender.

"The distinction between an infringer and an alleged infringer has been raised as an important legal standard which ought not be undermined by us," argues the letter. AFACT does not see it that way of course. "It's a very simple, reasonable, cost effective, practical thing for them to do," AFACT executive director Adrianne Pecotic told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Pecotic also said that the ISPs would be justified in disconnecting the subscribers that are flagged by AFACT as their terms of service and agreements forbid the use of their networks for illegal activities. Along with the pressure from the music industry, the ISPs are also getting heat from the government over pornography.

Earlier this month, ISPs were forced to hand out filtering software to subscribers so that impressionable eyes do not see such content. However, the IIA issued a press release saying that filters are no substitute for parental involvement and supervision of a child's use of the Internet. The IIA's stance received backing when 16 year old Tom Wood beat the filter in about 30 minutes, making it appear it was still operating properly.

After news of Wood's curcumvention of the measures, politicians decided that ISPs should also have to filter on their servers. "You need both," Sen. Steve Fielding told the Herald Sun. "You need it as the ISP and the PC level." The ISPs did not agree and do not want to take part in such a system, even if it is only provided to subscribers who ask for it.

"The IIA is disappointed that there remain calls by some political parties for mandatory internet level filtering—particularly in the lead up to the election where the policy environment is heated," the group said in a statement. However, not all politicians believe in the almighty filter system either. "Unfortunately, no single measure can protect children from online harm," Communications Minister Helen Coonan told the Herald Sun. "Traditional parenting skills have never been more important."

Ars Technica

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12 user comments

12.9.2007 6:19

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia are under pressure recently by both the music industry and the government to filter/block illegal downloads and pornography.

Seriously though if any ISP took part in this they would lose a large majority of their customers to ISP's who didnt filter/block "content."

22.9.2007 8:55

We've already seen the problems that this would result in. Their are already MANY examples of 'content owners' giving take down notices on items that are actually fair use. The latest and most egregious is the current VH1 BS with the guy running for the local schoolboard.

VH1 used his election commercial (read: IP) without his approval, or even asking him, on a VH1 show about stupid commercials and whatnot and then sent a take down notice when the same guy showed the content they displayed (his own!) on you tube.

Under this proposed scenario people could be losing their internet connection based upon improper notices leaving the small guy to battle them not only for fair use but even to connect to the web.

The govt of Oz better squash this or else many Aussie citizens (and then other country's citizens as well since this would become the model sought after by the industry in other places based upon an established precedent in australia) could wake up one day, try to go online and find out that they are not in Kansas anymore...

Where's Toto? The media maffia just (expletive) him up the (unspecified orifice).

32.9.2007 9:47

This is history in the making. One of the best or worst decisions of our time could result from something like this.

42.9.2007 12:11

They shouldn't have to be forced to do that. It's not their place to say whether someone should be banned from the internet. Also, there should be parental involvement with children under a certain age. Nowadays, kids are getting really smart with computers and are capable of quite a bit.

52.9.2007 13:00

They keep throwing these bad apples everywhere at every country, every website that "seems" to be breaking the law. Once the majority of the world thinks these bad apples aren't so bad and begin to plant them its going to take forever to fix it... if thats even possible. You know how much it takes to get a tree out of the ground?

They're basically using the age old strategy... keep saying the lies until people start believing them as true.

And since when is pornography in the domain to be banned completely? Fk no, Aussies have their rights to adult content! Am I right or what? Child pornography is obviously different...

62.9.2007 13:06

And I forgot to say its really part of the overall plan.

See the internet is the last free place we can literally do anything and get all informations nearly instantly and without news casts filtering out details or other organizations interfering with what the public can see. The governments can see this, and they want to finally attack the internet and control it. Once they do that I don't think theres anything left for us to be completely free. We'll have to look to the stars I guess.

They won't back off either, they will tell you, give up a little more liberties here for us to regulate and we will be able to stop "global terrorism" before it can start and make the world finally a peaceful place. Its A LIE!! We only lose both, more of our own securities and more freedoms...

72.9.2007 16:35

President Bush is visiting Australia courtesy of USA corporations to tell Australia to tighten up their internet freedom. After all, terrorists use the internet don't they!

83.9.2007 10:21

what a stupid, politically ignarant atempt to bash Bush. But hay freedom of speech.
The problem that I have with this whole thing is that this impeds on peoples rights. But, let me play Devil's Advocate for a minette. If when these isp custumers signed into their contracts with the isps it stated that they would not do any file sharing, or porn, then there is an issue. As bad as it may sound it is true. But I seriously doubt that there is such a statement.
These groups have no right to try to restrict users on what people can see or do with their internet.
Anouther problem with the whole internet thing is that there is no governing body, and everybody whats to try to be that governing body.
We will never be able to stop the terrorists, racists, gangs, right wing politians from using the internet to further their ideas or thoughts, why......... freedom of speech. Terrorists from what I know mostly use chat rooms in VERY cryiptic messages, so stopping them is very difficult. Different subject in my eyes. Porn is a different entity though.
Lets say they do ban porn because its offensful to a select few, well some find racist websites offensefull, well, their next. So far no big deal right.
Ok but wait it gets more interesting.
Some countries its illegal to say anything wrong about the president or the goverment. I think that would be communist countries. Don't quate me though. Well, now in that country you have to ban those websites, because it's offensfull to the government. As much as the east hates the west could the middle east countries ban people from viewing west orinagated websites?
Ok so lets recap so far we've banned File Shareing, Porn, Racist, political, and west web sites.
But wait....
What about devil worshippers?? Lets get them gone too... Because the general public find them offensfull.
Ok so as the government sees it they are appesing the masses. Taking away our right to make the masses happy.
It is those websites right to post those things up there, wether they be morally wrong or not. (Who has governing morals by the way?)
It is called freedom of speech. Like it or not. You take that away or restict them then you must also take away the speech of others.....who you may ask. Christians..... Now I'm about to stike a nerve with some of you.
Their are people that believe porn is ok, people that worship satan, worship earth and nature, worship allah, Christians I'm sure would like to see all these things removed from the internet and let only their, Christian beliefs be seen and heard. There is no right or wrong in religen, you ban 1 you ban them all.
You restrict one idea or opinon you ban them all.
Porn is a freedom, if people wanna make nucky and let me watch hay cool. Who has the right to tell me I cant't watch. Nobody.
Ok I beter stop before a mod says I talk to much. I'll come back later cause I'm sure I wrote some stuff wrong and it did't come out right. Oh and for those of you that want to pick abart my spelling...... Go eat a fat one. And those that wanna bash me as a person stick to the topic cause nobody is perfect.
And I have the RIGHT to post this stuff, and you have the right to post yours to.
We allow these groups to restrict our rights now, allthough it's only porn and file sharing now, who knows what years from now.
Wow maybe I'm just an angry person.
Just my thoughts

93.9.2007 10:22

wow that is long sorry to those that read it

109.9.2007 5:40

Just say "NO". If you give into this you will become their "policing ponds". You will become the responsible person/isp they will put in charge to do all their dirty work. If you allow this, get ready it's only the begining. Next you will be in charge of policing anything to do with ones internet connection. It will all be "your problem", it will all lay at 'your doorstep".

1110.9.2007 6:22

The isp's need to help authorities to get the idiots that do the wrong things for young under age kids.

123.9.2009 19:32

Have I just woken up into an Orwellian nightmare. The Ministry of Truth guided by the Ministry for Stupid Decisions (of which all Australian MP are honoree members) wants to control what we can and cannot view and download on the Internet. There is one thing I just don’t get. We are able to buy all the necessary hardware and software in order to undertake such tasks, but not allowed to use them. I just purchased a HDD / DVD TV recorder. So in theory I am not permitted to copy a movie off the TV, put it onto disk and then onto my shelf. Therefore it was a waste of money. Hey, lets have a buy back scheme!!
With Australias pathetic network speed, only the most dedicated users would attempt to download a move on the Internet. Personally, A good movie, of which there are so, few deserve to be watched in all their Bu Ray glory. As for porn, well adults can judge for themselves what they watch as long as stays within the boundaries.
Everyday we see Governments trying to erode our personal liberties, either by some piece of stupid legislation or by mis-information. Hey, lets ignore the fact a huge percentage of our children are abused, but the Govt can’t appear to control it. So forget the filter, get off your lazy backsides and tackle the real problems. But maybe it is too much to expect from a bunch of anal ex lawyers who just couldn’t cut it in private enterprise.
The Internet is too big, too many people have the smarts, trying to control it now…..well its too late. A brain beats a piece of paper or software any day.

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