Schlepping water in a flyscreen bucket
Tuesday January 01st 2008, 5:55 am

shhhh... genius at work

Dear Senator Conroy– I’d like to offer you the very same advice I gave your predecessor

From the ‘not clear on the concept’ department- it’s Helen Coonan

Senator Coonan is obviously clueless about the intarwebs.

One teck-nee-cal term Coonan needs to become familiar with in a great big hurry is ‘proxy server.’ Anywhere there is a computer connected to the web, there can be a proxy server relaying traffic- and proxies can be set up literally on a moment’s notice.


Absent one being able to set up a proxy (or use one of the squillions already online belonging to someone else), there’s always ‘onion routing,’ which relies on several relay paths to connect a browser to a server. Tor is an onion router which bounces packets through a random matrix of Tor servers so the web browser isn’t connecting directly to the target website, rather through several ‘layers of the onion.’ Tor is a small application which runs on the browsing PC, available for free download. Coonan better get busy banning all those Tor servers- there’s thousands.

The only way Coonan will be able to effectively block Australians from browsing non-Australian sites she doesn’t like is to cut the trans-Pacific cables as they head out to sea- and shoot down all the direct-to-user satellites.

They’re not making them any smarter down in Canberra, are they?

And they’re STILL no smarter, a change of government later.

Tweens, teenagers and paedophiles alike will be around Conroy’s filters, quite literally before you can say “candy, little girl?”

Bad parents try to save kids from drowning by banning water- good parents teach them how to swim.


3 Comments so far
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“Bad parents try to save kids from drowning by banning water- good parents teach them how to swim.”

I came up with precisely this analogy while fuming in the shower this morning! Here’s how I put it:

What do we do when kids can’t swim? Do we put childproof fences around every lake, river and beach? Do we spend a ridiculous amount of money trying to prevent our children from getting near water? No – we teach them to swim. That’s because learning how to swim can get you out of danger even if all other preventative measures fail.

I’m pretty mad about this plan. I can’t decide whether Conroy is ignorant, or if he’s just trying to get Stephen Fielding onside for some votes down the track.

Practically nobody in the field – outside of filtering solutions providers – believes that filtering will protect children from pornography. I’m really digging my teeth into this one.

Comment by Flashman 01.01.08 @ 2:20 pm

Flash, I’m not so much angry about this one as I am amused. Conroy’s plan, if it, as he claims, is NOT organised along the ‘Great Firewall of China’ lines, won’t stop anyone from accessing anything they want.

It’s indeed no more than some manner of political ploy- it will accomplish large amounts of nothing in a functional sense. Anyone who wants to access prohibited materials will still be able to do so unless the govt executes some draconian or privacy invading ‘Echelon’ sort of broad datamining.

Kids have to live on earth. It’s a dangerous place. We either raise them to know this and cope or we leave them, without parental/governmental omnipresence, defenceless. The swimming analogy is convenient but apt.

Comment by weez 01.01.08 @ 4:11 pm

Peter John Chen writes an op-ed for The Age:

Who’s afraid of the net?

IT’S AN idea that just won’t die: if the government makes your internet provider run special software, all the bad things (and people) of cyberspace won’t bother you.


…the idea of an invisible “safety net” that covers all Australians is troubling because it will arrest our natural development as internet users. What will putting an invisible set of training wheels on everyone’s bicycle mean for our understanding of the risks and nature of our online world? The policy is reminiscent of Douglas Adams’ anti-panic glasses, which turned black when confronted with something that might scare you.

Comment by weez 01.03.08 @ 6:26 am

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