Aussie censorship filters are a joke

After huge protests, a backdown from the government and shedloads of wasted cash, Australia’s voluntary “rabbit proof fence” of censorship protection was rolled out today.

In a move claimed to “protect children” the Australian government initially wanted a filter which would sit on every ISP’s computer. It would filter out access to every website that the Australian government felt that people should not see.

After an outcry, it was decided to make the scheme voluntary with only the country’s main ISPs signing up to it.

According to Delimiter, the country’s second-largest telco Optus has admitted that users would be able to defeat it by changing the DNS settings on their PC.

Optus said that using a different DNS server than the default was “a feature” of the Interpol list.

Telstra was less willing to comment than Optus, saying it would be pretty dumb to tell the world how to bypass the filter.  Although, we guess, it is not proving that difficult for the world to find out.

Electronic Frontiers Association spokesperson and board member Stephen Collins said he had to wonder why Optus would even bother with the filtering system.

It seems that nobody will be protected from criminals by this. Punters who think their kids are safe from paedophiles thanks to the filter will not be. Meanwhile those who feel that it is wrong to have their internet connection slowed by filtering for sites they don’t visit will be furious.

In short, it was a complete waste of time.