Some of you might know that I'm very outspoken when it comes to the idea of Censorship.
Personally, I feel that censorship is a violation of my personal right to express myself.
So what is going on in Australia? Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (wow that's a mouthful...) Stephen Conroy is heading up the governments plans to filter any and all internet content it does not deem appropriate for its citizens.
Examples of this include the reluctance to allow AU's version of the ESRB to have a mature rating (Forcing game developers to either compromise their creative integrity and freedom of expression to change the game so it fits a lower rating, or not release the game at all), its banning of specific types of pornography (adult women with small breasts citing its too similar to children, female orgasm, Animated/Drawn porn including Hentai, ect), and recently, it filtered out portions of of the South Asia internet infrastructure citing it being a large source of illegal pirated material and Child Pornography, but in so doing, it filters out websites like popular (In the AU) Independent journalist blogs that criticize the Australian government. Roughly 2/3rds of the content blocked has nothing to do with what the filter was intended to do.
So what does Anonymous do? They launch "Operation Titstorm".
Saying that it does not support the AU governments actions, and citing that the changes to AU's porn laws was the last straw (you don't mess with Anonymous' porn ), it launched a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against the Australian Parliamentary websites, as well as websites related to Stephen Conroy's department.
This is nothing short of a technological feat, and is quite massive in scale. What a DDoS attack does it uses a group of computers to send massive amounts of junk data to a web server, overloading it and denying legitimate users trying to access it. Animeonline has been a victim of this type of attack recently.
In this instance, hundreds, if not thousands of computers bombarded the websites with upwards to 7.5 million requests per seconds, and considering that the websites on average only receive a couple hundred requests a second, its no wonder the website came down.
Anonymous eventually changed the name of their mission to Operation Freeweb after it was bashed by many on the blogosphere as a detrimental to the cause, they are moving on to a second step, and plan on staging live protests outside the Australian Parlament, government offices around the country, and Australian Embassies and Consulates overseas on February 20th.
And don't doubt Anon's ability to pull something like this off, their repeated world wide simultaneous protests of The Church of Scientology should stand testament to their capabilities.
So, here's where I stand:
I do not support Censorship what so ever*. I think it is a violation of my right to freedom of expression and access to information or media of any kind.
* I do, how ever, concede the fact that Censorship does have its merits, like the censorship and banning of child pornography for example.
I, not the government or any other organization or company, decide what is and is not appropriate for myself and my family.
I view Australia's actions as fascist in nature, and similar to the actions of Germany's Propaganda Ministry during WWII.
I did not cite any references to anything in this post, but the information is readily available through the use of Google. Search strings like "Stephen Conroy Internet Censorship" and "Operation Freeweb" are good starting points, and make use of googles search news function.
What are your opinions on the situation in Australia?
What are your opinions on Censorship in general?
I am especially interested in what people who actually effected by this think, I know we have some Australian Members here in AO, so speak up, I want to hear from you, since this Directly effects you.
I found this organizaiton called Open Internet, based in Sweden. Open Internet
The last paragraph on their page fits this topic very well, so I'm adding it for additional reading.
Also including Anonymous' official press releases, avaliable on Operation Titstorm EncyclopediaDramatica entry (say what you will about the site as a whole, but this is serious business.) I will not link to the page in general since its not safe for work. At all.
The Internet is something that most of us have gradually become accustomed to during the last ten to fifteen years, but it is changing in a fundamental way. What started as a tool for universities to exchange information has transformed into a global meeting place. The world's largest marketplace, which drives the development of new products, services and business methods. The world's largest social forum, where billions of people exchange thoughts and ideas, argue, discuss, fall in love, apply for jobs and live a large part of their lives. Perhaps the most important invention hitherto in the history of humankind.
But, as so often happens, conflicts arise between the new and the old. Freedom is being curtailed the world over, as is the openness of the Internet. Voices often rise about the censorship in some faraway dictatorship, while the mainstream is frighteningly quiet regarding the fact that many democratic countries are in the process of building the exact same sort of control mechanisms. Not only to monitor their citizens on the net, whatever they are doing, whether they commit criminal acts or not, but also to block the access to arbitrarily defined "unsuitable" material. For instance, Australia has a filter with the outspoken goal to block access to child pornography, and few people would object to that. However, two-thirds or so of the blocked websites have nothing to do with child pornography at all.
The struggle for whether state organizations and mega-corporations should be able to monitor and decide about your private business is ongoing the world over, seldom given as much attention as it should have. Our freedom is nothing to take for granted. Laws are made in bulk in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and Sweden, to limit the personal integrity of the citizens. And don't trust that you will avoid registration just because you stay within the boundaries of the law. Information collected about you might be stored, analyzed, sold and used against you in five, fifteen or fifty years. Did you vote for the wrong party? Did you read the wrong book? Did you have the wrong friends? It's hard to foresee the future consequences of what happens on the net right now.
Press Release for Feb 8th 2010
click to show spoiler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Greetings Australian Government Officials, Members of Local and International Press, and the General Public. We are Anonymous.
Austrailia - 2/8/2010 - Over the past several years, we have maintained a close watch on the actions of the Australian Government
with particular focus on its stance towards internet censorship.
Australia's laws on internet censorship are already among the most restrictive in the western world. Their government filters
more internet content than any other Parliamentary Democracy. For some elements within the Government, including Telecommunications
Minister Senator Stephen Conroy, this still is not enough. Late in January of 2009 he proposed legislature that would lead to
mandatory ISP filtering for all of Australia. The stated goal is to prevent Australia from viewing "illegal and unwanted content"
on the internet.
Anonymous' concern with this legislature is twofold.
First, the ambiguity of the term "unwanted content" is completely unacceptable. No government should have the right to refuse
its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be "unwanted." Indeed, the only possible interpretation
of "unwanted content" is content that the government itself does not want to be seen.
More importantly, Anonymous does not approve of the steps already undertaken by the Australian Government to control what their
populous sees. Claiming to be cracking down on "simulated child pornography," many depictions of women with small breasts in
pornography have been banned. Officials cannot claim that they believe the models in these movies are in fact underage, as the
production the titles that have been affected are heavily regulated to ensure the age of the models. Instead they are relying on
earlier ambiguous wording that allows pornography featuring models that "appear to be" under 18 years of age to be treated in the
same manner as actual child pornography.
The repercussions of this censorship of a natural body type on the psyche of Australian women cannot be understated, but this
is not Anonymous' concern. The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn. No one messes with our
access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget
Press Release for Feb 12th 2010
click to show spoiler
Dear Kevin Rudd, members of the government and media,
We know you have noticed our recent actions against the mandatory ISP filtering scheme. We know it has been published in
several news outlets across the globe. This is our stand. We will not sit back as the government takes away our freedom to access
otherwise perfectly legal pornography and other websites which are not illegal by any other law and which do not pose a threat to
Australia on an economical, moral or security level.
We would like to make it clear that we do not want to be associated with the "terrorist" stigma. We are simply demonstrating a
protest on the exact medium of which the Australian Government are trying to filter. Why? We, as Anonymous, the collective legion of
internet users who fight for great justice and lulz, are the ones who will be affected most by this ridiculous law. This is not a
terrorist movement. This is not a matter of National Security. This is a way of protesting in which we feel we are getting the media
and public attention needed to further our actions. No one is getting physically hurt. No one is being denied necessities. Nothing
is being targeted that would cause harm to a regular citizen of .au.
Yes, our methods are somewhat illegal, but sometimes these actions must be taken to ensure our message is displayed, especially in
The statistics in for and against the Mandatory ISP filtering and being displayed in a poor manner. Let anonymous assure you, there
are more every-day internet users against the filter than there are for it. Anonymous from around the globe as a collective, is not
just fighting for Australia, but to prevent the global denial of free speech and access to otherwise public material, which is a
real possibility. These filters aren't the first step against Australia's freedom, and it is nowhere near the last. We must stop it
before it spreads, before its too late, and Freedom is gone, not just for Australia, no but for the whole world.
Furthermore we are against the criminalization of things that are not, and should not be, by any means illegal. We would also like
to let it be known that we are not fighting for the legalization of things that have been illegal in the past. Child porn is
understandably illegal, it is unfortunate that there is the illegal trade industry for this sort of content. Anonymous accepts and
welcomes the restrictions of this law. However, criminalizing the pornography of small-breasted women (18+) is completely absurd,
considering there is a huge market and industry for such material. The idea that having taste for a woman with a small figure and
small breasts can be found as close to pedophilia is both discriminatory and synonymous to insanity.
We are Anonymous, a collective of the internet. If there is any foreseeable threat to our organization, it is internet censorship.
Therefore, we take your actions very seriously.
We shall proceed to do everything in our power to annihilate your government's presence on the internet.
TL;DR: THE COUNTRY IS BECOMING A COMMIE DICTATORSHIP AND WE WONT STAND FOR IT
You have nowhere to hide, because we are everywhere.
We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Second Press Release for Feb 12th 2010
click to show spoiler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE This is an official press release from the group of anonymous.
Near the end of February, Anonymous will be protesting all over Australia in all main cities, towns, what have you. This protest is aimed against the Australian government's ban on certain pornographic industries. We will not stand for this act. We will send you more information when the time comes. Soon, posters will present themselves all over the nation with information on the event. We are prepared to battle Australia will all the power we have. Our allies are stronger than you can imagine. We will bring down your websites. We will break you down. Your filter will be destroyed whether you like it or not. There is nothing you can do about it. Be prepared for defeat, as you will lose and we will win. Help the cause, visit *link removed NSFW* Simply join the IRC. Bring your cannons. Bring your friends. Join the party.
We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.