Australian ‘Net Filtering: Lyle Shelton is a Clueless Idiot

Posted: April 1, 2009 in Australia, News, Religion, Reviews, Technology
Tags: , , , , , , ,

His morals start on your PC.

His morals start on your PC.

As I’ve previously touched on, the Australian Federal Government is currently going through the motions of trying to introduce mandatory internet filtering.  Despite various bodies who know better than the Minister for Communications Steven Conroy (such as system administrators, ISPs, tech savvy users, etc) saying that it is a pointless exercise that won’t actually do anything … well, Conroy and the Christian Lobby seem dead keen on getting it implemented anyhow.

SBS, a multicultural based television network in Australia, has a weekly show called Insight which is generally a good program to look at various current issues.  Last night they had a program on the subject, followed by a live chat with certain interested parties on their website.  That chat demonstrated two things:  First, the Insight chat software is really bad with posted comments not appearing or being delayed by many minutes.   Second, that Lyle Shelton of the Australia Christian Lobby really is a clueless idiot.

I was present for that live chat, though I merely watched more than actively participated due to the shoddiness of the chat system, but I spent near the entirety of it facepalming from the sheer ignorance and stupidity that was coming from Lyle Shelton.  The examples of his particular brand of stupidity are too many to post here so here is just a quick selection and reasons why he is wrong:

[To Mark of Internode] For a guy who’s into technology it’s amazing that Mark has no confidence in technology’s ability to protect kids.

Mark actually knows what he is talking about, oddly enough.  Lyle also fails to see where his logic and reasoning fall down completely.  In short; as quick as technology might improve to ‘protect kids’ then the means to circumvent said protections, shut down said protections or view blocked material is even greater.  The history of the Internet proves this quite readily; look at the different means that have been used to (for example) distribute illegally downloaded music.  Copyright lawyers and the law itself is always scrambling to play catchup and whenever they actually make any headway, the technology used changes completely; the change from WWW distribution of MP3s to P2P/Newsgroup distribution is a good example of this.   In a lot of ways, the Copyright lawsuits have actually made MP3 distribution easier and more convenient because a better system had to be devised.

technologys always advancing. In time there will be ways to get peer to peer.

This is related closely to the above point so the reply will be brief; The instant P2P is cracked in such a way, P2P will die and something else will take it’s place.  A system, as history has shown, will be better, more secure and make transfer of material faster and more convenient.

It’s our job to stay ahead of the crims. To say we can’t use technology to protect kids is to admit failure.

Of course you can use technology to help protect kids from criminal behaviour but you have to actually use it in a directed and intelligent manner that will actually bring some sort of benefit and does not inconvenience the rest of the law abiding society.  Instead of a filter that will do nothing but slow things down, give the extra money to law enforcement agencies and chase those doing the wrong thing even harder with more resources instead of wasting everyone’s time and money.

Someone needs to think of the victims of rape porn, child porn etc

“Someone think of the children! Oh god, why won’t someone think of the children?!?” – Maud Flanders, The Simpsons.

The vast, vast majority of Australian citizens are extremely decent folk and want to protect children.  However, those who know how technology actually works recognises that the filter proposal will bring absolutely no benefit to said children at all.

let’s give the trial a go before we decide it won’t work.

By that logic, I should try every idiotic idea that pops into my head to make sure it won’t work.  Shoving a banana up my nose for better vitamin intake, painting my car red or  wearing a tinfoil hat to keep the spying signals out.

No one said it would. This is not a magic bullet but it’s a good start.

How could it be defined as a ‘good start’? It will do nothing at all to even inconvenience distribution of horrid material such as CP, as anyone who knows anything about the internet can attest.

Blocking their access to this material is a good start.

If the proposed scheme would actually do that then Lyle might have a point.  However, the options for bypassing any currently available filter are numbered in the dozens ranging from using Google caches to Virtual Private Networks.

One page of the dentisist’s site was attacked and therefore temporarily blacklisted until it was cleaned. Your capacity for red herrrings is amazing. It undermines your credibility.

And that is meant to be some sort of justification? The owner of said website was not informed a part of his site was blacklisted so he had absolutely no avenue of appeal.  It also is an example of the proposed system not working in a pretty fundamental manner.

Bible and church sites won’t be banned.

Lyle can obviously see the future now.  But let’s assume he’s right for a minute and extend his reasoning to it’s logical conclusion; I could get up a church based on the idea that I should commit horrible acts of degradation upon others and have images of those acts on my church’s website.  According to Lyle’s argument, that site would never be blacklisted.

Or it could be, as I am forced to assume, Christian Bible and church sites won’t be banned.  But even that is full of hypocrisy and problems since the Bible … shock, horror … is chock full of depictions of rape, slavery and incest amongst many other horrible acts.

Parents must take responsibility and blocking filth will not replace this but will assist.

It will do nothing to assist since it will not actually block anything as previously explained.  It will actually disadvantage families in at least two ways:

  1. It will slow down their internet access to everything, illegal or not.
  2. It will give said families a completely false sense of security, which is really not a good thing at all.

Mark, are you suggesting that if someone’s site is incorrectly blocked there is no redress?

Of course there is no redress since when a site is blacklisted, the site owner is never actually informed.  The ACMA also has a horrible track record of handling such matters and response time in general.

the Bible does not condone slavery or subjugation of women.

I guess all those passages where God commands his chosen people to take conquered people as slaves and people he’s blessed throw his daughters out to be pack raped to death were some sort of misprint then.  Silly me.  You know, for someone who is part of a Christian lobby group … well, Lyle certainly seems to know little about his own holy text.

I suppose it goes hand in hand with his near complete ignorance of technology.

there is alo every cahnce ACMA misclassified the image in which case we could take up our case with the Govt.

And government response time and attitude is good now?  Just like the ACMA, Governmental track records for handling such things is pathetic and does not look like it will be improving any time in the foreseeable future.

Of course there is also the fundamental problem that when something is blacklisted, the owner of that material is not informed.  Nor could a member of the general public complain since they would not be able to see the image to judge if it is actually good or not to begin with.

experts tell me peer to peer  will most likley be  crackable. Be careful about never ever

Chances are that one day P2P traffic will be able to be intercepted and decipherable in some manner.  Of course, as I have already mentioned, P2P will then cease to be used much and another system will then take its place.  Internet history has shown this to be true time and again.

The govt has come up with something to help kids. All we get is negativity instead of cooperation

The point is that it will not help kids in any actual way, it will only cause problems as outlined already.  What proponents of the scheme have received is qualified opinion on said scheme; namely that it is a waste of time and money that will achieve precisely nothing.

filtering is working in the UK. Stop saying it doesn’t work. give the trail a go. What do you fear?

Mark Newton, of Internode, replied to this in the chat by saying:

“Cambridge academic Richard Clayton also successfully demonstrated a reverse engineering attack on the UK system.   Is that “working”?)”

There are also fundamental differences between the proposed Australian system and the existing UK system.  The most important, of course, being that the UK system is entirely opt-in.  Once again, Lyle Shelton displays his fundamental ignorance of the situation.

One thing that the proponents of the scheme did raise is that Parents should have options to try to protect their children.  Sure, that is admirable.  But it is also a stance that has been proven to be wrong.

The options also already exist and are available today.  Webshield, for example, is an ISP that provides a filtered feed – yet their subscription take up rate is still incredibly small.  If Parents wanted such an option you would think they would be signing up in the dozens.   Likewise up until last year the Government was offering a free home based filter which is fine but the take up rate for that filter was abysmal.

So two cases where options were and are available but were not taken up. I guess Parents are not so keen on the idea when it comes to actually doing something themselves.  It certainly makes the proponents case look like an utter joke.

  1. He’s such a twit. Deutoronomy and many other books of the Bible contain instructions in crime and incite violence.

    I would never expose my children to graphic descriptions of people stoning their children to death in the name of a God.

  2. ozatheist says:

    Bit late coming to read this, when I realized the date you posted it I thought it was an April Fools joke. Lyle and his ilk are uninformed scare mongers.

  3. […] topic/debate is VERY-linked into the IDIOT filter systems, that various governments continue to impose on […]

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