Australian Internet Filter: What Can I Do?

What is it?

The Australian Federal Government is introducing a mandatory ISP-level filtering of all Refused Classification (RC) rated content. This means all websites (or part-thereof) which have been refused classification under Australia’s classification laws will be blacklisted.

See the Electronic Frontiers Open Internet website for more information.

What can I do?

The simplest thing you can do is sign the EFA’s online petition.

Additionally you can contact your local member of parliament or contact Senator Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Take Action!

iiNet Vs AFACT: The Verdict

As a lot of people are probably already aware iiNet was taken to court by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) for allegedly allowing its customers to illegally download copyrighted material (e.g. movies, music, etc).

This morning Justice Cowdroy has ruled in favour of iiNet stating that “I find that iiNet simply can’t be seen as approving infringement”. His verdict was that the “copyright (infringement) occured as result of use of BitTorrent, not the Internet” and that “iiNet has no control over (the) Bittorrent system and (is) not responsible for (the) Bittorrent system.”

Common sense and Australia’s Internet Freedom prevails, for now (see mandatory Australia Internet Censoring).

It Was Only A Matter Of Time

Internet filtering plan may extend to peer-to-peer traffic, says Stephen Conroy.

THE Federal Government’s controversial internet censorship scheme may extend to filter more online traffic than was first thought, Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy revealed today.

In a post on his department’s blog, Senator Conroy today said technology that could filter data sent directly between computers would be tested as part of the upcoming live filtering trial.

Update 24/12/08Internet filter ‘technically impossible’… lets hope so :-)

Windows Safari

Apple have just recently released Safari 3 beta and with this release they have included an XP and Vista version, for the previously Mac only browser. Steve Jobs announced the release of Safari 3 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (see video here) and showcased some of its features and benefits. Aside from the claims of being “the best browser ever”, Jobs also claims that Safari is 2x faster than IE7 and 1.6x faster than FireFox 2.

Personally I’m not a fan the Mac look and feel, especially that big grey toolbar, however there are a few features which are useful, if not at least intriguing. For example, while tabbed browser, you can drag a tab off the tab toolbar and a new window will be opened with that tabs contents displayed. Another useful feature is the ability to resize text areas, without the need for this to be implemented by the website (of course this is available in FireFox through the use of a Resizeable Form Fields extension by Justin Watt).

Aside the aforementioned features of Safari, it does appear to render HTML quicker than IE7 and FireFox. However, there are a few bugs or unimplemented features which should be included. One notable downfall is the lack of support for the scroll wheel click feature (I’m not sure if this is lack of support for my Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 or if it’s not included at all), which is presumably a direct side effect of the mac mouse having a 360 scroll ball instead of a wheel. Another downfall I noted was that the tab toolbar does not always close once you close all of the tabs (excluding one), but granted it is only a beta I’m sure that bug will be fixed before the final release.

All-in-all I think Safari is just another standard browser really, and I’ll be sticking to FireFox for now. However, if you would like to try out the new Safari you can head to http://www.apple.com/safari/ and download your free beta copy. Or alternatively you can download the real “best browser” from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/. :-p

Update June 13th: Apparently there have already been several vulnerabilities found in Safari.