CleenFeed: ACMA Blacklist and Wikileaks

March 24, 2009 by Aaron

CleenFeed: ACMA Blacklist and Wikileaks

ACMA's secret list of banned web pages has reportedly been leaked to although it appears the method to derive this list is not as sinister as the mainstream media has made out.  The original leaked list appeared to be 2 years old, full of dead urls and with a couple of new URLs tacked on for good measure.  The second list published on the 20th of March has been explained in a bit more detail by Wikileaks. This Crikey quote explains the Blacklist comes from a group of:

Family Friendly Filters and one of those provided free to (a few) Australian families by the Howard government's now defunct NetAlert scheme. Provided you're reasonably tech-savvy, you can extract a list of URLs with the rather unambiguous name "Websites_ACMA.txt". Depending on which version of the software you download, you get the August 2008 list as published, or something similar containing more recent material.

This method has been proven and also fixed at the Source.

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy calls the published Wikileaks list of urls as Grossly irresponsible. He is right in this regard as most of the list of URL's is generally the lowest form of human filth you can imagine, though the Blacklisting of generic 'unwanted material' is a case of going too far.  In an interesting turn of Events, iiNet has quit Conroy's filter trial.

Malone stated that the recent media storm around the leaked blacklist of URLs similar to the ACMA blacklist was part of the reason iiNet had decided to withdraw, along with the policy which was always changing and "confused" explanations of the trial's purpose.

"It became increasingly clear that the trial was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the government simply describes as 'unwanted material' without an explanation of what that includes," Malone said in a statement.

Wikileaks to Conroy: Go after our source and we will go after you

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
Thu Mar 19 23:07:20 EDT 2009

"Wikileaks to Conroy: Go after our source and we will go after you."

The Stockholm based publisher of Wikileaks today issued a warning to the Australian Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Steven Conroy, who is responsible for Australian internet censorship.

Senator Conroy issued an official media release yesterday in response to Wikileaks' release of last year's confidential Australian internet censorship blacklist. The Senator said that his department, "is investigating this matter and is considering a range of possible actions it may take including referral to the Australian Federal Police. Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution."

The Senator is perhaps unware of the legal and diplomatic risks associated with the statement.

Sunshine Press Legal Adviser Jay Lim stated:

"Under the Swedish Constitution's Press Freedom Act, the right of a confidential press source to anonymity is protected, and criminal penalties apply to anyone acting to breach that right.

Wikileaks source documents are received in Sweden and published from Sweden so as to derive maximum benefit from this legal protection. Should the Senator or anyone else attempt to discover our source we will refer the matter to the Constitutional Police for prosecution, and, if necessary, ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights."

Senator Conroy may wish to consider the position of the South African Competition Commission, which decided to cancel its own high profile leak investigation in January after being advised of the legal ramifications of interfering with Sunshine Press sources.

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