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« on: December 24, 2008, 01:32:06 PM »

List of banned websites in Thailand and Denmark leaked online
December 24, 2008

 SECRET lists of websites banned in two countries have been leaked online, as the Federal Government delays a live trial of its controversial internet filtering scheme.

A list of 3863 website addresses banned in Denmark was published yesterday by a whistleblower group and is believed to contain links to illegal material including child pornography.

The department of Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy has previously compared the Government's filtering plan to "successful" programs in countries including Denmark.

Earlier this week a list of 1203 websites banned in Thailand for political reasons was published by the same group.

It included hundreds of YouTube videos as well as blogs, cartoons and an article in the Economist magazine banned for reasons of "lese majeste", or criticising the King.

Jerry Hutchinson of anti-filtering group Digital Liberty Coalition said leaks were one of the risks associated with maintaining lists of prohibited content.

"Each blacklist is obviously rather sensitive as it gives any would-be web criminal a go-to list where they know they will be able to find illicit material," Mr Hutchinson said.

"It is always possible for any information to be leaked so the Australian blacklist is just as susceptible as that of any other nation."

Under the Government's proposed internet filtering scheme, a similar list of websites maintained by the media watchdog would be blocked by internet service providers.

A second tier of filtering would also remove "inappropriate" content. Customers would have the choice to opt-out of this filter.

Senator Conroy's office confirmed the blacklist of website addresses is confidential for reasons of public interest, but declined to comment specifically on the overseas leak.

Live pilot trial delayed

Senator Conroy last night pushed back a live trial of internet filtering technology that had been scheduled to begin today.

The announcement came as news surfaced of an Internet Industry Association report commissioned by the Howard government that found a web filter would be ineffective and easy to circumvent.

"The Government is aware of technical concerns raised in the report, and that is why we are conducting a pilot to put these claims to the test," said Senator Conroy.

"The pilot trial will not begin until mid-January and an announcement regarding participants will be made at that time."

The trial had been scheduled to begin today, but ISPs that had applied to take part including Optus and iiNet said they had not yet heard from the Government on the details of the tests.

On Monday Senator Conroy also revealed the tests could extend to filtering more online traffic than previously thought, including programs commonly used to share music and video files.

"Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial," Senator Conroy said.

The Opposition today slammed the scheme as "almost technically impossible".

"Prior to the election, the now Government, in opposition, made these broad-sweeping promises... to eliminate child pornography from the internet with this filter system," communications spokesman Nick Minchin said on ABC radio.

"Now they've got to make good on their promise and they're finding it much more difficult in government of course than in opposition."

I will not publish details of the website blacklists, as they contain offensive and illegal material.
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