Peter Thrush of ICANN recently commented that the Australian Internet Filter proposal is akin to the Maginot Line of WWII French fame. We all know how well that worked.
is a surprisingly good analogy. The Maginot line presumed that the
attacker would do what was expected of them, and wouldn't take the
defenses into consideration when planning what they were doing. In much
the same way, the Australian internet filter presumes that if it blocks
what people do now, they won't change their behavior to circumvent the
blocking with trivially available tools and techniques like encryption,
tunneling, outside proxies, etc.
We already know that's
an invalid assumption - not only is it rather contrary to general human
nature, but it's being seen over and over in China with the Great
Firewall. This despite the fact that China's Great Firewall is much
more restrictive than Australia's is ever likely to be even under the
most moralistic, conservative, idiotic government. Let's not forget,
also, that in China it can be unhealthy to circumvent blocks that
prevent you from accessing or posting information that's not meant to
get around ... something I don't see becoming the case here.
- in much more hostile circumstances, people still just waltz through
the Great Firewall. Heck, I've done it myself - I had a workmate in
China who needed unfiltered access, and it was the work of a few
seconds to help him set up an encrypted SSH tunnel to a proxy on work's
servers from which he could get to whatever websites he liked and do so
undetectably. It's not even possible to tell that the encrypted data is
web browsing data rather than something else.
Once again, it's
clear that the only way the internet filter can work is if it's a
whitelist. If a site isn't approved, you can't access it. If a protocol
can't be inspected and content-filtered, it's blocked. No encryption of
any sort may be used. Even that's imperfect due to cracking of
whitelisted sites and use of them for proxies, etc.
It's a dumb idea. Why are we still wasting time and taxpayer money on such blithering idiocy?