Telstra funding censorship in Middle East

This post inspired by

So, we know that Netsweeper is used by Telstra -

We know that Netsweeper is used in Qatar, the UAE and Yemen ( – see also–aiding-repression-or-just-doing-business ) and these states use it to suppress free speech and access to information.

The majority of countries that implement suppression of free speech on the internet could not afford the high cost of developing such software. The only thing that makes it possible is the subsidies from companies in the free world. With Telstra using Netsweeper, they directly contribute to the development costs of this software.

In years gone past free speech was suppressed by members of secret police and guns. Now you can do a lot of that with software. Software that is made affordable because the development costs are shared with companies such as Telstra.

See also my last two posts on the topic:

An update on Telstra’s surveillance of what you do online,telstra-tracks-users-to-build-web-filter.aspx

I’d suggest going and reading: to learn a bit about anonymization failures.

What we know:

  1. Telstra has the ability to monitor every URL you visit on a NextG connection
  2. Telstra is, in fact, monitoring every URL you visit through your NextG connection and piping that to some computer system that then takes action on it.
  3. None of this was disclosed to customers.
  4. Telstra is building a system for censorship.

What we don’t know:

  1. If this is a violation of any Australian privacy law (I’m not a lawyer)
  2. Who else has access to this “anonymised” data (hellooo US legal system)
  3. What universal surveillance infrastructure they have running

Update: this is a followup from yesterday’s post:

Unwired and Australian Government Content Filtering Trial

Just got an email from Unwired asking if I’d like to voluntarily join a trial. A censorship trial. The wonderful “you can’t know what you aren’t allowed to see” form of “trust me” democracy embraced by our current government.

I first used Unwired for the time it took for Telstra to recover from screwing me when I moved (and bringing the DSL connection with me). I’ve kept the device around to enable on-the-road net connection on occasion and as a backup to my DSL line.

I’ll now look for an alternative backup internet solution.

No opt-out of filtered Internet

Computerworld – No opt-out of filtered Internet (via Chris)

EPIC FAIL. Looks like I’m going to have to reconsider which end of the ballot paper the ALP goes at (hint, it’s now towards the bottom).

Pay no attention to the criminals behind the curtain… we’re just going to let them do their thing and make sure it’s hard for you to see them.

With a false positive rate (incorrectly blocking something) of 10,000/1,000,000 (otherwise known as 1%) we’ll no doubt see things blocked that shouldn’t be.

What happened to my free country?