Internet vigilante group Anonymous have stepped up their campaign against the Rudd Government and its Internet censorship scheme today. "Operation Titstorm" began with denial of service attacks against various Government websites including that of the Prime Minister.

EFA naturally condemns these attacks - not only are they illegal, but they damage the cause by playing to stereotypes of filter opponents as juveniles motivated by a desire to keep the Internet safe for porn. They serve no purpose but to give the Government the moral high ground, and distract from arguments about the ineffectiveness of the policy and its ramifications for free speech.

It's easy to understand the frustrations that the Anonymous members feel - it's true that the censorship plan has been thrust on the Australian public without consultation, research or a coherent policy objective. But this campaign just serves for Anonymous members to get a little revenge. It certainly won't persuade anyone; rather, it will hurt the anti-filtering campaign.

Worse, their objections are ill-informed and easily countered. They claimed:

Brief background information: Chairmen Rudd and his aid Steven Conroy have recently passed a ban accross all of Australia on porography depicting women with small breasts, in a supposed crackdown on "simulated" child porn. He is now pushing for mandatory ISP filtering, allowing him to completely control what Australians can view on the internet.

(The misspellings are in the original.) Although they allude to a genuine problem with a nebulous and subjective classification standard for adult material - well covered by Michael Meloni at SToTC - the insinuation that this is a new thing, or that it is related to filtering, is incorrect. In fact, Rudd and his "aid" Conroy have not changed the classification scheme for movies.

It may be frustrating - and lot of hard work - but there's only one way to keep this ill-conceived plan at bay, and that is by bringing pressure on our elected representatives to see sense and move on to other priorities. Let the Minister, his shadow Tony Smith, and your local MP know that you are against the plan.


  1. Agreed. It's not going to help the cause at all. I doubt the government would actually take this as a serious threat. Let's just hope they can see reason before the internet censorship laws are put into practice.

    Comment by Craig on 11 February 2010 at 07:36
  2. depends how long it goes - and how much international press + media attention is given to the subject.

    something that wasnt discussed with the people in the first place - will hardly just go away by talking. my impression and 2cents.

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
    Mahatma Gandhi

    Comment by LOL on 11 February 2010 at 09:21
  3. Well probably. But I disagree that the government shouldn't take this as a serious threat. A bunch of clueless juvenile idiots just took down the parliament house website and said idiots have previously also taken down the Prime Minister's website. The Defence "Cyber Security Operations Centre" is (quote) monitoring the situation (unquote).

    Lesson 1: Civil disobedience is a force to be reckoned with on the internet, like it or not.

    Lesson 2: Our government is hopelessly unprepared to deal with even the most pathetically trivial of threats.

    Corollary: Even if internet filtering is implemented, it has Buckleys or none of ever being effective. Best case scenario is we end up with a generation of school kids who know how to circumvent internet filtering.


    Comment by Simon on 11 February 2010 at 10:50
  4. Perhaps the DoS attack was covertly conducted by government agents in an attempt to gain public support for their proposal. But we can't talk about it ;p

    Wow small breasts are banned now? Does this mean attending a strip club with a small breasted dancer will land me with child pornography charges?

    Heh talk about equal opportunity and rights violations for women in the adult entertainment field! Nice....

    Comment by Patrick on 11 February 2010 at 11:56
  5. Bloody hell, Simon is completely right. If the government can't even handle something like this current Anonymous attack, which due to the very public nature of the group they should have seen it coming miles away, how do they plan on handling "real" attacks in the future? That is worrying. If anything Anonymous' latest attack has highlighted how unprepared the government really is in this area. Imagine the megafail once/if the censor boxes are in all ISPs across the country?

    I don't agree at all with Anonymous' methods, but gee, it really highlights the incompetence of the government in this field.

    Comment by Matthew on 11 February 2010 at 16:03
  6. I think of some you are mistaken. "A bunch of clueless juvenile idiots" is not quite the what I would use to describe Anonymous. I can tell you now Anonymous consists mostly of 18+, albeit a few 15-17 year olds. They span across the globe, from USA, Europe, parts of Asia even some from south America and Africa.

    Anonymous holds little love for Australia, however prefers to do things for the lulz. Not only that, Anonymous hates the idea of restriction on freedom. Some people just need to see it from their angle. The internet is being censored by the government, the one last place where people can see and say and do what they want. This is why Anonymous hates censorship. The internet IS Anonymous. This has nothing to do with Australia per se. It started with China, then spread, now to Australia. Where's it going to stop?

    Do you honestly think it's going to stop child pornography and put a hold on RC material entering Australia. If you do, then you really are quite stupid. It is so easy to manipulate these filters that all you are achieving is to bother these people five minutes longer. Trust me, it does not require a computer savvy person to get beneath one of these filters.

    Conroy can act all superior and pretend it doesn't bother him, however the threat is a very real thing. Anonymous will turn from simple DoS attacks on government websites to much more dangerous hacking methods and national security threats even. I wouldn't be suprised if we see real life protests with crowds wearing Guy Fawkes Masks, similar to something that you would see at a Scientology protest.

    I am simply trying to tell you that Anonymous is not something to be taken lightly, especially when the filters are put into place.

    Comment by V on 11 February 2010 at 20:17

    Lol jk maybe not, I dunno lol

    Comment by old newfag on 12 February 2010 at 01:38
  8. Maybe you folks do not remember Vietnam. All the socially acceptable activities (letters to the editor, letters to the politicians, TV Q&A) did not make any difference.

    Civil Disobedience did make a difference. A hundred thousand marchers in Melbourne, demonstartions in Sydney and other capital cities. Hundreds arrested. Same goes for Apartheid and Joh's Queensland antics.

    The question is where to draw the line. Who can blame those that get impatient with Conroys indifference to logical argumant, Rudd's reluctance to even comment on the issue, local politicians who answer questions with a pre-printed policy statement which never addresses the questions and the mainstream media's apparent hidden agenda to control the internet (information.

    Comment by SLDR on 12 February 2010 at 02:07
  9. I just signed the clean feed petition - it needs updating. It says 2008, which will discourage people from signing it.

    Comment by Natalie on 12 February 2010 at 03:16
  10. Thanks Natalie. You must have seen that on I updated the link there to point to the new Senate petition (see the right side of this page).

    However, stay tuned, we'll have a new web campaign starting presently.

    Comment by Colin Jacobs on 12 February 2010 at 03:32
  11. I have signed every petition I can find and emailed all the relevant parties and written letters to the editors of newspapers, but I feel deep down it will come to nought, because the politicians don't see enough public opposition to this to put the fear into them. Conroy is arrogant, uncaring and fundamentally ignorant of the joys of a free and open Internet. He in that Comms minister role exactly because he is a thick skinned errand boy doing the bidding of power, and like Howard with Iraq, you can write letters and demonstrate till you drop and it will come to NOTHING. Our only hope is to educate the public about how this thing is really intended to work before it is too late.

    Comment by Jerry Borowicz on 12 February 2010 at 06:44
  12. Sure they are playing a juvenile prank that can have serious consequences, but what is the option? Our government wants to break the internet, so I say we should let them see what a truly broken internet is for a few days and hopefully avert the oppressive blacklist. This protest isn't solely from Australians (though naturally some would be involved) and we can't legislate against the rest of the world. You are right to condem it, but it was never our choice if this occured, they have brought this wrath upon themselves.

    Comment by Nona on 12 February 2010 at 12:28
  13. Why aren't the mainstream press picking up on this?? Sure, there are one or two smaller articles buried within their online Tech Pages, but something that not only affects our civil rights, but also will give parents a false sense of security surely deserves more than a couple of columns here and there, or have the Govt already got to the press to censor them?? I too have signed every petition I can think of, but it will take the backing of 'the great unwashed' before our dearly elected start listening (and fearing the loss of the Mum and Dad votes).

    Comment by John on 12 February 2010 at 13:33
  14. And anyone doing this from inside the USA should be aware that you are committing an offence that carries a mandatory 15 years jail, if caught and convicted.

    Comment by Zaphod on 12 February 2010 at 17:10
  15. john, the media benefits from this,once more becoming the gate keeper of "press release" thus news/info.........thus pay for mr. murdochs content......on a censored web,the one eyed man can be king............unless we take this to the streets,we talking to ourselves???

    Comment by thomas vesely on 12 February 2010 at 17:53
  16. "I am simply trying to tell you that Anonymous is not something to be taken lightly, especially when the filters are put into place"................and if these filters are put in place,then and only then would civil disobedience make any sense,at this point it is a reaction to a proposal, yet unimplemented........apropos of a non sequitar....we need pensioners,ethnic groups,gays...(vulnerables) .....on board.??teachers,academia,also.

    Comment by thomas vesely on 12 February 2010 at 18:07
  17. "I don’t agree at all with Anonymous’ methods, but gee, it really highlights the incompetence of the government in this field".............sure points out a real problem that the filter budget should be diverted to.but our cyber warriors are monitoring the situation,WTF does that mean?...cyber war room,yes its still going on,we are monitoring...........we are .......we...w..................

    Comment by thomas vesely on 12 February 2010 at 18:46
  18. This has drawn more media attention than all of the anti-filter campaigns and protests so all the more power to it.

    I cannot condone criminal actions that have been taken because those actions were in the name of freedom and free speech directed towards a government which is about to criminally censor and filter the internet.

    "Decent is the highest form of patriotism"

    Has our Government read the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which it claims to abide?

    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Comment by Glen on 12 February 2010 at 22:23
  19. Dear Kevin Rudd, members of the government and media,
    We know you have noticed our recent actions against the mandatory ISP filtering scheme. We know it has been published in
    several news outlets across the globe. This is our stand. We will not sit back as the government takes away our freedom to access
    otherwise perfectly legal pornography and other websites which are not illegal by any other law and which do not pose a threat to
    Australia on an economical, moral or security level.

    We would like to make it clear that we do not want to be associated with the "terrorist" stigma. We are simply demonstrating a
    protest on the exact medium of which the Australian Government are trying to filter. Why? We, as Anonymous, the collective legion of
    internet users who fight for great justice and lulz, are the ones who will be affected most by this ridiculous law. This is not a
    terrorist movement. This is not a matter of National Security. This is a way of protesting in which we feel we are getting the media
    and public attention needed to further our actions. No one is getting physically hurt. No one is being denied necessities. Nothing
    is being targeted that would cause harm to a regular citizen of .au.

    Yes, our methods are somewhat illegal, but sometimes these actions must be taken to ensure our message is displayed, especially in
    Australia's case.

    The statistics in for and against the Mandatory ISP filtering and being displayed in a poor manner. Let anonymous assure you, there
    are more every-day internet users against the filter than there are for it. Anonymous from around the globe as a collective, is not
    just fighting for Australia, but to prevent the global denial of free speech and access to otherwise public material, which is a
    real possibility. These filters aren't the first step against Australia's freedom, and it is nowhere near the last. We must stop it
    before it spreads, before its too late, and Freedom is gone, not just for Australia, no but for the whole world.

    Furthermore we are against the criminalization of things that are not, and should not be, by any means illegal. We would also like
    to let it be known that we are not fighting for the legalization of things that have been illegal in the past. Child porn is
    understandably illegal, it is unfortunate that there is the illegal trade industry for this sort of content. Anonymous accepts and
    welcomes the restrictions of this law. However, criminalizing the pornography of small-breasted women (18+) is completely absurd,
    considering there is a huge market and industry for such material. The idea that having taste for a woman with a small figure and
    small breasts can be found as close to pedophilia is both discriminatory and synonymous to insanity.

    We are Anonymous, a collective of the internet. If there is any foreseeable threat to our organization, it is internet censorship.
    Therefore, we take your actions very seriously.

    We shall proceed to do everything in our power to annihilate your government's presence on the internet.


    You have nowhere to hide, because we are everywhere.
    We are Anonymous.
    We are legion.
    We do not forgive.
    We do not forget.
    Expect us.

    Comment by anon on 13 February 2010 at 00:22
  20. I seriously get headaches when I read too much on this topic in one sitting. It makes me so mad that it drives my blood pressure through the roof and I notice I've been grinding my teeth.

    Comment by Foul on 13 February 2010 at 07:02
  21. I don't mind to keep an eye on anyone, socially government! However, I prefer to contain my campaign within the peaceful means and legal boundaries.

    Remember, Australians were forced to fight other peoples’ war before and after Gallipoli. Naturally the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan based on totally false and fabricated reason and ground are a sad indictment for Australia. Political leaders, media moguls and elite power brokers made these decisions without proper debate or discussions inside or outside parliament. Virtually they black mailed our nation towards immoral, illegal and un-winnable wars. In short, people who are pushing our nation in wars outside Australia and not in defense of Australia are worse than this silly Sheikh Haron.

    Comment by Faruque Ahmed on 13 February 2010 at 09:08
  22. Anon, who gives a rats about you and your group. It appears you are becoming as bad as the Govt in respect to attempting to impose your will on those you disagree with. In other words you're acting and sound like a bunch of little juveniles on a superiority trip and are behaving like spoilt brats.

    Comment by Anti-Anon on 13 February 2010 at 10:47
  23. Anti-Anon, have you read all the messages?

    I don't realy care anon group, but as someone had said before, civil disobedience is the only way to change things we disagree in our goverments.

    The spoilt brat IS YOU.

    Comment by Vladimir on 13 February 2010 at 11:45
  24. @anon: We're sympathetic to your outrage, because we feel the same way. But the filter isn't law yet. The fight isn't lost. Is it really time for a massive campaign of civil disobedience?

    At least take the time to research the issue properly and put out a decent statement. Being misinformed helps support the idea that Anonymous is a bunch of rebellious kids. The dangers of censorship are enough without the confusion of the "small breasts" issue.

    Comment by Colin Jacobs on 13 February 2010 at 19:37
  25. Vladimir, Anon are carrying on exactly like the little kid throwing a temper tantrum in a shop when they can't get some lollies. All it does is turn people of the kid not the parent. Referring to me as the spoilt brat only highlights your ignorance.

    Comment by Anti-Anon on 13 February 2010 at 21:28
  26. i did not refer to anyone as a spoilt brat.

    Comment by thomas vesely on 13 February 2010 at 21:34
  27. previous post error,please disregard.............

    Comment by thomas vesely on 14 February 2010 at 01:46
  28. aleast anon are doing "something" they got basic media coverage and a segment on ABC's hungry beast. What have you done? nothing. i haven't seen any anti-filter ads on tv, no anti-filter info in the mail. nothing at all the get the general public's attention to the cause.

    either got off your ass and start doing something or stop bitching about the people who are. anon keep up the good fight

    Comment by pro-anon on 14 February 2010 at 21:40
  29. "aleast anon are doing “something” they got basic media coverage and a segment on ABC’s hungry beast. What have you done? nothing. i haven’t seen any anti-filter ads on tv, no anti-filter info in the mail. nothing at all the get the general public’s attention to the cause.

    either got off your ass and start doing something or stop bitching about the people who are. anon keep up the good fight"


    Get off your high-horse and do something about it. People donate good money to EFA and all we see is this moralising. We are discussing broad attenuation of freedoms here in Australia, and you're already backing down.

    Comment by ash on 15 February 2010 at 00:47
  30. We got enough documentation to prove that the Australian government has taken away many of our civil rights, industrial rights, human rights in order to protect us from the terrorists! It is like locking us up to protect us. Sadly, we do not have media in Australia. We got plenty of spin doctors.

    Therefore, we need creative campaign and action plan. Certainly no vigilantism!

    Comment by Faruque Ahmed on 15 February 2010 at 02:14
  31. re,creative campaign,where? ? when?? we need it now!!

    Comment by thomas vesely on 15 February 2010 at 23:24
  32. is this site no longer monitored??

    Comment by thomas vesely on 17 February 2010 at 21:44
  33. There are lots of things going on. Check out for the latest news.

    Comment by Colin Jacobs on 17 February 2010 at 22:24
  34. thanks Colin

    Comment by thomas vesely on 17 February 2010 at 22:40
  35. @Anti-Anon
    there are plenty more people who give a rats ass about anonymous than the efa.

    anon = international group

    eta = some Australian group

    You people can take the moral high ground all you want, the fact of the matter is... the government still won't listen to you!

    Comment by HoodAnon on 5 March 2010 at 10:23
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