Home opinion-and-analysis Seeking Nerdvana Bypass Australia's internet filters for free
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Bypassing ISP-level filtering is child's play and makes a mockery of government plans to censor Australia's internet access.
The government wants to force all local ISPs to censor what Australians can see online, putting the country on par with the likes of China and North Korea. The joke is that school kids are already using free and simple tools to bypass such restrictions.

According to the government's own research, the filtering will degrade network performance by between 20 and 75 per cent - which makes a joke of plans for a faster national network. Civil libertarians also argue that censorship is a slippery slope, a concern heightened by the fact that those supporting the filtering are already talking about expanding it to include other stuff they don't like, such as online gambling and "illegal" sites.

The proposed filtering with give a handful of right wing nutjobs the power to control what we can see online. The fact the government wants to keep the list of banned sites a secret, and has tried to censor people speaking out against the filtering plans, should be ringing alarm bells.

Any school kid will tell you that bypassing internet filtering is ridiculously easy. One simple trick is to use a free web proxy, which acts as a middle man between you and the site you want to see. You'll find a long list of free web proxies and other such sites at FreeProxy.ru.

Just enter the name of the site into a proxy site's search box, such as banned-site.com, and the proxy site will then call up the site for you. This way banned-site.com doesn't know who you are, but also your ISP doesn't know you looked at banned-site.com. Kids are already using these kinds of sites to bypass school filters so they can access Facebook from the class room. It won't take horny teenagers long to use such sites to bypass ISP-level filtering.

Another trick for bypassing filters is to dig an encrypted tunnel to the United States. It sounds complicated, but it's free and ridiculously easy to do and neither the government nor your ISP can see what you're up to. CONTINUED


Two popular free VPN applications are HotSpot Shield (Mac and Windows) and AlwaysVPN (Mac, Windows, Linux). They add an advertising banner to your browser, which is a small price to pay.

If you're prepared to spend $5 per month for a faster connection you could look at Witopia and VPNOut. You don't need to know anything about networking and there's no messy configuration, you run the installers and they just work.

These applications give you dual citizenship as, with the click of a button, your computer looks like it's in the United States. Your digital Green Card means you can access US-only content from sites such as Rhapsody, Pandora, YouTube and Hulu. It also means you're bypassing any content filtering performed by your Australian ISP, and there's nothing they can do about it.

Australia's plans for mandatory content filtering will screw up the internet and give right wing nutjobs the power to censor what we see, yet it won't actually stop people who want to access banned sites.

If Australia goes through with plans to censor the internet, you can be sure civil libertarians will do everything they can to make bypass software freely available to everyone - as they've done in other totalitarian regimes.

If you're concerned about the Australian government's plans for filtering the internet, it's time to speak up before it's too late. Visit NoCleanFeed.com, run by Electronic Frontiers Australia, for information on how to voice your concerns. Do it quickly, before some holier-than-thou git decides you're not allowed to see that site either.

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