Wikileaks back online with new list

Wikileaks back online with new list

Summary: Whistle-blower website Wikileaks came back online today after a lengthy absence following its publication last week of what had appeared to be a leaked copy of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's blacklist.

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Whistle-blower website Wikileaks came back online today after a lengthy absence following its publication last week of what had appeared to be a leaked copy of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's blacklist.

ACMA takes these reports seriously and will look into the release of any further purported versions of its blacklist

ACMA spokesperson

The leaks site had been asking for donations to be able to put more servers online after experiencing network congestion. "This is a regular difficulty that can only be resolved by deploying additional resources," the site had said. "If you support our mission, then show it in the way that is most needed."

The site's problems came after posting what it claimed was a copy of ACMA's blacklist, which will form the basis for the sites to be excluded by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's filtering trial.

Both ACMA and Conroy denied that the list in question was the ACMA blacklist, saying it had too many URLs on it.

Before the Wikileaks went offline, the organisation posted what it claimed was a more up-to-date blacklist. A summary describing the list claimed that ACMA had carried out an "enormous" clean-up of the list between the current and the last version being posted.

The summary said the new list had around 1,172 URLs, more than the 1,061 Conroy quoted for 6 August 2008. When contacted yesterday about the new list, ACMA said it was aware of it but could not comment since it had at that time been unable to view the list.

Yet it would definitely be looking into the issue. "ACMA takes these reports seriously and will look into the release of any further purported versions of its blacklist," a spokesperson said.

ACMA did not consider that the release and promotion of the URLs was responsible and said that it would have a "substantial adverse effect" on the administration of the regulatory scheme to prevent access to harmful and offensive online material.

Conroy had also threatened those leaking the documents that they might face criminal prosecution, but in a press release late last week Wikileaks issued a statement threatening the communications minister in return.

"Under the Swedish Constitution's Press Freedom Act, the right of a confidential press source to anonymity is protected, and criminal penalties apply to anyone acting to breach that right," Sunshine Press legal adviser Jay Lim said in a statement.

"Wikileaks' source documents are received in Sweden and published from Sweden so as to derive maximum benefit from this legal protection. Should the senator or anyone else attempt to discover our source we will refer the matter to the Constitutional Police for prosecution, and, if necessary, ask that the senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights."

Neither Conroy's office or ACMA have responded to queries on whether that release has changed their stance.

Topics: Government AU, Censorship, Security

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

22 comments
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  • Conroy extradited?

    So if Conroy goes through with his threat and comes down in Wikileaks, they can have him dragged to Sweden to face criminal prosecution?

    Now THIS will be interesting!
    anonymous
  • ...

    that should be "comes down on Wikileaks".
    anonymous
  • Re: Conroy extradited?

    Conroy won't be extradited - that sort of thing is quite rare for government officials of democratic peaceful countries.


    What this means is:
    1. Conroy can't ask for help from the Swedish police to find the leak.
    2. Anyone he enlists to help find the leak in Sweden is breaking the law and can be arrested.
    3. Anyone in Sweden subpoenaed for evidence or to witness in the investigation can safely refuse to, with the backing of the Swedish legal system.
    4. Sweden is extremely unlikely to extradite anyone from Sweden for this leak, even if it is found that they have broken Swedish law in getting their hands on the data. This goes doubly if the leak is a Swedish citizen.

    So, unless Conroy wants to travel to Sweden himself and conduct an illegal investigation, he is out of options.

    It's possible that breaking Swedish law would mean he could be arrested if he ever travels to Sweden. If that is the case, it may also be possible that other EU countries are obliged to extradite him to Sweden if he ever travels to the EU.

    All this is unlikely in the extreme, of course, but I don't think Conroy is dumb enough to risk this kind of embarrassment to get back at some script kiddie.
    anonymous
  • -

    script kiddie? - geee...
    anonymous
  • List leaked or engineered?

    I thought the list was simply extracted from a database of sites blocked by commercial Internet filter companies who make use of the ACMA list. Anyone with admin access to a suitable filtering system could probably do this. So it probably wasn't "leaked" by anyone.
    anonymous
  • Re: Conroy extradited?

    You are talking about a guy that thinks its feesable to censor the internet.......
    anonymous
  • That's the idea

    "ACMA did not consider that the release and promotion of the URLs was responsible and said that it would have a "substantial adverse effect" on the administration of the regulatory scheme to prevent access to harmful and offensive online material."

    That's the idea. Try to implement censorship in a democratic country, and people will fight back.
    anonymous
  • Loving this....

    So happy to see the net become a powerful tool like this again - especially when there is such a push to not only regulate it with censorship, but to commercialise it in all forms. I think the "script kliddie" (as someone with such cliched, absurd ideas on technologists, called him/her here) has done pretty well!
    anonymous
  • List? What list?

    If you manage a commercial filtering product like eg Surfcontrol you get daily updates to their lists of blocked sites which you can then edit. Eg. an Educational institution might want to block sex sites but not sex education sites, so to actually manage Internet filtering you have to be able to view and edit the lists that are freely available. I doubt if the ACMA compiled their own list manually, they probably just edited one of the many that are available from commercial filtering companies.
    anonymous
  • Nah, it's all internal

    No, ACMA compiles their own list manually by comparing sites they receive complaints about against the guidelines for film classification. Even if they did source lists from elsewhere (which, as far as I know, they don't) they would still have to put a rating on each site themselves.

    Many filtering products then include that ACMA list as the most basic level of filtering, which is presumably how the list is getting "leaked"
    anonymous
  • ACMA provide a "feed" to filter software vendors

    FIlters provided under the old Netalert scheme and a range of filters accredited under IIA get regular list updates from the ACMA.

    Some of those filters give away the fact that a site is acma listed when you land on one (or they did). One filter apparently had a file websites_acma.txt embedded in a data file quite seperate to other vendor blacklists.
    anonymous
  • Re: Conroy extradited?

    Anonymous response suggested that conjob Conroy could be arrested if he travels to Sweden.

    To clarify, if he is traveling, he would be doing so on a diplomatic passport and could not be arrested.

    Pitty really, it would be the only way Conjob could get any positive press
    anonymous
  • DIY list cracking

    Integard an approved family-friendly filter, can be reverse-engineered with a hex editor to reveal the ACMA list in 30 seconds.

    "Put it this way: it took longer to download Integard than to hack it," said a senior security researcher speaking on condition of anonymity.
    anonymous
  • How ACMA built their list...

    The ACMA list isn't built from commercial lists - it is built by people submitting sites directly to the ACMA, who then investigate and make a decision whether to include it in their list. This list is then provided to the filtering companies, to combine into their own lists.

    I don't know how all the filtering software works, but many only allow site administrators to select which categories they want to block, as well as being able to include their own lists as well. That way, the customers of the filtering companies don't see the contents of the list, but can still control what types of content is allowed, as well as being able to add their own list of sites to be blocked.
    anonymous
  • Conroy not averse to circumventing the law

    From Conroy's Wikipedia entry -

    Senator Conroy is a Catholic, and is said to be socially conservative, and a member of Opus Dei, a conservative Roman Catholic action group.

    He and his wife, Paula Benson, are not able to have a child together, but in November 2006 they gained a daughter conceived and born with the assistance of an egg donor and a surrogate mother after traveling to Victoria to circumvent NSW legislation.
    anonymous
  • Lets farkin hope so

    I wish someone would prosecute the fricken right wing prick. I've had enough of this crap. Why the hell does some wanker with a chip on his shoulder get to control our fricken lives. Be better off if he just pissed off back under the rock he came from.

    Shame on the fascist.
    anonymous
  • Generating a List

    Assuming that the Conroy ends up paying somebody with half an idea to implement the system, the list would be MD5'd or something along those lines.
    But even then, any major ISP with enough traffic will just be able to keep a record of which URL's get submitted and rejected, and thus build a human readable list.
    It's not something that you can ever "keep secret", why bother trying?
    I thought that the intent of the filter was to block the sites anyway? Once we are all filtered (and we know it's going to happen one way or another) those who can't setup a VPN won't be able to get to the sites anyway, so what difference does a public list make?
    anonymous
  • ummm

    What do they say about azzumptions? The first word of my comment is "Azzuming"... but I have been censored ;) so make the z's s's
    anonymous
  • My mistake

    Okay, I admit it was wishful thinking that Conroy could face extradition, I forgot politicians have diplomatic immunity.

    Still, it would be nice to see him knocked down a peg or two because of this cluster[expletive] the internet filter plan has become
    anonymous
  • Re: Conroy not averse to circumventing the law

    It's OK, Catholics don't require scruples. Just go to confession & all is forgiven.
    anonymous