Blacklist referrals cost up to $685 to classify
By Ry Crozier
Apr 16, 2010 10:34 AM
Tags: blacklist | filter | acma | conroy | mandatory | internet | censorship | google | microsoft | youtube | myspace | classification
The price of mandatory filtering.
Suspect internet content referred to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) cost between $173 and $685 per item to investigate and classify last year.
Figures revealed by the authority to a question from Greens Senator Scott Ludlam showed for the first time what it might cost ACMA to classify an expected deluge of requests if the Federal Government's mandatory filter plan goes ahead.
It was expected the filter would cause a surge of content referrals to ACMA by fringe lobby groups.
The figures showed that between 1 July 2009 and the end of January this year, "total expenditure on classification fees relating to online content investigations was $131,590."
"Most applications for classification related to single web pages. The fee for such an application was $510," the ACMA said.
Investigating an item of online content involved "determining its actual or likely classification, locating and identifying the hosting service provider, recording the outcome of the investigation and notifying the complainant of the outcome."
Some investigations could be looked after just by ACMA. Others were referred to the Classification Board for assessment.
"In 2008-09, the average cost to the ACMA of investigating an item of online content that was not referred to the Classification Board was approximately $173 per item," the authority said.
"For items that were referred to the Classification Board this was $685 per item, which included the cost of the ACMA preparing and administering the referrals."
The ACMA said it received about 1,300 complaints every year "in relation to overseas hosted refused classification content."
Between 2007-8 and 2008-9, the amount of complaints it received doubled - from 521 to 1,075.
The Government also revealed a list of private companies that it said it was consulting with to - in the words of Senator Ludlum - "outsource the surveillance role that the filter will not be able to handle".
They included Facebook, Myspace, Microsoft and YouTube, according to a post on the Greens blog.
At least one of those companies - YouTube owner Google - has publicly said it could not give the Government an assurance it would filter its sites for refused classification content.
16 comments in this discussion
"How do they come up with figure? One wonders/cringes at what accounting process is used. Best guess is its an arbitrary amount which is used solely to rape taxpayers. In a perfect world this ..."
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Thoughts on this article? Add a comment below.
Apr 16, 2010 12:11 PM So basically if you want to bog down the classification process then any and every website should be referred to the ACMA?
What processes are they going to have in place to stop this kind of thing?
Apr 16, 2010 12:22 PM Can see this costing many many millions of your tax dollars to run.
My distributed HP Loadrunner scripts can fire off thousands of automated requests per second to the ACMA submissions page (all with unique details and email addresses etc):
So I can, all by myself, cost the federal government (and you the tax payer), at will.
...and that's even before the filter goes ahead!
Apr 16, 2010 12:27 PM ...and the you know what the funniest part about all of this is?
You don't have to be an Australian tax payer to waste our tax money!
That's right - you don't need permanent residency, you don't even need to be in Australia... ever!
Anyone, from any country, and warped fundy (nufty) background - and you too can have control over what gets classified - and you too can waste $510 a pop =)
Great work Rudd... well done you =)
Apr 16, 2010 12:30 PM "Most applications for classification related to single web pages. The fee for such an application was $510,"
Do I laugh, or cry - it is hard to choose. Most web pages these days are dynamic anyway (such as this one e.g. the comments on it). One wonders if ACMA thinks we are still plugging away with static HTML in text editors. Should we be submitting our PHP?? :-0
Apr 16, 2010 12:31 PM PS: I like the picture on this article Ry.
Apr 16, 2010 12:33 PM How many children has this blacklist system protected?
Oh that's right: zero.
Apr 16, 2010 6:10 PM How much does it take items removed?
And do those reviewing the banned sites use the same work around as everyone else or do they have an un'protected' feed?
Apr 16, 2010 10:20 PM WHAT A COMPLETE WASTE OF MY MONEY YOU INCOMPETENT JERKS!!
Apr 17, 2010 11:04 AM I am of the view that instead of restricting the internet, the Australian Government might like to concentrate on things like health, education, transport as well as ensuring that people's houses remain intact after they have installed 'funny' insulation bats.
This who issue smells of hyprocracy.
Apr 17, 2010 11:04 AM [removing duplicate posts]
Edited by rycrozier: 19/4/2010 07:04:51 AM
Apr 17, 2010 12:21 PM Enough with the duplicate comments, hit the Submit button ONCE and ONCE only and WAIT! for your comment to post jeez.
Apr 19, 2010 9:50 AM I have a domain name www.big2game.com used as my portfolio so that I can use as potential job applications reference. My daughter told me that her free laptop from school blocks it because it is "unclassified" by the government. So how am I going to find jobs in Australia when people now think I am BAD?
Apr 19, 2010 11:31 AM @ Karl - your website is probably blocked because its an online card game (gambling?!?) and the home page references other card games that are usually played while gambling. If I had a kid in high school, I probably wouldn't want them accessing your website either imho. Conboy's filter won't be exactly the same as a School's filter though, even someone with no common sense could see that, there are many sites blocked by the School filter which won't be blocked by this filter.
Jeez talk about misunderstanding on both sides of the argument, some of those people against the filter make me absolutely cringe with the arguments they make which just play straight back into Conboy's dirty hands.
Apr 19, 2010 11:58 PM How long before someone comes up with a plugin for Firefox that submits every page visited to the ACMA? It wouldn't even take many people to use a plugin like that for the ACMA to be swamped with more reports than they could ever possibly deal with. What would they do when their 1300 reports a year balloons to many millions per year - even if they could manage to process them all, it would increase their costs from $131,590 a year to hundreds of millions of dollars a year. I wonder if Conroy has factored that into the costs of his filter.
Apr 21, 2010 9:41 AM >>> I wonder if Conroy has factored that into the costs of his filter
Most of us gave up a long time ago on wondering whether Conroy 'had factored' anything at all.
For almost two years now he hasn't listened to any advice that didn't match his flawed standards and ideals.
Conroy has no principles or values whatsoever.
Apr 24, 2010 3:18 PM How do they come up with figure? One wonders/cringes at what accounting process is used.
Best guess is its an arbitrary amount which is used solely to rape taxpayers.
In a perfect world this would be the cost of running the Censorship Black Hole divided by the submissions, in which case, the more submissions are made, the lower the cost ratio.
Sigh however we are dealing with government and efficiency is a foreign concept, trumped only by total avoidance of applying cost effective operational procedures.
The old why have one person doing a full days work when we can have 20 watching each other not doing a days work.
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