Exit News and Forum Newsletter
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Exit in the News
Euthanasia body to set up Irish group - The Post.ie 16May10
Euthanasia body to set up Irish group
16 May 2010
By Susan Mitchell
Exit International, the controversial pro-euthanasia organisation, is setting up a group in Ireland. The first advocacy group of its kind in Ireland will be headed by Dublin man Tom Curran.
Curran said the association in Ireland would be a source of information and support to people interested in learning more about euthanasia and assisted suicide. He said people had ‘‘a right to access information’’.
Curran’s partner had multiple sclerosis and, as her condition had become progressively worse, he said they had discussed options such as assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Curran said the group was ‘‘very much in its infancy’’, but planned to hold its first meeting before the end of July. He said he became involved with Exit International after attending a meeting held by Dr Philip Nitschke, its founder.
Nitschke came to Ireland earlier this year, but a campaign by anti-euthanasia groups resulted in four venues cancelling Exit International’s bookings.
It is a crime in Ireland to assist a suicide or euthanasia. Consultant Dr Regina McQuillan, who chairs the Irish Association for Palliative Care, said the association was opposed to any change in the legislation.
She said any change would send out the message that the sick and the frail were a burden on society. She added that most people who were ‘‘very ill wanted any treatment that could prolong their lives’’, but promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide sent out the message that those lives were not worth living.
Shattered family demand probe into dad's helium overdose suicide - Daily Record(Scotland) 16May10
Shattered family demand probe into dad's helium overdose suicide
May 16 2010
Exclusive by Marion Scott,
Daily Record/ Sunday Mail
A DAD took his own life with helium after logging on to a suicide advice website run by an expert branded Doctor Death.
The family of tragic Jack Fox have revealed the bizarre details of his death after ending a two-year fight for a criminal probe.
They believe he received help to choke himself with the gas - because two canisters found near the scene were switched off. A computer search revealed joiner Jack, 44, of Gairloch, Wester Ross, had viewed the website of controversial Australian Dr Philip Nitschke.
The pro-euthanasia medic - founder of Exit International - has caused controversy by embarking on world tours to offer advice on suicide.
Jack's dad, Jackie, said: "We asked the police about the helium canisters because they had apparently been turned off and were out of Jack's reach when we found him lying dead.
"But they didn't take fingerprints. Later on, we were shocked to find cuttings about Dr Death and evidence on Jack's computer that he had accessed the website Exit International.
"We even found the order form for the helium gas canisters which he ordered from an English firm. We couldn't believe it."
Taxi driver Jackie tried in vain to revive Jack after finding him in his bedroom in June 2008.
Since his death - recorded on the certificate as being caused by helium inhalation - the family have fought for a criminal inquiry without success. Jackie has since asked police to launch a probe and written to prosecutors and politicians, including First Minister Alex Salmond, begging for help.
He said: "I'm shocked the sites are allowed to exist.
"My son was so depressed and distressed by what was happening in his life, it must have seemed a way out."
Nitschke's website includes advice on how to use gases such as helium.
He made a visit to Scotland in May last year to hold a "suicide workshop".
His "exit kits" have been outlawed in Australia but he insists they do not break British laws.
Nitschke, 63, said: "There is brief record of contact with J. Fox, UK. There is no detail listed in the Exit database from early 2008."
Assisted-suicide campaigner MSP Margo MacDonald said: "I'm trying to get dignity in dying and for people to have an exit from this world that is stress-free."
Jack left a suicide note. The letter - to his daughters, now aged 15 and 16 - states: "I can't live like this any more. I am shattered. I feel so bad for this but it's all I can do. I have no choice."
A Northern Constabulary spokesman said: "There were no suspicious circumstances in this case."
VPN providers target censorship-shy Aussies - APC 13May10
VPN providers target censorship-shy Aussies
13 May 2010,
Australia's contentious Internet filter hasn't even been legislated yet, but that hasn't stopped enterprising VPN providers from marketing their services directly to Aussies.
Hot on the heels of revelations that there will be no legal repercussions for people that circumvent Stephen Conroy’s proposed Internet filter, it appears overseas virtual private network providers are wasting no time building a market for one-click filter circumvention.
VPNSecure.me, a provider of encrypted Web proxy services, charges just $US8 per month for a service that will allow Australians to circumvent the filter’s access restrictions. Although the service has been around for some time, its Web page now reflects the company’s new marketing strategy with the top-page statement that the product will “Bypass the Australian internet censorship from conroy (sic)”.
In a nod to search engine optimisation, the site's title now reads “VPN Tunnel Australian internet censorship work around stephen conroy filter”. Billed as an “easy to setup proxy and vpn”, VPNSecure “support all devices and platforms” including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. The organisation offers “huge usage limits, if we feel you are abusing the service, we will let you know.”
But the company isn’t the only one cozying up to potential Australian customers: rival privacy.io has added the AUD to its list of pricing – addressing a presumed Australian customer base by listing its prices (also $8 per month) in Australian dollars alongside the EUR, USD and GBP. Canadian VPN provider Blacklogic doesn’t mention Australia by name, but markets its $US15/month service to customers that “live in a country that restricts your Internet access”. Similar wording is used by many other VPN providers (a sample list can be found here), although Australia hasn't been singled out by most yet.
VPNSecure.me, however, isn’t wasting any time. Its move to market to Australians reflects the country’s growing worldwide notoriety in the wake of planned legislation to filter the access of all Australian Internet users. Opponents of the filter have become vocal in their efforts to educate people to circumvent it, with pro-euthanasia group Exit International recently joining forces with the Pirate Party of Australia to teach senior citizens how proxies and VPNs work. Computerworld Australia published the slides used in those classes, making the information widely available online.
Widespread public awareness of the planned lack of penalties for circumventing the filter has challenged Conroy to justify the expenditure of millions of dollars on a controversial policy that has polarised the online public and drawn attention at the highest levels of governments in the United States and elsewhere. This week, Conroy told the ABC’s Four Corners program that he and the US government were “going to agree to disagree” on the policy. Yet despite the uproar against the filter, it was revealed recently that the laws haven’t even been drafted yet, although Conroy has repeatedly refused to rule out introducing the legislation before the upcoming election.
Nonetheless, his office has not been totally quiet on the potential for systematic circumvention of the filter. “We would be concerned if an ISP actively promoted sites or instructions for the specific purpose of circumventing the filter,” it recently wrote in a statement. “The Department is exploring whether the legislation needs to make this deliberate and specific promotion of circumvention an offence or whether it is already adequately addressed through existing offences in legislation.”
ACMA responds to Questions from Four Corners - ABC 11May10
ACMA RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS FROM FOUR CORNERS
RE: EXIT INTERNATIONAL’S WEBSITE
Questions from Four Corners
Exit International tells us that the URL for “The Peaceful Pill Handbook” website has been refused classification and is on
1) Is this true?
2) If true, does this mean that the entire website (i.e all the pages on the site that are linked to from the home page) has
been Refused Classification?
3) If a mandatory filter comes into place, will the entire website therefore be blocked?
Response by ACMA
1. No. The home page of the web site relating to The Peaceful Pill Handbook was classified R18+ by the Classification Board.
As the page is not subject to a restricted access system it is prohibited content under clause 20 of Schedule 7 to the BSA, and it is therefore on the ‘ACMA blacklist’ currently maintained by the ACMA pursuant to the requirements of Schedule 5 to the BSA. Some other items of online content related to The Peaceful Pill Handbook - including the e-book itself and video clips depicting the manufacture of ‘the peaceful pill’ - that are hosted on other web sites, have been classified RC and the URLs for those pages are also on the ACMA blacklist. In the case of the e-book, the Classification Review Board classified the print version of The Peaceful Pill Handbook RC on 24 February 2007 (not in connection with an ACMA investigation). Under clause 35 of Schedule 7 to the BSA, the electronic version is also classified RC. In its 24 February 2007 decision, the CRB stated that:
175) The Review Board in a unanimous decision classified the publication ‘RC’ (Refused Classification) as it instructs in
matters of crime relating to the manufacture of a prohibited drug (barbiturates), including the attempt to manufacture a
prohibited drug (barbiturates); the storage of substances being used for the manufacture of a prohibited drug (barbiturates); and gives instructions enabling individuals to “take part in” the manufacture of a prohibited drug (barbiturates).
176) Further, the Review Board determined, in a 6-1 majority, that the publication instructs in matters of crime relating to
the possession of a prohibited drug (barbiturates) and importation of a prohibited substance and the importation of a border controlled drug (barbiturates).
177) Additionally, the Review Board determined, in a 5-2 majority, that the publication instructs in matters of crimes under
Coroners legislation in relation to reportable deaths.
2. See answer to 1. The ACMA does not investigate and take action in relation to entire web sites. Classification
applications are made in relation to specific web pages, images or other files and the relevant URLs for those specific items are added to the list if the URL is the subject of a public complaint and the content is prohibited content.
3. The Government has stated that ISPs will be required to block URLs of content that has been classified RC, following an investigation of a complaint by the ACMA. Under that proposal, if the ACMA received a complaint about a page of the site in question, and if the Classification Board classified the page RC, then the URL for that specific page would be placed on the proposed RC content list to be blocked by ISPs.
Euthanasia is a rational and humane cause - OnLine Opinion 11May10
Euthanasia is a rational and humane cause
On Line Opinion
By David Swanton
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Euthanasia is an issue that divides societies, although it enjoys 80 per cent popular support in Australia and Britain. The issue, however, should be clear. If individuals have the right to their own lives, then euthanasia should be legalised.
The term “voluntary euthanasia” is often used by the state-based Voluntary Euthanasia and Dying with Dignity Associations around Australia and emphasises the voluntary nature of euthanasia. Another definition defines euthanasia as a deliberate act intended to cause the death of the patient, at that patient’s request, for what he or she sees as being in his/her best interests, and clearly euthanasia’s voluntary nature is implicit in this definition.
Regardless of how euthanasia is defined, most of the opposition to euthanasia comes from people who have religious motives and imply that euthanasia is not voluntary, that people would be coerced into a decision. It is precisely the voluntary nature of euthanasia that makes it ethically right.
Many elderly Australians are now choosing to take control of their lives, seeking information and developing their own end-of-life solutions.
Exit International, Dr Philip Nitshcke’s euthanasia advocacy organisation, provides accurate and concise information about end-of-life choices. Its long-term goal is responsible and ethical law reform, such as the Swiss model of decriminalising assisted suicide. The media has reported on terminally ill Australians travelling overseas to access euthanasia through the Swiss legislation, travelling overseas to acquire suitable lethal drugs, or attempting to manufacture drugs to have something in the medicine cabinet - just in case their illness worsens. These people are not mass murderers; they are ordinary (usually elderly) Australians who want control of their lives. It is regrettable that Australians are forced to do this because of the absence of an Australian legislative regime.
People who would choose to have voluntary euthanasia are concerned about their dignity and quality of life, rather than the extension of their life if this involves unnecessary pain, suffering and indignity. If those who oppose euthanasia wish to have unnecessary pain, suffering and indignity, then they may do so. That is everybody’s choice. But euthanasia opponents must not deny others that choice and arrogantly insist, often though sustained pressure for legislative opposition to euthanasia, that others too must suffer.
In 2009, a landmark decision in Western Australia's Supreme Court gave Christian Rossiter, a Perth quadriplegic, the right to refuse food from his care provider on the condition he understood the consequences of his actions. He said that "It's comforting to know that when you say you're going to starve yourself to death no one's going to come along in the night when you've lost consciousness and keep you alive to suffer a bit longer."
This court decision has however posed the following intriguing question. If people have the right to refuse food and die; starving to death over a couple of weeks is inhumane; and societies should not allow people to die inhumanely, then shouldn’t it be reasonable for parliaments to develop a legislative regime for euthanasia to allow people to die humanely and with dignity?
It is difficult to comprehend how many politicians could ignore, or at least fail to act in response to, the incredibly moving and very sad story of Angelique Flowers, the 31-year-old writer who recently died after years of Crohn’s disease and then agonising bowel cancer. She had good palliative care, but it did not alleviate her suffering. Nobody should have to suffer to the extent she did, and vomit faecal matter at the end, but she did. That she had to suffer that way could drive many other Australians to an early demise, in fear, not of death, but of unbearable pain and suffering.
The Pope’s arrogant statement that the ill should pray to find “the grace to accept, without fear or bitterness, to leave this world at the hour chosen by God” is meaningless to those who do not believe in a god, and to many who do. One might suspect that Angelique Flowers would have been very unimpressed, and that most would classify the Pope’s stance as inhumane.
In her eloquent video appeal to the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, which was forwarded to him by Dr Nitschke, Angelique said that “all I want after 16 years of painful Crohn’s disease and now cancer is to die a pain-free peaceful death”. “Because euthanasia was banned in Australia I am denied this right …” Further she said “the law wouldn’t let a dog suffer the agony I’m going through before an inevitable death. It would be put down. Yet under the law, my life is worth less than a dog’s.” Sadly, Kevin Rudd did not respond to the video.
Politicians should consider heartfelt appeals such as that of Angelique Flowers. We cannot, as a civilised society, continue to let people suffer when they are in the most desperate of situations. The large majority of Australians are dissatisfied with the denial of the right to die and the continued intransigence and reluctance of many politicians to support terminally ill Australians. All we need is more politicians with compassion, legislative skills and courage to ensure that individuals have the right to live, and end, their lives with dignity. This is a right that Angelique Flowers was denied. No Australians should have to suffer as she did.
Competent legislators/politicians should be able to develop an effective legislative system for euthanasia. However, Kevin Rudd has been unable to confirm when debate would occur on Greens Senator Bob Brown’s private member’s bill originally introduced a couple of years ago. Senator Brown’s Restoring Territory Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill 2008 would give territory governments the same powers as state governments to legislate for voluntary euthanasia if they wished. Until this Bill is debated in the Parliament, territories are unable to move forward on euthanasia. Whether they vote for euthanasia in their jurisdictions will of course depend on the competence of their legislators and the will of the electorate, but they should at least have the right to enact euthanasia legislation.
Mr Rudd said some time ago that he wouldn't comment on a suggestion euthanasia was already being practised illegally in Australia (Sydney Morning Herald, May 2, 2008). Avoiding the issue doesn’t make it go away.
The Australian Opposition Leader, a devout Catholic, is just as obstinate in his opposition to euthanasia. Politicians who do not act to alleviate the suffering of Australians are arrogantly imposing their personal views on other Australians. It is interesting that when issues such as euthanasia are debated in parliaments, politicians are not required to adopt a party-political position, and are instead allowed to vote according to their “conscience”. It would be hypocritical for anti-euthanasia politicians to vote to impose their religious values on Australians when they would not accept a party-political position being imposed on them. If politicians demand choice (in voting), then they should allow ordinary Australians choice on euthanasia.
I imagine even religious politicians would like to have the choice of dying like Angelique Flowers or having a more peaceful and dignified death. They should not however be allowed to choose for others. Euthanasia is about individual choice and dignity, and for that reason it is a rational and humane cause. Until parliaments have the courage and commitment to act and provide that choice, ordinary Australians will continue to take matters into their own hands.
About the Author
David Swanton is a Canberra-based ethicist and scientist (see www.ethicalrights.com). He is also ACT Chapter Coordinator for Exit International.
Conroy pledges not to broaden filter scope - ABC News 10ay10
Conroy pledges not to broaden filter scope
By Quentin McDermott
Critics of the mandatory filter say the refused classification category is far too broad. (ABC News: Damien Larkins, file photo)
Senator Conroy says the scope of the content covered by the Government's proposed mandatory filter will not be widened by a future Labor government.
"We're making it very clear, this is our policy: refused classification only," Mr Conroy told the ABC's Four Corners program.
"If a majority of the Parliament in the future want to broaden the classification, well then, Australians should stand up and say 'just a minute', and I'll be one of them."
Eighteen months ago Senator Conroy galvanised his critics by suggesting that the scope of a mandatory internet filter would include any online material that was deemed to be "prohibited content" by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
"You can't opt in or out of the prohibited material," he said at the time.
Prohibited material includes not just X-rated content, but also any R-18+ and MA-15+ content that is not protected by an ACMA-approved age-verification gateway restricting access to underage users.
However, last December, Senator Conroy announced the revised secret blacklist of material to be censored by internet service providers (ISPs) would be limited to individual webpages that had been refused classification by the Classification Board.
Refused classification material includes child pornography and detailed instruction in crime or drug use.
But it also includes any material that the Classification Board judges will "offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults".
Critics of the mandatory filter say the category is far too broad.
Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby says he finds it "quite amazing" that anyone would oppose the filter plans.
"The material that the Government is looking to block is illegal material," he told Four Corners.
"I think if people believe that they should be using child pornography, bestiality material, sexual violence or instructions to crime, then really somebody somewhere should be raising a file on them.
"The bigger principle here is to establish the principle that the internet is not a free zone and I think that given the movement of technology and given the expectation of society that what the Government is proposing is therefore a good solution."
On the other side of the debate, Google Australia's head of policy, Iarla Flynn, says the proposed mandatory filter goes too far.
"It's a heavy-handed measure," he said.
"Our primary concern is that the scope of content which the Government is seeking to block is too wide. Remember, this would apply to every internet user in Australia, whether they like it or not."
Legislation to introduce a mandatory internet filter is unlikely to come before Parliament before the next election. But Senator Conroy has made it clear he remains committed to its introduction.
Critics of the filter point to several examples of web content that they say could be blocked under a mandatory filter.
Pages about safe injecting and sites giving tips on how to create graffiti are among those that could be blocked.
Senator Conroy told Four Corners he will not be deciding what is on the list.
"Individual pages will be determined by - at arm's length from government - by the Classification Board, as it should be," he said.
"Stephen Conroy and the Government do not make the individual decisions."
Also liable to be blocked are web pages giving advice on assisted suicide.
The online version of the Peaceful Pill Handbook, written by euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke, has been refused classification.
It can be accessed online from Australia now because the website is hosted overseas. Under a mandatory filter however, it will be blocked from view here, but remain visible to internet users overseas.
Critics of the filter say elements of some extremely popular adult websites may also be censored in future.
The vast majority of adult material on the internet is hosted overseas, and is not directly regulated by ACMA.
One adult film which could be blocked online is called Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge. Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party describes it as "a very mainstream adult film".
This film, which is hosted on websites across the world, is sold in Australian sex shops in two separate parts because it depicts sexual acts, and because there is also violence in the film.
But Ms Patten argues the violence is not sexual violence.
"We're talking cartoon ghosts, cartoon skeletons fighting and pirates having sword-fights," she said.
"So all of that sort of action and adventure scenes had to be put into one disc, and all of the sex scenes put into another disc. This is the only country in the world where this film is split like this and has to be seen separately."
Ms Patten says that if attempts had been made to sell the film unedited it would have been refused classification.
The Classification Board confirmed this view.
"Within the context of actual sex, violence cannot be accommodated, and therefore the film, if it contained actual sex and violence, would have been refused classification," it said.
In future Ms Patten argues every website where the film can be viewed will be liable to be blocked by the Government's mandatory filter.
Other critics of the policy, speaking on Four Corners, point to the policy changes that have occurred since Labor announced a family-friendly cyber-safety policy before the last election.
That policy promised that: "A Rudd Labor Government will require ISPs to offer a clean feed internet service to all homes, schools and public internet points accessible by children, such as public libraries.
"Labor's ISP policy will prevent Australian children from accessing any content that has been identified as prohibited by ACMA, including sites such as those containing child pornography and X-rated material."
The Government has now accepted that it will not be possible to mandate ISPs to provide a broad-brush clean feed internet service in this way.
In defending its current policy to limit the scope of censored online material to content which has been refused classification, Senator Conroy concedes that "if you try and do a broader range of things at the mandatory level, then you are likely to have a serious impact on the speed of the internet".
Colin Jacobs, vice-chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia, says the current plan has no cyber-safety benefit and is a clear move away from the policy Labor originally promised.
Chief executive of the Internet Industry Association Peter Coroneos agrees.
"A lot of the content that families really are concerned about for their children - things like violent material, racial hatred material, material which promotes race hate, maybe even just adult content that you wouldn't want your children to see - none of that will be picked up by this filtering solution," he said.
Voluntary scheme ruled out
The Government has also conceded that it will not be able to censor high-traffic websites like YouTube and that the filter will be possible to circumvent.
Even so, Senator Conroy is refusing to follow the example of other countries, such as the UK, Canada and New Zealand, by agreeing to limit the scope of the filter to child pornography and by allowing ISPs to filter out child pornography on a voluntary basis.
Mr Coroneos told Four Corners he has approached the Minister offering a voluntary scheme.
"We've actually approached the government on several occasions to propose a solution that would be consistent with best practice in other jurisdictions," he said.
"But for whatever reasons, the government is intent on pursuing a legislative course here."
Senator Conroy is determined to legislate.
"They don't need me to invite them, firstly, they could just do it," he said.
"They could have announced it five years ago. They could have announced it 10 years ago. They could have announced it yesterday. They've got a policy opposing any form of voluntary ISP filtering of anything."
Senator Conroy told Four Corners he and the United States Government are "going to agree to disagree" on the issue of a mandatory internet filter.
The US State Department has raised concerns about the proposal with the Australian Government.
While standing firm on his intent to legislate, Senator Conroy does concede that he has been troubled by the secrecy of the blacklist which will contain the list of webpages to be blocked if a mandatory filter is introduced.
"One of the things I've really struggled with, genuinely struggled with, is this argument that you should publish the list," he said.
"Because unlike with books or movie titles, when you publish those you don't give access to the material.
"The problem is if you publish a webpage address, you give direct access to the material."
Watch the full report on tonight's Four Corners at 8:30pm on ABC1.
Nitschke shows how to bypass web filters - SMH 8May10
Nitschke shows how to bypass web filters
May 8, 2010
Sydney Morning Herald
About 200 elderly people have been shown how to bypass internet filters to access information on do-it-yourself suicide, ahead of federal government plans to restrict access to certain web content.
Voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide advocacy group Exit International held a "hacking masterclass" workshop on Sydney's north shore on Friday.
Those at the workshop were given tips on how to use proxy servers and virtual networks to slip past filters, such as the ones the government is proposing, to find information on "safe suicide".
Exit International founder and director Philip Nitschke said he wasn't concerned about the legal ramifications of holding the workshop.
The workshop was closed to the media but reporters were able to attend a briefing beforehand.
"We're not concerned because the law hasn't come in yet," Dr Nitschke said at a community centre in Chatswood where the workshop was held.
"In fact, we've recently heard that the federal government, at least (Communications Minister) Stephen Conroy, has almost suggested that when the law comes in, it may not be a crime to tell people how you could bypass it."
The government in 2009 announced plans to block access to certain websites discussing euthanasia and assisted suicide, which is against the law, as well as sites devoted to pornographic and other illegal activities.
The government and Senator Conroy have been accused of censoring the internet.
Dr Nitschke said it was important to allow access to accurate information for people who were interested in ending their lives.
"If you know what you're doing, then you're not so afraid of the options and you then have choice, and when you have choice you're less inclined to do desperate and dangerous things," he said.
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).
© 2010 AAP
Internet censorship remains part of Conroy's agenda - The Australian 8May10
Internet censorship remains part of Conroy's agenda
May 08, 2010
The government has postponed its web-filtering legislation to defuse it as an election issue
IT was ironic that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced the postponement of his internet filtering legislation via an adviser last week. Advice was not something he was fond of taking. Sensing a voter backlash on the legislation, which was supposed to be introduced into the parliament before the federal election, Rudd and Conroy are banking on removing it as an election issue. But will they?
If Conroy had introduced the legislation before the election, he might have risked the ire of the Greens and Electronic Frontiers Australia, but at least it would have been done and dusted. It would then be up to other political parties to say that they would try to overturn it, a much more difficult task. Now the election could be turned in part into a referendum on the issue.
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Labor's private polling on internet filtering has consistently shown that a large number of computer-illiterate mums and dads are worried about what their kids can access online. They want Conroy to make it safer for them. This is the reason he has continued to withstand so much virulent criticism from those who do not live in a nuclear family and who do not feel threatened by the internet. They include people who use it for business, those who use it for pleasure and those, especially in their 20s and30s, who use it as a way of social networking.
On this point Conroy has seriously misunderstood the fears that business has about how a national internet filter could degrade our already under-performing online environment. Not just the technical performance of internet service providers, which will have to scan all their traffic all the time, but whether he will blacklist international business sites such as Amazon and YouTube that sell or offer a host of material that would be refused classification (RC) under Australia's proposed prudish censorship laws.
He also has miscalculated the number of people who use the internet to seek out sexual material. At last count there were 238 million adult sex sites on the internet and millions of searches every day are for sexually related material. Does Conroy think all these people live in Upper Volta or New Zealand? His insistence on calling them pedophiles and perverts has only hardened their resolve to bring him down. Sexual pleasure on the internet is a personal freedom that many adults will not give up lightly.
The networking and social sites are the new pubs and clubs for generations X and Y, and they resent government intrusion into these areas like a Digger would resent government monitoring the local RSL. Conroy is oblivious to these concerns and, privately, very angry these people won't see his point of view. It's a Mexican stand-off where Conroy has put his revolver back into its holster but it's still cocked and loaded.
There is every chance a post-election internet filter will be more censorious than the proposed pre-election one. The Rudd government has been quietly increasing controls on sexual material coming into the country through other means. Anyone coming back to Australia from an overseas trip now has a new question on their incoming passenger card. It asks if you have any pornography in your suitcase. They've also raised the bar for those who bring in more than 25 DVDs that would be refused classification such as a DIY euthanasia film or an adult film where a couple spanks each other; both of which are available on Amazon and YouTube. Yet you can get five years' jail for them now.
Australian Christian Lobby chief executive Jim Wallace has boasted publicly of having numerous meetings with Conroy about banning sexual imagery in Australian homes and Rudd addressed the group's national conference last November. With another four years to run after an election win, Conroy could go back to the original plan he floated, which was to blacklist the X18+ classification entirely.
Conroy changed his mind about this one night on SBS television's Insight program in March last year when challenged by Australian Sex Party leader Fiona Patten. She pointed out X18+ material was legal in Australia and that filtering legal adult erotica would be the thin end of the wedge.
Suddenly, he changed his policy to "we will only ban material that is refused classification and already illegal".
Curiously, Conroy fronted Patten in the green room after the show and regaled her with "Why didn't you just call me about this? We could have sorted it out. You didn't have to set up a political party against us."
The threat of a new party focused on the internet filter didn't deter him, though. Not even blinding inconsistencies and duplications such as the fact the new blacklist of illegal sites will sit on top of an existing blacklist that has different parameters. Under the present Broadcasting Services Act introduced by the Howard government in 1999, the Australian Communications and Media Authority maintains a blacklist of prohibited content that includes X18+ content, R18+ content that does not have a restricted access system and content that is even classified MA15+ and provided by a mobile premium service. This list is secret to the public and supplied to filtering companies.
According to Conroy, this list will remain alongside the new one, which will blacklist only refused classification material. Why?
Unbelievably, the Coalition is edging closer to supporting this farce unless it degrades the network or can be proven to be technically obstructive. Coalition communications spokesman Tony Smith is beginning to shift from John Howard's old policy, which was that the millions of dollars that government spent on providing free end-user software to families should be put to use by parents without having to duplicate the whole thing at ISP level.
Through senator Scott Ludlam, the Greens appear to be leading the charge in the parliament against the filter. But when you consider they preselected the architect of Conroy's internet filter, Clive Hamilton, at last December's Higgins by-election, you have to wonder about their commitment. There are plenty of rumours going around that they will do it again. Preselecting Hamilton for a marginal Victorian reps seat would be a huge mistake for the Greens and would undermine much of Ludlam's efforts to date. And that pretty much leaves the Sex Party, a political party that was founded on the issue of internet filtering, to lead the charge.
Conroy may think he has won the battle but this war is far from over. In the green room no one can hear you scream.
Net filter circumvention: it's completely legal - itnews 4May10
Net filter circumvention: it's completely legal
By Liz Tay
May 4, 2010
Unmonitored, unreported and completely legal.
The Federal Government's $23.8m ISP-level internet filtering initiative will not block encrypted content or web applications and can be circumvented legally, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has admitted.
In an official response to parliamentary questions on notice released yesterday, Senator Conroy said he had attended an hour-long demonstration of filter circumvention on 5 June 2009.
He was shown how to get around the ISP-level filter using free proxy network TOR and Virtual Private Network (VPN) techniques at the Enex TestLab in Victoria.
Although Enex expected "technically competent" users to be able to circumvent the filter, Conroy said monitoring circumvention attempts would not be required by the Government.
"ISPs will not be required to block circumvention attempts by their customers or end users," he said.
While he said it would be "irresponsible" of the Government to publish circumvention techniques, the Government took no measures to prevent other organisations from doing so.
Euthanasia advocacy group Exit International held a "hacking masterclass" for senior citizens last month, and Electronic Frontiers Australia planned to make public as much information about the filter as possible.
When asked if an ISP would be held responsible for knowingly allowing customers to bypass the filter, Conroy reiterated that ISPs would not be required to block circumvention attempts.
He said the same to whether ISPs would be allowed to offer a service or product that enabled circumvention.
"The capacity of filters to detect and provide warnings on circumvention was not tested during the pilot as none of the filtering solutions provided such granular controls including monitoring and alerting, and it is not a requirement of the Government's policy," he said.
Internet Industry Association (IIA) CEO Peter Coroneos was sceptical of the filter's effectiveness.
"While we support many of the Government's efforts in the online security sphere, we aren't convinced that it [the filter] will have anything more than symbolic value," he told iTnews.
While the IIA did not believe that the internet should be "unregulated and unrestricted in all ways", Coroneos said the filter would only give families a false belief that their children could not access unsavoury material.
"It remains our concern that much of the worst of the worst content will escape the filter and people are given a false sense of security," he said.
"The reality is, access to this content remains unaddressed and really could only be addressed by the families themselves."
Last week, Conroy's Department for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said filter legislation would not be introduced to parliament until "later this year".
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, whose questions on notice prompted Conroy's current response, urged the Government to abandon its net filter plan completely.
"The Government needs to clearly indicate that it's going to scrap the idea completely and work on a new policy in collaboration with all stakeholders," Ludlam said in a statement last Thursday.
"Opposition against the internet filter is widespread because it will do precisely nothing to curb the distribution of illegal material online, while establishing the architecture for greater government censorship in the future."
Means to an end - Courier Mail 1May10
Means to an end
SAT 01 MAY 2010,
By Trent Dalton
They are hoarding lethal drugs in their homes, attending workshops on ways to end their lives. For the old and sick, there must be another way.
'They don’t want to be a burden to their family. They want to do things themselves.'
'Acute medical managers rescue people so often they forget that they don’t cure them sometimes.'
'They just kept upping his morphine dose. He didn't know we were there.'
They are old and they are desperate; senior citizens seated with writing pads on their thighs, scribbling notes on how to kill themselves.
These 13 women and one man, aged in their seventies and eighties, are gathered in a private meeting room of the Brisbane Square Library in George Street in the city. Some are so frail that it seems an effort to kick their pen hands into motion. Memories are unreliable at this age so it's essential to put specifics to paper. One woman's illness has left her vision-impaired.
Her friend takes notes for her.
"There are five things you will need," says John Todd, Brisbane president of voluntary euthanasia (VE) group Dying with Dignity Queensland. "This is totally legal. Every item is freely available." One can be bought from a toy shop, he says. Another from a well-known haberdashery chain. He makes suggestions, offers handy hints and tips. It feels like a hardware store workshop on how to build a cubbyhouse. There is a complex series of processes he demonstrates - which Qweekend will not detail - ending with Todd placing a plastic bag over his head. He gives measurements, guests take notes. "We don't suffer stress," he says calmly. "We think we're still breathing." His voice softens. "And we simply and comfortably die within eight minutes." Guests nod. "Oh, that's good," says one. This, for the 14 elderly parents and grandparents in this room, is a realistic end-of-life option. "What's that item called?" asks the woman next to me.
Todd explains. The woman writes it down. She smiles and whispers in my ear: "I'm not much of a handywoman." Her eyes are tired and bloodshot. Lesions cover her hands and face.
She slumps in her chair, limp, as if there are no bones left in her body to keep her upright.
Another woman raises her hand, eyeing an apparatus that's key to the process: "I'm a bit frail. I'm wondering if I could lift that upstairs?" The practical questions keep coming: "How much does that cost?"; "Will I be strong enough to turn that knob?"; "Can I take something to cope with the claustrophobia?" These people addressed the big questions long ago. Am I ready to die? What's waiting beyond? Death doesn't concern them. Their only concern is their family. What they will think of Grandma ending her life - not fighting the good fight.
Most don't tell their loved ones they will be attending such workshops. They will not burden them. They will not burden the health system. They will bow out quietly. Peacefully.
In bed. In control. A good death, they hope.
"Will the autopsy report say I died of natural causes?" asks one guest. Todd cites ten cases of people who used this "exit" method and "they were all seen to have died by natural causes".
The elderly man asks about a particular element in the process being found in the bloodstream. "I don't believe they [authorities] will go to that trouble," Todd says. A woman raises her hand: "Can't I just leave a note saying I don't want an autopsy?" "I'm sorry," says Todd, "you may not have any choice in the matter. But if you can make it look like a natural death, they may leave it at that." He mentions the importance of having someone present; to not simply let a relative stumble on your lifeless body surrounded by end-of-life paraphernalia.
Todd, who watched his father suffer through a painful death, runs these workshops every three months or so in Brisbane. He calls himself a humanist. He renounced religion at 33. He's now in his sixties and has been part of the VE movement for more than a decade.
"Death is a problem for religious people," he says. "It's not a problem for humanists." Todd was one of 21 VE supporters at the bedside of Nancy Crick when she took her own life with drugs washed down with a glass of Irish liqueur at her Gold Coast home on May 22, 2002. Crick became a beacon for Dr Philip Nitschke's pro-VE movement. She had suffered from bowel cancer and said she endured unbearable pain, although an autopsy revealed that at the time of her death she was cancer-free.
Todd reads to this audience a quote from Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson reported in newspapers in 2004 after it was decided that charges of assisting a suicide would not be laid against any of the 21 who were present at Crick's death. "Actually being present when someone takes their life does not in itself constitute an offence," Atkinson said.
Guests nod with relief. "On that basis we have gone ahead," says Todd. Gone ahead with "how to" workshops like this. Such are the muddy waters of end-of-life in Queensland:
people making the most serious of decisions based on a simple six-year-old statement from the police commissioner.
A hand goes up: "If I drive someone to a store to buy [end-of-life apparatus], does that mean I'm assisting her suicide?" "I don't know," says Todd.
Another hand goes up: "Is this better than taking Nembutal?" Nembutal, the barbiturate pentobarbital, illegal in Australia except when used by vets to put down animals, is what Nitschke considers the most effective of the so-called "peaceful pills". He used it to help four people to die in the Northern Territory under euthanasia laws the territory introduced in 1996. The federal government subsequently overturned those laws.
Todd favours the method he has just outlined: "I watched Nancy Crick end her life.
It took 15 minutes. It's not bad. But one woman who took Nembutal, she lived for a day and she was resuscitated." Guests draw breath. VE supporters are strongly against resuscitation. To be resuscitated would be the ultimate indignity.
Standing at the meeting room doorway is 75-year-old Margaret Anderson, who helps Todd at workshops. For 17 years she watched her husband's body degenerate through motorneurone disease until he finally choked to death in a violent and disturbing scene. She is considering having the words "Do Not Resuscitate" tattooed on her wrist.Todd puts his hands together, close to wrapping up the workshop.
"Now, are you all aware of the case of Frank Ward?" On the Gold Coast, 65-year-old Elaine Arch-Rowe begin remembers Frank Ward phoning her once. She runs the Gold Coast chapter of Nitschke's 5000-member VE group, Exit International (a separate group from Todd's Dying with Dignity Queensland). "I have so many people call me for information," says Arch-Rowe. "I can't remember what I told Ward. But I'm sure I would have told him to leave a note. Always leave a note." Ward, 76, was found dead in his Brisbane home in June last year. After a police investigation that reportedly involved a raid on the Melbourne office of Exit International, 48year-old Merin Nielsen of Mount Nebo, north Brisbane, appeared in a Brisbane court in February charged with importing pentobarbital and aiding Ward's suicide. Nielsen is due to appear in court again next week.
With no charges laid relating to Nancy Crick's death, Nitschke says this would be the first assisted-suicide prosecution in Queensland. Such prosecutions have been rare in Australia. The most high-profile has been that of 60-year-old Shirley Justins, who was convicted in NSW in 2008 of manslaughter after giving Nembutal to her partner, retired Qantas pilot Graeme Wylie, 71, who had Alzheimer's disease. She was sentenced to 22 months' weekend detention.
In his judgment, NSW Supreme Court Justice Roderick Howie said it was not a test case for euthanasia. "The law holds human life so sacred that a person cannot give some other person permission to take his or her life," he said. "A calculated and unlawful taking of human life is an affront to every aspect of civilised society." Justins' friend Caren Jenning, who illegally imported the Nembutal from Mexico, was convicted of being an accessory to manslaughter, but took her own life (she suffered from breast cancer) with a lethal dose of the drug before her sentencing hearing.
Nitschke claims up to 300 Australians are hoarding Nembutal as "insurance policies" for their future. Arch-Rowe believes at least 70 of those would be in Queensland. "I get asked 'how should I store it?' " she says. "You store it the same way you would store any medicine, in a cool, dry place. But people have got them buried in their gardens. I know of one lady, she had a whole lot of old pills. She'd buried them in the garden and she can't find them. She has no idea where they are. Everyone's memory starts going at a certain age." Nitschke says there is "a huge amount of interest" in the "how to" of voluntary euthanasia in this state. "Some of our biggest gatherings are in Queensland. Where you see large gatherings of retired folk, this becomes a topic of great interest and importance." (One in eight Queenslanders is aged 65 or older; the numbers in this age group are predicted to increase by 157 per cent in the next 20 years.) Despite the interest, the public workshops he runs and the polls in the past 25 years that show 80 per cent of people support VE, Nitschke says he has "all but given up" waging the war to have it legalised in this country. His book, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, is banned here. The Howard government's 2005 Suicide Related Material Offences amendments to the Criminal Code have made it "a crime to talk on the phone about end-of-life methods", he says. It's also a crime to use email or search the internet on the subject. As part of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's national "Clean Feed" internet filtering system, seniors are to be barred from Exit International web pages.
Currently based in Darwin, Nitschke plans to shift his operations to the United States where he says VE conference numbers are doubling by the month. He says he will run online workshops with interested Australian seniors "telling them how they can bypass the government's internet filter".
"We're saying to them, in the absence of any legislative change you're best off looking after yourself," he says. "If the time comes, when you get to the position where death is what you wish, the ability to take that peaceful end-of-life step without involving your wife or husband is much safer and leaves you with the comfort that you haven't left them behind to face a jury." Arch-Rowe says those who seek out the organisation are frightened. "Their main concern is going into a nursing home and certainly going into a hospital. They've got it in their head that they just do not want to do that. They don't want to be a burden to their family. The righttolife people will say you should be a burden to your family, but they're too independent.
They want to do things themselves." She leans in, speaking in a whisper. "You know what people say at meetings? They say nothing is going to change until the government can no longer afford us." These people changed the world, she says; shaped it with their own hands. They lived on their terms and they will die on their terms.
Many have filed Advance Health Directives, legally binding documents detailing their preferred medical treatment should they fall seriously ill or unconscious. Most read the same way: no artificial prolonging of life; no pain control; no hospital beds; no palliative care.
In a small conference room within the cancer care ward of Nambour Hospital, palliative care physician Dr Louise Welch runs through morning handover with palliative-care nurses Diana Charlesworth and Sandie Pott.
Behind them is a whiteboard of patient names sprinkled with coloured magnets. The red dots signify "complex" patient conditions. The blue represent patients in "end-of-life care" - patients who will be medicated in the most comfortable way possible on their journey to death.
Charlesworth updates Welch on a 90-yearold man with cancer of the oesophagus. "He's actually perforated the oesophagus," she says.
"He's nil-by-mouth and he's got an Advance Health Directive stating he wants no treatment whatsoever, and they've had a family meeting and they just want to keep him comfortable.
He's pain-free and he's happy to be left alone." Welch nods, scribbles a note in a folder, then updates Charlesworth on a patient whose cancer has wrapped around her aorta. She was vomiting uncontrollably, suffering spasms through severe pain. "We've put a tube into her tummy and she gets her food and medication through that. She's not having spasms, she's not vomiting and her quality of life is better. She's accepting that she's going to die and she's going to die comfortably. Hubby is accepting it, too.
They're just gorgeous together. They've been together probably 60 years. They're so in love." Pott smiles: "They refuse to cancel their cruise to France next month." They move on to another patient. The man, who has lung cancer, is expected to pass away peacefully in the coming weeks. "That's the family's wish," says Charlesworth. "No intervention." Welch looks to the board: "Put a blue one on him." Welch, 56, who is president of peak advocacy organisation Palliative Care Queensland, deals with death daily. She began her medical career in general practice in 1983 and moved into palliative care eight years ago. She's comforted the dying in far-flung indigenous communities; on the streets of inner-city homeless precincts; in the mansions of millionaires. She shudders at the thought of Todd's exit workshop. "There must be a better way," she says.
She is convinced that the people in such workshops aren't fully aware of how far palliative care and pain control have come. Nobody wants to discuss death, she says, so people embark on private quests, Googling sentences like "How do I die a peaceful death?", going with whatever search results flash before their eyes.
Palliative Care Queensland figures show palliative care can relieve 90 per cent of patients' pain, and that 80 per cent of patients who require it have their needs met. "If you want palliative care, it's certainly very accessible throughout Queensland," says Dr Mark Deuble, a palliative care specialist at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. "It's not just about a painless death. The symptom relief is a part of it but palliative care also tries to address a sense for the patient that they have completed all their life's work - goals, relationships in their life having been fulfilled, having a chance of returning home, contributing to the world in a normal way before they die.
A good death." Deuble says it's relatively easy to relieve pain through morphine and other increasingly sophisticated opioid medicines, but it's more difficult to ensure a meaningful and peaceful death for both patient and family. "Many people are dying in intensive care every day without any of those life issues being addressed, but that's what palliative care does so well." Welch says patients are often swept up in a "fix-it mentality". "It's a fighting culture. The story goes, 'So and so fought cancer to the last breath.' But it's not a war. If the patient's losing the battle they feel inadequate, that they're not fighting hard enough. It's me. I've lost. Then the children say, 'It's okay, Mum, we'll help you fight it.' Excuse me! There's this horrible thing called a cancer just doing its own thing in there and there's nothing - nothing - that will change that.
"Acute medical managers rescue people so often that they forget that they don't cure them sometimes. So they have incredibly sick people and they'll give them a bone marrow transplant and they'll give them chemo and then oncologists give people the most toxic poisons known to man. It's hugely expensive. A particular treatment of lymphoma for one patient is $20,000 a year. My entire [palliative care] drug budget for the Sunshine Coast is $20,000 a year." Just how many palliative care beds and facilities are available in Queensland is hard to quantify, says nurse Carol Hope, vice-president of Palliative Care Queensland. "Queensland Health knows what's out there in their own facilities, [but] because the health coding doesn't match what palliative care does, we do not get a realistic picture," she says. "The reality is 90 per cent of it is done in the community by non-specialist practitioners:
Blue Care nurses, Spiritus, community nurses." Hope, 37, says the situation is made more complex by a medical culture reticent to admit when someone is going to die. "Doctors and nurses see death as such a failure that they don't actually recognise some of the systems when someone is in the last few days of life.
I've been involved in palliative teams in Brisbane and you get six hours to discuss with families that their relative is dying. You're trying to create a plan of action to give someone the most comfortable death they can have and you've got three hours to do it. This is work that should have happened long ago." A palliative care bed costs between $650 and $1100 a day, Hope says. To keep a terminally ill patient in an intensive care unit bed can cost up to $5000 a day. "This is public money. These people would get more appropriate care and quality care in a community [palliative care] setting or in a sub-acute hospice rather than a hospital. You've got to ask the question, why isn't this happening? And my personal opinion is that the reason why is that we live in a culture where death and dying is seen as a failure. It's over-medicalised." Like Welch, Hope has cared for some of the wealthiest members of Australian society. "Very, very influential people. Politicians, prime ministers' relatives, premiers of states, millionaire businessmen and women, they all die. And we can't engage any of those people to be a champion for our sector because nobody wants to talk about what might happen when they die." Palliative Care Queensland receives $95,000 in funding a year from the state government to operate and raise awareness of end-of-life care.
A year ago, CEO John-Paul Kristensen put a donation link on the group's website. It has not attracted a single donation.
Back at Nambour, Welch does her rounds on the cancer care ward. Lung cancer patient Warren Smith is a former rail worker in his late seventies. He's ready to go. He's thought about it. And now he's stopped thinking about it. He just wants to make it to July 22, see in his 60th wedding anniversary.
In Room 4, a family digests a father-of-three's very recent diagnosis of mesothelioma. He doesn't want treatment. The cancer has reached his abdomen and savaged his bowel. He can't take nutrition naturally. Welch reassures the family - the man's children can't be older than 21 - that he will receive medication and nutrition through a machine called a syringe driver. His "terminal event" will ultimately be a gut obstruction, but Welch will do her damnedest to give their dad a painless exit.
Down the aisle is George Murray, 84, who has prostate cancer. He sits in a chair beside his bed. "I'm not sick ... " he says. "But I'm not well, if you know what I mean." Welch nods. Murray is concerned about finding aged care for his wife, who is suffering dementia. It has made him tense, flustered.
Welch informs him the palliative care team is organising community supervision and Meals on Wheels for his wife.
Murray drops his head and cries. "I'm being a real problem, aren't I?" Welch sits on the bed and grips his hand tightly. She's known him since September last year. He drops his head into her shoulder and weeps. "I'm a weaky, aren't I?" he murmurs.
Welch whispers tenderly in his ear: "You just try to take a breath." Beneath a pencil sketch of her late husband Danny, 75-year-old Jill Kleinman reads passages from her Advance Health Directive: "I do not want cardiopulmonary resuscitation. I do not want assisted ventilation.
I do not want artificial hydration. I do not want artificial nutrition. I do not want antibiotics.
I wish to have ultimate pain control but nothing that would affect my dignity as a human being.
I absolutely do not want my life to be artificially prolonged." Kleinman is a member of Exit International.
She remembers watching cancer destroy her husband's body. He battled it for more than a decade, then it spread like wildfire from his colon to his lungs and liver. He woke up one morning in their bed and said, "When am I going to die?" In hospital, doctors told her he would die in his sleep during the night. He survived for five more weeks in intense pain. He was skin and bone. One night she considered holding a pillow over her husband's face while he slept. But she feared him waking, reflexively fighting her off.
"In the end he died from slow euthanasia [in 2000]," she says. "They just kept upping his morphine dose. He was completely out of it. I was with him when he died and so was his daughter but he didn't know we were there. It was absolutely awful." She recalls attending an Exit International meeting where a woman mentioned her husband dying at home in her arms. That's how she would have preferred it to have been with Danny, she says. At home, quiet, maybe with his favourite song, Danny Boy, playing in the background.
Kleinman is not suffering a life-threatening illness. She had her gall bladder removed days ago. Her trained opera singing voice has gone and her arthritis is worsening, but she can still stroll around her Southport home. "But I can't see that I have too long left, actually," she says.
She has made efforts to ensure a peaceful and painless death. Her solicitor has a copy of her Advance Health Directive. She's passed on photos of herself and Danny to family members.
Her choice is to die in her bed down the hall. She will most likely enjoy a glass of champagne before she departs. She will leave a note saying, "I was entirely responsible for this action, by myself. No-one else has helped me." She will rest her head on her pillow and fall asleep. She doesn't expect to see paradise, nor does she expect damnation. The worst outcome would be oblivion, she says, and that's nothing to be scared about. And the best she could hope for is to see Danny.
* www.palliativecareqld.org.au. For 24-hour counselling, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. For information about depression, call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au
Caption: an elderly woman's hands;
on page 18: Take back control ... "Always leave a note," says Elaine Arch-Rowe begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting of Exit International;
- on page 19: Helping hand ... Palliative care doctor Louise Welch with patient George Murray;
- on page 20: Reunited in time ... Jill Kleinman with memories of husband Danny;
- on page 1: I do not want antibiotics. assisted ventilation. artificial hydration. artificial nutrition. cardiopulmonary resuscitation. - I wish to have ultimate pain control but nothing that would affect my dignity as a human being. - I absolutely do not want my life to be artificially prolonged. - Making the toughest call of all (cover of QWeekend) (Jill Kleinman)
IllusBy: getty images; David Kelly
© Copyright. All rights reserved
Filter legislation not drafted: govt forum - ZDNet 29Apr10
Filter legislation not drafted: govt forum
By Renai LeMay,
April 29th, 2010
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) today revealed what it said was evidence that Stephen Conroy's department was hosting a protected online forum to discuss controversial issues about the government's internet filter initiative, including the lack of a complete draft of the planned legislation as of several weeks ago and the possibility of making it an offence to promote methods of circumventing the filter.
Delimiter has sighted apparent screenshots from the forum possessed by the EFA. The digital rights advocacy group believes the site is being hosted internally by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE). In the screenshots, internet service providers (ISPs) such as Pacific Internet and Webshield — which will be required to implement the scheme if it goes ahead — discuss the filter with unnamed departmental officials.
The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been contacted with a list of questions to respond to the information contained in the forum.
In December, Communications Minister Conroy had stated the filter legislation would hit Parliament by March, a time frame echoed by Labor Senator Kate Lundy in early February.
But in a posting on the forum which appeared to be dated 13 April, the department wrote that at that stage "there is no complete draft of the legislation", although the drafting process had commenced.
"One of the purposes of consulting with ISPs through this forum is to seek feedback on issues that will be covered in the legislation, which the department can then take into account in the drafting process," it added.
No decision had yet been taken on whether the government would publicly release an exposure draft of the filter legislation, as it has recently done with similar broadband legislation, the department wrote.
In essence, DBCDE added, the legislation will require ISPs to filter URLs on the Australian Communications and Media Authority's Refused Classification (RC) blacklist, without specifying exactly how they did it — "consistent with usual drafting practice and the desire to keep legislation as technologically neutral as possible".
Pro-choice euthanasia group Exit International and others such as IT reseller ProxyMate.net have already started promoting ways to get around the filter legislation, and Conroy's office has publicly stated it would not be an offence to bypass the filter. But DBCDE warned ISPs against promoting the practice in its posting.
"We would be concerned if an ISP actively promoted sites or instructions for the specific purpose of circumventing the filter," it wrote. "The department is exploring whether the legislation needs to make this deliberate and specific promotion of circumvention an offence or whether it is already adequately addressed through existing offences in legislation."
"Rather than actually driving this policy with available evidence as it assures us it does, the government seems to have established a private echo chamber out of reach of public scrutiny and criticism," said EFA vice chair Geordie Guy.
"The only thing that is more dismaying, is that canvassing of opinion within this secret club seems to be even less successful than it is publicly, and points out where the minister has misdirected Australians on the government's intentions as a bonus prize."
High-traffic sites and games
The forum postings also revealed the department's ideas about other controversial aspects of the internet filtering initiative.
For example, although Conroy has stated that trials have shown that the impact of the filter on internet speeds would be 70 times less than the blink of an eye, the department noted it was currently exploring options for managing high-traffic sites in a way that minimised the risk of customers experiencing a noticeable speed impact.
"This includes options that would see [RC] content hosted on high traffic sites being managed without it having to be included in the RC Content List, and thus filtered by ISPs," it wrote. "These discussions are ongoing, so at this stage the department is unable to provide further detail on exactly how this process might work."
The department noted "as a minimum", the RC Content List — or blacklist — would contain a list of URLs with unencrypted content. But it noted it was aware that there might be some encrypted HTTPS pages — "for example, log in pages" — which could be "seen" by ISPs, and that it was interested in comments on the practicality of including such pages on the blacklist if they had RC content.
The filter legislation will also allow RC video games to be included on the blacklist at some point, depending on whether the federal and state governments decide to introduce an R18+ category for games or not. The Department plans to start by including the websites of RC games on the blacklist so that they cannot be accessed.
"The technicalities of filtering non-HTTP game traffic will be a consideration in any decision regarding filtering online games," wrote the department. "One consideration could be the potential effectiveness of selectively blocking RC game traffic using IP address and port numbers, and of remote updates to that information through Border Gateway Protocol."
The department also clarified questions about what level of RC content will be blocked on individual sites, responding to a Pacific Internet example using The Age newspaper by saying that it was "an accurate illustration of the situation".
The filter will block a URL and any sub-link of that URL on the blacklist.
Pro-suicide bid to slip Net censor - Euthanasia doc speaks out - Courier Mail 28Apr10
Pro-suicide bid to slip Net censor - Euthanasia doc speaks out
WED 28 APR 2010,
By Trent Dalton
'The one unifying interest for these people is getting access to good information about how they can peacefully die' - Philip Nitschke
EUTHANASIA campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke has warned of an end-of-life crisis facing Queensland as a ``grey tsunami'' continues to swell the state's population.
Dr Nitschke said seniors will resort to desperate measures should the Rudd Government restrict access to reliable voluntary euthanasia information through its proposed internet censorship.
Last Saturday, Dr Nitschke welcomed 120 seniors to a suicide workshop in Toowong that featured a ``hacking masterclass'' showing seniors how to get around the proposed filter.
``It was the biggest turnout we've had so far to a workshop,'' said Dr Nitschke, who has spent six months touring workshops across Australia, Europe and US.
``Queensland is an area where we have a huge amount of interest. Where you see large gatherings of retired folk, this becomes a topic of great interest and importance.''
The Government's Clean Feed internet policy will bar seniors from accessing Dr Nitschke's Exit International website where they can download his Peaceful Pill Handbook. The document details ways of obtaining Nembutal, a lethal drug illegally imported from Mexico and South-East Asia by Australian euthanasia supporters.
One Gold Coast member of Exit International told The Courier-Mail at least 70 Queenslanders are currently storing away illegally obtained bottles of Nembutal for what Nitschke calls an ``insurance policy''.
Devised by a leading Australian computer hacker, the masterclass showed seniors how to get through the Government's filtering technology using their home computers.
The suicide workshop was broken into sections: DIY Death; Sourcing liquid veterinary Nembutal from overseas & legal issues; Long term storage and testing of lethal drugs; The Hypoxic death (helium v. nitrogen), a practical lawful option; Carbon Monoxide.
``Death is difficult to talk about,'' said Dr Nitschke. ``The Government's internet filter plan makes it even harder for elderly people. The one unifying interest for these people is getting access to good information about how they can, if they want to, peacefully die. In other words, they want to know how to kill themselves.
``They want reliability. They fear doing something wrong. They are getting anxious. Sometimes they become quite desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
``If the Federal Government thinks it's a good idea to keep people deprived of good information then they have to explain why one of the commonest methods used by the elderly (to take their own lives) is by hanging themselves. That's an extremely grim death.
``Those who deprive these people of good information and force them down that horrible path I think have some explaining to do.''
Dr Nitschke said he has all but given up trying to legalise voluntary euthanasia in Australia, preferring to focus his efforts on the US, where his workshop numbers are doubling by the year.
Caption: WEB WARNING: Dr Philip Nitschke says his euthanasia information website will be blocked by Australia's internet censors
L'Australie projette de filtrer Internet au nom de la lutte contre la pédophilie - Le Monde 27Apr10
L'Australie projette de filtrer Internet au nom de la lutte contre la pédophilie
Marie-Morgane Le Moël
Canberra veut dresser une liste noire des sites Internet dont l'accès serait bloqué.
Consulter un site Internet consacré à l'euthanasie sera-t-il bientôt impossible en Australie ? La question agite le pays, où un projet de filtrage du Web indigne les spécialistes d'Internet comme les défenseurs des droits civiques, qui craignent de voir l'accès aux sites évoquant des sujets polémiques proscrit.
Au centre du débat, Stephen Conroy. Le ministre des télécommunications veut lutter contre les contenus pornographiques - surtout pédopornographiques - en interdisant une liste de sites. Cette "blacklist", qui pourrait inclure des milliers d'adresses, sera dressée par l'Autorité australienne des médias et des télécommunications et maintenue secrète. Tous les fournisseurs d'accès (FAI) seront tenus de bloquer les sites incriminés.
Pour le gouvernement, il s'agit de créer un Internet plus sûr, en particulier pour les enfants. Mais en dehors de quelques associations chrétiennes, il est difficile de trouver des défenseurs du filtrage en Australie. Beaucoup dénoncent les risques de dérive. En effet, si les sites interdits doivent être liés principalement "au viol, à la bestialité, à l'inceste, à la violence sexuelle", la classification des contenus reste suffisamment floue pour que beaucoup d'autres sites se retrouvent inclus dans la liste noire. Seront ainsi classés "RC" ("refused classification") aussi bien des sites à caractère pédophile que des sites pornographiques ou des pages Web évoquant l'utilisation de drogues.
"La catégorie RC est trop vaste. Elle inclut tout contenu donnant des instructions pour commettre un crime. Par exemple, écrire des graffitis est un délit, donc des sites sur les graffitis pourraient être bannis. L'euthanasie est un crime : les sites en parlant pourront être interdits", s'inquiète Iarla Flynn, représentant de Google Australie. "Le problème, c'est qu'il n'y a aucun moyen de faire appel", s'irrite Philip Nitschke, directeur de l'association Exit International, qui milite en faveur de l'euthanasie.
"JUSTIFIER LA CENSURE"
En Australie, les protestations se multiplient donc depuis des mois, entre pétitions et journées de black-out de sites Internet. Exit International propose même des ateliers d'informatique pour les personnes âgées. "On leur apprend à contourner le filtre, ce qui se fait de façon relativement simple", dit M. Nitschke. En dehors des problèmes éthiques, c'est l'efficacité du filtrage qui est mise en doute. "Les contenus pédophiles s'échangent en peer-to-peer [partage de fichiers]. Pas sur des sites Web", prévient Dan Warne, journaliste au magazine informatique APC. S'ajoute à cela la crainte que le débit Internet ne soit ralenti. "On a des doutes sur l'aspect technique", commente M. Flynn.
Les critiques s'étendent à l'étranger. "Nous avons été capables d'accomplir les objectifs de l'Australie, c'est-à-dire de retrouver et poursuivre les personnes responsables de pédopornographie sans avoir à utiliser de filtres Internet. Il y a d'autres moyens", a déclaré, en avril, Jeffrey Bleich, l'ambassadeur américain à Canberra. Reporters sans frontières (RSF) a placé l'Australie dans sa liste des pays à surveiller.
"Le filtre enverra un mauvais signal aux pays non démocratiques qui pourraient ainsi justifier leur propre censure", soutient M. Flynn. S'il existe bien des filtrages dans des pays européens, la plupart ne sont pas obligatoires. Et lorsqu'il est imposé, le filtrage n'a pas la même ampleur, selon une étude de l'université de Nouvelle-Galles du Sud. Ainsi, l'Allemagne l'a introduit en 2009, spécifiquement pour les contenus à caractère pédophile.
Le projet sera proposé au Parlement dans quelques mois. Canberra ne semble pas prêt à céder. "Il est inquiétant de voir que malgré toutes les craintes de compagnies internationales, et même des Etats-Unis, le gouvernement persiste : en cette année électorale, il prête une oreille plus attentive aux lobbies chrétiens", regrette M. Nitschke.
Australian Gambling Device or Just Technology? - Gambling911 25Apr10
Australian Gambling Device or Just Technology?
As our beloved internet and technology becomes more advanced, increasing questions are being asked about such matters in Australia such as when is a gambling device not a gambling device, but just a computer, and visa versa... you get the idea punters. Internet enabled mobile phones can access gambling and gaming by nature on the web, needless to say internet kiosks and computers sitting at the ready in an internet cafe can do the same, at least in free countries. In the meantime passionate web surfers, journalists and gamblers have started to mask their website surfing via proxy. Media Man and Gambling911 investigate...
Computer Terminals Strategically Place At Aussie Pubs And Hotels...
Manufacturers of a touch-screen computer kiosk offering internet access, which gambling authorities seized from a Melbourne pub as a "suspected illegal betting device", advise they have given up waiting to be potentially prosecuted and are seeking a court to order for the device be returned so they can roll truck loads more!
The situation gives prominence to what could be regarded as a real and practical test of outdated gambling regulations in an internet age. In the meantime the Victorian government, which is preparing to award its updated wagering licence, officials from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation confiscated the computer from the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne over 6 months ago.
The wagering licence, including exclusive retail rights in pubs, is held by Aussie gaming giant Tabcorp, which complained about the machine in question to authorities last year. The new wagering licence is expected to come into play in 2012.
We learn the device does by design showcase and feature access to gambling (and other industry sectors). VenueNet, understood to be a marketing based group, developed the computer kiosks and has a deal with Sportsbet to provide access to Sportsbet and other services through the device, which it's keen to roll out in Australian pubs, hotels and the like nationwide.
A magistrate is due to hear the case tomorrow but it is uncertain if the hearing will proceed at this stage.
VenueNet's chairman, John Thompson, advises delays in prosecuting the matter had cost his firm millions and he was seriously considering seeking compensation.
Mr Thompson is ready for war it appears, based on his preparation of information. Makers of the hard drive and equipment contained in the kiosk have provided sworn statements stating the machine is no different to other computer kiosks they supply, likes ones found at airports. It allows customers, via the web, to access Sportsbet's website and use a Sportsbet betting account, but the computer terminal itself doesn't accept or record bets.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation lodged an appeal with the Victorian Supreme Court to stop Sportsbet being heard in the magistrates court, as a third party in the case, on legal issues relating to the seizure warrant.
The commission is understood to be seeking access to more material from VenueNet before laying charges.
Smart cookies from Deloittes have examined the machine for the commission to determine how it operates.
The commissioner, Peter Cohen, advised he thinks the machine was illegal. "The (commission) is still of the view that it is an unauthorised instrument of betting," he said.
Mr Thompson said VenueNet was not willing to try the machine in other states until the Victorian case had been determined.
"I think we'd face something like that until this is resolved. Everyone's focusing on this."
iPhone "Gambling" Apps On Aussie Mobiles...
iPhone applications down under feature simulated poker machine games (pokies) were irresponsible and should be outlawed, says passionate anti gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon.
Slot machines applications can be accessed and downloaded for free and are identical in payouts and features to machines in most clubs, pubs and casinos.
The games offer a number of options. One game allows the user to change the interface and use photographs on their iPhone as the jackpot symbols. You can even switch between five and six reels, and alter the success of the payouts from low, medium or `dream'!
"There needs to be a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling laws because otherwise we will see a new wave of problem gamblers as soon as these kids turn 18," Senator Xenophon said.
One application is produced by Big Fish games, based in Seattle, Washington, with offices also in Canada and Ireland. They also sell a downloadable version of the game online.
Australian Web Surfers Learning How To Hide, Mask, Internet Tracks Via Proxy...
Born and trained from a somewhat surprising source of mischief making, Exit International (Euthanasia body), "Hacking Masterclass" has punters keen to learn more. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but these "old dogs" are teaching mums and dads, journalists and passionate gamblers "new tricks", and we thank them for it.
The group is now holding "Hacking Masterclass" seminars around Australia to teach people how they can defy the federal government's proposed internet filter (and in the process obtain suicide information)! Jesus, do we need more gamblers to know about this based on Gambling911 and Media Man reports over the past few months... read on... we know you want to...
Exit International advises its "Hacking Masterclass" will show the elderly and dying how to use proxy servers and virtual networks so they can slip past the filter and find information on "safe suicide".
Word is spreading to the gaming and gambling community of their educational course and we understand they may be expecting a younger, more gaming savvy bush tacker bag of new students next semester. Enrollments are understood to be filling fast.
It was divulged last year that the government plans to block access to certain websites discussing euthanasia and assisted suicide (which is currently illegal in Australia) in addition to websites devoted to pornographic and other illegal activities! Sounds good hey?
The federal government and Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy have been widely criticised for their censorship agenda, by the United States government among others. Last week Media Man tipped off the United Nations, The Elders and Virgin United, and was thanked for the information. By the next day Australian newspapers had reported on the Australian Government changing details of Australian human rights policy and detail, we kid you not!
Exit International brainchild, founder and director, Philip Nitschke advised 100 people had signed up to the first five-and-a-half-hour "Safe Suicide Workshop" to be held in Perth, Western Australia. Follow up workshops have also been conducted in Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Canberra gets their education on April 30) and Sydney siders on lucky May 7).
The good doctor Nitschke said the seminars would teach people how to circumvent the proposed internet filter so they could access information designed to end their lives quickly and painlessly.
"It certainly shows how you can go about bypassing the filter using proxy servers or setting up your own virtual network, and we will be going into that. In fact, it's so easy to get around - according to the information we've received - you wonder why the federal government is pursuing it with such vigour. We can only assume it's because they are intending on making a statement, rather than being too concerned about the actual practicalities of the issue."!
Dr Nitschke said among those who had already signed up, only a few were terminally ill.
"These are rational people making rational decisions, and obstacles shouldn't be put in their path ... which is why I think the numbers of people attending these sorts of safe suicide workshops is increasing. Suicide is not a crime in this country."
Dr Nitschke said the Hacking Masterclass was devised after a similar workshop in Sydney on April 1, spearheaded by Newcastle-based internet expert David Campbell.
About 80 seniors, many with laptop computers, attended and learned.
"The class will be in plain language that everyone can understand," Dr Nitschke said.
A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said contrary to popular belief, euthanasia would not be targeted by the proposed internet filter.
"Discussion about euthanasia is not content that would be deemed refused classification," she said.
Philip Nitschke's book 'The Peaceful Pill' was found to be refused classification
Punters, there you have it. Fun and games with computer terminals, mobile phone applications and ways to get around the Aussie internet filter, thanks to the good doctor.
Keep up the good fight. We salute Aussie diggers, The Anzacs, who yesterday celebrated and remembered Anzac Day, and we remind readers to stay vigilant as Governments of the world attempt to fight freedom of speech loving citizens and journalists.
Be your own super hero (until the Aussie government may try to ban Marvel Entertainment icon Iron-Man), and American friends, keep an eye out for fellow freedom fighter (or hero, or both) 'Captain America'. Punters are reminded that a range of Marvel super hero themed games (free and pay) can be found at good casinos like PartyGaming's PartyCasino, and Virgin Casino, and steps are on the way to see internet casino games become legal in the United States.
Most online casinos remain easy to access in both Canada and Australia. Virgin does not currently offer a service to Australians, however their 'A World Of My Own' (AWOMO) may change that in the near future. Still got the Anzac spirit or a bit of fight in you? Captain Cooks Casino offers 'Bomber Girls' and PartyCasino 'Top Gun', 'The Terminator' and 'Mission: Impossible'. Rumors persist of a major game maker developing an online slot game featuring anti censorship themes. NFL, AFL, TNA UFC, Ned Kelly, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Watchmen and The Avengers online slot game whispers also persist.
Media Man and Gambling911 say bring it on. James Packer 50% owned Betfair is aiming to soon offer Australians an online casino and online poker service. Australian media and horse racing identity, Alan Jones, continues to snap the whip at the Aussie racing sector calling for unity, as Jones' for one is aware that there's room for improvement in the Australian gaming and racing landscape. The igaming industry continues to move at lighting speed, which is about as quick as the speed of news! Good punting, happy hunting, and don't do anything we wouldn't do. Most importantly, have fun.
*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
Crashing through the firewall of death - Herald Sun 22Apr10
Crashing through the firewall of death
April 22, 2010
Dr Philip Nitschke teaches elderly how to hack net to access suicide manual
CAPTION: Philip Nitschke shows Dr Vaike Aldridge how to skirt firewalls to gain access to "The Peaceful Pill" information websites at Burnside Community Hall and, inset, Dr Nitschke speaks to the audience. Pictures: Dean Martin.
EUTHANASIA supporter Dr Philip Nitschke is racing around the country teaching the elderly how to hack the internet to access his suicide manual.
The urgency is driven by the Federal Government's proposed internet filter, which would block euthanasia sites, including some on euthanasia.
About 75 people attended yesterday's meeting at Burnside, a suburb of Adelaide, which included a safe-suicide workshop and internet hacking master class.
Dr Nitschke is the founder of Exit International, which offers the Peaceful Pill Handbook on its website. His workshops are restricted to those who are ill or aged over 50.
In the past week, more than 200 people have attended hacking courses in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Dr Nitschke told the group yesterday that suicide was not a crime but helping someone to die was. "It's a major crime, we're talking major crime here," he said.
"Don't leave the ones you love with serious legal consequences,"
Dr Nitschke took the audience through reliable and unreliable ways of ending lives and explained how to bypass any filter firewall the Government might construct.
He maintained it was not illegal to teach people how to circumvent a law that did not yet exist.
"Australia is becoming well known for its use of censorship," he said. "They're using that as a strategy to direct society in a way the Government thinks it should go.
"The Government wants to put a wall there and what I'm going to show you is how you can go straight through that wall," he said.
Dr Vaike Aldridge, of Belleview Heights, said she was healthy but wanted control of her life.
"I've very angry that a ban is put on organisations like Exit, where people in desperate need have less access to things they need to know," she said.
Brenda Keen, 73, travelled from Vicotr Harbor to attend yesterday's workshop.
She described herself as "fit as a fiddle" but said she would end her life rather than go into a nursing home if she could no longer cope.
"I don't want that for my life," she said.
"People don't realise how much things change as you're getting older. I have control over my own life now and I want to keep that control."
Retired electronics engineer "Dennis", who did not want to be identified, said he would not allow the government to block his access to euthanasia instructions.
"I think federal politics is full of extreme religious individuals and the majority of the population don't have those extreme religious beliefs," he said.
"For 10 pre cent of people, hospice care fails and they die in agony.
"I don't want a prolonged death."
Euthanasia is defined as a third party administering lethalmedication to a patient.
* Voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in all states and territories of Australia.
* The Northern Territory passed right to die legislation on May 25, 1995, but it was overturned nine months later by the Federal Government.
* In the US, Oregon was the first state to pass a Death with Dignity (DWD) Act in 1994. The law was implemented in 1997. Washington state also has the law with Montana predicted to follow soon.
* In Switzerland assisted suicide has been legal since the 1940s.
* The Netherlands has gradually decriminalised voluntary euthanasia over the past 20 years and it is now legal for people 16 and older.
* Belgium passed voluntary euthanasia laws in 2002, however all Belgians have access to free painkilling medication.This ensures that requests for voluntary euthanasia are not made because of poverty.
* Luxembourg made voluntary euthanas legal last year after passing a law in 2008.
* In the UK, interim policy guidelines were published in 2009 to suggest under certain conditions those who assist a loved one to suicide will not be prosecuted.
Source: Exit International
No penalty for bypassing Conroy's internet filter - News.com 16Apr10
No penalty for bypassing Conroy's internet filter
By Andrew Ramadge, Technology Reporter From:
April 16, 2010
CAPTION: Melbourne teen Tom Wood, who says he will try to bypass the Rudd Government's web filter / Rob Baird Source: Herald Sun
Circumventing filter won't be a crime
Teen says he'll be trying 'just for fun'
A TEENAGER famous for cracking the Howard government's $80 million web filter will be among the first lining up to get around the Rudd Government's as well - and there won't be any penalty for doing it.
The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this week confirmed it would not be an offence to bypass the Government's planned mandatory internet filter once it was introduced.
The admission comes after pro-euthanasia group Exit International began teaching elderly Australians how to bypass internet filters earlier this month amid fears information about euthanasia would be censored under the plan.
Now Melbourne teenager and cyber safety advocate Tom Wood, famous for getting around the axed NetAlert web filtering software in 2007, says he will be among the first to try to bypass the Rudd Government's planned filter "for fun".
Mr Wood, now 18, couldn't say whether it would be easier to bypass the Rudd Government's filter than NetAlert — but he was sure it was possible.
"Well we can't know for sure because the software hasn't been released, but most server-type filters are pretty easy to bypass. The smart people will always find out how and share that information," he told news.com.au.
Mr Wood made headlines in 2007 when, at the age of 16, he managed to get around the Howard government's NetAlert web filter in about half an hour.
Unlike the NetAlert scheme, which offered Australians free filtering software to install on their home computer, the Rudd Government's plan will see filtering take place at the internet service provider level.
That means companies that provide internet access like Telstra, Optus and iiNet will be the ones doing the filtering.
The Government says it is introducing the filter, which will apply to all Australians, to stop "inadvertent" access to refused classification material.
"This content includes child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act," said a spokesperson for Senator Conroy.
The Government was aware that tech-savvy people were likely to find a way around the filter, the spokesperson said.
"The independent report on the ISP-level filtering pilot trial found that technically competent people could circumvent filtering technologies," they said.
"Under the Government’s policy it will not be an offence to circumvent the filtering measures or to show someone how to circumvent."
Mr Wood said the internet filter didn't address many of the "real" problems faced by young people online, such as internet addiction.
"For the real problems online like security, privacy, addiction — especially with kids — filtering doesn't help them at all. Given the lack of education and services there are the moment I think that's what really should be given the most attention," he said.
The Government says its cyber safety policy includes "a range of measures including education, law enforcement, research and technical-based solutions".
Euthanasia doctor gives internet tips - ABCNews 16Apr10
Euthanasia doctor gives internet tips
Fri Apr 16, 2010
CAPTION: Doctor Philip Nitschke tells a Hobart audience how to bypass internet filters blocking euthanasia sites. (ABC News)
Video: Elderly residents look into euthanasia (7pm TV News TAS) Map: Hobart 7000 Australia's pro-euthanasia movement is trying to stay one step ahead of any move to block access to internet sites promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide.
About 50 people attended a workshop in Hobart run by Exit International and its high-profile campaigner and author, Doctor Philip Nitschke.
He is now teaching elderly and terminally ill people to become computer savvy, as well as giving them information about how to end their lives.
Dr Nitschke says his online book may be blocked by the Federal Government's proposed internet filter.
"Even the technical report the Federal Government commissioned said a technically competent person could bypass this filter so we're going to make sure that our 70 and 80-year-old members are technically competent so that they can, when they want to, bypass the filter and get access to the best end-of-life information," he said.
Judy Oldham had a special reason for attending Dr Nitschke's workshop.
Mrs Oldham says her husband was not terminally ill when he took his own life last year, but he was unwell and had had enough of living.
"He didn't go the way he wanted to go because he wanted to go by lethal injection and he had been pleading with doctors for years to have this and of course they can't," she said.
Also at the workshop was Doctor John Paull, a retired anaesthetist, who believes there should be alternatives for people who become tired of life.
"I think they should have that option to end their life in as pleasant and non-traumatic was as possible," he said.
Doctor Nitschke says it is likely any proposed voluntary euthanasia legislation would only cover the terminally ill, not people who are tired of life.
But the debate worries the Australia Christian Lobby group.
Spokesman, Nick Overtson, says the elderly and terminally ill need to be given help and hope, not information about how to end their lives.
"Right through the euthanasia debate last year we continually said that we need to ensure we protect our most vulnerable and weak citizens and the legalisation of euthanasia would not do that," he said
Dr Nitschke's organisation, Exit International, is holding workshops around the country.
A spokesman for the Federal Government says Doctor Nitschke's book has been banned in Australia and the government does not support such material being available on the internet.
No conviction for euthanasia drug - The Age 16Apr10
No conviction for euthanasia drug
ADRIAN LOWE AND STEVE BUTCHER
April 16, 2010
A MELBOURNE cancer patient who imported the euthanasia drug Nembutal has avoided conviction after a court heard she was motivated only to relieve the suffering of others.
Her barrister described Ann Leith, 61, of Camberwell, as an outstanding person and selfless community contributor for many years who had been moved by witnessing the elderly in pain.
Barrister Geoffrey Steward said what differentiated her circumstances from others who pled guilty to offences was that her ''sole motivation for the commission of the offence was born as a result of her kindness, humanitarianism and a desire to potentially relieve the suffering of a fellow human being''.
He said Leith committed the offence after regularly attending Exit International meetings where she saw aged and infirm people in pain who were unable to know what to do to alleviate their suffering.
In placing her on a $500, one-year bond, magistrate John Lesser said while individual views were respected, ''when the law is in play against them, the law wins out. If you offend again, the courts will treat you much more harshly.''
Leith was stopped at Customs at Melbourne Airport last March with two perfume bottles later confirmed to contain Nembutal with a purity of 5.32 per cent. She was believed to be the first Australian to be charged with importing the border-controlled drug.
When police searched her home a month later, Leith was candid and honest, said Mr Steward, and told them her motivation.
Prosecutor Mario Camilleri said Leith told police she imported the drug to help others in a similar situation to herself. She had previously imported the drug for herself and her husband, both in remission for breast and bowel cancer respectively, and had stored it ''for a rainy day''.
Mr Steward said that Leith did not want to turn the case into a cause celebre, and unlike the prosecution, which suggested she might reoffend, her admissions, guilty plea as well as her acknowledgement of wrongdoing was an acceptance of a ''dichotomy between the law and her philosophical views and she acknowledges and accepts the law must take precedence''.
Mr Lesser told her: ''The notion of importing anything for other people has serious implications for the community. What you do in relation to yourself and your husband is another matter.''
He also ordered her to pay $1000 to the court fund and ordered $137.70 of costs against her.
Exit International founder Dr Phillip Nitschke said the sentence was ''a victory for common sense''. ''This shows an understanding judgment on the part of the magistrate,'' he said.
Internet filter policy under fire - ABC 7.30 Report 14Apr10
Internet filter policy under fire
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Kirstin Murray
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been forced to defend
the Rudd Government’s $120 million 'cyber safety' policy after
industry giant Google criticised it as heavy handed.
KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: In Washington, the State Department
has raised concerns over the Rudd Government's internet
filtering legislation. The $120 million cyber safety policy
would force internet providers to block websites deemed to be
carrying offensive material, but this week the US Ambassador to
Australia has argued that the internet should be free and that
there are other ways to combat content like child pornography.
The industry giant Google has weighed in, criticising the
exercise as heavy handed, warning that it could help legitimise
regimes like China censoring the net. The Government isn't
budging, labelling critics as misguided and promising a
completely transparent system. Kirstin Murray reports.
KIRSTIN MURRAY, REPORTER: Many who've come to this community
hall are still learning how to use a computer. But if all goes
to plan, by the end of this workshop each senior citizen will
have mastered how to hack a computer to sidestep the law.
PHILIP NITSCHKE: What the Government has planned, that is, to
keep you in the dark, is not going to succeed.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: Armed with computer engineers, outspoken
euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke's travelling the country to
teach followers how to get around the Government's proposed
DAVID CAMPBELL, COMPUTER ENGINEER: These guys aren't very
technically skilled. A lot of them barely know how to turn on a
computer. But I'm confident that over 90 per cent of them now
can just walk straight through this filter. And it makes me very
KIRSTIN MURRAY: If the Government's successful, sites like The
Peaceful Pill will be deemed illegal, refused classification and
blocked from Australian computers.
It's part of a plan to make the web for family friendly and it's
just what's needed, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
JIM WALLACE, AUST. CHRISTIAN LOBBY: At the moment we have a
internet which is full, it's almost a cesspool. Violence and
sex, children are degraded, women are degraded. Within that is a
lot of illegal material.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: But what was an election promise has created a
IARLA FLYNN, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA: The Government's proposal for
filtering we view as heavy handed.
JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: There's a scheme that will create
the infrastructure for government censorship on a broader scale.
STEPHEN DALBY, CHIEF REGULATORY OFFICER, iiNET: I think it's a
political exercise to show that the Government is concerned.
CATHERINE LUMBY, JOURNALISM CENTRE, UNSW: There's a huge problem
in applying media content regulation that was developed where we
had a very narrow point of purchase, or distribution, to an
environment like the Internet.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: Compared to other Australian media, the Internet
remains largely unregulated. Communications Minister Stephen
Conroy says the Government simply wants to apply laws from the
real world to the virtual.
STEPHEN CONROY, COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER: Last time I looked into
this debate, the civil society did not equate to the Wild West,
completely unregulated, anything goes.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: It's content like this that would be
blacklisted: here gamers earn points for stalking and raping
young women. This is all that can be shown as more graphic
material's already banned from television.
STEPHEN CONROY: It's material like pro-rape websites,
bestiality, child pornography, glorification of crime, terrorist
promotion. This material is so damaging. One viewing could scar
an individual permanently.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: What was your response when you viewed this kind
STEPHEN CONROY: Well I have not viewed it because you're not
allowed. I've had some of it described to me, and I have to say
to you I still have an image in my mind of what was described to
me and it's nearly a year since this was described to me.
STEPHEN DALBY: It's a little bit like saying let's put a
roadblock across the main road when the child pornographers are
bringing in their illegal content via helicopter and boat.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: Stephen Dalby for iiNet, one of the internet
service providers that would be forced to filter, should the
plan go ahead. He says paedophiles know how to work undetected
and anyone wanting to access blocked sites can easily do so.
STEPHEN DALBY: It's pointless, it's pointless. Child pornography
is not posted on public websites anymore than it's published in
the Sunday Times. And the suggestion that ISPs will just filter
general public websites and have an impact on the trade in that
sort of illegal content is just a nonsense.
IARLA FLYNN: The concern we have with this is that parents may
believe or understand that the Government's filter will actually
block out all the bad stuff on the internet and thereby giving
parents a false sense of security that maybe they don't need to
be so vigilant with what their kids do online. That would be a
very wrong outcome here.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: What will instead be picked up by the filter is
politically and socially sensitive websites, warns
communications academic Catharine Lumby. She's analysed what the
filter might block.
CATHERINE LUMBY: There are public interest reasons, clear public
interest reasons for people to have access to information about
brutality and demonstrations politically. There are good public
interest reasons to allow young people in a safe social
networking environment to discuss their sexuality and their
sexual practices. There are good public health interest reasons
to have harm minimisation websites around drug use.
JIM WALLACE: The Government has to look very clearly at the
motivation of people who are opposing this. In the main it is
people like the sex industry who have said that they'll go broke
in five years if this comes in. It's people who have either a
pecuniary interest like that or an ideological interest like
civil libertarians who don't want any regulation of anything.
STEPHEN CONROY: The filter that we are talking about is a
complaints-based mechanism. It is not that we are filtering the
entire internet and then letting Australians see what we have
KIRSTIN MURRAY: Senator Conroy says while the list of banned
websites will be secret, it won't be controlled by the
STEPHEN CONROY: We will introduce a new mechanism. It could be,
for an example, a retired judge, every six months, looks at
what's on the list and says, yeah, that is exactly what the
Government are intending to be on the list.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: But Google says the Government's treading a fine
line with the mandatory model it's chosen and warns Australia's
actions are being closely watched by others.
IARLA FLYNN: Non-democratic regimes would point to Australia's
system as somehow legitimising their own censorship efforts and
it'd be very, very unfortunate because I think Australia is
seen, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region as a country that
provides leadership, a strong democracy in this part of the
KIRSTIN MURRAY: But Australia's approach is being debated much
HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE (January): We stand for a
single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to
knowledge and ideas.
JEFF BLEICH, US AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA (Monday): We have been
very clear: the internet needs to be free. It needs to be free
the way we have said skies have to be free, outer space has to
be free, the polar caps have to be free, the oceans have to be
free. They have to be shared. They're shared resources of all
the people of the world.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: Did you expect to come up against so much
STEPHEN CONROY: We as a sovereign government are not going to
allow large multinational corporations or foreign governments to
determine what should be in our refused classification category.
Google signed a contract with China to do censorship. They
signed a contract to do that. In Thailand, Google have agreed to
filter any criticism of the Thai royal family. What's that
about? So, Google want to talk about legitimising censorship in
other countries; they should have a look in the mirror.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: With legislation still being drafted, Senator
Conroy's unlikely to get his bill debated in Parliament before
the election. But in the public arena, debate is off and running
SENIOR CITIZEN: People are entitled to have that information. I
mean, that's a different thing from things like child
pornography and so on.
SENIOR CITIZEN II: The Government needs to get everything else
right, leave Exit alone, leave old people alone, leave senior
citizens alone. They're not doing any harm.
KIRSTIN MURRAY: So even if the filter is introduced, this
workshop's shown those who want to get around it can and will.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Kirstin Murray with that report.
Euthanasia 'hacking classes' to help bypass filter - ABC 7Apr10
Euthanasia 'hacking classes' to help bypass filter
Wed Apr 7, 2010
CAPTION: Dr Philip Nitschke says workshops will show the elderly and dying how to use proxy servers and virtual networks so they can slip past the filter and find information on "safe suicide". (AAP: Dean Lewins, file photo)
Related Story: Conroy attacks Google in net filter row Related Story: Critics blast 'great firewall of Australia' Pro-euthanasia group Exit International is training elderly Australians to bypass the Federal Government's proposed mandatory internet filter.
Exit International says it will show the elderly and dying how to use proxy servers and virtual networks so they can slip past the filter and find information on "safe suicide".
The group's founder, Philip Nitschke, says it is holding "hacking masterclasses" after leaked government information showed the Exit International website will be blocked when the internet filter is introduced.
Dr Nitschke says the Government is using the filter to stop debate on euthanasia.
"They don't want to engage with this particular issue," he said.
"The idea seems to be to increasingly use censorship as a means of curtailing or stifling public comment and debate on this issue.
"The idea that underpins that seems to be that you keep elder folk living longer and happy lives by keeping them totally in the dark."
It was revealed last year that the Government plans to block access to certain websites discussing euthanasia and assisted suicide, which is against the law, as well as sites devoted to pornographic and other illegal activities.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been widely criticised for the censorship move by the US government among others.
Dr Nitschke says 100 people have signed up to the first five-and-a-half-hour Safe Suicide Workshop to be held in the western Perth suburb of Floreat on Wednesday.
Other workshops will follow in Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.
Dr Nitschke says of those who have already signed up, only a few are terminally ill.
"Increasingly, we're seeing the phenomena of what you might describe as 'tired of life'," he said.
"These are people who are elderly but not actually significantly or seriously ill but coming to a point where they think that now is the time they might wish to peacefully end their lives.
"They say to us they just want something in the cupboard in case things worsen, not that they want to take it tomorrow, but if things were to deteriorate they want know that they've got that option.
"These are rational people making rational decisions and obstacles shouldn't be put in their path ... which is why I think the numbers of people attending these sorts of safe suicide workshops is increasing.
"Suicide is not a crime in this country."
A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy says contrary to popular belief, euthanasia will not be targeted by the proposed internet filter.
"Discussion about euthanasia is not content that would be deemed refused classification," she said.
Elderly learn to beat euthanasia blacklist - SMH 6Apr10
Elderly learn to beat euthanasia blacklist
Sydney Morning Herald
April 6, 2010
CAPTION: Hacking... Phillip Nitschke, of Exit International, assists Ian McIndoe in a workshop on bypassing the proposed firewall. Photo: Kate Geraghty
PAMELA LAZEMBY, 82, has beaten cancer: she has no fear of learning how to beat the law.
''Now I'm on borrowed time I can afford to live dangerously,'' she said after attending the first in a series of workshops teaching people how to circumvent a proposed law restricting access to some internet sites, expected to include some on euthanasia.
Websites associated with Exit International and its suicide manual, the Peaceful Pill Handbook, are expected to be refused classification and therefore to be inaccessible from Australian computers once a mandatory internet filter is in place.
Ms Lazemby has nursed four elderly people to death and is determined she will not end up in a nursing home. If the time comes, she says she may want information about how to end her life. ''I'm not going to let that happen to me,'' she said.
While some of the 47 people attending the Chatswood workshop - which is not illegal but is expected to become so when the legislation comes into force - are still taking elementary computer lessons, others learnt in only a few minutes how to access any website through a proxy server to bypass the filter's firewall.
''It's not to do with Exit. The issue is wider,'' said Ken, one of the participants. He objected to the uncontrolled list of restricted sites. ''I see it [the Australian Communications and Media Authority which will administer the filter] as George Orwell's Ministry of Truth.''
Michael, who said he regularly downloaded information from Exit's website, said he attended to learn how to bypass the internet filter, so he could still access the site later.
The Exit International founder, Philip Nitschke, said after the ''hacking'' lesson that Exit would investigate if it could set up its own proxy server or VPN tunnel, so its members had a safe way of accessing its information.
Bettina O'Meara, 83, a mother of a mentally ill child, said she had noticed something was wrong with the system. She had seen what happened to sick elderly people in hospitals and nursing homes and was determined she did not want it to happen to her.
''I don't set out to do anything illegal but I firmly believe that all senior adults if they have severe illnesses have the right anyway to choose how they end their lives,'' she said.
Judith, from Potts Point, is still learning how to use her new computer. But with a ''prognosis of losing my memory'', she is determined to find a way to take ''a little pill'' when she finds she can no longer handle it.
''I don't want to be alive when I'm just a body.''
Elderly want to know about dying with dignity - West Australian 8Apr10
Elderly want to know about dying with dignity
It could have been a seminar on any of the latest medical developments.
About 100 people, mostly in their 70s and 80s, gathered yesterday at a community centre in Floreat to learn about the most recent drugs and how they worked.
But instead of hearing advice on what medications were recommended for their health and wellbeing, they were there to learn how to die safely and peacefully.
Some were in wheelchairs, a few had hearing aids – but most were mobile and sprightly.
The one thing they had in common was a desire to find information about how to die with dignity.
Right-to-die campaigner Philip Nitschke was adamant in his message to them.
“Prepare yourself now,” Dr Nitschke said. “Work out for yourself a good practical way to end your life.”
He was hosting the first of what will be a national tour of “safe suicide’ workshops by pro-choice organisation Exit International.
Dr Nitschke encouraged attendees to familiarise themselves with options on how to end their life “peacefully and reliably” without getting their loved ones in trouble with the law if they assisted.
Under the WA Criminal Code, anyone who helps someoneto kill themselves can be jailed.
Dr Nitschke also said he was concerned about a recent Federal Government move to censor Exit International websites.
A part of the workshop involved teaching th e attendees – who had tobeover50and had to pay to listen – how to hack into those websites and by pass the Government’s filter.
Outside the workshop, 80-year-old Frank McCarthy, of Mandurah, said politicians should not ignore polls such as the recent Westpoll which showed that almost eight out of 10 respondents wanted the government to legalise the right of the terminally ill to end their lives.
“It’s a dereliction of the duty of our legislators,” he said.” It is the dignity and right of the individual.”
Mr McCarthy, a father and grandfather, said he and his wife wanted to have the choice as to when they ended their lives.
“That is not a death wish,” he said. “It is reality. Every day is a bonus. I don’t say that philosophically, I say that with gratitude.”
A Bill legalising voluntary euthanasia, introduced by Greens MP Robin Chapple into Parliament at the end of last year, will be debated in WA’s Upper House later this year.
Attorney-General Christian porter said he had not made up his mind on Mr Chapples’s Bill, but he was not convinced by the quality of the proposed legislation.
CAPTION: Wants to choose: Frank McCarthy at yesterday’s workshop. Picture: John Mokrzycki
Filter hacking teacher: IT industry need to step up anti-filtering action - ARN 13Apr10
Filter hacking teacher: IT industry need to step up anti-filtering action
13 April, 2010
Fear of being branded child pornography supporters are preventing IT companies from participating in direct anti-filtering activities.
The IT industry needs to be more involved in anti-Internet filtering initiatives, according to filter hacking teacher and reseller, David Campbell.
The Newcastle IT professional and The Pirate Party member has led several Internet filter hacking masterclasses for the elderly at events run by euthanasia advocacy group, Exit International. Campbell’s last lesson wrapped up at a Melbourne workshop on April 12.
Exit International’s website was listed on last year’s leaked ACMA blacklist. The list is slated as a basis for the Federal Government's proposed Internet filter, which is also intended to block refused classification (RC) content and explicit sexual material such as child pornography.
Campbell has been represented through his IT consultancy company, Clear Computers, a one-man hobby business. He also works full-time as a high-level IT technician but declined to name the company due to the controversial nature of the filter hacking classes.
“I do think the IT industry doesn’t push anti-filtering action enough,” Campbell said. He blamed hesitance on fear of being stigmatised as a child pornography supporter.
“I was really hesitant about this and a lot of people were ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ about it but I really wanted to get this information out there and people really need to get behind it,” he said. “I was quite scared of being labelled in with the paedophiles since if you side against anything supposedly blocking child porn, you can get lumped in with them in the public eye.”
Campbell believed this was also the big reason why many organisations the Pirate Party approach to do Internet filtering circumvention classes were reluctant. One of them was community advocacy group, GetUp, which pulled out at the last minute.
Campbell hasn’t experienced any adverse ramifications from the class and said he was heartened by the industry’s support. He hoped his filter circumvention lessons opened the floodgates for more IT professionals to step out and contribute to anti-filtering efforts.
“I couldn’t have predicted the response a few weeks ago,” he said. “It has really excited me to be an Australian.”
The founder of Exit International, Dr Philip Nitschke, criticised the Federal Opposition’s weak stance on the issue and lamented that only smaller political parties, such as the Greens and a number of independent MPs, were fighting against the issue.
He had also expected more organised opposition to the proposed filter and claimed people within the IT industry with expertise to beat it could do more for the anti-clean feed cause.
“We are trading away one of our fundamental rights – free speech – and I hoped this would arouse more passion and fight than we have seen since just about everybody has a stake in this,” Dr Nitschke said. “If there is anything that can be done to stop the filter, it should be done right now.
“Many other groups such as Google have done the right thing in putting forward submissions in the Internet filter public consultation process] but I think it has gone past that and there is need for somewhat direct action.
“I’m not sure what these actions can be but right now we see our particular proposal in getting people to stand up and say ‘look, I’m an elderly Australian and I am going to deliberately go out of my way to bypass this initiative’ is at least one way to draw some attention to the issue.”
EFA mulls publishing filter bypass instruction guide - ARN 8Apr10
EFA mulls publishing filter bypass instruction guide
Australian Radio Network
08 April, 2010
No technical skills required to circumvent proposed Internet filter and it’s perfectly legal, according to the civil rights lobby group.
The Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) will consider publishing instructions on how to bypass Australia’s Internet filter if the Federal Government’s proposed legislation goes ahead.
On April 1, euthanasia advocacy group, Exit International, held its first ‘hacker master class’ to clue seniors in on how to get around the Internet clean-feed plan. The action was prompted by one of the group’s associate websites appearing on the ACMA blacklist which was leaked last year.
Exit International enlisted the help of David Campbell from Newcastle-based computer services company, Clear Computers.
EFA chair, Nicolas Suzor, said he supported educating citizens with ways to protect themselves from governments that independently decided to block access to certain material.
“Octogenarian people with varying degrees of computer literacy can get around it quite simply," he said. "It just makes you wonder why the Government is spending so much money and effort on such a flawed system."
The EFA is contemplating publishing information - possibly on its website - on how to circumvent the looming filter.
Although there are no solid plans at the moment, Suzor said it would not have to enlist a technical expert to supply the information.
“Instructions are quite simple so we would probably highlight a few different ways people can – if they chose to - circumvent any filter imposed,” he said. “It is really quite easy.”
One example Suzor gave related to using a Web annonymiser technology service based in the US.
“These are essentially servers, which are used to protect people’s privacy and get around restrictions imposed by territorial governments,” he said. “These are commonly used by school children, people in oppressive regimes like in China and Iran, and by those who don’t want to reveal their location when browsing the Web.”
Techniques and technology to bypass filters are unlikely to be criminalised as they have legitimate applications.
Suzor claimed only a small percentage of the websites on the blacklist were illegal, such as pages depicting child pornography.
“Two-thirds of the content listed on the blacklist is perfectly legal to view and access so we would expect people with a valid interest in accessing the material would have technical skills to bypass a filter,” he said.
The EFA expects more filter circumvention classes, similar to the ones held by Exit International, to become increasingly popular as the proposed filter edges closer to reality.
“We still hope the legislation will be voted down,” he said.
Last month, an independent software vendor (ISV) claimed an Australian Internet filter is a threat to national security.
Ey3 said the filter will force more people to circumvention technology which will make it harder for government intelligence agencies to monitoring Internet traffic.
The filter has also been criticised by the likes of Google and Yahoo!.
Pirate Party and Phil Nitschke teach seniors to hack filter - Computerworld 6Apr10
Pirate Party and Phil Nitschke teach seniors to hack filter
By Darren Pauli,
April 06, 2010
Pro-euthanasia group Exit International is holding national hacking crash-courses in how to bypass the Federal Government's planned ISP-level Internet content filter with help from the Australian Pirate Party.
The first of eight "Hacking Masterclasses" was held in Chatswood NSW on Thursday last week, and drew about 50 elderly people -- some bearing laptops. Exit International director and controversial Australian physician, Philip Nitschke, created the class to help the elderly access euthanasia-assistance material online, following fears that the Internet filter will block access to the information.
A leaked copy of the filter blacklist revealed Exit International websites, the UK publisher of the Peaceful Pill eHandbook, and three YouTube videos were on the list of banned materials.
"We were comprehensively listed," Nitschke told Computerworld. "We weren't totally surprised, but it will drastically curtail our ability to get out information to our 5000 Australian members."
Pirate Party and Phil Nitschke teach seniors to hack filter
The Peaceful Pill Handbook was published free online after the hardcopy version was banned in Australia, following the revocation of the original R18+ classification by then Federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock in 2006.
Nitschke turned to the Australian Pirate Party, via the Electronic Frontiers Australia, to locate an IT expert capable of teaching an average 70-year-old how to access pro-euthanasia material by using a proxy server to bypass the proposed national Internet firewall.
They found David Campbell, from Newcastle based company Clear Computers.
About 100 people have signed on to the Perth hacking class to be held 7 April. Each workshop takes five-and-a-half hours and will also be held in Melbourne (12 April), Hobart (15 April), Adelaide (21 April), Brisbane (24 April), Canberra (30 April) and Sydney (7 May).
A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said it is not illegal to teach or enact methods to bypass the proposed Internet filter, following reports that the classes could be outlawed.
"Under the government's policy it will not be an offence to circumvent the filtering measures or to show someone how to do so," the spokeswoman said.
She said the Peaceful Pill eHandbook is refused classification, and its website will be blocked.
Debate on euthanasia which does not outline methods of killing, or means to import drugs will avoid the classification block.
Nitschke said he has "got to move quickly to get people up to speed [on how to bypass the filters]", and said the Exit International local chapters could carry out promotional, work if the organisation's web presence is blocked.
He said he believes the filter will pass through parliament with no or few amendments, and small opposition. "Opponents are accused of supporting child porn, and that kind of wedging has ensured there is support from the Federal Opposition," Nitschke said.
Euthanasia workshops 'to fight filter' - SMH 5Apr10
Euthanasia workshops 'to fight filter'
Sydney Morning Herald
April 5, 2010
Euthanasia groups will hold computer seminars around Australia to teach people how they can defy the federal government's proposed internet filter to obtain suicide information.
Exit International says its "Hacking Masterclass" will show the elderly and dying how to use proxy servers and virtual networks so they can slip past the filter and find information on "safe suicide".
It was divulged last year that the government plans to block access to certain websites discussing euthanasia and assisted suicide, which is against the law, as well as sites devoted to pornographic and other illegal activities.
The federal government and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy have been widely criticised for the censorship move, by the United States government among others.
Exit International founder and director Philip Nitschke said 100 people had already signed up to the first five-and-a-half-hour "Safe Suicide Workshop" to be held in the western Perth suburb of Floreat on Wednesday.
Other workshops would follow in Melbourne (April 12), Hobart (April 15), Adelaide (April 21), Brisbane (April 24), Canberra (April 30) and Sydney (May 7).
Dr Nitschke said the seminars would teach people how to circumvent the proposed internet filter so they could access information designed to end their lives quickly and painlessly.
"It certainly shows how you can go about bypassing the filter using proxy servers or setting up your own virtual network, and we will be going into that," Dr Nitschke said.
"In fact, it's so easy to get around - according to the information we've received - you wonder why the federal government is pursuing it with such vigour.
"We can only assume it's because they are intending on making a statement, rather than being too concerned about the actual practicalities of the issue."
Dr Nitschke said among those who had already signed up, only a few were terminally ill.
"Increasingly, we're seeing the phenomena of what you might describe as 'tired of life'," he said.
"These are people who are elderly but not actually significantly or seriously ill, but coming to a point where they think that now is the time they might wish to peacefully end their lives.
"They say to us they just want something in the cupboard in case things worsen - not that they want to take it tomorrow, but if things were to deteriorate, they want know that they've got that option.
"These are rational people making rational decisions, and obstacles shouldn't be put in their path ... which is why I think the numbers of people attending these sorts of safe suicide workshops is increasing.
"Suicide is not a crime in this country."
Dr Nitschke said the Hacking Masterclass was devised after a similar workshop in Sydney on April 1, led by Newcastle-based internet expert David Campbell.
About 80 seniors, many with laptops, attended.
"The class will be in plain language that everyone can understand," Dr Nitschke said.
A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said contrary to popular belief, euthanasia would not be targeted by the proposed internet filter.
"Discussion about euthanasia is not content that would be deemed refused classification," she said.
"Philip Nitschke's book The Peaceful Pill was found to be refused classification because it provided detailed instruction in crimes relating to the possession, manufacture and importation of barbiturates.
"As a result, this book cannot be bought or sold in Australia, and it cannot be brought into Australia.
"The (website) therefore for accessing an electronic version of the book was classified as refused classification."
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).
© 2010 AAP