Australian teen disables government's porn filter

Earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced a multi-million dollar pornography filter along with several other measures to make the Internet safer for children and families, including an information and education campaign and telephone hotline. Sixteen-year-old Melbourne teenager Tom Wood said it took him less than 30 minutes to break through the cyber barrier. "I downloaded it on Tuesday to see how good it was, because for 84 million dollars (69 million US), I would have expected a pretty unbreakable filter. Tried a few things, it took about half an hour and (it) was completely useless," said the teenager.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said that the NetAlert filters, which the government has announced will be free for every family, were always going to be challenged by teenagers. "Sadly, just as a seatbelt will never prevent every fatal car crash, as the government has always maintained, no filter is foolproof. But a computer with a filter is infinitely safer than one without," said Senator Coonan. The company which provided the technology was investigating the unconfirmed hacking report, she added.

News source: Physorg

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from reading some detail on another site, it appears (entirely speculation), he has uninstalled the app and left the dektop icon up, so his parents don't notice it's been removed.

as for the rest, a workmate of mine has come up with a theory that seems to fit, as the 16 year old did not sound like he had a clue what he was taling about when i heard him on JJJ, and claims it could be made cheaper in aus, it is all politics and some porn filter manufactuer in aus has told this kid how to get around it and to say it is a waste of money.

I like to imagine the program popped up saying...

"your computer is blocking content... do you wish to show the blocked content?"

Anyhow... I can't believe no-one has commented on the fact that for a teen to prove a porn filter is disabled he must get this blocked content... in doing so I'm guessing "Sixteen-year-old Melbourne teenager Tom Wood" broke the law?

if little Johnny wants porn, he is going to find porn..this all goes back to parenting skills

this minute that was announced every hacker and his grandmother targeted it

oddly enough if porn/spam creator devised a system to get past the filter then by implication the users would think that it was sponsored.

Heck i don't really see a problem with filtering them,

If he broke through it, then he was ACTIVELY looking for it, where as family and children who are unlikely to actively come across it will automatically have it filtered.

Surely this is a win win situation?

People who want the porn can easily brake through the filter, so no harm done there.

People who want to avoid it from displaying without concent win because this will be filtered.

"Sadly, just as a seatbelt will never prevent every fatal car crash, as the government has always maintained, no filter is foolproof. But a computer with a filter is infinitely safer than one without

This logic doesn't even make any sense, unless he's exaggerating like crazy.
If a filter can easily be fooled, it is hardly "infinitely safer", just making browsing for kids "slightly safer".

It's like saying a door with a really crappy lock is "infinitely safer" than a door without. If you later get robbed after a locksmith has claimed that, you'd probably want to punch him in the face.

Well if the open door is completely unsafe (level 0) and the door with a crappy lock is kinda safe (1) then we can devide 1 by 0 to get the ratio of how much safer that crappy lock is.. and my calculator says.. OMG IT EXPLODED. Must be infinantly safer.

Hillsong (united) is a great band. If you can't take that a bunch of their followers have finally found the truth and are voting accordingly, than that's sad.

Citrusleak said,
Hillsong (united) is a great band. If you can't take that a bunch of their followers have finally found the truth and are voting accordingly, than that's sad.

can we avoid the religious crap please, really not interested

The article doesn't have much details. I'm curious what he actually did. Did he simply circumvent the protection for instance using a live CD or virtual OS? Did he gain privileged access to the application without credentials? (that would be impressive) Or did he find some Windows workaround like disabling the application from safe mode?

Hmm... the AU website has 4 different filters. Doesn't say which one he broke.
http://www.netalert.gov.au/forms/process-download.php

Wonder how these net filters handle P2P and torrent traffic.

which is why i laughed my ass off when they said it on the radio, the kid really didn't sound like he really new what he was doing, from what i could gather he got lucky "i was just messing around trying stuff and it worked" was the basics of what he said

Don't know why we need to have a porn filter.
We are Aussies, not Americans. They will show the inside of someone, during surgery, for a breast implant. but wont show a nipple in the same show.

But then again, we have some stupid stuff aswell. at Sixteen you can not buy a XXX rated film, and you are not allowed to watch it. But at 16, you can do EVERYTHING in the video you are not allowed to watch.

agree on the first bit, and the second, but i think the whole point of this is there is an option for parents thgat want to implement it. i think it is good, if it blocks all the porn popups that are accidentally displayed constantly when browsing, which is what it is mroe designed to do, anything is crackable and there are always workarounds if you have time. the odd 7 year old that knows how to boot to linux salways going to get around it, but how many 7 year olds are actively looking for porn.

now if a 16 year old wants to find porn but is capable of hacking the filter then whocares !!! if he can't then he is only going to take his mem stick over a mates house that doesn't hav the filter

A friend of mine set up something like this on his sons XP computer with all the protection under the sun..... his 7 year old son sat down and seeing all this protection.... got out his linux cd bootable dist and got past everything

Stup0t said,
A friend of mine set up something like this on his sons XP computer with all the protection under the sun..... his 7 year old son sat down and seeing all this protection.... got out his linux cd bootable dist and got past everything :)

Champion.

Well "all the protection under the sun" won't do much for you if you can't figure out how to configure your BIOS.

Alex the man said,
sweet jesus, does that kid need to go outside more!

Why? Because that kid knows how to use Linux? I'm telling you, kids nowadays know tons about computers and we should give them more credit than they currently get. A 7 year old geek probably knows more about computers than your average A+ certified technician, and still does the usual kid stuff like playing sports, scouts, getting into trouble, etc.

i heard this kid on the radio this morning, it made me laugh really, don't kids have better things to do with their time than hack porn filters (not that it's really that hard anyway). GO PLAY OUTSIDE (while you still can, when you get to my age then you can sit behind a computer hacking porn filters)

+1

I have a friend whose father works in internet security. Instead of installing a filter he knew his son would crack in no time (he's now a network engineer for Lockheed) I believe he would read the servers logs ever night (or randomly really). If his son tried to get around it he would know. It only took one time for his father to have a word and he never tried that again ... at least at home.

"But a computer with a filter is infinitely safer than one without"

Infinitely censored too!
Because we all know the best way of teaching kids not to look at inappropriate stuff is to let a computer block it.

Filtering porn, but allowing much worse R-rated films. Talk about retarded. Soon, they'll censor the Discovery Channel.

reason it's a big deal is letting kids watch that sorta stuff just aint good for there heads especially at a real young age... but i figure by there mid teens or so it aint as bad cause even though i still would not let em watch it... but u know how teenagers are they wanna see that sorta stuff and it's sorta hard to stop em cause of the internet as it's everywhere basically.

but i dont think theres worser R rated films that are worse than porn... maybe violence wise yeah, but nudity etc definitely no.

but the bottom line is, it's immoral... im just glad i dont have kids in this world

"but the bottom line is, it's immoral... "

Depends on which morals you follow. I think porn should be aloud as soon as the parts start working, and have like g, pg, m, ma, r, x rating for them, so like a 13 year old just watches a girl masturbate, but a 18yr old can watch really crazy stuff. Because if a guy doesn't unload, he turns into a serial killer.

balupton said,
... I think porn should be aloud as soon as the parts start working, and have like g, pg, m, ma, r, x rating for them, so like a 13 year old just watches a girl masturbate, but a 18yr old can watch really crazy stuff. Because if a guy doesn't unload, he turns into a serial killer.
You present a silly idea, but back it up with a good, solid foundation! "Because if a guy doesn't unload, he turns into a serial killer." Wow. Can't argue with such a well-documented and proven statement like that!

Guest said,

For me it looks like "porn is evil" is just another faith-based nonsense based on superstitions unless somebody comes with hard proofs based on double blinded scientific tests. Parents must give responsibility lessons to their children and not crap like "don't watch because someone with pair of Satan's bumps will try to lure you into the Hell".

Some one has been doing some Richard Dawkins reading...

I'm not sure how you will determine the effects of porn on teenagers using blind testing.. The subjects won't have a difficult time deciding whether they are the control or not...

..................

Teenagers are hormonal and horny. Biologically they will seek out porn and screw each other. That's what the human animal does, much like all the other animals. Put a porn filter on a PC and they will either break it.. or get porn from elsewhere.

balupton said,
so like a 13 year old just watches a girl masturbate, but a 18yr old can watch really crazy stuff. Because if a guy doesn't unload, he turns into a serial killer.

...Are you quite sane, man?

balupton said,
"but the bottom line is, it's immoral... "

Depends on which morals you follow. I think porn should be aloud as soon as the parts start working, and have like g, pg, m, ma, r, x rating for them, so like a 13 year old just watches a girl masturbate, but a 18yr old can watch really crazy stuff. Because if a guy doesn't unload, he turns into a serial killer.


LMAO

OK, a g rating for porn, umm somehow i just don't think it really fits the whole rating system

balupton said,
"but the bottom line is, it's immoral... "

Depends on which morals you follow. I think porn should be aloud as soon as the parts start working, and have like g, pg, m, ma, r, x rating for them, so like a 13 year old just watches a girl masturbate, but a 18yr old can watch really crazy stuff. Because if a guy doesn't unload, he turns into a serial killer.


It's called self control. Something that a lot of people in this country (and around the world) lack. I don't need porn to stay alive. Sex really isn't the greatest thing in the world even when it's mind blowing. I've seen scenes in nature hiking that have had a much more emotional impact on me without the need to "get off" as it were.

QuarterSwede said,
Sex really isn't the greatest thing in the world even when it's mind blowing. I've seen scenes in nature hiking that have had a much more emotional impact on me without the need to "get off" as it were.

You MUST be a virgin