Wikileaks is offline – Was it the Australian government?

The Australian government’s ridiculous attempts to police the internet on behalf of its citizens may have taken an even more sinister turn. Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing anti-censorship site which the Australian Communications and Media Authority added to its blacklist recently, has now gone offline completely.

Wikileaks carried a pdf document puporting to be a complete list of ACMA blacklisted sites. Is this the reason for Wikileaks’ sudden disappearance? We do not know for sure. But we suspect it won’t be down for long.

In the meantime, if you want to see the blacklist which the ACMA don’t want you to see, you can download the pdf here.

UPDATE: (14:08) It is back.

UPDATE: (15:17) Wikileaks informs us the downtime was due to a “deluge of traffic and a DDOS attack over the leaked australian censorship list”. You can donate to their cause here and help keep them online in the face of popularity.

UPDATE: (20 March) The latest list of ACMA blacklisted sites has now been leaked.

UPDATE: (16:55) Australia’s clumsy censorship attempts sink further into farce, as it is revealed that a dental surgery and a tuck shop are included on the ACMA blacklist.


12 Responses to “Wikileaks is offline – Was it the Australian government?”

  1. Andy says:

    I’m an Australian, but this whole thing is very strange.

    Senator Conroy is maintaining that the list isn’t real, but just recently a forum member on Australia’s whirlpool forums just posted instructions on how to hack the ACMA blacklist out of the Australian Governments intergard software it distributed for free last year to parents, and its very very similar to the leaked list.

    — Download a copy of the Integard content filter and set it up however you want. (google integardsetup.exe)

    — Open up integard.exe in a hex editor

    — In your hex editor, do a search for “datetimepicker.js” and change it to the not-at-all-ambiguous “Websites_ACMA.txt”

    — Quickly kill the running integard.exe and save your changes.

    — Once integard.exe has reloaded, browse to http://127.0.0.1:18881/Websites_ACMA.txt — which it will now happily serve you via the web interface.

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1165174&p=2

  2. marc says:

    Aren’t most of the sites on that list illegal [i.e. supporting/promoting paedophillia, incest etc.] anyway? So what’s the problem with having that open to the pubic [sic.]? ;-)

    I’m all for freedom of information, but most of the sites on this list are legitimately blocked and that obfuscates the message that the government may be censoring completely legitimate sites.

    Were I a Wikileaks ed. (which I’m not) I would have published (or a very least, highlighted) legitimate sites that were being illegally blocked. As it is this list is a hell of a trawl.

  3. john b says:

    “[i.e. supporting/promoting paedophillia, incest etc.]”

    Not illegal. Shouldn’t be illegal. If you think should be illegal, you are authoritarian tosser.

    If the sites show child porn or ‘extreme’ porn, they’re illegal. If they don’t, they aren’t.

  4. marc says:

    If you were a regular here, John b, you’d know nothing was further from the truth. Poor choice of words on my part, perhaps, but the implication was clear: it’s OK to ban illegal sites but not others.

  5. Nick says:

    US law professor Derek Bambauer wrote a good paper on assessing the legitimacy of Internet censorship, and was critical of the Australian proposals: http://bit.ly/18dzkH Bambauer argues that any Internet censorship should be open, transparent, effective yet narrowly targeted, and democratically accountable.

  6. marc says:

    Indeed it should Nick, indeed it should.

  7. barriejohn says:

    As soon as you allow censorship (however “narrowly targeted”!!!) you are on a slippery slope. Paedophilia, incest, bestiality, and so on are illegal anyway, so what`s the problem? If you are not careful you end up with the ridiculous situation where material is banned because the participants “appear” to be minors, and so on. Does anyone believe for one moment that the actors appearing in so-called “incest” films are related? Grow up!! These things are fantasies, however much many of us may disapprove of them. What are you going to do – ban people from having wicked thoughts?!!

  8. Mark says:

    “‘extreme’ porn”

    What laws on so-called “extreme” porn does Australia have OOI?

    If it’s between consenting adults, it shouldn’t be illegal or blocked either.

    In response to marc: It would certainly be useful to see an abridged list of things that certainly shouldn’t be censored, but I think it’s still important to have the complete list available, because otherwise you can’t be sure what the editor decided to leave out, and often there are gray areas as to what people think should or shouldn’t be censored.

  9. Mark says:

    Here’s a good summary of websites on the list, that really shouldn’t be: http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1166343&cid=27252975

  10. barriejohn says:

    So they HAVE banned sites on the off-chance that they might feature an under-age model then!! Best to ban EVERYTHING then, just in case somebody sneaks an image onto their site that the Australian Government doesn`t approve of. After all, you can`t be too careful, can you?!!

    (PS Thanks for that Mark, and I agree 100% with your comments!!!)

  11. marc says:

    Well that pretty much explains it. Ozzys are even fussier than Asian communists about what they let through.

    fuck – that probably just put Mediawatchwatch on the list…

  12. Jumile says:

    I doubt that the Australian government had anything to do with the DDoS.

    My suspicion is that it was down to the owners of the sites on the list trying to prevent its distribution and therefore more likely to be used be anti-KP agencies worldwide. The fear probably being that such a release would result in another version of Operation Ore.