'Appalled' opposition hits back at Conroy’s Internet censorship

The Government’s attempts to silence criticism of content filtering sparks outrage.

The newly appointed shadow broadband minister, Senator Nick Minchin, has voiced his appall that a member of Senator Conroy’s office had tried to curb severely critical comments made by Internode network engineer Mark Newton regarding the government’s Internet content filtering scheme.

Labor’s plan for content filtering will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet access points.

Under the scheme there will be two blacklists: one which blocks illegal material like child pornography; and another blacklist, referred to in a department press release, which blocks a list of material deemed unsuitable for children.

Users can opt out of the latter blacklist, but there is no opt-out for “illegal content”.

ISPs have warned that blanket content filtering will cripple Internet speeds because the technology is not up to scratch. Civil libertarians such as the Electronic Frontiers Association have warned that filtering could lead to censorship of drugs, political dissidence, information on euthanasia and other legal freedoms, in addition to mistakenly blocking legitimate material. A content filtering scheme installed within the offices of parliament in May reportedly blocked legitimate topics such as gun control and breast-feeding.

This morning, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a policy advisor at Senator Conroy’s office had sent an e-mail to the Internet Industry Association (IIA) expressing concern that Internode’s Mark Newton, as an IIA member, was behaving “irresponsibly” with regard to criticisms he made of Conroy’s controversial content filtering scheme on the popular Whirlpool broadband forum.

What they have done is desperate and below inappropriate; it's absolute bullshit

Internode network engineer Mark Newton

SMH reported that the email was accompanied by a phone call demanding the message be passed on to senior Internode management.

“I am appalled that a member of Senator Conroy’s staff is apparently trying to bully the IIA over this matter,” Minchin told Computerworld.

“That association is perfectly entitled to express its views and indeed it is very important that the public and the parliament understand the views of the IIA on this matter, and they shouldn’t be bullied by Senator Conroy or his staff. It is absolutely out of line and Senator Conroy should discipline that staff member,” the shadow minister for broadband said.

Minchin said Newton was in fact a constituent of his in South Australia and had written to him with concerns regarding the content filtering scheme. Minchin responded at the time that the opposition was “certainly not” committed to supporting the scheme in parliament.

“When we left office it was our view that we had appropriate arrangements in place in relation to this issue of filtering. The NetAlert scheme we launched in August last year, and which is still in place, we believe strikes the right balance in terms of ensuring that Australians who want to ensure that their children are not exposed to child pornography have the information at hand, the capacity and the free software that enables them to do so,” Minchin said.

Tags internet content filtering

More about ExposureIIAInternet Industry AssociationInternode

17 Comments

Anonymous

1

NUTZ

We were critical of China for its censorship practices during the Olympics. Do we really think Australia has the capital & manpower to be to Internet's minder?

I'll make a fortune selling encrypted VPN tunnel access to an off-shore proxy.

Goore

2

Internet filtering by a goverment body?

For god sake no. Does anybody totaly trust politicians or civil servants to be in control of what we are allowed to see or gain information on perhaps I was under a mistaken belief we live in a free democracy. Give the goverment this in road to our information input & we are lost
Red China eat your heart out.
Who knows how much is already censored covertly.
If we are to have that kind of goverment lets at least make Mr Conroy one of the first inmates of our Gulags.

Anonymous

3

stephan conroy

I woodn`t worry too about what he says he will do this Gov. seems to take advice on most things from Ex spurts outside of their fields so it will most likly come to nothing .
Stephen most likely wont be able to find the sex site link on the A.N.U. site hadn`t done so as of thursday,the A.N.U. may not even know about it for that.

Anonymous

4

Bury the Government in letters and march the streets

It's sad the Government these days doesn't understand basic logic and common sense. They will only bow to ideologues and clear voter discontent.
To anyone reading this - <strong>DONT LET THIS GO WITHOUT A FIGHT!,</strong> Are we going to let Australia, the so called "Clever Country" embrace the information age and share in its fruits (and yes its pitfalls) or are we going to stand idly by while misguided politicians make policy decisions that damage our prosperity?
This doesn’t happen in other countries because people get out and harass their politicians to ensure they actually represent them rather than some narrow interest group.

<strong>PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE</strong> don’t just get angry, get of your backside and email the minister, sign partitions, march on parliament, ring your local member, build a webpage decrying this attack on our liberty, do whatever legally you can to make clear that we won’t stand for this

Maybe Conroy has never heard the story of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, if this policy gets enacted all that will happen is that the paedophiles will find another way to commit their horrific crimes and every Australian will suffer with a censored, slower internet whilst the paedophiles it supposedly targets will get off scot free!

Anonymous

5

Absolutely Terrible

Conroy is such a waste of taxpayer money. Only an extremely small amount of the population wants this mandatory filtering. Most likely lazy parents or nutjobs who like the idea of their government censoring what they can view. The abuse of power with this kind of system could be enormous, not to mention the amount of problems it'll pose for users. Slow internet speeds and false positive filtering isn't exactly progress.

Kick up a stink Australia if you're a fan of freedom, or if you're sick of these parental government figures. Otherwise I'll be forced to join the poster below in making obscene amounts of money selling VPN subscriptions. Prohibition style.

Anonymous

6

Conroy must go

"The NetAlert scheme we launched in August last year, and which is still in place, we believe strikes the right balance in terms of ensuring that Australians who want to ensure that their children are not exposed to child pornography have the information at hand, the capacity and the free software that enables them to do so,” Minchin said."

Ummm to ensure our children are not exposed to CHILD PORNOGRAPHY?
I ensure my children are not exposed to ANY pornography.
I don't ever remember giving Mr Stephen Conroy the job of protecting my children.
Perhaps then he should come and feed them and walk them to school as well?
Stephen Conroy is from the UK and is just trying to usher in the censorship for the Global Elite to stop freedom of information on the internet in order to easily create there New World Order of slavery.
Conroy needs to be investigated as I believe whoever he is buying the filtering software from, has given him illegal incentive bonuses to write it into legislation.

Anonymous

7

Conroy and Censorship

During the Howard years we came very close to nationwide acceptance that adult people like sex, images of explicit sex, and that this is OK. We almost had a legally defined and passed set of criteria for adult entertainment that was within certain bounds (porn that was not seriously foul or criminal). All the members of the censorship board voted to create this new listing for legal pornography...and all said YES!...accept for one (the Senator who ran the show).

I mention this because it shows that there are some serious flaws in the Aussie government methodology. Why is it that any ONE person in government can wield so much power with no balances working against them? And WHY do we have ANY censorship in the first place?

Censorship is the last desperate attempt of control freaks, to force other people to comply by changing their world view. Censorship runs contrary to democracy (but so does drug prohibition).

None of this is actually aimed at child porn, as from what I understand, that sort of thing is accessed via special encrypted peer to peer (or is it point to point) tunneling, or via calling the web site directly. It CANNOT be accessed by just wandering around the parts of the web people can get to via a google search. You have to pay, install special software, pay for international long distance modem calls to verify that "you are you". WHY? Because it is FREAKIN illegal and sick. It is already illegal.

The thing about Conroy's (supposed) method is that it CANNOT do what he says it will do. It can only do what he says it it will not do.

Besides if you give people normal access the the web and let them find web listings for that crap, and then watch the backbone for traffic, it is far easier to catch people. If on the other hand you force it all underground , you force it all back underground where it was 20 years ago (all "polaroids") and then you CANNOT catch the bastards. The way things are right now, you can find digital "breadcrumbs" to follow.

The facts is that the vast majority of Australians want to live in an open society where people get to live their own lives as they wish without being told what is "good for them", what they can see or read or listen to, etc. Most of us are acutely aware that the only people out there who want to control those thing, are trying to FORCE their own personal religious agenda on an unwilling society (and that is already illegal here).

Anonymous

8

Next Year's Fiasco Award Nominee

For the handling of the NBN and Australian Internet filtering, I nominate Stephen Conroy.

gfrend

9

Conroy's Choice

Anon, let's place responsibility for this charade exactly where it belongs. Stephen Conjob is merely the front person for the Kruddites who are pushing this because they think it will buy them some votes.

Given the level of ignorance of the well meaning people who want to be seen to be "doing something", that will happen unless we tell everyone that this govt bulls**t simply won't achieve what they say.

Most Australians are not stupid despite what the Kruddites think, so let's get the truth out there in the public arena and not just in tech sites like this.

Anonymous

10

he's basically a hypocritical absolutist conservative piece of ****

backseatelvis

11

great work Conroy. arent you a bit late?..... not blocking out monkton and climategate and weatheraction.com or was that all just a trial run?

Jennifer

12

It time to get Stephen Conroy thrown out of parliament for his ignorant and arrogant and go and copy like China with his stupid censor filtering and take the adult leisure away and increasing violence, rapes, molesters on streets!!!! Where the freedom for Australia?? This is not china!!!!!

I want online games and social networking stay and have freedom open to Australians!!!! it the parent's responsibilities for kids not Government taking care of them.
PLEASE ABOLISH CENSOR INTERNET FILTERING!!!!!

Ben

13

Just unbelievable. I cannot understand how this farce continues unchecked. The problem is that apart from the fact that our taxes will be wasted as a result of this sub-human ignoramus, even after we throw him out the thing will be up and running. Do we then need to spend more of our hard earned money to remove it also?

How is it possible that in this amazing country that has been built by people from all over the world who support freedom, that this concept could be entertained for more than 5 seconds?

I have to say that if this ludicrous joke actually gets up and running, it will be the first time that I would feel truly ashamed to be Australian.

Richard

14

This filter is far worse than child porn. I didn't call myself Australian to hear this bulls**t even get considered by government. Any protest against this nonsense and I'm in.

John

15

#16 oh come on. comparing filtering with child porn makes no sense at all. of course, filtering isn't going to stop or reduce child porn, but people really should stop making hyperbolic and non-sensical points just for the sake of argument.

David

16

Seeing as child porn ISNT on the internet in essence but in highly secertive password locked encrypted rooms if you accept the crude explaination, that people have to be invited to, you cant stumble into them.
This has been the case for a number of years ever since the high profile international interpol raids, of which Australia took part, so government is well aware of this.
Dont be sold bulldust through fear, sadly this is a trend in advertising and government, fear sells.
I am personnel sick of having my intelligence insulted on a daily bases by spin from elected officials, who apon election suddenly think they have a mandate from God to practice social engineering.

All we want you to do, is clean the streets, make sure there is schools,transport,policing and a bit of a military so we have the illusion of sercurity, thats it.
I never voted for you to look after my children thats my job, and to be fair if it wasnt the law I wouldnt vote for any of the self serving fear mongers in the first place.

Donna

17

I agree with Jennifer, Stephen Conroy thrown out of parliament for his ignorant and arrogant and go and copy like China with his stupid censor filtering and take the adult leisure away and increasing violence, rapes, molesters on streets!!!! He should not forget Where the freedom for Australia..This is not china..! Well I wanted to know about tablet flexeril. If you know anything about it please let me know.

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