Conroy silent on US internet filter knock

Government sticks to its RC-only pledge

The Federal Government has remained quiet on alleged concerns raised by the US State Department on a proposal to install Internet content filters in Australia.

Under the national mandatory filtering plan, ISPs would be required to install filtering technology to prohibit access to websites on a government-held blacklist.

The plan has raised the ire of the like of Google, Reporters Without Borders and many in the local telecommunications industry. Telcos have long said users could reach banned websites through technical loopholes inherent to filters and others, including Google and Reporters Without Borders, have objected to the government’s decision to make filtering mandatory.

Australia has joined the exclusive Reporters without Borders’ Enemies of the Internet 2010 for its part in the mandatory imposition of filtering, dubbed “under surveillance”. The fraternity includes Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

Criticism is more subdued against voluntary Internet filtering schemes such as those in place across the United States, the United Kingdom, and recently New Zealand.

US State Department spokesperson, Noel Clay, told The Punch: “We do not discuss the details of specific diplomatic exchanges, but can say that in the context of that ongoing relationship, we have raised our concerns on this matter with Australian officials.

Clay said the US Government’s position on internet freedom issues is well known, expressed most recently in Secretary Hillary Clinton’s January 21st address.

Clinton spoke of “a spike in threats to the free flow of information” in fraternity countries China, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

“On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the US does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognise that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it,” Clinton said.

A spokeswoman for communications minister, Stephen Conroy, said it would be “inappropriate to discuss the details” of the comments by the State Department.

She reiterated the government’s policy that there are “no plans to block any other material that is not [restricted content]”.

Not so, according to shadow treasurer Joe Hockey. He told Melbourne’s Grattan Institute this month that such promises lose substance once a government loses power.

“Some may argue that we can surely trust a democratically-elected government in Australia to never try to introduce more wide-spread censorship. I am not so sure,” Hockey said, adding that responsibility for child protection on the Internet lay with parents, “not the government”.

Tags mandatory internet fiteringfilterisp-level internet content filteringSenator Stephen ConroySenator Hillary Clinton

More about Federal GovernmentGoogle

6 Comments

bob

1

Joe Hockey gave a great speech that day.

I would say drop Mad Monk Abbott and have Joe Hockey run for prime minister!

Daniel

2

What is the Liberal/National policy on this?
Do they have a policy on this?
Do they have any policies at all?

Conroy needs to go.. now!

Raymond

3

Dear Daniel, why on earth would you have a policy on an issue that will never happen,be rest assured! the NBN as it has been put to everybody will never be built...never!Should Conroy and Co get back after the election, they will build something,but not the NBN they are now spruiking.And should the opposition win it will never be built!

Carlos Slim

4

Earth to Raymond. It's not just a policy. The NBN is being built now.
As in, right now. Please try to keep up. It will continue to be rolled out this year.

The Opposition will adopt it as their own if they are elected anyway. Right now this is just on their laundry list of "oppose everything the govt does".

The alternative is to cosy back up to Telstra which is not politically or technologically sensible. And given what happened with the Libs and T relationship in 2007, extremely unlikely.

Peter

5

The Age/Sydney Morning Herald poll anwered by 40,000+ people showed that 96% of people do not support the government's internet filtering policy.

Raymond

6

Reality Base to Carlos; What has been "built is some fibre strung through trees and poles in Tassie! What you called built! on the mainland are some pilot sites in Labor marginal electorates...fact
What is not being built is the 15--20% in the Regionals and Bush,they are still in the "strategy" stage there!
How much are you prepared to pay Carlos? Does anybody know how much yet?
Outside of Tassie and a few pilots,NOTHING will be built this years! fact..straight from NBN.
So stop dreaming Carlos, wake up to the fact everybody is being played for a mug on this issue...fact

Comments are now closed

Microsoft skips a number, says 'Windows 10' will be a big break from the past

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]