Conroy goes unopposed in TV filtering debate

Possible opponents prevented from voicing their opinion on Channel 7 program, "Sunrise"

The vice-chair of the Electronic Frontiers Association has laughed off being snubbed by Channel 7's Sunrise program for a segment on net filtering with the communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Despite being invited to participate Geordie Guy told Computerworld Australia that he was asked not to come on to the show at the last minute due to a request from the minister.

"I got called by Sunrise yesterday asking to come on the show tomorrow morning [14 May], but at the last second it appears that Senator Conroy wanted to speak just by himself," he said.

Guy also tweeted the events as they unfolded.

"Was going to have a chat with Sen. Conroy tomorrow about #openinternet on Sunrise but it appears he would prefer to speak alone. Next time", he said, appending it with "at least I get a sleep in".

"Conroy is awesome. He's gone from last minute cancellations on #openinternet debates, to actually stopping the OTHER PARTY from debating," he tweeted later in the day.

In the segment, Sunrise hosts asked questions about ISP-level filtering to Senator Conroy, and what the scheme would entail. Along with general information Conroy has delivered on several occasions since the filter was announced, the minister also defended against claims by "people trying to mislead the Australian public".

"The most common mislead is about the speed," he said. "One organisation in fact wrote to hundreds of thousands of Australians saying 'we're gong to slow the Internet down by 87 per cent'.

"This is a complete lie. All the tests have shown that this is possible without any impact on users."

Conroy also affirmed a potential accountability mechanism flagged by the Government's Cyber Safety policy, in which an independent person would assess the ACMA blacklist and classification processes every six or 12 months.

"We're going to put forward a new mechanism of an independent person, perhaps a retired judge, who can every 6 or 12 months have a look at the list and say 'we think that everything that's on that list is appropriately on that list'," Conroy said. "We don't want a system set up that allows Stephen Conroy, Kevin Rudd or anybody else to be able to slip anything onto that list."

A spokesperson for the minister said the independent assessor would fall outside of an Internet Ombudsman under consideration by Kevin Rudd.

Computerworld Australia requested comment from Channel 7 and the Communications Minister regarding the segment, but did not receive a response at time of writing.

Tags internet content filteringmandatory internet fiteringisp-level internet content filteringChannel Seven's SunriseSenator Stephen Conroy

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Another sign of our corrupt government that just wants to CONTROL the population.

Looks like the $250 million Conroy gave the networks a couple of months ago was well spent!

It absolutely sickens me, the level of deceit the Australian government is capable of.

Conroy and all you other liar ministers cant you see what you are doing to this country that YOUR children will have to live in ??

Jim Wallace


Well, I guess we know what $230 million after a "coincidental" meeting with a Station owner "coincidentally" in the same country "coincidentally" on holiday at the same time can buy.



There has already been articles about the lieing on Four corners.

APCMAG has the right idea...

Conroy will own the NBN own everyone's freedom.

Akira Doe


This is why a pathological liar such as Conroy needs someone on the opposition to at least keep him from being caught in another lie. If a by-product of that is helping to get the truth out at the same time all better.

Conroy: "One organisation in fact wrote to hundreds of thousands of Australians saying 'we're gong to slow the Internet down by 87 per cent'."

"This is a complete lie. All the tests have shown that this is possible without any impact on users."

Sorry Senator Conroy, but what you just said was a lie. What you should have said was "All the tests that we will acknowledge because we like the results have shown..."

The report into ISP filtering conducted by the IIA showed that one proposed filtering solution that was the most effective in not under or overblocking content slowed down the Internet by up to 87%.

What should be brought to attention is the reports and trials Senator Conroy will acknowledge, most importantly the Telstra Trial. The report from the Telstra Trial is where he is getting his "100% Accurate" and "only 1/70th of the blink of an eye speed reduction" claims.

This is the same report that also states,

"No customers were involved in this trial" and "This testing was performed using a modern medium specification Laptop computer connected to the test environment using a standard 1.5Mb/s ADSL service and, at times, via a direct Ethernet connection to the test environment".

So he is basing results from a single computer, in a lab environment, involving no customers, with a maximum speed of 1.5Mbit (not even the 12mbit that was part of the testing criteria for the Enex Trial) as "evidence" that the plan works. So much for “evidence based policy”.

Senator, you are the one misleading the Public. It's no wonder you didn't want anybody on the show to oppose you because your spin won't stand up to the truth!



Perhaps we could wonder out loud about just which exotic location might be the scene for the odd couple coincidentally holidaying together next time?



I would have preferred if the headline read "Senator Conroy censors Political debate on the Proposed Internet Filter". At least that way people could be prepared for what's to come if the filter is ever implemented.

Lie after lie, deceit after deceit. How can one politician be involved in so many dodgy dealings and never be called to account?



A retired judge will be checking the list? Is that really the best person to be deciding what stays on the list for the internet to be safe?



Congratulations Geordie Guy, I think you have just become the first 'Internet' user to be officially censored by Senator Conroy......

Lich King


Sad Anthony, that is really really reaching... Geordie Guy has numerous opportunities every week to voice his views on this subject. Conroy is just not interested in the usual claim/counter-claim slanging match... Sunrise could have decided not to accept Conroys request, so perhaps you want to ask them cos they made the decision...
Jarryd, I believe that the judge is planned to control that no blunders etc are on the list, not decide what goes on it or not. Where do you get these ideas? People have been screaming for oversight, and many people have demanded that an independant judiciary take on the role, with many demanding that it be a judge. So now you have one proposed so be thankful that the pollies are listening some of the time...



A review 'every six to twelve months' is supposed to be an effective oversight mechanism?

For the internet, where a few thousand new URLs easily can spring up in an hour?

Err, no.

Will the list of sites shown to be incorrectly added be published after each review?

Will the proportion of sites incorrectly added as compared to the total number of sites added be published, so the public can get an idea of the error rate?

I think not.

The fact he can even say any of what he said in the interview with a straight face is more proof (as if any more were needed) that Conroy truly has no understanding of the media he is attempting to control, or that he is deliberately deceiving the public.

Either way, not a man who should hold public office.



Lich King,

Most child pornography distributed online is through services the mandatory filter Conroy & Rudd wish to implement cannot filter.

The filter will use static URL blocking. It blocks pages at a permanent addresses, not dynamic database-generated URLs, the bulk of the web.

An 'independent' review every 6 or 12 months is useless. Web addresses change in seconds. Material can be moved by the creators at speeds that a review or normal ACMA processes cannot meet. This includes criminals hacking legitimate websites, as occurred to several organisations that were added to the current blacklist, which has no effective notification of owners, or processes for removing URL when there's a mistake or material was placed by hackers.

The filter is targeting 'Refused Classification' material - which doesn't only include illegal material, but any internet content which is complained about & doesn't fit into the neat classification boxes designed by our governments. It doesn't include X rated material - legal to distribute and own in most of Australia - which is present on the web (mostly through paywalled portals assessible to any teenagers who steals their parents' credit cards).

The government is not at arms length - they write the censorship legislation ACMA follow. There is none of the discretion a court has to interpret the law. The government will decide what is & isn't allowed.

Decisions made by ACMA have been arbitrary, not evidence based - a ban on 'small-breasted women', who may appear younger than 18 and on female (but not male) ejaculation.

Some censorship legislation is inconsistent. Adult films can show sexual intercourse or violence. They cannot show both. This isn't sexual violence (which is abhorent), but action or fight scenes that occur separately to sex scenes as in Action movies. This is different to laws in other western countries - meaning overseas sites selling adult (X-rated) movies containing both sexual & action sequences will be blocked by the mandatory filter.

In Australia we have no 18+ rating for games despite every other western country having one (or an equivalent 17+ rating). We either shoehorn adult PC games into the MA15+ category, or ban them - both poor options for guiding parents. All sites for games that don't get into the 15+ category - despite being legal to buy in every other western country - will, under Australian law, be blocked by the filter.

To recap,

The mandatory filter championed by Conroy & Rudd - criticised by ISPs, the US Government, Google, the EFA & aware public - will block legal content, will not block illegal content, is too slow reacting, doesn't protect children & doesn't stop those creating & distributing illegal material.

We are better off educating parents on risks, how to mitigate them & investing in law enforcement & international cooperation to catch the criminals creating bad stuff.

Oh & we need to align our games ratings with movie & book ratings.



Not to worry, they wont be in power after the election.... My vote came down to NBN or NO FILTER.... and its the latter im afraid, bunch of frauds & liars....



Tell Sunrise that this is not right, let the otherside tell the story as well. I agree with Ben though, Fiber will be built one day no matter what happens to the NBN, although once a filter is in it will never go. Lost my vote Labour



Why has everyone let Sunrise off the hook, the corporate media plays a big part in letting the government control its message. We actually live in an oligarchy not a democracy people.

Jonathan Conway


Why do they have to continue using speed/efficiency as an argument against the filter?

This is *not* the reason we shouldn't have a filter.

A fast, efficient filter would *not* be right and proper.

The ONLY moral reason to oppose the filter is that it fundamentally violates FREEDOM OF SPEECH, which is a basic right of the INDIVIDUAL.

People, can we please keep the issue of INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS at the forefront of ANY discussion of government-enforced censorship?



We don't get news anymore, just edited propaganda.



You guy's realise Kerry Stokes is the Chairman of channel 7 that, the sunrise program is aired on?
You know he and Conroy last year had a secret meeting and refused to discuss to anyone else what they spoke about?
Feel free to look it up yourself.
I am not that surprised that they decided to comply with Conroy's request, he probably called up his mate Kerry and asked him for a favor



Conroy is a total scumbag.



A retiered judge? Yeah....because we all really want some 70 year old overseeing the blocking of websites......



Let me break it down for you all. This is fact: The global elite are implementing complete world government and are behind 911(proven to be an inside job), the global warming scam, the credit crisis, the swine flu and many other manipulations.
Many people are waking up to this through online research and using their brains. The mainstream media is owned by the elite so all the news we're going to get is propaganda, celebrity and sports, reality TV and cops and border security shows(designed to condition us for authority).
They want to censor the net to stop the spreading of awareness of and resistance against the Draconian New World Order, kiddy porn will not actually be affected and it has nothing to do with it anyway, it's all about controlling the flow of information.
They use the age old ploy of pretending to have the bill defeated by getting the opposition(who really plays for the same team that the other party plays for i.e. the international banking cartel) to fight the bill, and win a temporary victory, letting the public think they've won, then they slip it in later.
Unless we all fight this vigorously they will pass it through ASAP, they'll probably pass it anyway as the global 'elite' will not back down on their plans but we cannot give up our freedom of speech without a fight.

Lich King


Craig, refused classification is refused classification and is done so for some very good reasons.

It is not just some content or media or: " any internet content which is complained about & doesn't fit into the neat classification boxes designed by our governments."


It is a bit obtuse to argue that some content is not illegal when the providing, display, delivery or distribution of that content is illegal. Really obtuse.

So the people can keep their legal content if they want, they just cannot provide, display, distribute or deliver it to anyone or make it available for any of those actions.

A hunting knife is not illegal as such, stabbing someone with it is, even carrying it around in public is illegal. Should we drop the stabbing laws cos hunting knives are not illegal? Nope, that would be dopey to even suggest.

It is what they are doing with the RC content that is illegal in Australia. Displaying it is illegal. So a govt is doing something to stop or limit the display or distribution where it can.

Would you say we should remove all speed cameras or booze busses cos they only catch 2% of all offenders?

Remove customs from our wharves cos they can only search 2% of all containers?

Remove police cos they only catch a tiny percent of the drug traders?

If you are unhappy with the RC rules, and I reckon you probably did not even notice RC until it came up in this debate, or at least the vast majority of Australians did not notice or complain about it, then campaign to get the RC rules changed.

In the meantime it is illegal to display or distribute or make RC available in Australia. That is the law and should be applied.



I thought 'public debate' was one of the principals of democracy.

And btw ... some old retired judge is going to decide what Austrlians can or cannot access on the Internet? And worse still, it'll be every 6 or 12 months!

What century is Conroy living in exactly.

My support for labor is fading quickly!

And btw... in order to filter you have to intercept/monitor.

Is that even legal?



Surely it is easier for Senator Conroy to just gaol and execute anyone that dares to oppose the internet filter.

Simon Shaw


@Lich King.

Did you know that any R rated movie is also classed as RC if there is no valid age verification mechanism in place to prevent under 18 access?

That's right, Mad Max, Kill Bill and many other movies all RC without a valid age checking mechanism.
And having a credit card doesn't cut it anymore since anyone can use a debit card now.

Given filtering will cost millions and won't stop anyone wanting RC anyway.
Given some online stores have already pulled R movies due to no age mechanism.

Wouldn't the money be better spent elsewhere?

The ACL needs to pull their heads in, especially since the Church seems to be the biggest bunch of kiddie fiddlers around.

Simon Shaw


Oh PS. Sunrise didn't surprise me one bit with this move.

It's just newsvertising and lacks any integrity.



One sided debates?!

Just how Labour Party like it.

Kevin Rudd graduated with honors in Chinese history and language.

Maybe if Labour win the next election they'll change it to The People's Republic of Australia.

Tim B


Anyone else getting sick of Conroy's partial truths? The thing with the filter not slowing things down ONLY applies with smaller lists. We've heard from a number of sources saying the slowdowns WILL happen if the list grows, which it will easily do if they insist on it filtering all RC content.



"When appointing a committee, always fill it with people who will come up with the decisions you want." (2nd rule of politics).

And when selecting a retired judge to keep the proles happy. . .



Wow, that really is some dirty pool from ol Uncle Conroy. I think he is doing whatever he can to shelf this issue until the next election. I am curious however on this organisation that claims the filter will slow the net by 87%. Is this more FUD from the king of censorship? I really hope Aussie do not re-elect Conroy and co and the next election even tho the Libs arent much better. I'll be voting for the pirate party!



Australians better get used to this way of debating with the government!



The most blatant lie of all:

'All the tests have shown that this is possible without any impact on users.'

1. Their very own Enex tests showed up to 10% speed and latency degradations. 10% does not equal nothing the last time I studied maths... and so I think Conroy either failed maths at school, or is a pathological liar (or most probably both).

2. Again the Enex and Telstra reports made it 100% clear that current and _future_ high-traffic sites will break the filter completely - no impact on users my Rs!

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