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

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

Minchin indicated that he had young children in his home and found NetAlert to be a suitable content filter in addition to monitoring the children’s activities online.

“But Labor went to the election and won on the basis of this, frankly, very heavy-handed one-size-fits-all ISP-based content filter. It’s not a policy we would have adopted; we have considerable reservations about how it could possibly work.”

Internode’s Newton, speaking to Computerworld, said the move by the member of Conroy’s department to silence his criticism was inappropriate and an attempt to curb free speech.

"What they have done is desperate and below inappropriate; it's absolute bullshit," Newton said, adding his comments may not represent Internode.

"The IIA had nothing to do with it."

Our presumption is this cannot and will not work, it’s very heavy-handed

Liberal Senator Nick Minchin

The IIA is liaising with ISPs that will participate in an upcoming live trial of the filtering technology to determine the appropriate metrics and architecture to be used.

IIA CEO Peter Coroneos said the association is a conduit for information on the content filtering scheme between industry and Conroy's office, and did not want to be involved in the debate.

“We think it is necessary to have the evidence before us because without the details, it is difficult to comment on the implications of the [scheme's] policy and what the implementation issues will be,” Coroneos said.

“We are advising ISP members [of IIA] of the existence of the trial as part of the government consultation process. It is up to individual members whether they involve themselves in the trial. Cost and performance needs to be tested, and to its credit, the government is reserving its policy until the details come through.”

But Minchin believes the trials are already a foregone conclusion.

“We’ll watch the government’s trials of this and we are prepared to consider what comes out of those trials. But our presumption is this cannot and will not work, it’s very heavy-handed.

“Like anything in life it’s about finding the right balance between the basic freedoms we all expect to have in a democracy like ours while at the same time wanting to protect minors from exposure to material we prefer they didn’t see. We think the arrangements that we had in place when we left office struck that balance.”

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