[LINK] more filter - hurdle in the Senate

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Fri Oct 31 10:21:58 EST 2008

Internet screening move hits hurdle


Katharine Murphy and Matthew Ricketson
October 30, 2008 - 9:52AM

A headline-grabbing election promise to crack down on internet 
nasties looks to be in trouble as Senate opposition grows.

As part of its election-winning pitch, the Rudd Government promised 
families far-reaching measures to block prohibited content at the 
internet server level. It now faces a concerted backlash against the 
proposal by the internet industry.

The Greens have added their voice to Coalition concerns about the 
plan, with the Greens' communications spokesman calling the proposal "daft".

If the Liberals block legislation imposing server-level filtering, 
the Government will need the support of the Greens, Family First 
senator Steve Fielding and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon.

Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam told The Age yesterday 
that he was concerned the Government was trying to implement a policy 
that was technically difficult and very expensive for taxpayers.

The industry says mandatory filtering by internet service providers - 
as distinct from a "net nanny" that families can put on their own 
computers - will slow internet speeds significantly.

Senator Ludlam said server-level filtering imposed a kind of 
censorship that "runs counter to what the internet is all about". The 
Government would be better investing the filtering money in law 
enforcement and education.

"I think it's really quite misguided," Senator Ludlam said.

Senator Fielding has signalled he wants a range of material blocked, 
including hard-core pornography and fetish material. Senator Xenophon 
has indicated he wants access to offshore gaming sites restricted.

The Government is still a way from producing legislation to effect 
its policy, but indications are that it will be difficult to achieve 
consensus in the Senate.

An industry trial of various technologies will come before any legislation.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has launched a strong defence 
of the policy, hitting back at claims by the internet industry that 
the Government wants a sweeping ban on controversial content.

"I will accept some debate around what should and should not be on 
the internet - I am not a wowser," Senator Conroy told The Age. "I am 
not looking to blanket-ban some of the material that it is being 
claimed I want to blanket-ban, but some material online, such as 
child pornography, is illegal."

In response to arguments that the proposal would affect basic civil 
liberties and the principle that households should be able to be 
their own internet policeman, he said: "We are not trying to build 
the Great Wall of China.

"We are not trying to be Saudi Arabia, and to say that is to simply 
misrepresent the Government's position."

[then someone had better tell the Senator that they are losing the 
plot and had better start thinking harder about what they *think* 
their position is.]

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

Writing Lesson #54:
Learn to love revision. Think of it as polishing the silver for 
guests. - JW, May, 2007
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