[LINK] Conroy going ahead

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sun May 30 08:14:36 AEST 2010

[not sure if this is really news or when he said it, but worth 
getting in the Link archives]

Filter goes ahead regardless



May 30, 2010

Poll: Should the government filter the internet?

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    * Please select an answer. Yes
    * No
results Yes



    Total votes: 4910.
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    Vote now: 
privacy uproar


    These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of 
visitors who have chosen to participate.

    MINISTER for Communications Stephen Conroy has vowed to push on 
with his controversial internet filtering scheme, despite a barrage 
of criticism.

    Senator Conroy told The Sun-Herald that internet advocacy groups 
such as GetUp! were ''deliberately misleading'' the Australian public 
about the scheme, which will refuse classification to illegal and 
socially unacceptable web pages. The legislation, which was expected 
to be passed before Parliament rises in June, has been delayed until 
the second half of the year while the government fine-tunes it.

    The government's $128.8 million Cyber Safety policy includes 
forcing internet service providers to block access to a secret 
blacklist of website pages identified as ''refused classification'' 
by the Australian police.

    Web pages will be nominated for blacklisting by Australian 
internet users who come across illegal or ''unacceptable'' websites.

    ''This is a policy that will be going ahead,'' Senator Conroy 
said. ''We are still consulting on the final details of the scheme. 
But this policy has been approved by 85 per cent of Australian 
internet service providers, who have said they would welcome the 
filter, including Telstra, Optus, iPrimus and iinet.''

    Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 72 per 
cent of Australian households have home internet access and more than 
2 million children regularly use computers.

    The scheme has attracted broad opposition from communications 
experts, search-engine companies Google and Yahoo!, the federal 
opposition and members of the nation's intellectual elite.

    Critics claim the policy will not result in any meaningful dent 
in the availability of harmful internet content, will create 
significant freedom-of-speech issues and will be prone to abuse by politicians.

    ''The scope of filtered content is so broad that it could block 
content that would inform political and social debate,'' Google 
spokeswoman Lucinda Barlow said.

    Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has also condemned the 
proposed filtering scheme as a ''white elephant''. ''This system will 
not be effective,'' Mr Turnbull said. ''This policy will run the risk 
of false impressions [of security], when there should be parental 

    Executive director of GetUp! Brett Solomon said the Prime 
Minister should step in to ditch the scheme. ''The government would 
be better off developing policies to ensure the privacy of 
Australians is better safeguarded rather than pursuing the filter. 
This should be a promise that Kevin Rudd should break.''

    GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh said a online petition by 
the activists had received support from 120,000 people and raised 
$100,000 to stop the legislation. An additional opinion poll by 
research firm Galaxy showed 86 per cent felt that parents, not the 
government, should have the primary responsibility for protecting 
information on the internet.

    ''Consistently the Australian people are saying that they don't 
want it,'' Mr Sheikh said.

    But Bernadette McMenamin of the child protection group Child Wise 
said it was 100 per cent behind filtering illegal material. ''Sites 
are going to be blocked that should be blocked, and it's absolutely 
essential every parent is taught about the dangers of the internet.''

    The Australian Privacy Foundation, however, said the cost of the 
filter would be better directed to more internet education.

    Yet Senator Conroy said ''blocking material is not considered to 
be censorship''.

    ''This filter is really not changing much, except that the 
blacklist of website pages will be mandatory.''

    The fourth Cyber Security Awareness Week starts next week to help 
raise awareness of internet privacy issues.

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

    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

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