Congratulations to the AFP who have busted another clutch of child proners. The ring used a private peer to peer network to traffic their sordid cargo, as distinct from the web http protocol which Conroy’s vaunted ISP filters will throttle.
“We have offenders here who range from unemployed through to Queen’s Counsel, through to childcare workers, police officers,” Deputy Commissioner Colvin said.
Basking in the reflected glory of the police sting, the saturnine Stephen Conroy muddied the waters by concatenating other reasonable strategies with his proposed web censorship filters.
“The internet offers a wide range of opportunities for all Australians, but for the nation to truly benefit we need to ensure a safe online environment,” Senator Conroy said.
“The Rudd Government recognises that there is no silver bullet solution to cyber-safety and is investing $125.8 million in a comprehensive range of measures, including law enforcement, education, content filtering, research, international cooperation and a youth advisory group.”
Conroy still hasn’t let the public know precisely which ISPs will be participating in the next set of closed loop web filter trials, though iiNet says it is participating to show how useless they are and Optus says they’re in. Nor has the public been informed if the results of the forthcoming dummy trials will be available for independent scrutiny.
From the whirlwind of complaints on the Conroy / Tanner blog, (if one can call such a poor effort at net communication a blog at all given there is no interaction forthcoming from the high and mighty, no threading of the back to front comments, no archive and no continuity of posts,
let alone an RSS feed), it’s clear the public are well-informed about web censorship and are very angry. Most comments call for an abandonment of the policy and many demand Conroy’s removal.
The Fringe cynically suspects the exercise is ‘consultation’ in the usual patronising governmental style – just for show, to help the punters feel ‘involved’. The real decision has already been made by the Hollow Men, and will be executed regardless of criticism and advice from experts and the public. Has the upper echelon of Labor been overrun completely by puritanical Old Guard dinosaurs, is Conroy after Hogg’s job or is courting the wowser votes of Fielding and Xenophon so imperative Labor is willing to run the gauntlet of millions of angry Oz internet users at the next election?
Around the traps, Broadbanned Revolution provides a scoop from the UK, revealing the rationales used by ISPs there who do not censor their feeds.
Abroad, Conroy’s ISP filters are highlighted in the New York Times. However the article fails to mention that both filters proposed by Conroy would be mandatory for ISPs to implement, with an opt out choice only available on the second.
Internet pothole, Clive Hamilton, is quoted with another of his ubiquitous false analogies:
“The laws that mandate upper speed limits do not stop people from speeding, does that mean that we should not have those laws?” he said. “We live in a society, and societies have always imposed limits on activities that it deems are damaging.” he said. “There is nothing sacrosanct about the Internet.”
Ah, Clive, speeding limits don’t damage one’s car engine or the roads on which one drives, in fact quite the reverse.
As Web 2.0 startup business expert Duncan Riley says:
“The whole [online blog consultation] thing is a joke considering Conroy’s Great Firewall will kill internet speeds and drive up internet connection costs in Australia, potentially crippling online businesses.”