The Aussie communications minister Stephen Conroy seems to be moving away from his planned test of a compulsory internet filter. But Conroy has also made some rather dubious comments about an ongoing court case involving one of the ISPs which publicly ridiculed his planned Great Aussie Firewall. Conroy told SBS's Insight …
I have concluded that he is an idiot. I thought that Richard Alston (from the mid-90s) would never be beaten as Australia's worst Communications Minister, but alas, Conroy has eclipsed Alston's record.
There's really not much of a walkback going on, if any at all. All Conroy has done (well, he's only blabbed about a tentative proposal) is partially shift responsibility for creating the blacklist from one government office to a subsidiary government office.
Conroy has always claimed (despite contrary evidence) that the mandatory level of filtering would only apply to verified illegal material. So now he's merely changed his terminology to "refused classification" instead, but it's just terminology - this "great firewall" plan of his is essentially unchanged.
Still, I have in mind a solution: a peaceful, constitutionally-compliant "revolution". Everyone of like-mind (about 92% of the adult population by my estimates) simply downs tools until such time as the PM goes to the Governor General and asks for a double dissolution election. We (the people) then make it clear that any candidate that stands on a platform of censorship will not be getting votes from that great majority.
Does this idiot Conroy not realise that there is only one legitimate source of power in our democracy - the people - and that it's his job to serve the people's interests, not his own or those of a handful?
On the up side, at least we're still debating it.
The lessons of history have consistently shown that the public can't trust governments and their bureaucrats on censorship. Why would anyone trust a dill like Conroy? What he really wants is to block anything that doesn't meet his purported high moral standards and he's hedging on his definition of what that really means anyway. Today child porn (no loss there), tomorrow criticism of government? Sanctimonious prick!
He commented on 'Insight' that the WWW was the 'Wild West' ... great, that's exactly what I like about it. It makes it more difficult for governments to keep us in the dark and gives us an opportunity to evaluate differing points of view.
Thumbs up only because there's no choice of digits.
There's no change
The Australian media are amazing sometimes. There is no change. Conroy has ALWAYS referred to illegal content which, by definition means RC. He's even used the term before. And he's consistent said the list published was a superset of the ACMA list - it was a filtering vendor's list and that vendor had added sites.
Also, the ACMA list serves a different purpose than the mandatory filter and Conroy has never, to my knowledge, said that THAT list was what he wanted to filter. That's been the nay-sayers, not him.
I've never agreed with censorship but reporting what he said on Insight (I did watch the whole thing) as a backdown (as The Age did) is just wrong. He's always said the mandatory component of the filter would be illegal or RC stuff and everything else would be optional.
Conroy's background ...
If you want a laugh, Senator Conroy was destroyed on the ABC's Q&A programme the week before. I actually had a really good question accepted but couldn't get my webcam to work in time. But it went along the lines of how did Conroy feel about Australia being included on Reporters Sans Frontier's watchilist of "potential enemies of the Internet" and elevated to the same level as Yemen and Sri Lanka. One bloke asked him if he believed 1984 was a novel or an instructional manual. Transcript and download of the show here: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s2521164.htm
More importantly, we should also be aware that Conroy wasn't born here. He was actually born in Ely, UK. Bloody Poms coming over here and restricting our internet. Must be your revenge for losing the Ashes series every time (except once recently, which was quite funny really).
"Conroy said: "What I am looking at at the moment is a system whereby the Classification Board can have a role in making that final determination." So if a complaint about a website was made, ACMA would pass that site onto the Classifcation Board."
Excellent, that'll bog 'em down for a few millennia.