“I’m not exaggerating when I say that this model involves more technical interference in the internet infrastructure than what is attempted in Iran, one of the most repressive and regressive censorship regimes in the world.” Colin Jacobs, chair of the online users’ lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 2008.
Nope, this isn’t a post about China or a dictatorship (at least, not an official one) that’s the subject of this blog post. It’s the Australian government’s short on detail long on self-righteous rhetoric approach to “protecting our children”.
I don’t know why suddenly everyone is shocked. Internet filtering at the ISP level has reared its ugly head on both sides of the Australian Parliament. The latest effort was in March 2006 when then-Labour-leader Kim Beazley pounded his fist in righteous indignation “for the sake of the children”. Of course that led to the then Howard-government’s disastrous filter for every home mail-out that then year 10 student Tom Wood cracked in less time than it takes to watch an episode of that soft-core porn TV fav “Big Brother”.
In January, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy resurrected the cause and attempted to stifle debate on the issues, as I blogged in the post “Disagree and you are an anti-Australian pervert.”
Things seemed to go quiet until April with the government introducing amendments to the Telecommunications act that would reportedly “force all telecommunications providers to facilitate lawful data interception across fixed and mobile telephone systems, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Instant Messaging (IM) and chat room discussions”
Now it’s on again — time to educate yourself and choose a side.
This Thursday 30 October, the Hon. Stephen Conroy will be intereviewed on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio national’s Media Report program – 8:30am AEDT, repeated 8pm. His interview will immediately be followed by one with respected futurist, educator and programmer Mark Pesce. Hopefully the audio and transcript will be up on the Media Report site not long after.
If you’d like to do some homework in advance, WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam’s web site provides a transcript of a conversation he had with Mr. Conroy in an estimates hearing — http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/transcript/cybersafety-net-filtering
Read up, listen in and take a stance. Mr. Conroy says it’s early days yet – so we all have time to feed into this debate.
Finally, despite the fact I am not a Greens supporter, I have to say how blown away I was by Senator Ludlam’s blog and the Green’s site. It’s the antithesis of Senator Conroy’s deadly boring web 1.0 pixel ghetto and proves who is in touch with how the internet is used and who gets “briefings”.