Friday, 6 August 2010

Australian internet filter dead and buried. Google that.

For Cairns computer technician Carl Butcher, the issue of internet censorship is front and centre in this election campaign.

The Coalition have announced that they will oppose any mandatory internet censorship.

"Well done Liberals for standing up to this ridiculous Labor policy," Carl Butcher told CairnsBlog.

"This is fantastic news and a win for people power. With the campaigns being run by the Electronic Frontiers Australia and GetUp, the people have spoken and it has made the pollies in Canberra stand up a take notice."

Carl Butcher believes the internet filter would never have been effective.

"It would have never worked, and would have been a terrible waste of taxpayer money and not one child would have been safer as a result," Carl Butcher says.

Labor announced the filter plans back in 2008 as part of its cyber safety program under the guise of protecting children from pornography and offensive material. At the same time, dumped the Coalition's internet safety kits, including "net nanny" software, that encouraged parents to manage their own family's use of the internet.

One of the most vocal opponents to the filter, Electronic Frontiers Australia have applauded the announcement. "The news is very welcome among the ranks of those many organisations and individuals that see the filter as a policy failure," Colin Jacobs says.

A mandatory censorship scheme is still Labor policy, however with The Greens opposition to the internet censorship scheme, Labor's plan will now not get through the Senate.

"We call on Minister Conroy and the Gillard Government to now admit the mandatory filter policy is dead, and to move on to a debate more grounded in reality," Colin Jacobs said today. "The government must now listen to the experts, and get back to working on giving Australians access to better and faster broadband."

Joe Hockey said today if Labor wins the election, the Coalition would not vote in favour of the internet filter.

"We believe the internet filter will not work and we believe it's flawed policy," Hockey said. "It is not going to capture a whole lot of images and chatter that we all find offensive ... that are going through email."

They will return to the plan of "giving parents more control".

"The ISP filter-based system does not work, therefore it creates ... an assumption of trust that cannot be met by the technology."

Just three weeks ago, Labor said they would undertake a review of the policy, effectively taking it out of the election debate. Central to the filter plan was to include all "refused classification" rated content from being accessed via Australia internet uses.


Curious said...

The internet is already censored, anyone who doesn't see that is a fool.

This was to be EXTRA censoring.

Saying censoring certain types of site doesn't make a single child safer is bollocks.

Syd Walker said...

Julia Gillard must now move VERY fast to drop the absurd and utterly discredited 'internet filter' policy.

She can claim – correctly – that it won't get through Parliament in any case, as it will be opposed by both the Coaltion and Greens.

I sincerely hope the ALP does this – and does it fast.

It now has hours – not days – remaining to fix this mess of its own making, because meetings are coming up over the next few days where, as things currently stand, Conroy will be defending the ALP's current ahd indefensible policy.

There is no juice left any longer for Labor in defending its current position on mandatory internet censorship. It's suicide. Surely ALP strategists can see that?

If Labor doesn't drop the policy now, it would demonstrate that the current Labor leadership really does have no commitment to evidence-based policies or respecting public opposition.

In that case, the ALP would deserve to lose the election.

On the other hand, a Labor Party opposed to mandatory censorship but supporting an NBN... now would be an attractive option...

Alison Alloway said...

ANOTHER example of political chicanery. Internet filters are already in place!!! All public computers on "prescribed" areas in the Northern Territory have filters on them, placed by the Howard Government as part of the "Federal Intervention" of 2007Then again, Australians cannot access individual PCS in Iraq....yet people in Europe can.
So now we have it.....
White boys can, black boys can't.
(But it isn't a "filter".)
You can talk to Pakistanis, but not to Iraqis.
(But it isn't a "filter").

Andrew Williams said...

On this occasion a vote for LNP is a vote against Communist censorship. If they control our Internet we may as well move to Iran or China. It was just going to be another erosion of our human civil rights. Glad the coalition will scrap the bullshit filter idea. said...

This is big news for almost EVERY VOTER!!!!

This is becoming a GREAT Chess game!!!!

Alison Alloway said...

Look at the sophistry here!!! You have accepted, without comment, that black boys can have their internet filtered. Oh, that seems alright to you people. Utterly amazing how racism quickly surfaces when whitey thinks his own privileges might be at stake. What horrible, ugly hypocracy!

Carl Butcher said...

Just to add to the quoted comments. The biggest misconception about the proposed filter was that it would keep children safe from all the nasties on the internet. This was untrue. The filter was to block "RC" rated material on the ACMA blacklist. the ACMA blacklist had been thoroughly discredited after it was revealed that sites that had no illegal material on them at all were somehow on the list, most famously a dentist and school tuckshop website. The lack of a peer reviewed process for what was contained on the list was a serious concern for the opponents of the filter.

Furthermore, not all RC rated material is illegal. The content just didn't meet any of Australia's current classification guidelines. A great example is that of video games which don't meet our MA15+ guidelines as we don't have an R18 system like the rest of the developed world. Completely legal games, just RC in Australia.

The filter, as the current proposal stands, would allow completely legal adult material through, thus would not have made a difference should a child stumble upon the literally billions of completely legal sites compared to the measly 400 or so that were to be filtered.

In a recent video posted by the EFA it showed in 2 minutes, 5 different ways the current proposal by Labor could be bypassed. See: This is why the filter would have been a complete waste of money and completely ineffective.

I have always been an advocate for PC based filtering, where the onus is on the parent to control what their children have access to. I have set up systems for various clients and properly shown them how to work the software. A combination of a PC based filter and DNS service like OpenDNS is the best way forward. Yes these filters aren't 100% impenetrable either, but they're a far better option that mandatory censorship on an entire country.

The Headless Horseman said...

Don't trust the Liberal National Party (or whatever they call themselves this week) on the internet filter. They are social conservatives who hate ordinary people having a say let alone protestors or minority groups. The Libs are sitting back hoping Labor brings in the filter, cop the flak, lose an election, then they will blame Labor for the filter, BUT without taking it down. The Libs will then use the filter ruthlessly for political reasons and nothing to do with child porn. Mark my words. The Liberals have a track record on this as Alison Alloway points out. The Libs ruthlessly introduced the internet filter supposedly to prevent indigenous people accessing pornography. The real reason, of course, was to limit information getting out about the ruthlessness and failure of the wasteful intervention in the Northen Territory. The only serious intervention that should have been done in the NT was to build more health facilities and set up more mobile clinics. Instead the Liberals used guns and censorship.
Don't let Entsch and his tory mob slip into government on the pretext of the internet filter. The Libs are the champions of the internet filter.

Alison Alloway said...

Thank you "Headless". Gosh, what an exercise this has been. The aboriginal communities have been subjected to internet filtering since 2007. There are huge signs outside the entrance to every "prescribed" area in the Northern Territory warning people against bringing in alcohol and "pornography". I have a photograph of one of the signs which Mike is going to publish on cairnsblog. The fines for "pornography" are greater than for alcohol. You can be fined $11,000 for up to five pieces of "pornography" and $22,000 for five pieces and over, as well as receiving a two year jail sentence.
Added to this, is the filtering of all public computers in "prescribed" areas. This is all part of the Howard Government's "Federal Intervention" in 2007, and continued by the Rudd Government.
As part of the 'Federal Intervention" the Howard Government made the legislation EXEMPT from the Racial Discrimination Act. The current Federal Government intends to re-verse this exemption later this year.
Let their be no doubts, no confusion, no sophistry, no more screaming well after the horses have bolted, that INTERNET FILTERING has already started.

Syd Walker said...

Gillard was asked a question about 'the filter' a few minutes ago.

She said

(1) she didn't know much about the technical details

(2) she's relied on Conroy for advice

(3) she wanted the internet regulated like cinemas - material illegal in cinemas shouldn't be available on the internet

I remain hopeful this will be reversed... but time is really running out. This arvo Gillard is due to speak to the ACL (so is Abott). We'll hear more from both of them at that occasion.

As long as Abott doesn't backslide from Hockey's very clear position as stated last night - and if Gillard just digs herself deeper into the mire - I think we may be witnessing the end of a one term Labor Government.

(1) is not good enough - not if you want to foist a major new policy on an industry and informed public that's furiously in opposition, but a PM can't know everything, so...

(2) is just about fatal. Garbage in - garbage out. Why take advice only from the world's most despised Communications Minister? That's plain daft.

(3) is ridiculous.

Regulating the internet in the same way cinemas are regulated is simply looopy stuff. If Gillard believes that, she needs to go back to school.

In 2010, we cannot afford a Government as stupid as this.

Unless Labor sees the light without delay and reverses the mandatory censorship policy, it deserves to lose this election and probably shall lose.

No wonder Jim Turnour wouldn't return my call on this matter. He must be embarrassed to defend such a nonsensical policy.

A.P.C.P. said...

Headless Horseman and Alison Alloway - you guys make me laugh!

You make it sound as if the intervention was only supported by the Coalition - you neglect to mention that there was bipartisan support for the intervention. I suspect this is deliberate as Labor (again)tries to weasle it's way out of former policy decisions.

As for the restoration of the Restoration of the Racial Discrimination Act, I agree this needs to occur - but sooner than later. It's suspension was to allow certain measures under the intervention to proceed in Indigenous communities. Labor's solution; look at extending the intervention measures to all welfare recipients. I really don't know what is worse, the Libs suspension of the RDA, or Labor's policy which discriminates against low socio-economic communties.

As for HH's usage of the "Tory", I note that in Australia, "Tory" is used as a pejorative term by members of the Australian Labor Party to refer to members of the conservative coalition Liberal and National parties. Labor (or should it be, given Julia Gillard's left-wing past, Australia's Pseudo Communist Party)attempts stick this label on the coalition show a dismal lack of understanding of the derivation of the term. Again desperate signs of the desparation of the few remaining true believers.

The Headless Horseman said...

I'm glad you are offended by the term "Tory", A.C.P.C, it's meant to offend right-wing bigots like yourself.
The intervention was introduced by the Howard Government and you can't get around that. I know for a fact that Mal Brough meant well. But the reality was a nightmare for all residents, not just the alleged offenders.
The intervention was the Trojan horse for the Liberal Party's internet filter. The filter will be used against all Australians if the Liberal Party gets in. The Liberals' penchant for censorship proves this - Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, the intervention are examples of this.
Keep cyberpace free, put the sneaky Liberals last.

Alison Alloway said...

A.P.C.P. I am fully aware that Intervention in the Northern Territory was supported by both Federal political parties. I am also fully aware the internet censorship was placed on the aboriginal communities with support of both political parties.
THE POINT IS...internet filtering is already here and a precedent has been established. Don't let yourselves be misled by wanna be politicians on this issue. If the aboriginal people and their supporters want to take up the issue, they can always argue that if a filter is good enough for blacks, then it is good enough for whites. Yes, A.P.C.P. laugh about it if you will. I am predicting a widespread filter will be in place, whoever wins the election, within two years.

A.P.C.P. said...

Oh Headless, dear Headless

As a centre of the road Australian Democrat voter, who has spent a decade working in Central Australian Indigenous communities, and a lesbian to boot, I think using the term "right-wing bigot" to describe me a little humourous.

If decrying the entymological misuse of the non-Australian term "tory" makes me right-wing in your eyes then so be it.

But I do have a sense of humour - hence my monniker!

Skyd Talker said...

I really want to vote Labor 'cos, like, I've been sentimentally attached to them for decades now.

The problem is that any objective assessment of their policies and behaviour tells me they're ratshit.

There must be a way.

I know! I'll wait for the Greens of Leichhardt to announce they're preferencing Jim Turncoat, and then I can say I'm just following their ticket. Oh what a joy to be Green.

Alison Alloway said...

To A.C.P.C. or whatever you want to call yourself....I was very dismayed at what I saw in the Northern Territory recently. Cultural tourism is big, but few aboriginal people are employed in the hotels and service industry. I saw not one single aboriginal person employed at any of the resorts, including the Voyager Resort.I have never been able to find any reports on the outcomes of "Intervention" in relation to the well being of the children. I know only 20 extra child care welfare officers were employed, immediately following "Intervention" right across the State. Hardly sufficient personnel to oversee the safety of all the children!
It depressed me to see so many people moving off their communities and living in shanty towns on the outskirts of the little towns, ie Ti-Tree, Tennant Creek etc. I noted a young aboriginal man was being taken to court for possessing one "Girlie" magazine. Finally, I spoke with some Arrente women artists in Alice Springs, who told me that the designated supermarkets who receive the quarantined welfare payments, are over-pricing and in some cases selling old stock past their expiry-dates to aboriginal people. There are obviously massive problems with "Intervention" yet no political party has bothered to raise those issues this coming election, and that is downright disgusting.