Government backflips on net filter

The federal government has again delayed the introduction of its proposed mandatory internet filter while a review of classified material is undertaken.

While the review is under way three of Australia’s largest internet service providers have agreed to voluntarily block online child pornography material.

Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy says some people are obviously concerned about whether current classified material reflected community views.

Legislation to impose mandatory internet filtering would therefore be delayed until the review was completed, Senator Conroy said.

Labor’s moves to block access to material such as child pornography and other illegal content have been criticised by some of the world’s largest providers of internet services including Google and Yahoo.

Senator Conroy announced on Friday that Telstra, Optus and Primus will block a list of child abuse URLs – internet addresses – compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

However, representatives from Telstra and Optus would not say unequivocally whether they supported the government’s proposed internet filter.

The telcos agreed to block child porn material from being accessed by Australian internet users while that review of Refused Classification (RC) content was under way.

"We support the review that was announced today, we support and are willing to voluntarily commit to the blocking of the ACMA list of child pornography sites and we’ll continue to work constructively with the government as it undertakes this review," Telstra public policy and communications director David Quilty told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Quilty said the blocking process was expected to take several months to get up and running.

Optus government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai said the telco had agreed to filter child pornography where it could.

"We’ll have to wait and see what the review comes out with, but we’ve said all the way through this is about blocking the worst of the worst," he said.

RC content includes child abuse material, bestiality, rape and other extreme violence and terrorist acts.

Senator Conroy remained adamant that the internet filter proposal did not amount to censorship.

"I don’t think any Australian actually tries to describe blocking child pornography or bestiality or pro-rape websites as censorship," Senator Conroy told reporters in Melbourne

Gillard to push ahead with web censorship

gillard.jpg

gillard A change of Prime Minister is not enough to kill off one of the most stupid ideas of the 21st century.

It had been thought that when  Julia Gillard took over the Australian government that she would allow a little bit of common sense to happen in Aussie politics.
However, it seems that Gillard is cut from the same mold which believes that Australians are precious snowflakes who need protection from the rest of the world.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, she is going to press ahead with plans to filter the internet Chinese style and cut Australians from a stream of information that the government thinks is too dangerous for them.

n Julia Gillard’s first comments on the filter since becoming Prime Minister, she told ABC Radio in Darwin that the proposal was an effort to control the dark side of communications technology.

Again she drummed up the image of child porn and abuse which she claims you are able to see on the Internet but for some reason cannot see in a movie theatre.  No we didn’t get the link either.

Gillard indicated that the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, might tweak parts of the proposed filter before it is introduced. But given Conroy’s own spittle reactionary approach to web censorship is legendary, Australians who actually want to use the Internet like ordinary citizens of the world will probably have to vote the Labour government out.

Unfortunately the Australian opposition has yet to announced that it is against the filter. It seems that the government feels that there is a chance here to control citizens through net use and although the opposition does not want to be the one to make the unpopular move, it also sees the advantage of not dismantling it.
After all, what government would not like to control the information that citizens get on contentious issues such as abortion and human rights?
Gillard admitted that there were technical concerns that Conroy’s filters will slow the Aussie internet down and will take away legitimate use of the internet.
Gillard’s comments have won backing from the Christian group FamilyVoice Australia.

Spokeswoman, Ros Phillips, said she was ”delighted” the government’s position was being maintained.

However given that christian groups in Australia look at the internet as created by Satan as a method to draw people to the anti-christ we can’t see how they can be taken seriously.

There had been hopes that Gillard’s rule of the Labour Party would be a move to common sense.  However it appears that she is exactly like her predecessor.   Hopefully the Australian people will show that they do not want this sort of censorship in their lives and vote against any party that tries to bring it in.  Don’t hold your  breath though.

Story by Nick Farrell www.techeye.net

Internet Filter Not Censorship Says Conroy

Stephen ConroyI don’t know about you, but that old saying about if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck, certainly rings true to me and everyone else it seems with the exception of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the proposed Internet filter for all Australians being planned by the Rudd government.

Conroy, speaking at The Sydney Institute on Monday has described the planned mandatory internet filter as a modest regulatory measure,whilst critics believe it is mandatory censorship, being imposed on all Australians by the federal government.

The Obama administration in the US has already raised concerns about the proposed filter, saying it flies in the face of their policy of a free and open internet, here’s the link to that story if you’d like to read what the US government thinks of Rudd’s plans.

Here’s more of the story on Conroy’s speech:

“The internet is an incredible piece of technology and in our lifetime it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like it again,” he said.

“But for all its technical brilliance, the internet is a distribution and communications platform.

“Having no regulation to combat illegal activity actually weakens all that is good about the internet.”

The federal government’s $128.8 million Cyber Safety policy includes legislation to block access to certain websites and blacklist offensive material.

The policy has been widely criticised by internet and software companies and free speech supporters.

But Senator Conroy said it can’t remain largely unregulated.

“With great opportunity, comes even greater responsibility, and having sensible, appropriate protections in place is also the role of government,” he said.

“There are some who want to argue that on the internet, people should be able to publish anything they like – regardless of whether it contravenes laws in the off-line world.”

Senator Conroy said ISP level filtering alone was not enough to help fight child pornography or keep children safe online, which was why the government supported the block of content such as child sexual abuse imagery and material advocating terrorism.

“This is a modest measure, which reflects long held community standards about the type of content that is unacceptable in a civilised society,” he said.

“Those who claim the government’s approach is akin to the sort of political censorship practiced by authoritarian regimes are simply misleading the Australian public.”

Original Story appeared on Ninemsn