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The Forum > Article Comments > Internet: donít link, donít leak > Comments

Internet: donít link, donít leak : Comments

By Chris Abood, published 23/3/2009

The proposed internet filtering system currently being tested is fast becoming a disaster for this government.

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Conroy is pushing this censorship campaign to stay onside with his Victorian moral conservative electorate. Rudd, has similar interests which oddly dovetail with his disturbing love of Chinese traditions - of social control.

For public complaints about this Great Leap Backward it is most effective to call Conroy direct. These are the publicly listed phone numbers on Conroy's Parliamentary Website http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/contact that people concerned about creeping censorship can call or fax:

Conroy's Parliamentary office
Suite MG70
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: 02 6277 7480
Fax: 02 6273 4154

Conroy's Ministerial office
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002
Tel: 03 9650 1188
Fax: 03 9650 3251

These contact numbers are provided for us, the public, so we have a right to use them.
Posted by plantagenet, Monday, 23 March 2009 10:54:52 AM
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I work for a Government agency (Environmental Management) and all I can say is that I have never ceased to be amazed at the utter stupidity and incompetence of the Government. If half the stuff that happened in Government happened in private industry that company would be out of business by the end of a week.

Examples of this stupidity include cutting environmental management workforce numbers to save a little cash when it is needed most, employing internet filtering programs that are the cheapest on the market and only stop the honest (anyone can get around the filter by simply using a proxy not to mention that it also filters out site like Yahoo, Google, Discovery Channel and Enchanted Learning intermittently), failing to provide proper care through centerlink and Medicare services to chronically ill people, etc ad norsium.

Anybody who believes that a filtering system administered by the government is a good thing needs to have their head read, our current system of government couldn't organise a piss up at a brewery if they had 20 alcoholics and the key to the storeroom. The reason, there is NO accountability for stupidity and incompetence. Instead of saying 'You have no idea what you are doing so get lost' they say 'Well we will try better next time'. If the Government disables the net in this country no one will be held accountable, there are no consequences for the actions of either Pollies or Civil Servants when they screw up royal. So I challenge anyone who is in favour of this plan to tell me why we should ever allow it go ahead if we cannot trust the Government to hold up its end of the bargain, to filter only what needs to be filtered and not legitimate sites. How can we trust the Government to do its job if there is no way to hold it accountable for its actions?
Posted by Arthur N, Monday, 23 March 2009 11:38:15 AM
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The Author forgets that his party are keen on this as well.
Arthur N I also laugh when I hear a public servent go on, reductions in staffing are some of the funniest. I work for a large multi-national my dept went from 125 to 30!! When was the last time the PS was cut that deep.
Posted by Kenny, Monday, 23 March 2009 12:23:19 PM
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Kenny, perhaps the PS does need some cuts like that, if you will note I was trying to say that there is lot of dead wood that could do with a prune in the PS.

However I note with even more interest that you did nothign to answer the question that I raised.
Posted by Arthur N, Monday, 23 March 2009 12:54:28 PM
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The ACMA blacklist was designed to protect children under the Howard government's NetAlert scheme. It was only ever designed to be provided to PC filter vendors. The ACMA hotline was only intended to take calls to deal with complaints at this level. Stephen Conroy did understand this but went on to extrapolate the use of this list as a basis to apply censorship to adults as part of an obsession which appears to be religiously motivated.

The internet mirrors real life. Kids were being nasty to each other when I was at school and there were only a few computers in the world. I remember with great shame a kid at my school who was teased/tormented for not wearing the "right" clothes to the point where her parents had to move her to a different school. The difference is that things move more quickly now. Gossip and rumours can take on a viral life of their own on line and with mobile phones. This can only be handled by real people in real life helping/teaching children to cope with the good and the bad and doing their best with their child. It's difficult in any era to fully monitor adolescent activity. It's secret kidz business to them.

While I agree that there are worse things in life and on the internet than any internet filter can fix, I think a primary paradox that is often missed is that the children involved in the production and distribution of child pornography are real abused children. A draconian internet censorship scheme will do nothing to protect or help abused children. In real life, most children are abused by members of their families, not strangers on line. How many children died in real life last year at the hands of their own families while child protection agencies in most states are starved of resources to handle this. Where is the federal government offering funding and coordination to protect real children? The $128 million estimated cost of this system could surely be more usefully allocated if protection of children is the intention.
Posted by ilago, Monday, 23 March 2009 12:59:27 PM
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The truly bone-chilling aspect of this debacle is that logic counts for absolutely nothing.

The government simply stonewalls any questions on the effectiveness, fairness and suitability of their pet project with sound-bites.

"...the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime"

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/19/2520929.htm?section=australia

The implicit postscript is "oppose this, and you must be a paedophile, a rapist, a sexual deviant or a criminal". Despite the fact that the blacklist will inevitably include a whole raft of sites undeserving of the notoriety.

As the author points out, the government has put itself firmly into a no-win position.

It cannot release the list to public scrutiny, as it would then be available for all the kiddies to explore.

And they can't keep it secret either, for all the reasons of fairness, equity and simple commercial necessity outlined in the article.

It is a salutary lesson in "democracy", when the public can be treated in this manner with apparent impunity.

The only intelligent answer is to encourage the population to find out for themselves how exposed they might be, and to take the appropriate action. But there's political mileage only in nanny-state control mechanisms, and none at all in sensible solutions that remain the responsibility of the individual.

We really should try to avoid abdication of all our responsibilities to politicians, as they will only ever do what works for politicians. If we hand over the keys to the Internet to the likes of Rudd and Conroy, we theoretically deserve our freedoms to be curtailed in any way they see fit - this is the "well, you elected the bastards" philosophy.

There is of course one major problem with that.

Both major parties support the existence of a blacklist, so under the "thou shalt vote" law, our democratic rights are cut off at the knees.
Posted by Pericles, Monday, 23 March 2009 1:29:21 PM
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