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PGTS Humble Blog

Thread: Internet Freedom/Filtering

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one -- Dirty Harry

Internet Filter - Full Back-flip And Pike?

Chronogical Blog Entries:

Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2012 18:14:29 +1100

On the 9th of November, Stephen Conroy announced that the Australian government would abandon it's plans for an Internet Filter. There was considerable rejoicing amongst web libertarians ... Loud (though brief) crowing from the opposition ... And so, the whole mis-begotten venture, having struck the cold hard iceberg of ISP resistance seems about to sink into the depths of the news archives ... Or is it?

According to transcripts from ABC radio, Senator Conroy said:

We've reached agreement with all of the telco service providers that they will block the worst of the worst - the child abuse pornography material that's available on the public internet ...

Police have issued notices to a whole range of companies, and the few remaining companies that make up about 10 per cent will (soon) start receiving notices ...

In some ways this is encouraging in other ways it is laziness ... The Interpol blacklist was probably one of the sources of the original ACMA black list that was so widely touted by Senator Conroy as a "pilot study". The list was flawed, inconsistent and out-of-date when it was revealed by Wikileaks ... Although many of the flaws may have been due to ACMAs "additions" ... It is difficult to believe that it has improved considerably, since then. However, falling back to the default position does represent a significant back-down from the more wide-ranging grandiose scheme as outlined at the beginning of 2010 ... Perhaps a back-flip?

Although the Internet Filter might be going out with a whimper rather than a bang, your humble blogger is now faced with a quandary, dear reader, because if the idea does wither and die, he no longer has a reason to exist! But rather than sink out of sight like the unworkable, problematic and (soon to be?) defunct Internet Filter proposal, your humble blogger might live on, and continue to give you the benefit of his musing about Microsoft, Google and the attempts by some misguided politicians and bureaucrats to control the Internet ... For the time being, and for posterity, dear reader, your blogger has summarised his humble scribblings on the Australian Internet Filter, below:

Now if it seems that your humble blogger is gloating, dear reader, let him assure you that he is gloating with a deep and abiding sense of humility.

And if your blogger could once again venture his own humble opinion ... That if someone had evidence of child abuse ... It would seem a far better use of public resources to identify and arrest the few perpetrators foolish enough to display evidence of their crimes and to prevail upon hosting providers to provide information and/or take down such websites rather than attempt to coerce all ISPs in the world to block transmission of those websites (even though they are small in number).

The crunch will come when and if the government tries to force all ISPs to agree to block any list of sites, no matter how small, using only notices from the Federal police. Because there is no existing framework for this, and it would almost certainly require new legislation ... ISPs would be well within their rights to insist that they do not host the sites and are not responsible for the content. In fact agreeing to block them may even be a tacit admission that they are responsible for the content and could become some form of "precedent".

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Copyright     2012, Gerry Patterson. All Rights Reserved.