Listen to what Conroy’s telling them, not what he’s telling us

The thing about Conroy’s shameless attempt to pander to fundamentalists by crippling the internet for the rest of us is that to sell it, he needs to tell two completely different stories.

To internet users, he needs to convince us that only really evil stuff we wouldn’t look for anyway will be blocked, and we can trust the “independent” body he’s going to set up to secretly add things to this list not to go overboard even though it won’t be in any way answerable to the public. That the lobby groups who’ve successfully pushed for this legislation won’t be able to quietly expand the list as soon as the legislation passes. It’s no biggie, he’ll be telling us.

In contrast, to the fundamentalists calling themselves “Christians” and claiming to represent “Families” (seriously, please don’t forget the appropriate quote marks whenever referring to the Australian “Christian” Lobby and the Australian “Family” Association), he has to argue the opposite, otherwise the whole effort is wasted. He has to convince them that this is a major step to “protect the children”. He’s going to be blocking “pornography” and discussion of the things they find “immoral”. He’ll imply that it’ll help stamp down on “child pornography”, although the only way of doing that is shutting down peer-to-peer traffic and he’s claiming to the rest of us that he won’t do that. It’s important that they know that, whatever he’s telling the rest of Australia, they’re getting what they wanted – a foothold on the internet through which, over time, to enforce more of their “morality” on the rest of us.

There’s a reason he met with them first.

He’d also be wise to remind the TV networks to go easy on him – after all, once the filter’s in place, it will be trivial to start blocking the sources of free competing video content that have freed Australians from the networks’ control. They scratch his back, he’ll be happy to scratch theirs.

The rest of us should concentrate on what he says to the latter two groups, not what he says to us.

UPDATE: You know the ACL is campaigning to have nonviolent erotica criminalised – well, here’s Wallace to his supporters today:

  • Government moves to filter porn from internet.
  • Sex trade and civil libertarians violently oppose this.
  • Please write to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to thank him for protecting kids.

It’s not going to stop with the “worst of the worst”. Indeed, based on the trials, it’s not even going to start with that.

PS “violently”?

UPDATE: GetUp has set up a link for faxing Conroy and his opposition counterpart. This is my fax:

Dear Senator Conroy

The Australian public can see through your filter proposal. We know that it doesn’t work – that it doesn’t stop paedophiles, that it doesn’t protect children, that it blocks content it shouldn’t, that when the list is expanded to actually block any of the content you claim you’re going to block it slows the internet down by 40%.

Trickily releasing the results of your limited trial at Christmas when scrutiny is lowest isn’t fooling anyone.

We know that this appalling plan is expensive, and that you’re wasting money that COULD go to protecting children through better enforcement and education. We know that paedophiles will be cheering your proposal, as it makes them safer and – by making the AFP’s job harder and giving parents a misleadingly false sense of security – their sick work easier.

And we don’t trust you, or your successors, with a hidden list and an “independent” (read: undemocratic) body that will decide what else gets blocked if the filter is passed.

I will vote against the ALP if this legislation reaches the floor of Parliament.

It’s not too late. I call on you to withdraw the policy now.

Jeremy Sear.

I’ve sent something similar to Tony Smith.

36 responses to “Listen to what Conroy’s telling them, not what he’s telling us

  1. How long before the fundies start lobbying for those websites that teach young people how to use condoms, or help same-sex attracted youth come to terms with their sexual identity to be filtered out?

    When you start targetting government policy at religious fundamentalists it’s the start of a giant slippery slope.

  2. i doubt the careful planning and design for this internet filter came from Conroy’s brain…

  3. Funny that all these things are being released just before christmas, where scrutiny will be lowest, isn’t it?

  4. And the OTT hysteria award goes to this woman at the Punch who writes:

    There are those of us who, after stumbling upon a site like this may have disturbed a kernel of previously unacknowledged interest, a dormant twitch of arousal that had finally found an outlet. A few posts here, a couple of links there, a handful of supportive, private emails from established forum members assuring the newcomer that they’re “not alone” – and you have yourself the makings of child porn fetishist.

    It is already illegal to download child pornography, so presumably what she’s suggesting is that now the filter will prevent child abuse?

  5. Fuck iinet have caved in

    Click to access releas…ber-safety.pdf

    Just as well Mark Newton from internode is still fighting this. His latest article today…eed-wont-block

  6. Hey, Anthony, language! Are you trying to get this site blocked for swear words?

  7. Lol sorry Mr Conroy 🙂

  8. The internet was one of humanity’s great breaks for freedom. It wasn’t property of a corporation or a state. Ever since they have been trying to colonise, regulate and control it.

    In the not too distant future the great freesom and glorious chaos the internet will be reined in. It will be controlled by thought police for the benefit of politicians and privateers. No longer a superhighway it will wind up a very straight, boring and expensive toll road.

    The threats are coming from all sides: search engine providers collude with totalitarian regimes to limit access to political sites, businesses attack the principle of Net Nutrality, moralising politicians impose their censorship and media interests try to turn ISP’s into cybercops. And lurking in the background is the UN which would like to control the internet.

    In the not too distant future we may look back on this age relative freedom as a glorious time before the internet was conquered by interests seeking profit and power.

  9. In the not too distant future we may look back on this age relative freedom as a glorious time before the internet was conquered by interests seeking profit and power.

    I’ve been thinking much the same.

  10. And lurking in the background is the UN which would like to control the internet.


  11. It’s very depressing. The only people who aren’t upset about this are the people who
    (a) don’t understand it; or
    (b) are confident that they’re the privileged ones who’ll get to control it – that it will be THEM imposing their will on everyone else, not the other way around.

  12. @confessions: there’s 2 articles up. What is it, stupid day at The Punch? :/

  13. Confessions – I think that in SB’s mind the UN inhabits approximately the same space as SPECTRE does in the James Bond films.

    But without the cat and the death rays.

    Well, without death rays for now . . .

  14. Confessions a few years back the idea was floated that the UN should have some control over the internet.

    Haven’t heard much lately, but I wouldn’t trust the UN to respect rights to free speech, given the attitudes of some of the member countries.

  15. SB: the UN will never control the internet. At least while Rupe’s still alive anyways, so dont worry about it.

    Chade: that 2nd article is even more dumb! Isn’t the most effective filter one that operates at the user’s end? If so these things already exist and don’t need to be developed.

    Jeremy: it’s highly unlikely that MSM sites will end up on the filter list, and indepdent blogsites have a greater chance of being captured. Maybe that explains the silence or pro-filter stance of the MSM?

  16. In the case of the TV stations, I suspect they’re just itching for the moment all peer to peer traffic is shut down and their monopoly on what Australians can watch – and when we can watch it – is restored.

  17. “Christian Lobby wants filter net cast wider”,christian-lobby-wants-filter-net-cast-wider.aspx

    It didn’t take them long.

  18. Even faster than you think – that link was in yesterday’s post.

  19. 🙂

    I think I’ve read more words in blogs, articles, tweets etc since Conroy’s announcement yesterday. My head is swimming with #nocleanfeed .

  20. I didn’t even finished writing what I was thinking!

    “I think I’ve read more words in blogs, articles, tweets etc since Conroy’s announcement yesterday than I feel I’ve read all year … or something like that.

    Time for break from the computer and the Internet for awhile … oh darn, better check those tweets first.

  21. At last some opposition!

    Internet search giant Google has come out in opposition to the Federal Government’s push to introduce mandatory ISP filtering.

    In a post on Google Australia’s official blog, the company said the plan raised concerns about censorship.

  22. How long will it be before sites that promote the theory of evolution make the blackbanned list? If Abbott ever gets in, it will be a lot closer to happening.

  23. Mark Newton on Sky news this morning…icleID=1073276

  24. “How long will it be before sites that promote the theory of evolution make the blackbanned list? If Abbott ever gets in, it will be a lot closer to happening.’

    Why would you say that Erik — Abbott is on record as saying he believes in Evolution.

    There’s plenty of ammo with which to attack Abbott without having to make stuff up.

  25. “Net Nutrality” – that realm or dimension of the internet occupied by particular eccentrics.

    e.g. “we in the nutrality based community believe…”

  26. Another good Mark Newton article on how the testing is flawed.

  27. Love this editorial in The Australian (written by Conroy or his staff?)

  28. Kate Lundy has finally spoken about this. Shame she doesn’t look speaking out against her own party.

  29. Don’t miss the comments on Lundy’s blog item. Her staffer Pia Waugh tries to assert that mandatory filtering was Labor policy in 2007, prior to the election. Commenters sort her out- the only part that was ‘mandatory’ was for ISPs to make a ‘clean feed’ avalable to those who wanted it. caught out, Waugh asserted that the ‘community expectations’ were somehow not in accord with the published policy.Conjob himself said on 31 Dec 2007 that those who didn’t want to be censored could opt out.

    Having been a filter opponent in the past while in opposition, yet now saying that she’ll go with the party room, Lundy’s busted and she knows it. I HOPE she is considering crossing the floor, at the risk of her position, given the ALP’s policy on expulsion of dissenters.

  30. ALP is a complete joke, why would anyone vote for those muppets? A democracy where the ruling party is run like a dictatorship.

    If Lundy crosses the floor then she is doing what she believes is right.

  31. Daphon: read the Minister’s press release. The Oz editorial makes all the same points…..

  32. GavinM – the fundamentalists have Abbott’s ear – whilst he may or may not be one himself. I believe they will see Abbott in power as a great opportunity to push their own agenda. And what a very useful tool the “Great Firewall” would be push that agenda.

  33. ErikR,

    Remind me again, who is in power right now and who’s Ministry is Conroy a part of ?

    I’d suggest the fundies already “have the ear” of the people they want.

    Another thing that seems to have escaped the notice of many is which of the two — Rudd or Abbott — stage more photoshoots and interviews just outside of their church ?

    Here’s a clue – it’s not the Catholic.

  34. [Rudd or Abbott — stage more photoshoots and interviews just outside of their church ?]

    Exactly – Rudd loves to pose in front of churches, espouse Christian values and then lock up asylum seekers and their children at great expense to the ‘Australian Working Family’.

  35. ErikR : Conroy has Jim Wallace in his ear and that’s a fact. Voting ALP is voting fundamentalist nutjobs

  36. Pingback: The worst thing about censorship is ***** **** *******

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