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.
- 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.
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.
I’ve sent something similar to Tony Smith.