Sickos relying on Conroy’s filter to make kids more vulnerable fear not – it’s just delayed, not cancelled

Fear not, people who want to put children more at risk by having the government implement an expensive filter that makes it harder for the police to catch predators: although Senator Conroy is delaying his moronic plan for now, it’s only until after the election when it’ll be too late for Australians with functioning brains to do anything about it. Whichever of Labor or Liberal form government will claim a mandate to implement some kind of a filter, and that’s just what they’ll do – unless the smaller party that has consistently campaigned against the filter gets the numbers to stop them.

So, religious fanatics and creepy perverts alike – the time has come to stand up for the stupid policy you so desperately want, by doing everything in your power to crush the only ones who seriously oppose you: the Greens. And don’t worry – you have enthusiastic, well-practised, influential allies in this fight. For once in your disturbing lives, the odds are on your side.

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34 responses to “Sickos relying on Conroy’s filter to make kids more vulnerable fear not – it’s just delayed, not cancelled

  1. Splatterbottom

    Labor is trying to be a small target by putting off decisions until after the election. They think the less people know about the policies the better off they will be.

    Even worse they do not even think through their policies before they announce them. It seems that policies are determined by the spin doctors each morning after browsing the headlines for the day.

    Being a feckless fuckwit is obviously not just the preserve of Krudd.

  2. Agreed SB, seems Abbott was spot on with his salesmen line

  3. Jeremy, I’m not sure about the filter but I doubt there is any evil intent behind it to harm children.

    However, when you brand all those in favour of it as “Sickos, religious fanatics and creepy perverts with “disturbing lives”, it doesn’t exactly encourage polite, respectful & rational discourse.

  4. Ugh. Ray, obviously it’s mainly ignorant people in favour of it – people who don’t understand how our classification system works, people who don’t understand the technological problems of managing a filter list, people who haven’t grasped that a filter makes it harder to catch predators – the point is to get them to realise that they’re actually doing the work of perverts and fanatics.

  5. He’s not saying that the supporters of the filter are actually sickos and perverts, he’s saying that the filter will only make it harder for police to protect children, and so child molesters would be in favour of the filter.

    And not to get all tu quoque, but Conroy’s the one who rang the paedophile bell in the first place.

  6. obviously it’s mainly ignorant people in favour of it

    Okay, delete “sickos” et al and replace it with that opening swipe. Either way, it doesn’t encourage debate.

  7. What debate? There’s no rational way to be in favour of Conroy’s filter proposal. The only way to support it is if you really don’t understand how our classification system works.

  8. Okay, delete “sickos” et al and replace it with that opening swipe. Either way, it doesn’t encourage debate.

    ALP fan boy and all Ray surely you understand the likes of Conroy and his religious mates are stating anyone against this internet filter is into Child porn. Without any real understanding of the issue that’s all they say.

  9. What debate? There’s no rational way to be in favour of Conroy’s filter proposal.

    Well I agree that a polemic approach like that is not a debate at all.

    (Anthony, I’m not an ‘ALP fan boy’ and I haven’t said I support the filter. What I’d like to see is a better debate about it)

  10. Ray : So the Conroy\Jim Wallace\ALP line of anti internet filter = pro child porn is what you call debate?

    That’s the response you get from them when you state facts that the trials did not work, that the trials were doctored, that the filter will not stop child porn, that the filter will slow our already third world internet speeds down?

  11. I’m not wanting to debate it with them. Unless of course they choose to come here. So are you saying that under no circumstances whatsoever would you accept that there needs to be some regulation of what is put up and/or said on the Internet? No rules?

    I think the debate that needs to be had is much wider than the polemics being put forward on both sides.

  12. There already is regulation of what is put up and/or said on the Internet. Defamation, stalking, harassment, distributing criminal material – these routinely find their way into the courts already.

    The point of a classification filter is that it pretends that unless something has specifically been assessed as suitable by our Classification Board, it should be blocked. That’s not how the internet works. Overseas hosts aren’t going to submit everything to the Australian classification board for approval. Thus a filter will always block material that shouldn’t be blocked.

    The police already work to catch the people transmitting disturbing material. If you think they need help, raise their funding, give them better technology.

    The filter – ANY filter – will, in contrast, make it HARDER for police, by driving the paedophiles further underground. IT won’t stop them, it’ll just make them more difficult to catch.

    There is not a single sensible argument for this filter. It is entirely dependent for support on people not understanding how (a) our classification system works and (b) how the internet works.

    Regulation, yes – and we already have it. Filter, no – it is dangerous and counterproductive.

  13. Splatterbottom

    Ray, Scott Ludlum summarised the ‘against’ position as follows:

    Our objections to the filter fall into three key areas. Firstly, it fails the objectives that the government has stated for it. It will not do anything to protect children online. That is the first broad category of reasons and I will go into them in some detail in a moment. The second category of reasons is that it establishes the architecture for future censorship of the internet in Australia, which I think is quite dangerous. Even if we take the minister on his word that he is not trying to set up a great firewall of Australia, we cannot trust him with the actions of future governments or indeed this government down the track, and I think that is very important. The third tier of arguments revolve around the technical unworkability which this minister and this government have been hearing loud and clear from the industry and from technical professionals for many years.

    Personally I think the second of those arguments is compelling.

  14. You talk about the freedom of the Internet as though it is some God given right not a joy & privilege to be respected.

    The reality is the Internet has only existed for a very short space of time and has only in very recent years expanded exponentially with the free availability of such innovative tools like WordPress blogs, Facebook & Twitter. There is no doubt these streams are being abused too and I’d like to see a debate like this one widened to include the general abuses of the medium.

    However, as we are only talking about the filter here I’ll confine it to that subject:

    Surely you would concede that a Government has a right/duty to weed our child porn? If the filter has the opposite effect, as you suggest, then what is the alternative?

    Secondary question: would it really impinge upon your liberties so much if the filter inadvertently restricted other access? How?

  15. that should be “weed out” (I don’t want to claim ownership of it!)

  16. ‘Surely you would concede that a Government has a right/duty to weed our child porn?”

    Of course it has a duty to weed out child porn, and it does that by enforcement of the existing laws against it.

    “If the filter has the opposite effect, as you suggest, then what is the alternative?”

    The status quo, where child pornographers are routinely caught and prosecuted. Better funding of the police agencies investigating it, depending on how serious a problem the numbers indicate it really is.

  17. Ray, the Internet is simply a part of our society. All our existing laws apply to the Internet. You can charge people with breaking them, and you can be charged with breaking them.

    Yes, there are definitely people who want to break the law, but just like out in the street, they’re a minority. We do need better enforcement of our laws on that minority, and that means more funding for the federal police and international police actions.

    Some of the bigger issues in participating online today are how big international companies handle complaints online. For example, Google responds quickly and posts all complaints and results, but Facebook does neither. We need better communication and regulation of companies and individuals online. Again, the AFP are key in achieving that. We need more effective international complaint procedures, and better legal enforcement.

    People are working towards this, and the government could achieve a great deal with more funding/support for the AFP (they haven’t even delivered the funding and staff they promised earlier), by educating users on making good choices, and by engaging with the community on what works and what doesn’t. A kid on Facebook needs the skills/knowledge to deal with interactions, and a viable way to ask for info or help. Parents need to know about the effective personal filtering tools already freely available (often already installed on their computers). Someone receiving a phishing email needs to know how to identify and handle it. Banks need to prosecute Internet fraud, rather than factoring it into their insurance.

    There are practical steps to using the Internet more safely and effectively. The filter is not one of them.

  18. RD: “If the filter has the opposite effect, as you suggest, then what is the alternative?”

    JS: “The status quo”

    Huh? So it’s working okay now?

    Better funding of the police agencies investigating it, depending on how serious a problem the numbers indicate it really is.

    Are you suggesting it’s not a serious problem? You didn’t answer my secondary question.

  19. So Ray you’re saying we have a big problem right now with the internet? Do you have any evidence to back this?

    How is this useless filter of HTTP traffic going to stop P2P or VPN’s where child porn networks would live?

  20. jordanrastrick

    I’ve consistently opposed the Internet filter, and written to both Rudd and my local Labor MP advocating Conroy’s removal from the portfolio over his performance on the issue. Its likely to be ineffective in its major aims, slow down internet speeds, and has some highly disturbing free speech implications.

    However, the anti-filter community only seems to be focusing on the postponement side of the announcement, and much of the rhetoric has not changed in response to adjustments in the policy. There is little to no recognition of the changes such as the ability for website owners to appeal blacklisting, that drastically reduce the potential for dangerous censorship.

    If the review comes to a sensible conclusion about the ridiculously overblown scope of Refused Classification – which is really an issue with the classification system generally and not just the filter – and if the technical improvements can make the impact on speeds negligible, then I’d be largely satisfied. I’d still oppose the filter as a waste of money and support its removal, but it would no longer be an issue I would consider changing my vote over.

    In the meantime, if the government doesn’t want to contest this issue at this election, that’s fine. If they end up implementing something unacceptable in their next term, well, I’ll consider that at the following election.

  21. Might be a bit late then.

  22. jordanrastrick

    So you think if a political party has countenanced a policy you disagree with, and then changed it in response to political pressure, you should continue to vote against them regardless, on the automatic presumption that they must be outright lying?

    No wonder politicians get nervous about accusations of back flipping. Apparently, their incapable of genuinely changing their minds in response to debate, so they may as well keep on defending their bad policies and so stay honest.

  23. They haven’t changed it. The policy is still a bad idea. They’ve just delayed it till after the election.

    I want them to acknowledge the filter is unworkable and will put children at risk – and I want them to abandon it. Which they very definitely haven’t done.

  24. So Ray you’re saying we have a big problem right now with the internet? Do you have any evidence to back this?

    Please don’t put words in my mouth, Anthony.

    My question was in response to Jeremy implying that child porn on the Internet may not be such a big problem when he said, “depending on how serious a problem the numbers indicate it really is.”

    He made the statement. The onus is not on me to prove him wrong. He hasn’t answered my query so I’ll ask it (and some others) again:

    Jeremy, do you think child porn on the Internet is not as serious a problem that the Government is saying it is?

    If the filter limits access to some sites that it wasn’t designed to how does that really impact on your liberties? I don’t like being caught up in the police ‘net’ of random breath testing because I do not drive drunk and it impinges upon my freedom of movement somewhat, but then I think … so what?

    Why shouldn’t the Government attack the problem via the police AND via filtering, if the filter can be made to work? (and please don’t tell me you know so much about it that it can never work)

  25. “He made the statement. The onus is not on me to prove him wrong. He hasn’t answered my query so I’ll ask it (and some others) again:

    Jeremy, do you think child porn on the Internet is not as serious a problem that the Government is saying it is? “

    I’m not proposing a change to the status quo, Ray. Surely the onus is on those who reckon we need to try something else to tackle child pornography to outline just how serious a problem it is.

    “If the filter limits access to some sites that it wasn’t designed to how does that really impact on your liberties?”

    How does the government blocking me from lawful sites impact on my liberties? Seriously?

    You’ll also notice that those who represent the survivors of child abuse are opposed to the filter. Doesn’t that make you doubt your support for it?

  26. jordanrastrick

    “They haven’t changed it. The policy is still a bad idea. They’ve just delayed it till after the election.”

    But they have changed it. A good summary of the changes can be found at:

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/filter-delayed-while-rc-is-reviewed-339304437.htm

    Note that both people creators of and visitors to blacklisted sites now have the means to learn of the blacklisting and seek a review of the status. This is a massive improvement in the transparency of the scheme.

    The ALP had a disastrous policy, and they’ve moderated it to a merely objectionable one, and are further undertaking to review the most unconscionable aspect, namely the scope of RC.

    Prior to all that’s happened since the Henry Tax review, I was agonising over voting for the ALP largely over this issue – in spite of my strong reluctance to endorse the Greens for the reasons I’ve mentioned in the other thread. These changes make my decision easier.

    The filter is still bad policy as far as I can tell, and I still would like to see it dropped altogether.

    However, Jeremy, you seem to be saying I should determine my vote by judging the ALP on the basis of how bad one of their policies was before they changed it, but the Greens on the basis of the good policies they will have once they get around to changing the bad ones. Doesn’t this strike you as a double standard?

  27. “The ALP had a disastrous policy, and they’ve moderated it to a merely objectionable one, and are further undertaking to review the most unconscionable aspect, namely the scope of RC.”

    You’re right, they’ve changed it – but only slightly, and in a way which doesn’t address the primary concerns:
    – the filter will push the child porn people underground and make them harder for police to catch;
    – the filter will cost a great deal of money
    – the filter will slow the internet in Australia
    – the filter will block legitimate sites.

    It’s better than it was, but it’s still a fundamentally broken, stupid policy.

    “However, Jeremy, you seem to be saying I should determine my vote by judging the ALP on the basis of how bad one of their policies was before they changed it, but the Greens on the basis of the good policies they will have once they get around to changing the bad ones. Doesn’t this strike you as a double standard?”

    No, because you’re comparing a particular deliberate policy that the ALP is pushing and will implement in government, with old vague position statements that the Greens MPs have no been advocating in parliament at all. It’s like holding the ALP to its party charter (which its MPs completely ignore) rather than the policies it presents before an election.

    The Greens aren’t going to form government in one fell swoop. Voting Green will grow the party and the bigger it gets the more seriously it will look at some of those old outdated policies.

    The thing for me is that the issues you raise – the nuclear thing, the FTA thing – those are never going to happen. They’re not current issues that the Australian public is debating. They’ve got no chance of making it to parliament, and if any Greens MPs did want to start pushing them, I suspect they’d be very quickly fixed, as soon as the newer party members realised they were there.

    The main point of voting Green for me is to pull parliament back towards the left, back towards decent public funding of health and education, away from scaremongering about refugees, away from discrimination against people because some religion doesn’t like them. You don’t send that message by voting straight ALP.

  28. “The ALP had a disastrous policy, and they’ve moderated it to a merely objectionable one, and are further undertaking to review the most unconscionable aspect, namely the scope of RC.”

    You’re right, they’ve changed it – but only slightly, and in a way which doesn’t address the primary concerns:
    – the filter will push the child porn people underground and make them harder for police to catch;
    – the filter will cost a great deal of money
    – the filter will slow the internet in Australia
    – the filter will block legitimate sites.

    It’s better than it was, but it’s still a fundamentally broken, stupid policy.

    “However, Jeremy, you seem to be saying I should determine my vote by judging the ALP on the basis of how bad one of their policies was before they changed it, but the Greens on the basis of the good policies they will have once they get around to changing the bad ones. Doesn’t this strike you as a double standard?”

    No, because you’re comparing a particular deliberate policy that the ALP is pushing and will implement in government, with old vague position statements that the Greens MPs have not been advocating in parliament at all. It’s like holding the ALP to its party charter (which its MPs completely ignore) rather than the policies it presents before an election.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think they need to fix them, and soon, but it’s something that will happen inevitably as the party grows. I don’t want them to sell out on the fundamental issues and start chasing right-wing votes: but most lefties who vote for them would be aware of the importance to Australia’s security of the US alliance. I expect we’re happy with the Greens being a little cheeky – we don’t have to be their lapdog – but we’re not in favour of them demanding we abandon it. And nor would the other 70-80% of voters or their big party representatives.

    The Greens aren’t going to form government in one fell swoop. Voting Green will grow the party and the bigger it gets the more seriously it will look at some of those old outdated policies.

    The thing for me is that the issues you raise – the nuclear thing, the FTA thing – are never going to happen. They’re not current issues that the Australian public is debating. They’ve got no chance of making it to parliament, and if any Greens MPs did want to start pushing them, I suspect they’d be very quickly fixed, as soon as the newer party members realised they were there. The Greens are working hard on the policy positions they ARE advocating; they’re not going to start pushing policies they haven’t talked about.

    The main point of voting Green for me is to pull parliament back towards the left, back towards decent public funding of health and education, away from scaremongering about refugees, away from discrimination against people because some religion doesn’t like them. You don’t send that message by voting straight ALP.

  29. ALP apologists won’t listen Jeremy. They’ll still vote for that right wing party.

  30. jordanrastrick

    “ALP apologists won’t listen Jeremy. They’ll still vote for that right wing party.”

    All this kind of name calling demonstrates is precisely how meaningless the terms left wing and right wing are when applied as absolute instead of relative terms, and to entire parties instead of specific issues.

    Are the Liberals a more left wing party than the ALP, because of their respective policy track records on internet censorship?

    Would it be fair for a One Nation voter to call Malcolm Turnbull a lefty?

    What about someone who wants to increase taxes on the rich to redistribute to the poor whilst abolishing the minimum wage? Would that be a “left wing” or “right wing” policy?

    Anyway, to focus on the genuine debate instead of a silly distraction:

    1. I don’t buy for one second that the filter will “make it harder for the police to catch [them]”. The people who know what they’re doing aren’t visiting websites anyway (hence, the ineffectiveness of the filter), and those that do attempt to visit such sites can still be readily traced. If you think there should be uncensored child porn on the net to act as an entrapment scheme for clueless paedophiles, well, I’m sure the AFP can arrange for some such sites to be taken off the filter when they want to run a sting.

    2. I agree that the filter will stupidly cost money unlikely to be justified by any benefit. There are too many policies that all the parties advocate that are even worse wastes of money for this to change my vote by itself.

    3. The filter will slow the internet, but its hard to get an objective idea of how much until we actually see the finalised version in action. If its say a <1% slowdown, I'd be irritated, but again, it would not be a vote changer for me.

    4. The filter will only block "legitimate sites" if you define legitimate to mean something like "RC but legal to possess material", which is a slightly circular way of arguing, because the government's point is that the legal standard for publishing material in any medium, including the Internet, should be stricter than that of non-published material.

    I agree with the general principle of that stance. For example I should have the right to put:

    "Kill the evil person [First Name] [Surname] because they follow [Religion], and they live at [Address]"

    in my diary, but be restricted from distributing the message to others in a public forum. Of course the internet makes the boundaries between "private" and "published" data more blurry, but the distinction is still important.

    The censorship problem then comes down to the existing RC restriction on published material being far too broad – for my mind on both the internet and other media – and the government has undertaken to review this issue.

  31. The thing is, all the things you cite as crimes are ALREADY crimes. We don’t need a filter for the police to prosecute the people who commit these crimes.

    All a filter does is cost money, slow things down, make paedophiles more organised, give parents a false sense of security, give future governments the mechanisms to block political inconvenient material, and block legitimate overseas material now.

    It’s just a fundamentally bad policy with no redeeming features that illustrates clearly just how stupid and incompetent the present government is.

  32. jordanrastrick

    I didn’t cite anything as a crime.

    Of course we don’t need a filter for the police to prosecute publishers of illegal materials, or for courts to order something be taken down; but for something hosted on a sever in the Cayman Islands or Azerbaijan or North Korea or whatever, we may not be able to do anything about it in practice, and there may thus be a legitimate argument for the government to filter it.

    If a future government orders the AMCA to blacklist material they disagree with for political reasons, and the AMCA is cowed into agreeing, that is able to be discovered and appealed by both the publisher and visitors to the site. If we have a totalitarian regime take over so that these protections are rendered meaningless, what’s to stop that regime from putting the filter in then regardless of whether its in now?

    You haven’t responded to my stances on the wasted money, slower internet speeds, or allegedly more organised paedophiles, you’ve just repeated what you said earlier.

    Its not the job of the government to protect parents from a false sense of security any more than its their job to protect their kids from legitimate but adult materials; and with this argument and the one that about driving child porn underground, its starting to feel like you’re determined to find any reason going to oppose the filter, rather than to focus on the debate over its real problems.

    “It’s just a fundamentally bad policy with no redeeming features that illustrates clearly just how stupid and incompetent the present government is.”

    Even political parties full of intelligent, competent people of good will come up with all kinds of bad policy ideas, through a lack of expertise, or trying to appease certain segments of the electorate, or not thinking things through carefully enough.

    People shout at them, they realise their stance is bad and/or a vote loser, and they change them. Viva la democracy.

    I and many, many others shouted at the ALP over this policy, and they have started to make changes that I have argued are substantial, but you have dismissed offhandedly as slight. The final result may still be totally unacceptable to me, depending on the outcome of the RC review and the magnitude of the internet slowdown, since these are at the core of my two most critical objections; I’m prepared to reserve judgement until I have better information on these points.

    On the other hand, no one except me seems to be shouting at the Greens over their bad policies of preferring no ETS to a weak ETS, or reducing the number of the world’s poor given a chance to migrate here for a better life, etc.

    I suspect this is because many Greens voters give as little real thought or attention to the substance of their platform as many ALP and Liberal voters, and as they are a minor party non-Green voters rarely even bother engaging with their ideas.

    Clearly you are one of those people who puts a great deal of thought into your own vote, and you go to substantial effort to share your political reasoning with others. I suspect we may have to agree to disagree on exactly how bad the filter is in its current form; if you want to change my vote, for one, it’d be a better investment of our time to discuss the other concerns I’ve raised in other places.

  33. “for something hosted on a sever in the Cayman Islands or Azerbaijan or North Korea or whatever, we may not be able to do anything about it in practice, and there may thus be a legitimate argument for the government to filter it.”

    No, there isn’t – they can just prosecute any Australians who access it.

    “If we have a totalitarian regime take over so that these protections are rendered meaningless, what’s to stop that regime from putting the filter in then regardless of whether its in now? “

    True, but this makes it easier for them to consolidate the power they’d need to get away with it.

    “You haven’t responded to my stances on the wasted money, slower internet speeds, or allegedly more organised paedophiles, you’ve just repeated what you said earlier.”

    That there are other programs that waste money – that’s hardly a defense of this one. Particularly since this program has no redeeming features whatsoever. Likewise slower internet speeds – that might be acceptable if there was some reason for it, but there isn’t. As for leaving sites up as a “sting” – that wouldn’t work, because once the filter goes in the paedophiles will immediately go underground and police will lose that chance to catch them.

    “On the other hand, no one except me seems to be shouting at the Greens over their bad policies of preferring no ETS to a weak ETS, or reducing the number of the world’s poor given a chance to migrate here for a better life, etc.”

    The ETS wasn’t just “weak”, it was a step backwards. Why on Earth should the Greens vote for a policy that gave taxpayers’ money to the worst polluters?

  34. jordanrastrick

    “No, there isn’t – they can just prosecute any Australians who access it.”

    If I post something illegal on the internet, and 5000 Australians access it in a week, what’s more practical – the government filtering it, or finding everyone who looked it up and taking them to court?

    “True, but this makes it easier for them to consolidate the power they’d need to get away with it.”

    An extremely unlikely scenario is extremely marginally easier. Not a big deal.

    “That there are other programs that waste money – that’s hardly a defense of this one.”

    Its not intended as a defence of the policy, only of my willingness to vote ALP in spite of the policy.

    “The ETS wasn’t just “weak”, it was a step backwards. Why on Earth should the Greens vote for a policy that gave taxpayers’ money to the worst polluters?”

    The money was only going to be the taxpayer’s by virtue of the introduction of the ETS. Now the taxpayers don’t get their hands on any of that money, and the polluters get to keep emitting carbon for free which is a much better deal than the amount of compensation on offer.

    If you can find me a single economist who will argue that the scheme would not have reduced carbon emissions at all, or a single scientist who will argue that a small carbon reduction is worse for the climate than no reduction, I might be able to take the Greens’ rhetoric seriously.

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