NightKhaos on Digital Freedom

Digital Rights and Technology Blog

Posts Tagged ‘filter

Know thy Voters

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I only moved to Sydney in 2010. Before then I had been living in Glasgow in Scotland. So when I tell you the behaviour of your major political parties makes me sick to my stomach I want you, Australia, to understand my full meaning.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what you, the people can do about it, all I know is that what I have seen throughout this electon has turned out to be a lot of false promises and lemon policies.

It seems to come down to one very important thing, one thing that the government in the UK and the government in NZ are capable of doing. That simple thing? Listening to your voters.

Politicians in this country don’t. Well that is not entirely accurate: they only listen when they are likely to lose their position. Senator Stephen Conroy is a prime example of this behaviour.

This particular minister is the bane of most of the IT and telecommications industry at the moment. For various reasons. The first reason is the prosposed Mandatory ISP filtering.

For those of you not aware the Mandatory ISP Filtering, or Filter, is a policy put forward by the Labor government because of the “moral responsibility to remove child pornography, bestiality and other illegal materials that have no place a civilised society.” I’m paraphrasing there, but that is in a nutshell the argument which at face value seems like an admirable goal.

The filter first and foremost, which was sold to protect children by preventing them from accessing pornographic content inadvertently, while also protecting them from online predators, and stopping the trade of illegal child pornography via the Internet in Australia

Except it won’t. First off, as protest against the filter raised the scope had to be reduced from X18+ rated material, to RC rated material, and now there is talk of reducing it even further to just illegal material. So the amount of material that will be blocked from inadvertent expose by children has been reduced from millions of pages, to tens of thousands, to now less than four hundred. This is out of approximately two trillion pages on the web today.

To put that in perspective; we have greater odds of being killed or seriously injured in a car crash tomorrow than our children do of inadvertently browsing to a blocked page. And that is only if we use the process of selecting a random web-page. The risk is reduced even further when we consider that the Internet is a searched medium. Meaning you need to actively search for content.

Then their is the predator argument. This one made me chuckle when I read it in the MX “[The increase in child predators] raises the requirement of a content filter”. So let me get this straight, a static list of illegal content on the net is going to stop a child predator, a real person, from grooming children? That’s like saying a program to remove all images of car crashes from television, books, and news papers will reduce the number of road accidents on our roads. If anything, the removal of child pornographic content on the web will actually increase the number of paedophiles present on the web.

And finally, to stop the trade of illegal pornography you have to hit them where the trade is occurring. The trade of illegal pornographic material occurs in closed Peer2Peer networks across the globe. The filter on the other hand is only covering web-pages.

But that’s alright, because we have a moral responsibility. Senator Stephen Conroy continuity refuses to listen to experts in the field who continuity repeat these above points to him, going so far as labelling anyone who comes out against him as being in favour of Child Pornography. Never-mind the facts, never-mind the surveys that show over 90% of respondents are opposed the filter. He even refuses to listen to the arguments, stating on a recent television appearance on Q&A that there were only two concerns with the filter: that it would slow down the Internet, and that there is little transparency in what is being blocked in the current proposal. Both of which are minor issues compared to the fact that it won’t work. He even counters the fallacy that the filter will slow down the Internet by as much as 87% (this figure provided by GetUp! which I unfortunately have be unable to verify) with another fallacy that it will only result in a speed difference of “One Seventieth of a Blink of an Eye” which I can find even less evidence for than GetUp!’s 87% figure.

Mr Conroy also refuses to listen to the public on the NBN. There is concern from aspects of the industry that it’ll cost to much, that by the time we have rolled out the technology there will be a better technology available and it will have been a giant waste of money. Granted, leaving up to experts and individuals such as myself to debate is understandable, however you would think that when the opposition starts echoing the concerns presented by the public that maybe, even then, Mr Conroy would make an effort to explain a few thing, not to mention that if our debates started to come to conclusions different to his own he would take the same stance he takes on the filter of completely ignoring the public.

The only reason I can think of this is the fact that there have only been two minority governments in history in Australia. This means that a major political party has had the power to dictate policy from the lower house without any negotiation with the minor parties in order to pass a bill. That means that whatever the major political party says, goes. I for one hope that Labor stay on a knife edge from now on, because maybe they will start listening to facts. Like try this one on for size Mr Conroy, 7% of voters in Queensland voted against you by placing you as one of there last place candidates by voting below the line.


Written by NightKhaos

October 18, 2010 at 12:29 am

Posted in ISP Filtering, NBN

Tagged with , , ,