I’m saddened to see that, despite criticism from within Australia and internationally, Senator Conroy continues on his Quixotic charge to use ineffective technology to combat child pornography. Even sadder to see some Labor MHRs happy to see money wasted.
You cannot tell me the filter won’t do *ANY* good.
– Arch Bevis, Labor MHR for Brisbane, toeing the party line, January 2010
Sancho Panza: Don Quixote, Use the Lance!
Don Quixote: No, this toothpick is much better.
Don Quixote: You cannot tell me I can’t lodge it in my opponent’s eye.
Citizen: But Senator Conroy, paedophiles don’t use HTTP. They use HTTPS, VPN, P2P, IRC, chat rooms, myspace, facebook…
Sen. Conroy: No, we paid $44m for this HTTP filter.
Sen. Conroy: You cannot tell me the filter won’t do *ANY* good.
Arguments against the Mandatory ISP Filter
You may recall my earlier post where I presented a Mind Map of the arguments against Senator Conroy’s Mandatory ISP Filter and offering a better solution for Child Cyber-Safety.
It was prepared for a meeting between Arch Bevis, Labor MHR for Brisbane, and a number of individuals who had met at a meeting of Stop Internet Censorship Brisbane, including myself.
Meeting with Arch Bevis
From my notes after the meeting between Stop Internet Censorship members (SIC) and Arch Bevis (AB)…
SIC: The filter won’t work at all.
AB: You cannot tell me the filter won’t do ANY good.
He’s right. We couldn’t tell him. Any discussion of the technologies actually used by paedophiles just bounced off the stonewall.
SIC: The blacklist is secret.
AB: Yes, I’m uncomfortable with that. There should be enough information published about each blocked URL to explain why the decision was made, without, of course, publishing the URL.
SIC: It’s censorship.
AB: Of course, some censorship is necessary. However I can think of some past Attorneys-General who, if armed with a scheme like this, would have made blacklisting decisions that I would not agree with.
… thereby proving our point that future governments cannot be trusted with scope-creep-ready censorware in every Australian ISP.
SIC: In-home filtering and parent supervision is better.
AB: That won’t happen.
AB went on to point out clearly that no education or training is necessary to become a parent. He stopped just short of actually calling Aussie parents “dills”.
SIC: Senator Conroy’s communication presents the ISP Filter as a magic bullet.
AB: I’ll meet with Senator Conroy and ask him to tone down the PR language.
Two months later, I note Conroy now says occasionally, “We never said it was a magic bullet.“ Unfortunately, nothing else has changed.
SIC: It’s a huge waste of money.
AB: $44m? Pfft! You should see what the other side wasted on a cancelled naval helicopter contract.
I gather from this that both major parties have even bigger waste/skeletons in their closets and that wasting money comes easily to politicians. Clearly the “waste of money” argument won’t get much traction with the major parties.
I have to say, I came away from the meeting disheartened.
So Who Will I be Voting For?
A Federal election will be called later this year. The Greens (particularly WA Senator Scott Ludlam) are the only major party who have spoken out consistently against the filter. They also have a published policy to “ensure that regulation of the internet is transparent, accountable and protects freedom of speech, expression and access to information“.
If I were an elector in the seat of Brisbane, I’d be voting for Arch Bevis’ rival, former senator Andrew Bartlett. As a Queenslander, I’m certainly voting for Larissa Waters in the Senate with the flow of preferences to be determined very much by the other parties’ policies. I’ll be looking for policies that won’t place the yoke of censorship on the Australia I leave for my children.