Aussie Opposition: “End Mandatory Internet Filtering Farce”

Says it’s time for Senator Conroy to release the results of live trials, but that he’s “too embarrassed” to admit their failure.

Australian Senator Nick Minchin, Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and leader of the opposition in the Senate,  says its time for Senator Conroy to end plans for “mandatory voluntary” Internet filtering once and for all.

In case you’ve forgotten, Minister Conroy is the one behind the country’s much criticized efforts for “mandatory voluntary” filtering of “offensive and illegal material,” pornography, P2P, gambling websites, and even the recently disclosed online gaming sites, per his ill-conceived plan to “protect the children.

“Almost two years after coming to office with a plan to censor the Internet, Senator Conroy has not even managed to release results for long overdue filtering trials, let alone come close to actually implementing this highly controversial policy,” said Senator Minchin in press release.

iiNet, the country’s third largest ISP, initially agreed to participate in the “ridiculous” filter trial to prove “how stupid it is,” but later quit after it became increasingly clear that the trial “was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the Government simply describes as ‘unwanted material’ without an explanation of what that includes.”

The trial was then reduced to about 9 small ISPs, one of which has only 15 people participating. This means it’s unlikely it will produce any meaningful results.

“Senator Conroy has also failed to explain what metrics he will use to determine if the trials have been considered a success or failure, further undermining their credibility,” added Senator Minchin. “Previous trials of filtering technology have exposed serious problems with both the over-blocking and under-blocking of content and concerns also remain about the adverse impact a national filtering regime could have on Internet speeds.”

He is, as is everyone else, also concerned about the type of content he plans to filter and how he will compile the so-called site blacklist. The continued lack of details and growing doubts about its ability to implement the proposal has led him to call for an end to the plan altogether.

“It is time for Senator Conroy to end this farce and produce his long overdue trial results for independent assessment,” continued Senator Minchin. “It is looking increasingly like the Minister knows his mandatory Internet censorship plan is simply unworkable, but is too embarrassed to admit it.”

The sad thing is that if Senator Conroy would take a moment and spend 2 minutes on a PC, perhaps less even, he would see for himself that any plans to try and filter the Internet truly are impossible unless it goes the way of Iran or China and creates govt bureaus that actively monitor all traffic.

Considering that Colin Jacobs of Electronic Frontiers Australia has previously said that “this model involves more technical interference in the internet infrastructure than what is attempted in Iran it may just be that that’s where country is headed.

Stay tuned.

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