Conroy backs down on internet filter

After all the posts we’ve done over the years about the many flaws of the proposed mandatory internet filter (summary: about as clever as equipping a blue whale to pursue a vulture) it’s good to see Stephen Conroy finally face the facts.


ADDENDUM ~ n.b. this blog may well be sitting on a server which is part of the filter trial, because any mention of ‘child s*x’ or ‘child p*rn’ (without the strategic asterisks) gets bumped to an error page and the comment or post will disappear, and that’s not because of any setting that has been chosen by the blog administrators. So, in case you wanted to talk about the actual problem that the filter was supposed to fix in a rational/substantive/political manner, asterisks are the way to go. Gee, look at how useful the filter might be if it was going ahead!!



Categories: culture wars, law & order, technology

Tags: , , ,

20 replies

  1. About time to let this ridiculous policy die! Hooray for common sense!

  2. Conroy can’t stop digging though: ”It’s a sad day when someone thinks that not blocking child p*rnography is a good thing.”
    https://twitter.com/sub_bourbon/status/266681454694633473

    • Following problems submitting my last comment, I have just added this to the OP:
      ADDENDUM ~ n.b. this blog may well be sitting on a server which is part of the filter trial, because any mention of ‘child s*x’ or ‘child p*rn’ (without the strategic asterisks) gets bumped to an error page and the comment or post will disappear, and that’s not because of any setting that has been chosen by the blog administrators. So, in case you wanted to talk about the actual problem that the filter was supposed to fix in a rational/substantive/political manner, asterisks are the way to go. Gee, look at how useful the filter might be if it was going ahead!!

  3. Until after the election.

    • Paul, you’re very cynical, but maybe you’re just cynical enough on this one.
      Conroy’s term of office as a Senator for Victoria expires on 30 June 2014, so I presume the election next year will include his name on the ballot for re-election. There are probably ways to strategically vote for a different Labor candidate to be the top-balloting Labor Senatorial candidate in Victoria, and these should be examined.

  4. I’ve always thought, give the police (or whomever) the resources to go after and take down sites with criminal content. Because we usually deal with criminals by preventing others from knowing what they’re doing, and criminals can be trusted to describe what they’re doing explicitly using key search terms.
    And besides, when we have been talking about child s*x abuse etc, it’s been critical news commentary. Because talking about a thing is just like doing the thing!

    • Exactly, Aqua – such a hamfisted filter only hampers the ability of people who are fighting against child s*x abuse, or those providing services to help the healing of victims, to discuss this abuse openly as the appalling crime that it is.

  5. Thanks, tig tog.
    Of course he maybe motivated by concern solely on the issue kiddie pr#n; this would be laudable. But in that case, why does he blur his message by wanting to add “political” bits added to the legislation as well as refusal of notification and explanation of material filtered?
    It is a measure of our cynicism that we might speculate that some in power are using a proposed pursuit of- revolting- kiddie pr*n as a blind for the clamping down of discussion of other examples of “Pr*n”, involving the specifics of war for profit and institutionalised starvation of the masses, for example (if a person sees “obscenity” as the underlying issue), without transparency in the system.

  6. Perhaps the @FilterConroy campaign will resurrect?

  7. The Asher Moses article is such a gem, right down to the mention in the final part of the equally obnoxious data retention idea. And suggests that Conroy and his filter should indeed be filtered.
    Congrats Hoydens, for running this invaluable thread.
    Better Conroy got back to getting his mate Pell to finally get off his bum and sort out the internal church culture that brings so grief out in the real world.

  8. Exceeding my quota, it just crystallised over a cuppa that Conroy’s attitude that if you don’t like internet censorship you must approve of pr#n is personally offensive.
    I actually think there is a substantial point to the Dworkinite view that hardcore involving exploitation, humiliation and suffering is despicable and the gangsters running it ought to be stomped on.
    If he is exploiting the public loathing of hard core to push for forms of political censorship that regrettably, he claims, also must fall under the system’s terms of reference, how dare he accuse other people of naked cynicism.
    Thanks for allowing the vent..

  9. I’m still voting him lower than I’m voting even Stephen Fielding. The man shows no ability to learn and an arrogance that can only be the result of the extremely obvious ignorance he displays to anyone who knows much about computers.
    At least I can trust Fielding to be a shitty politician in a very particular way. Conroy is just completely random in his screwing up of Australia’s tech infrastructure and industry.

  10. ADDENDUM ~ n.b. this blog may well be sitting on a server which is part of the filter trial, because any mention of ‘child s*x’ or ‘child p*rn’ (without the strategic asterisks) gets bumped to an error page and the comment or post will disappear, and that’s not because of any setting that has been chosen by the blog administrators.

    The filter trial was Optus and Telstra blocking the Interpol list, as I understood it. How would that affect comments on this blog?

    • Rebekka, AIUI the filter trial was based on blacklisting search terms as well as the interpol list, but I could of course be misinformed.

      In any case, our household internet is through Optus, and the bug certainly affected me when trying to discuss child s*xual abuse on various threads.

  11. Time to enable https for the blog to stop those pesky content filters :-)

  12. My understanding was that they were blocking specific URLs, rather than filtering on search terms. That’s certainly what the Optus website says.
    The Optus website also says:

    •Optus will be selecting a small geographic area within which to run the trial. Customers in the geographic location selected for the trial who do not wish to participate will be able to opt-out.
    •The trial will only filter based on the ACMA blacklist of illegal content. It will not filter other types of so-called ‘inappropriate’ content.

    In any case, the ongoing situation will be the Interpol list being blocked, not a filter.

  13. It would be rather surprising if Optus was doing real content (not just url) filtering. That would take a *lot* of resources and is likely very error prone. Simple keyword searches could accidentally block a lot of news sites. Perhaps some new feature has crept unannounced into the software that your blog runs on or it’s your hosting provider doing something funny?

    • Chris, those are certainly plausible alternatives. I was mainly just giving people the heads-up that keywords related to the main justification for the filter in the first place would send their comments to oblivion unless munged. The speculation as to why was 99% facetious.

  14. I doubt whether there is much there is much they couldn’t find out about you from electronic surveillance of society; what it’s really about is us recognising and refusing a sinister policy developed by a totalitarian mindset as overt and legitimate(d) and seen to be so through spin, rather than covert, from bad motives and hardly defensible.

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