A headline-grabbing election promise to crack down on internet nasties looks to be in trouble as Senate opposition grows.
As the proposed legislation cannot be passed by Labor alone, and the Opposition is against the plan because of its impost on business as well as that niggling little detail of it being technically impossible to actually block pornography files swapped through peer-to-peer networks etc, is the real story that Senator Conroy is being hung out to dry by his party to further another agenda?
Only two of the Senators holding the balance of power are in favour of the plan – Fielding because he wants to block pornography, and Xenophon because he wants to block offshore gambling sites. Predictable, and Xenophon can perhaps be persuaded of how ineffective the filtering will actually be and could conceivably be persuaded withdraw his support.
The Greens are against it because of the civil liberties aspects and the impost on all net users of the slowed speeds that ISP-level filters would inevitably create (plus the false positives), and in particular because of the unanswered technical questions about security for encrypted transactions such as every internet-banking transaction in Australia: how is the security of all our banking details going to be maintained when it’s not just the banks who have access to that data, but every ISP will as well through the filter technology?
The Nat-Libs are against it particularly because of the aforementioned costs to business of slowed networks plus most of the same reasons as the Greens.
All Conroy does in response is bleat about blocking illegal child pornography, which is a noble aim that on its own would be laudable, IF WHAT SENATOR CONROY PROPOSES WOULD ACTUALLY DO THAT. It won’t work, as has been discussed here several times.
The rest of the Labor front bench are not stupid. They must know that the proposed filter won’t actually do what Conroy says it will do. So what’s the real agenda here? I doubt that those accusing the government of a simple wowser agenda are seeing the full picture: what happens when the Senate won’t pass the bill? What are the government’s options then? Dropping Conroy from the front bench in disgrace would be one, but the other is far more interesting. They could send the bill to the Senate again after three months elapse…