Archive for February, 2009

Xenophon comes to his senses on censorship

Unusually paternalistic independent Senator, Nick Xenophon, has finally come around to the side of reason, yet Stephen Conroy is still being a cunt.

Senator Xenophon, who is strictly against gambling, previously expressed interest in supporting Stephen Conroy’s ridiculous Mandatory Internet Filter provided gambling websites be blacklisted. Upon reviewing the lack of evidence for filter efficacy and the numerous rights issues it presents, he has decided to withdraw his support. Xenophon holds the balance of power on this issue in the upper house, so this may be good news.

Xenophon said:

The fact that it could easily be used by any government of any persuasion to expand the blacklist, that does concern me

Conroy of course maintains that the blacklist would be based on existing classification schemes, but that is only in its current proposed state. Once the infrastructure was in place, nothing could stop future governments from either altering the classification scheme or the way in which content is filtered.

As usual, Stephen Conroy has managed to put a dent in the good news by stating that he is still exploring whether or not legislation will actually be required to pass the scheme. If it’s not, he may be able to slip the MIF through using regulatory powers already in place. Luckily for those of us who fancy freedom, it’s likely legislation will be required.

Welcome to Stephen Conroy is a Cunt!

Who is Stephen Conroy and why is he a cunt?

Senator Stephen Conroy is the Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy and the spearhead of Labor’s plan for a Mandatory Internet Filter in Australia. He is the man who wants to protect you from yourself and your children from your own ignorance. The plans have been widely documented elsewhere, but in essence, Senator Conroy’s Internet filter is two pronged: one filter will block dubious content that probably shouldn’t be viewed by children, and the other will block illegal content that shouldn’t be viewed by anyone. There will be no option to have a completely raw, unfiltered version of the Internet, hence it being mandatory.

Someone may say, “the content is illegal anyway, surely Senator Conroy couldn’t be a cunt for simply blocking illegal websites,” but that would make that someone just as ignorant as the Senator. There are huge problems in both Senator Conroy’s plan and his reasoning behind it. The filtering technology being tested has proven to be inefficient and ineffective. In general, “better” filters under trial have shown to slow connections down (with the “really good” filters really putting a stick through the spokes). Poorer filters which don’t interfere with speeds quite so much make up for it by blessing us with inaccurate filtering, including letting things through that shouldn’t be let through (which I’m sure no parent who trusts the government to look after their children will appreciate), and blocking content which is neither illegal nor inappropriate. Some of the very best filters can even handle SSL (secure socket layer), which means that your secure banking details and transactions will pass unencrypted through a computer at your ISP to make sure you aren’t paying for anything illegal or inappropriate.

Once the infrastructure is in place, basically anything could be blocked. Future governments may have a differing opinion of what constitutes illegal or inappropriate content from our current paternalistic overlords. Add this to the false positives, mix with non-filtered illegal and inappropriate content, and simmer over slowed Internet speeds, and you have a treat that Senator Conroy can’t wait to serve you up.

Stay tuned as I keep you abreast (gasp!) of the latest news and analysis relating to the biggest cunt in Australian Parliament.