'Appalled' opposition hits back at Conroy’s Internet censorship

The Government’s attempts to silence criticism of content filtering sparks outrage.

The newly appointed shadow broadband minister, Senator Nick Minchin, has voiced his appall that a member of Senator Conroy’s office had tried to curb severely critical comments made by Internode network engineer Mark Newton regarding the government’s Internet content filtering scheme.

Labor’s plan for content filtering will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet access points.

Under the scheme there will be two blacklists: one which blocks illegal material like child pornography; and another blacklist, referred to in a department press release, which blocks a list of material deemed unsuitable for children.

Users can opt out of the latter blacklist, but there is no opt-out for “illegal content”.

ISPs have warned that blanket content filtering will cripple Internet speeds because the technology is not up to scratch. Civil libertarians such as the Electronic Frontiers Association have warned that filtering could lead to censorship of drugs, political dissidence, information on euthanasia and other legal freedoms, in addition to mistakenly blocking legitimate material. A content filtering scheme installed within the offices of parliament in May reportedly blocked legitimate topics such as gun control and breast-feeding.

This morning, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a policy advisor at Senator Conroy’s office had sent an e-mail to the Internet Industry Association (IIA) expressing concern that Internode’s Mark Newton, as an IIA member, was behaving “irresponsibly” with regard to criticisms he made of Conroy’s controversial content filtering scheme on the popular Whirlpool broadband forum.

What they have done is desperate and below inappropriate; it's absolute bullshit

Internode network engineer Mark Newton

SMH reported that the email was accompanied by a phone call demanding the message be passed on to senior Internode management.

“I am appalled that a member of Senator Conroy’s staff is apparently trying to bully the IIA over this matter,” Minchin told Computerworld.

“That association is perfectly entitled to express its views and indeed it is very important that the public and the parliament understand the views of the IIA on this matter, and they shouldn’t be bullied by Senator Conroy or his staff. It is absolutely out of line and Senator Conroy should discipline that staff member,” the shadow minister for broadband said.

Minchin said Newton was in fact a constituent of his in South Australia and had written to him with concerns regarding the content filtering scheme. Minchin responded at the time that the opposition was “certainly not” committed to supporting the scheme in parliament.

“When we left office it was our view that we had appropriate arrangements in place in relation to this issue of filtering. The NetAlert scheme we launched in August last year, and which is still in place, we believe strikes the right balance in terms of ensuring that Australians who want to ensure that their children are not exposed to child pornography have the information at hand, the capacity and the free software that enables them to do so,” Minchin said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internet content filtering

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Imou: At home with security

Modern living is all about functionality and security for everybody from the very young to the very old. With Imou anybody can enjoy smart life – the solution is at their fingertips.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?