May 10

Kevin Rudd May Shelve Internet Censorship

For over a year we have been harping on about The Australian Internet Censorship Filter, and finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Australian newspaper reported last week that The Rudd Government is sitting on the policy for the moment and would not introduce the policy in this month’s or June’s sitting of parliament. This was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. After that there is not another sitting of parliament until August, which will probably be the last sitting before the election. This means there is a very good chance that the policy will not be introduced until after the election, if at all. Hooray!

Now, before we start patting ourselves on the back and thinking that this all over, they didn’t say that they are dropping it all together, they are just delaying it. I think that the huge number of people who signed the introduction of an R18+ rating for games petition (89,000 signatures) plus the petition to stop internet censorship (126,189 signatures) by GetUp.org.au has started to make the government nervous. Each of those signatures could equate to a lost vote!

The government retreating on this issue is a minor victory, as it shows that the Rudd government is a little nervous about losing votes over this policy, a policy that they insist everyone wants but was countered by the petition from GetUp.org.au.

GetUp.org.au has produced the video below to continue this campaign, help it go viral. Spread it around, make sure everyone is aware of this anti-censorship campaign. The only people who are qualified to protect the children are their parents! Don’t let us become an over protective nanny state.

Last thing: GetUp.org.au just sent out an email that say this “Tune in to the ABC tonight to see the efforts of GetUp members in the campaign against internet filtering. At 8.30pm, Four Corners covers the campaign and at 9.35pm, Q&A explores internet censorship, featuring former GetUp National Director, Brett Solomon.” I’ll be watching.

  • I don't believe you could even call the confining of the proposal a retreat. Once in place there is always the possibility of redefining and expanding what is deemed RC, and there are many ways to do an end run around the Government's promise or 'pledge'. They can change the designation of RC by legislative amendment so it merely reverts to prohibited material or alternatively broaden the classification of what falls within the definition of RC via another mechanism. Legislative amendment wouldn't even be necessary as all that would be required is the consensus of state and territory censorship ministers. Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby claims falsely firstly that all the Government is trying to do is to block illegal material. This is plainly incorrect as not all RC is illegal in it's essence. Secondly we know that China's censor has been used to block Christian sites. Thirdly, I couldn't think of a better example than the bible which should be caught by the filter, if as Wallace states all the Government is trying to do is block child pornography, bestiality and sexual violence. I wouldn't think the old Testament would pass muster. We can't entrust the Government not to become involved in the process of censorship and the keeping of secret lists, which will remain unaccessible. Anything that it politically unpalatable or distasteful is vulnerable to be blocked. By the Government trying to distance itself by saying that the ACMA will perform the task, they are being disingenuous. Bureacrats are even less accountable than Politicians. Present or future governments will become involved in blocking websites if it is expedient, eg websites who are critical of their mandatory filter. Logistically how are you going to classify content on the internet or ensure that hacked sites aren't unfairly censored and businesses ruined. We have already seen a leaked version of the blacklist, which the Government won't published and there were very innocuous websites appearing on it. Conroy's assertion that if you publish a webpage address you give direct access to the material is fundamentally and logically flawed. He says publishing the list would be like advertising the sites. This sounds suspiciously like a tacit concession that the filter won't actually work. However Conroy has already been shown the numerous ways by technical groups as to how it can be circumvented.

  • Amazingly well said Adele, I agree with everything you said. The trick is to never let the thing pass because once in place, it will be nearly impossible to remove it. Look at the ban on pornography in this country. Everyone admits it was a knee jerk reaction and the wrong decision in the 1980s, a huge majority of average Australians (74%) think they should be made legal again and yet no government wants to be seen as the one that brought back porn. This filter CAN'T go ahead, so any retreat from it going to parliament is a good thing. I think GetUp said it best in the video, The filter is on life support, let's pull the plug.

  • popshot

    Kill it with Fire?

    Also I thought that youtube video was quite good. (GetupAustralia)

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