Again I note that Senator Abetz, (thought this time uncharacteristically) has diverted from the questions addressed to him during the sittings of the Senate House, (in a rather unusual sloppy manner) all the while evading an open honest and direct means of providing the answers sought by the opposition party Senators and including the many independent Senators.
This is irrespective to this Senator Abtetz's usual custom of thrusting his non-relevant jibes toward the opposition party Senators etc, before he then then embarks upon a manoeuvre to avoid providing the direct answer to questions that are specifically directed to him for a relevant responsible and reliable answer.
I fail to see how the wily obfuscations so frequently practiced by Senator Abetz, do actually provide anything of substance to the debate on many of the important issues tabled for discussion which are in the best interests of our Australia and its citizens.
This is the same Senator that had participated directly or indirectly in covert negotiations with the World's most internationally known corrupted destroyer of our World's vitally important yet now scant remaining Tropical Rain Forests, with the high-placed felons employed by the Taib Mahmud owned logging and timber supply company of Ta Ann in Sarawak.
(Which I am to believe was formerly a State of Malaysia.}
Currently this same Ta Ann are having their Tasmanian logged Native Forest log products, delivered to them on-site, (at an ongoing almost nil profit or break-even basis) by way of a huge contracted unsustainable annual quantum of log supply, by this State government's now Liberal party government.
Please note that The Tasmanian government has been in the habit of providing enormous amounts of taxpayer funding to allow this foolish and worthless endeavour to continue its going-nowhere taxpayer-subsidised grand-scale larceny.
That this serious State economic disconformity is not being addressed in any way by this Senator, (nor by his Tasmanian ministerial colleagues) is freely allowing the denudation of Tasmania's ever diminishing realms of the State's Crown Land Native Forests to be rampant clear-fell harvested, later followed by the remnant native species being bashed then burnt to ground zero status.
(Which and while this insane means of harvesting logs to fulfil the Ta Ann log supply agreement is happening is also responsible for taking out the part-grown State of Tasmania specific 'selective-native-timber-species' even now being dearly sought-after by this State's enormous small business specific craft-wood industry.)
This major special-species craft industry comprises of a voluminous number of individual business proprietors being denied their futuristically supply of these said products essential to their businesses.
Then it is important to realize that this same insane practice of clear-fell log-harvesting, directly benefits the highly profitable and corrupted business endeavours of the Ta Ann logging dynasty.
Furthermore, let it be known that the Ta Ann operations in Tasmania are being run to the point that no profits are generated in their Tasmanian State business operations, thus Ta Ann do not even pay any State taxes, (via their negative resulting lack of business profit revenues) much to the extreme detriment of the Treasury of Tasmania, (as was at some former time freely given to these highly contentious Ta Ann operations in Tasmania.
Is this the sort of anti-Tasmania representation all the citizens of Tasmania can expect from this non-elected anti-the-Tasmanian-people Liberal Senator?
Please be aware that my comments are based upon my own diligent independent researches.
"rush of blood to his head"? Defence say they want subs with the performance characteristics of nuclear subs, so nuclear subs is what they should get! Trying to get this performance with anything-but-nuclear constraints is the very quintessence of 'shortcuts for political expediency'.
RC content like Gold Coast dental surgeries.
Once again focussing on the extreme end and NOT the grey areas which are the REAL ISSUE!
Van Uden Collin
The EFA have responded to Conroy's accusation that they have in some way coached RWB, and supplied the two quotes requested here:
In which, to Conroy's statement: �Electronic Frontiers Australia have run one of the most disgraceful misinformation campaigns and have misled Australians.�
We are aggressive in educating the public on the drawbacks of this and other policies that threaten our online freedoms, but take great pains to provide factual information and analysis to the Australian public. If we have erred in any particular instance, then we welcome a correction. That said, we have carefully considered the legalities and technical issues surrounding the policy and unreservedly stand by our assessment. It will achieve nothing for parents and police, it will cost enormous amounts of money, and presents a real threat to our freedom of speech. For the Government�s part, we have heard many frightening statements about internet bestiality, but are still awaiting a solid defence of this policy that references any evidence, study, or reputable expert that demonstrates this filter will help Australian children. We challenge the Minister to produce such evidence.
For our part, EFA intends, as always, to stick to the facts. The many flaws of this policy require no exaggeration.
Van Uden Collin
Here's your quote:
Senator Conroy (To Senator Ludlam) � "Illegal material is illegal material. Child pornography is child pornography. I trust you are not suggesting that people should have access to child pornography."
When pointed out this infers a pro-pornagraphic stance from Ludlam:
"I am just wondering if I can put these questions to you without being accused of being pro child pornography"
Conroy did not contest, but came back with this. (Which is, actually, the wittiest thing I've seen from him)
"I was wondering if I could get the questions without being accused of being the Great Wall of China."
Hiding behind the "protecting local content" argument is a complete lie because the handout does not comewith any actual protection or incentive to support local content.
Surely this should have been granted as a reward for carrying out the action it is designed to encourage. e.g. Proportional to the amount of local content aired, or based on measurable increases in local content?
This rebate does nothing whatsoever to encourage more "underbelly", and "less to and a half men".
I agree with the common perception that this is purely and simply a bribe to gain favourable treatment in the upcoming election, and believe this to be corruption of the absolute highest order.
Put it this way: how is this any different from delivering the same amount of money in briefcases full of $100 bills?
Does Senator Conroy ever answer a question without aggressively attacking the person who asked it, it�s supposed to be a debate not a tantrum.
If they want a health outcome, focus on health. Alcohol in general has a large health affect on Australians, not just alcopops. Its just an easy bandaid solution so they can appear to be doing something. Senator Conroy should focus on long term solutions that fix the problem. And seriously bringing to economic crisis into this to divert peoples attention, its only economically irresponsible to implement intermittent closed mined measures which helps no one.
Why reinvent the lemon ?
I do sincerely hope that Mr Conroy actually listens to what the people are saying. This internet censorship idea is akin to "work choices for your computer" We didn't ask for it, we didn't want it and voted the government of the day out because of it. I am offended that Senator Conroy has likened censorship opponents to child porn supporters. I have a 10 year son who is supervised when using the internet and take mr Conroy's implication as a personal insult to my integrity and do not think he doing what he was elected to do, elected officials do not dictate to or insult and flatly refuse to listen to me and hundreds and thousands of other if they wish to remain in office.
Hmm, maybe people don't want Internet filtering Stephen ? No matter, we'll just force it on the other 98% without consultation or a mandate.
Nice of you to not answer the question. As usual.
This man has nothing but contempt for the Australian people. Conroy, you're a disgrace!
"live in hope"... ie: "trust me" and i'll get back to ignoring you like i ignore everyone else.
As you can understand there are a number of issues with the proposed mandatory Internet filter both on a civil liberties front as well as numerous technical issues.
One particular technical issue I would like to draw to your attention is the ease at which these ISP filters can be circumvented. This is a key issue as it underpins the whole ideal that these ISP level filters will protect children. As someone with extensive industry knowledge I am astonished at your attempt to spend an estimated 44 million dollars on filtering technology that simply does not work. It leads me to believe that the very people proposing this ISP filtering, although they have the very best intentions, simply have no grasp of the Internet both on a technical and on a social level.
The Internet was not designed to be censored as it has no central point of control. The beginnings of the Internet date back to ARPANET. A network developed by the Advanced Research Project Agency. The network developed by ARPA was designed with one major principle in mind. It does not have a central point of control. Despite the ISP being the gateway to the internet, the same principle applies, hence why ISP level filters can be bypassed in under 5 minutes. A quick google search of the phrase "how to bypass ISP filters" yields almost 280,000 results on how to bypass your $44 million ISP filter some of which have been written by the very people that you are trying to protect, children.
There is also a very common social phenomenon on the Internet called the streisand effect, whereby any attempt to censor information on the Internet backfires. The most well known example of this is the movie industries attempt to censor a HDDVD key from a single news site. This attempted censorship led to an explosion in the number of websites displaying the HDDVD key (In excess of 283,000). This is a very dangerous policy you are trying to implement as the now secret ACMA blacklist will be distributed to up to 400 ISP's nation wide.
The majority of technical experts agree that the censoring of information on the Internet in the form of an ACMA blacklist will have the reverse effect of what you intended.
The Internet is unlike any communication medium and cannot be dealt with in the same way as TV, radio and newspapers. This leads to the question. How do you propose to deal with the technical and social issues mentioned above?
You claim you are trying to fulfill an election promise by introducing the internet filter. However, in the election campaign, only an opt-out service was ever promised. A blacklist was not even heard of. I have two questions for you Senator Conroy:
1.) Why did you feel it was necessary until after the Labor government was elected to announce a "blacklist" that cannot be opted out of?
2.) Do you feel that if you scrap the blacklist idea, you won't be fulfilling an election campaign promise, even though you did not promise a blacklist?
Awaiting your reply.
I have several concerns about this proposal - all of which are covered in comments made earlier in this thread.
I would like to simply add my voice to the debate and confirm that as one of the general public, I am completely opposed to the 'clean feed'.
It is un-democratic (the processes for deciding which sites are 'unclean' are not transparent), it supports citizens who want want 'the government to do something' without taking responsibility for their own actions (see WEBSHIELD) and will severely limit the ability of ordinary citizens access to legal content by slowing our already slow access even further.
It appears that a minority in the parliament, for whom the majority of the country did not vote, are holding sway over the Labour Party.
Mr Conroy, I have a serious problem with this entire debate. Others have already spoken about the politically damaging consequences of censorship, I'd like to bring up the ALP's responsibility to it's constituents.
The previous government was roundly rejected, partly for it's attitudes towards book, movies, and computer game censorship, pursued zealously by Mr Ruddock and others. Considering we voted them out, why must we now be subjected to right-wing conservative censorship policies from a government that claims to have progressive ideals?
The free access of information is one of the fundamental requirements of a healthy democracy. If you have a problem with something illegal happening online, then pursue the originators of the illegality, through legitimate means. Censoring the internet from innocent citizens is an illegitimate tactic, it is not a lever that is appropriate for a democratic government to use.
So despite the flaws in this plan, despite the obvious fact that the majority of Australians do not want this ill advised, impractical, unethical censorship imposed upon them, the govt is still planning on imposing a censorship more restrictive than what China and other totalitarian countries suffer.
This isn't really about protecting the children at all, its more about the obligation the Australian labor party has to the Australian Christian lobby and deals done to ensure a labor victory at the last election.
Enough is enough , our senators should be focusing on a base civil rights bill for Australians instead of this absolute waste of tax dollars.
de Piazza Shelby
It is becoming overwhelmingly obvious that the people of Australia DO NOT WANT your totalitarian-regime-like filter.
The increasingly pathetic cries of "won't somebody think of the children" are becoming countered with "won't somebody start making parents do their job?". The increasing reliance of parents on outside sources to control what their children do is pathetic and wrong. Why have children if you can't accept responsibility for actually parenting them?
We CANNOT become a state with mandatory internet filtering for so-called "undesirable content" and still hold our heads high amongst the democracies of the world.
And what does your boss think of this? Or has Mr Rudd's bellows of disgust over China's filtered internet already faded into ancient history? Blatant hypocrisy never turns out well.
You seem to be incredibly bull-headed on this issue, Senator Conroy. Have you forgotten that you have been chosen to represent the will of the people as a whole, not just the people of the increasingly far-right Christian lobby?
Dear Senator Conroy:
Do you realize that mandatory filtering seriously undermine democracy around the world? I came from Russia. Currently Putin regime is discussing mandatory filtering of political speech over internet. Unlike in Australia there is no question that the main target in Russia will be the remaining political dissent in the country. Australian decision of mandatory filtering is a mighty strike to the backs to everybody who struggle for freedom in Russia. It is a similar strike against all freedom loving people in China, Cuba, North Korea, etc.
Do you realize that mandatory filtering will significantly slow down the internet speed in Australia (that is already one of the slowest among the developed nations). It is a significant strike against Australian e-business that will significantly affect its competetivness.
If you want to filter the https and other encrypted protocols you have to implement a man in the middle attack. Since it will be done on the government level no methods of protection against such attacks would be feasible. Since https is the backbone of any e-commerce it would make any internet banking any internet purchases in Australia insecure. Quite possible it will kill the industry.
There are false positives in any filtering scheme. What would happen with innocent people that would find themselves in the govermental black lists?
Finally, do you realize how easy is to create tools circumventing this filter? There are things like proxies, the images can be altered, texts can be encrypted. Even if filtering will be effective during trials it will be ineffective in a few months but all the negatives will be with us forever.
Dear Senator Conry
I would like to point to a couple of flaws in your statements to the public. First one:
" However, the Australian Government has no plans to stop adults from viewing material that is currently legal, if they wish to view such material."
Senator Conroy, you have stipulated that the Australian Government does have plans to stop adults from viewing material that is currently legal, because you nominated the ACMA Prohibited Content list as the basis for mandatory filtering. The list contains material classified X18+, R18+ and MA15+ as well as RC material which is legal to possess or display in Australia, and was originally designed by the previous Government to track material unsuitable for children. To use it as a list of material unsuitable for adults demonstrates profound misunderstanding of the existing regulatory system, and strongly suggests that the Government hasn't thought this thing through.
Now you want to filter all "inappropriate" and "unwanted" material
Care to explain better?
Then you go on to say that
"This will be informed by the technology adopted in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Canada where ISP filtering, predominantly of child pornography, has been successfully introduced without affecting internet performance to a noticeable level.The proposed ISP filtering policy is being developed through an informed and considered approach, including through industry consultation and close examination of overseas models to assess their suitability for Australia. "
There are no other overseas models suitable for Australia. The only countries which do anything like the Government has proposed are regressive regimes such as China, U.A.E and Iran. There are no democratic states anywhere in the world which practice mandatory Government-controlled Internet censorship. All of the examples the Government has ever referred to are cited here:
http://libertus.net/censor/ispfiltering-gl.html with plenty of debunking data.
The "industry consultation" has been roundly ignored by the Government: The IIA has made statements against this idea, and its members are on record doubting its feasibility and indicating their disagreement with it, but the Government is ploughing on regardless. What use is consultation if one ignores the results? None of the above countries have adopted what you are proposing. Also I would like to say that there is also the whole ethical position of how appropriate is it for the Australian Government to start acting like the Chinese Government
But then you make statement like this
"We are committed to working closely with internet industries to address any concerns, including costs and internet speeds."
Industry experts, including CEOs from some of Australia's largest ISPs, have almost unanimously come out against this proposal.
The Internet Watch Foundation in the UK has doubted its technical feasibility:
The Government's own study has indicated its unsuitability to application to any ISP with core network speeds greater than 1 Gbit/sec (and, lets face it, most ISPs with core network speeds under 1 Gbit/sec) Even the parts of the industry who support these systems are against making them mandatory
I can only strongly agree with this statement. It is one of fundamentals in our upbringing of children.
"The internet is an essential tool for all Australian children through which they can exchange information, be entertained, socialise and do school work and research. The ability to use online tools effectively provides both a skill for life and the means to acquire new skills."
Statement like this below just makes me nervous.
"However, while the internet has created substantial benefits for children it has also exposed them to a number of dangers, including exposure to offensive content. As such, parents rightly expect the Government to play its part in the protection of children online."
Does it mean that I am unfit parent for my children? That I don't know how to make a sound decision what is appropriate for my children and what is not. I beg the differ. Let me ask you how would you feel if I was to tell, indirectly, that you are unfit parent ( if you have children)? No offence intended by comment in the brackets.
Why such an insult Senator
It's only woolly-headed wishful thinking by people who don't know what they're talking about that makes people think this idea can work at all in the first place, when your own study has proven that and this is take out of Governments document ( chapter 1, page 15 Executive summary ) " Despite of a general nature of advances in current trial and previous trial most filters are not presently able to identify illegal content and content that may be regarded as inappropriate that is carried via majority of non-web protocols"
I support the $125m expenditure, with the exception of the line-item for "clean feed", which is clearly inappropriate for Australia. World contains literally hundreds of nations who haven't felt the need to go down this path, and I question why the Honourable Member thinks Australia is such a basket-case that it's literally the only democracy on the planet that feels the need to implement this kind of scheme.
I would like to say that I do not by any means support any kind of child online exploitation but I am afraid that if this legislation goes through that there will be nothing stopping next governments censoring more and more of internet content.
There is an ISP already providing "clean feed" internet called WEBSHIELD.
Why don't you look into it
If in writing this response I have offended you by any means that was not my intention at all and I apologise for such mistake.
Awaiting you reply.
50A Hines Rd
Hilton WA 6163
Sorry Mr Conroy, I missed one item I wanted to bring to your attention that I hope you are not aware of.
When Mark Newton, an employee of South Australian ISP Internode, broke the story on whirlpool, there were approaches by your staffers to the Internet Industry Association to place pressure on his employer to tell him to be quiet. This reeks of stifling debate in the name of censorship.
This was reported in the media at the time including the Sydney Morning Herald.
I would sincerely hope that you have either sacked the staffers involved in this matter, or have accepted responsibility for this yourself and are prepared to explain these actions to the Prime Minister and the Australian public.
Yours Sincerely (again)
Firstly, thank you Senator Conroy for the first real response we have seen on this issue from you or your department. As you will be aware many of us who have contacted our local Labor MPs have been getting the same form letter response (which is now out of date anyway), showing that they either haven't bothered to read our submissions, or have been given a "party line" to follow. I suspect the latter which is disappointing.
Seeing as we are now in a Questions Without Notice forum without a one minute time limit to respond, I would like to ask the following questions.
1) The proposal for an optional internet feed was raised I believe 5 days before the last Federal Election. Understandably it was lost in all the media coverage about Workchoices which was obviously the main issue at the time. I would like to understand though how the optional filter has now become mandatory, albeit with 2 levels.
You state in your response here that material on the ACMA blacklist is determined by "these processes involve classification of content by the national Classification Board and include classifications which are determined prohibited.
However the "Classification Board" as you refer to it (OFLC) only has jurisdication over Australian sites, and has no mandate - or indeed even the staff - to review overseas sites. The proposal as it stands is that someone in the ACMA will make a decision that the material might be unsuitable so therefore will join the blacklist. This list is not subject to any review process as it is exempt from FOI regulations, so we are not allowed to know what is/has been banned.
It should also be noted that there is a factual error in your statement, as New Zealand has reviewed internet filtering based on the UK model and determined it is not fit for purpose and will not proceed.
The other concern is that statements have been made by interested parties both inside and outside Parliament that the blacklist may include sites dealing with topics such as euthanasia and drugs. While these activites are illegal in Australia how do you determine legitimate research against a teen trying to find out information for their own use? While these topics are legal to read about in the published press?
There has been a lack of public debate as to whether they are even wanted. Given the availability of filtering from some ISPs and other family-friendly only ISPs it would appear the takeup is very low. I suggest the money would be better spent on advertising these for those who want them.
As for the technical problems such as overblocking, I realise part of the trial is to determine these problems. However if a (perfectly legal and legitimate) site I use regularly for hobby or business purposes is blocked what is the recourse to get this revoked? If I run a small business on a virtual server somewhere and someone else is running something unwanted there so the IP address is blocked - what recourse is there to get my site back online before I go broke?
These questions need to be seriously considered by your office in conjunction with technical experts before anything proceeds.
I agree why want he come clean and admit his mistake and restate whether the filter is going to be mandatory or not?
Note the way he completely fails to answer the question.
Mr Conroy, let's ask this again: you lied when you said other western democratic nations have mandatory internet filtering. In fact, the only countries that have mandatory filtering are the liberal democracies of China and Saudi Arabia.
Are you going to withdraw the claim, or continue to waffle on about consultation while abusing your opponents in this debate?