Friday, 4 January 2008

Odd Alliance

In his piece in The Age yesterday, Peter Chen refers to "an odd alliance of librarians, libertarians, industry hard-heads, IT geeks and computer experts." He refers to this odd alliance as backing Senator Kate Lundy some time ago in her opposition to internet censorship. At the same time, an editorial in The Australian reinforced Peter's comments on internet censorship and made many of the same points.

These articles are two of many which have appeared in response to the recent announcement by Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Information Technology. The Minister announced that the Government proposed to require all internet service providers to provide "clean feeds" - internet content that is "free of pornography and inappropriate material." This would be mandatory for all households, schools and libraries.

Although there have been many critical comments, it is not at all clear what the Government plans to do, or whether what it plans to do can be done - depending on what it plans to do (this is a circular statement, yes). If the government plans to filter the internet for all Australians without slowing down response times, then it won't be filtering out much; as Peter Coroneos (Internet Industry Association) points out, the more you filter out, the longer it takes. Logical and true.

At these stage there seem to be a couple of logical steps. First, it might be a good idea to put together that odd alliance to which Dr Chen refers. And second, we must ask questions and see if we can find out what the Government plans to do, if "plans" is not too precise a term for its intentions.

1 comment:

Bec said...

Hi Derek
This is a great post. I started writing a response to it but it was so long I would have hijacked your content!
So please see my blog post instead.