Against the odds, Senator Conroy is going ahead with his ill-conceived plan to force mandatory filtering at the ISP level. Despite multiple experts from academia and the industry saying it’s a bad idea, he is going to ignore any dissent and introduce legislation before the next election to bring about an unprecedented level of censorship of the Internet.
To recap the absurdities:
- It will block websites with ‘refused classification’ material. It can’t do anything about peer-to-peer sharing and chatrooms, where most illegal content resides.
- Under the guise of protecting social norms, it will actually cover a great deal of material that is merely politically controversial
- Under the guise of protecting children, it treats all adults like kids
- It looks worryingly like a play for the social conservative vote, instead of being in the nation’s best interest
- There are at least a dozen filters available for anyone who’s concerned about their children’s web browsing
- If it stays as a static list of URLs, then it will be ineffectual. If is expanded in any way, it will generate false positives (Scunthorpe Problem) and affect speed. A trade-off exists, despite Conroy’s handwaving on the matter.
- It potentially could leave children more at risk, as parents might assume the Internet is now ‘safe’
I urge anyone with even a passing interest to contact Senator Conroy – or their local MP, their local ISP, their newspaper – to express concern about this foolish plan. If you want to learn more about it, this site is excellent. And I strongly suggest reading this advice on how to get your voice heard most clearly.