The content on this page and other DBCDE document archive pages is provided to assist research and may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. See the full archive disclaimer.
We hear you...
09 Feb 2009
As Minister Tanner said in his guest post that launched this blog, this is something new for the Australian Government. Like anything new, you never know what to expect. We didn’t know whether we would launch a blog and no one would notice, or whether blogging would provide a new avenue for fruitful dialogue and exchange.
Turns out, you noticed.
Thank you to the many, many people who have contributed to the blog and provided suggestions and feedback both on the mechanics of how we have set up this blog as well as on the substance of what we have been blogging about.
The overwhelmingly response seems that government blogging is a good thing and a welcome way to engage with the public; that it improves the accountability and transparency of government.
Lots of comments focused on the technical aspects of how the blog was set up—this is exactly the kind of feedback we need. We may not be able to incorporate all of the suggestions and criticisms about how the RSS feed is set up, how the comments window doesn’t allow paragraphs, the ordering of comments, etc., in this blog, but we will take all of your suggestions on board to make future government blogs more accessible and user-friendly.
Some people have also expressed frustration at the delay that occurs before they see their comments online. We are working as fast as we can to deal with the constant stream of comments to get them online and get your voice heard in the debate.
Interesting issues that we have grappled with in bringing the blog to you were ‘what is a blog?’ and ‘what defines a blog?’ and ‘how should the Government blog?’ The way we have gone about this blogging trial apparently triggered these thoughts in many of your minds as well. Sam has sent through Blog Lessons 1, 2, and 3 (thanks Sam!). Sam’s lessons and other comments have noted that bloggers are individuals, not a team. This raises interesting issues for government in general and the role of the public service in particular. As a general rule, departmental officers do not speak as individuals—they represent the government. This blog therefore is not an individual’s blog—it is the Department’s.
What are the key elements of a blog to you? If only individuals can blog, how can organisations use the blogosphere as a mechanism to consult? Do you read and engage with other government blogs? What makes that engagement valuable to you?
Finally, in responding to the many comments on the blog to date (over 900 to date), there are a lot of comments related to the issue of ISP filtering. As we indicated in our introductory page, we plan to blog about this issue and respond to many of the issues you’ve already raised in the comments in an upcoming post and welcome anyone who has anything new to add to topic to respond to that thread.
We are reading all of your comments. And while we won’t go as far as FDB suggested and insist on relevance in comments to the topic, we wonder if it is possible for the main focus of the debate to broaden out to consider issues relating to how the Government blogs and to the digital economy…
First off I would like to say I think it is great to finally see some kind of public communication method such as this, having said that though..
Given the unwillingness to properly address or even seem to listen to the many and varied completely legitimate opposing views to the filtering proposal in the past, it would be naive at best to believe that people will not use this as an avenue to provide feedback about an issue that is going to affect their livelihood and potentially their freedoms-despite all assurances to the contrary.
I see a department and particularly minister concerned mainly about controlling the flow of all information, touting child safety or whatever subject or excuse best achieves the required emotional justification.
The fact that comments on this blog are filtered by a "moderation policy" BEFORE they are even posted speaks volumes and helps to illustrate where the priorities are.
We are not stupid, we can see for ourselves when people are being idiots on a blog and then watch as their comments disappear...
I have worked in the industry for more than ten years and I have never seen the government get IT so wrong, so many Australians wanted a change last year and voted accordingly, however the direction being championed by the current government will impact the industry in many terrible varied ways even the so hated AWAs from the previous Liberal government could not.
The economy is slowing due to current international factors and you want to kick the digital economy while it is down, using our taxes to pay for it all. Every other positive measure taken by this department will mean nothing in comparison to the proposed filtering if it goes ahead and will be the only thing on many people's mind come next federal election. So far it looks like AWAs all over again - democracy fails until the next government gets in on a promise to undo the publicly hated mistakes of a previous administration.
Posted by Ed Tremble / 24 Dec 2008 1:52am / Permalink
Thanks for letting us provide feedback, hopefully someone in power is actually reading it. Please, please, please do not make us the laughing stock of the developed world. An Internet filter will do just that. Surely if protecting the children is the aim then the money would be better spent funding our Federal Police and other organisations who can actually do something effective with it? An Internet filter will only inconvenience the honest people.
Posted by Tony / 23 Dec 2008 10:38pm / Permalink
As an IT professional working for a company that is built on a website, we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade our infrastructure, improve our codes etc. over the years to cope with user demands. In come the government to knock us back years of work and tens of thousands of dollars in one single swoop. I've helped vote labor into government last year as I was led to believe that they were going to build a better infrastructure. But instead they will waste all that money in a futile attempt to play internet big brother. It is no longer about block child porn or illegal site. It's just a blatant monitoring firewall/proxy. I foolishly helped voted labor in this term. I will be sure to vote them out the next.
Posted by Sam / 23 Dec 2008 10:30pm / Permalink
As much as i'd like to resort to personal attacks on the senator for forcing his "Christian values" on the rest of the country i won't as i know it won't get posted so i'll just say that there is not a chance this plan of his is feasible. And now that he's included P2P filtering as part of the plan I wouldn't be surprised to hear if he was getting a little money to pay for this thing by the big movie studios and record labls, the resto of cousrs will be paid for by us, the tav payers who DO NOT WANT THIS, LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE FFS, THIS IS A DEMOCRACY! However i will be surprised if my comment is posted. I could wrote for a lot longer but this whole thing just makes me too angry.
Posted by Not voting Labor ever again / 23 Dec 2008 8:51pm / Permalink
I work in the IT industry and know that the filtering you are planning is not only impossible but pointless. Do not introduce this filter as it is a waste of our taxpayers money and only teaches bad parents that they can rely on the government to do their parenting for them. Obviously you are realising that it is impossible too as you were not even able to reach your deadline of Christmas Eve to implement the filter. Or perhaps you don't truly understand the technicalities of a project of this size and expect that the ISPs that you are hoping will trial the filter will be able to just flick a switch and have the filter in place. Perhaps you should look at the root cause of Child Pornography and catch actual criminals rather than assume everyone is guilty and block our internet feeds. The Labor party obviously doesn't want to be in government anymore as they are heading towards a loss next election. Perhaps Mr Conroy should listen to the majority of people who actually understand what is represents rather than those people he can influence with scare tactics of Child Pornography and such who just blindly follow.
Posted by Jason Byway / 23 Dec 2008 6:31pm / Permalink
Your blog starts with "We hear you..." It is obvious that you do not and that you don't give a damn about what people with more knowledge about the net say. You just follow your ideology.
Posted by Joe / 23 Dec 2008 4:20pm / Permalink
I would like to add my voice to that of those here who disagree strongly with your proposed internet filtering. This is a massive issue that was never canvassed in the lead up to the last election. I recommend you reconsider your position lest you suffer that same fate which befell the former Government after foisting work choices on the Australian people without prior mention during the election campaign or official Government policy.
Australia is a free democratic society and we do not require the Government to control any information based on the internet. Moreover the potential for decreased speeds and incorrect filtering pose a major threat to our economic prosperity, our business infrastructure as well as education and research capabilities.
I strongly urge you to reverse this policy or I will be forced to change my vote to those who oppose this draconian censorship. Thank you.
Posted by Corms / 23 Dec 2008 3:32pm / Permalink
Stephen, some basic questions for you: Why is the scheme shrouded in secrecy? Why don't you answer our simple questions with factual answers? Why has the Labor party been censored and only send out vague pro-forma stock-standard replies to specific questions? Why do you ignore all expert advice from both within Australia and abroad? What peer-reviewed evidence do you base the _need_ for censorship on? What peer-reviewed evidence do you base the supposed _effectiveness_ for current censorship technology on? Why do you take advice from biased lobby groups because they receive funding from the government? Why do you assume people will believe you when you say you will only censor 'illegal content', despite the fact there is no judicial oversight of the censorship process? Why do you assume that technology will one day, even in 100 years, be fast and accurate enough achieve your policy goals? These are simple questions a child has the mental capacity to answer, yet you continue to avoid or refuse. Be a real man, not a coward.
Posted by Bourkie / 23 Dec 2008 2:31pm / Permalink
PLEASE stop the filtering of ISP's.
Posted by Blue / 23 Dec 2008 1:02pm / Permalink
The title of this post is laughable (We Hear You ...) - you might hear us but this Government has clearly done a deal with somebody and is intent on not listening to the people on this. Sure, some lobby groups might be willing to risk our democratic right of free speech so they can say they are protecting children from abuse or anorexia, but we all know that content filtering will not achieve their goals. I'm sure even they are intelligent enough to know that. Conroy is clearly intelligent enough to know that filtering will not stop these people getting the content; we have seen how sophisticated and organised they are. What alarms me though is that any Government is willing to put the tools to control the media into the hands of future Governments. Once this infrastructure is in place there is nothing to stop a future radical right wing Government to just decide to filter the Australian Labor Party website, filter our all references to the party and completely control the media. Sure it might be hard to see that happening in 5 years, but who would have thought that the Howard Government would every have enough control of the senate to introduce the workplace and anti-terrorist laws that it did. There is just too much at risk here Senator. You are gambling with my rights.
Posted by Laughable / 23 Dec 2008 11:51am / Permalink
What a Waste! I am a Software Engineer and PhD Student in Computer Science and so I use the Internet extensively for work and research. The current speeds and access are already hogtied by our limited broadband network. To add the restrictions of mandatory filtering and censorship will further hinder the software research and industry of Australia. The money being wasted on this dogmatic scheme would be better used on expanding the much needed National Broadband Network. The Internet is primarily a communications medium and the movement of information is achieved by many different methods. Criminals are fast at developing and exploiting new ways of using this medium, but government policy is slow to implement. The Federal Police are far more effective at identifying criminal activity than any Internet watchdog could be, as recent operations have shown. So the money being wasted on a filter would catch more criminals if spent on the Federal Police, such as the Australian High Tech Crimes Centre. Finally, the government is currently discussing the introduction of a Bill of Rights. When this happens it will almost certainly include a Freedom of Speech clause. Given the level and methods of exclusions that the government is proposing, the filter will almost certainly breach this clause. In this case the filter will have to be severely scaled back or removed completely. So, Internet filtering is bad for Australia: It doesn't work, it makes us less competitive, and it may have to be removed anyway. Far from an education revolution, this government is delivering an information dictatorship.
Posted by walroz / 23 Dec 2008 11:38am / Permalink
Although the current Australian Government does not regard this as a question of civil liberties or freedom of speech I am afraid I do. You can not just wish away these aspects of the issue by saying you don't consider it a problem. The Australian people trust their government to undertake a series of tasks as outlined in the Constitution but to be honest there is not sufficient trust to carry it far beyond that. The concept of allowing the Government to conduct filtering of potential information sources, regardless of how well intentioned, is both repugnant and reprehensible in a democratic society. I do not believe this is currently being established as a mechanism of wider social control through information shaping, but it has the potential to be used as such in the future. Australins rely on a wide range of information sources to make informed and ethical decisions and anything that could endager that now or into the future represents and unacceptable risk. The whole concept of 'blacklisting' suggests a level of government intervention at the individual level which is undesirable. The responsibility for this control should remain with the individual who is capable of making informed decisions on behalf of themselves and those they are responsible for. It is not the role of the Government to make those personal decisions which can be reasonbly made by the individual without Government assistance. I regard ISP filtering as an unwelcome and unacceptable intrusion of the into my personal decision making juristiction and a source of potential risk for future misuse. Even if I could trust the current government I can not make informed decisions about my level of faith in future governments and am unprepared to allow them this potential tool of oppression.
Posted by Darren Stokes / 23 Dec 2008 10:13am / Permalink
I just want to add my voice to the many others calling for the proposal for centralised internet filtering to be scrapped. This is a waste of money that will have no effect on it's stated goals, just as the gun buyback wasted millions of taxpayer dollars removing sporting firearms from responsible gun owners without effecting criminals in any way! I actually find it hard to articulate my anger over this stupid plan, I'd be more confident if Stephen Conroy announced he intended to fly by flapping his arms.
Posted by Mountaineer / 23 Dec 2008 9:42am / Permalink
I was searching for naked DSL broadband plans at work and all the pages were blocked because of "inappropriate sexual content" I have reported this sort of thing to the IT department many times but they can't do anything. I regularly bypass the filters because surfing at work is often very slow. There are currently 27,020 proxy servers just waiting to defeat this stupid idea. Look at http://proxy.org/cgi_proxies.shtml
Posted by Trent / 23 Dec 2008 9:06am / Permalink
Dear Stephen Conroy, You lack of knowledge about the internet and your repugnant attacks that seek to label any opposing views as supporting child pornography are shameful and if you have any decency you would do the right thing and resign. Shame on you. Shame on Kevin Rudd.
Posted by Tim / 23 Dec 2008 8:57am / Permalink
23/12/2008 Adelaide Advertiser Poll
Do you support the Rudd Government's plan to trial a filter of internet content?
For: 39 votes 4%
Against: 935 votes 95%
Total: 974 votes
Posted by Trent / 23 Dec 2008 8:42am / Permalink
Just another VOTER who will vote against Labor for
(1) making deals with Family First to inflict their prim wowser ideals on all Australians and bringing the church sneaking into politics.
(2) slowing down my net by putting this dumb filter on.
(3) Making me register as some kind of sex criminal so that I will be able see adult content on my net.
Do i need to add LEGAL adult content to that? I probably do, as the wowsers are all trying to make out anyone who is anti-Filter is somehow pro-child porn. (Child porn is illegal, and not hosted on ANY worldwide ISP - i think i need to point that out too. No protecting the kiddies going on with out government's net filter, just control of ideas and information. If they wanted to protect children, they could educate parents, children, and give more to law enforcement - who recently have busted people for child porn and abuse, and funnily enough, NONE of the abusers used the net for more than email, because, SURPRISE! child porn is illegal and can't be hosted on a normal ISP, so isn't available on the ordinary net.)
Sounds to me like it's the wowsers who are obsessed with child abuse - check their families first. After all, over 95% of child abuse occurs in families - often in very religious ones - we all know about religious hypocrisy, and how it masks perverted sexual urges.
As for the filter - I already have at least 3 filters working on my machine, (anti virus, ad filters, website filters) they SLOW IT DOWN. I don't know how to make it any simpler for you - you're about to slow the aussie net right down (and it's already among the slowest in the world). You're also going to destroy Aussie businesses who won't be accessible from the an Aussie ISP.
STOP THE CLEAN FEED (or whatever name you're rebranding it as so we all like the idea.)
Surely the minister isn't so completely computer illiterate that he honestly thinks this is a good idea? In 2008 could someone of his age be that ignorant about computers and how they work? Apparently so. This isn't China - why do we need their filter, the one Kevin (I'm a born again christian fundamentalist) Rudd protested against during the Olympic games. Hmm - do i detect the smell of burning? No - it's just rank hypocrisy. Must be another politician passing by.
Posted by MsF / 23 Dec 2008 7:04am / Permalink
Filtering the internet is like blacking out the windows in every house in Australia so citizens can't see the crime in the street. Whats next? Paint the windows on Australian cars black so they can't see traffic violations or accidents? The money (and our time but perhaps not yours) would be better spent preventing the actual crimes rather than preventing people seeing the evidence that society and government fails to address child abuse.
Hell, the kind of money you are throwing at this would be enough to monitor the sites you plan to hide and catch ACTUAL criminals - rather than chaining up and slowing the internet for the entire population, as if we were all criminals, with your stupid filter.
Stop treating us like criminals. Where does this attitude that the Australian public needs to be controlled come from?
The vast majority of us have no interest in those sites and your plan WILL NOT WORK ANYWAY. CAN YOU HEAR EVERYONE YET?. There is no need to waste our money and our limited internet speed on this foolish plan.
Posted by Sick of Electing Clowns by default / 23 Dec 2008 4:53am / Permalink
This process is in serious need of transparency. If you want to credibly deny being overly zealous and restrictive -- then refusing to answer questions, keeping reports secret, starting controversial tests on Christmas Eve and future plans that include a secret blacklist are not the ways to go. In this Web 2.0 world - people use their networks to help them learn, find information and get results. Use your network of internet users, businesses, ISPs, geeks and techies -- don't just monitor the #nocleanfeed tag on social networking sites. Listen with respect and then share information. Open a dialogue. You've got a great network that would love to work with you. People are being disrespectful here and on the greater internet because you are not treating us with respect. Show that you're listening and share what you know. That's the power of the internet - to build networks of understanding and trust. Respectfully yours KerryJ
Posted by KerryJ / 23 Dec 2008 2:46am / Permalink
We need to vote these people out, we need intelligent educated people making informed decisions based on what the people of Australia want, and not force a censorship upon us If this internet filter is made mandatory we need to get rid of conroy, rudd and any other politician that has supported this legislation.
Posted by Nick Crow / 23 Dec 2008 1:36am / Permalink
I can't believe that the Australia government is taking a leaf out of China's book and is taking away my freedom to seek information on any subject I choose or how I use my computer. I don't like porn of any kind but if parents want to protect their kids they should supervise their computer useage and also install the filters on their own computers. Just because a vocal minority complain about something should not mean I should not have the right to access it. Not every one has the same belief system. What has happened to personal responsibility? The government was not placed in power to be my NANNY. I have a mind of my own and I use it.
Posted by jojo / 22 Dec 2008 11:42pm / Permalink
Dear Mr Conroy, My name is Janie and I am 7 years old. My daddy says you are going to ruin the internet by censoring it. Please don't censor my internet, it will make me very sad. From Janie
Posted by Janie / 22 Dec 2008 11:23pm / Permalink
if you do not want to SEE something that is ofencive to you Switch the computer off AND STOP TRYING TO FOIST YOUR SMALL MINDED IDEOLOGY ON ADULTS WHO CAN AND DO MAKE CHOICES
Posted by Andrew / 22 Dec 2008 10:56pm / Permalink
you say you would like to broaden the debate, but you yourself have made this impossible by drawing the process away to your stupid and undemocratic ideas of censorship. Why dont you listen to the people ??
Posted by robert / 22 Dec 2008 9:55pm / Permalink
"I'm following the debate at sites like Whirlpool and GetUp and on Twitter at #nocleanfeed." – Senator Conroy
What debate? Every single site ive seen comment on the filtering issue has been largely one sided to NO FILTER. People DO NOT want filtering. If you were really doing your DEMOCRATIC job you would stop due to the public not wanting it.
Clearly you have alternative motives and agendas not inline with the public. But you know what, i wouldnt give two hoots about the filter if it was opt-in, but we know, Mr.Conroy, that minimal amounts of people will opt-in and it will be another flop like netalert.
Its not wanted.
Posted by Jazza C / 22 Dec 2008 9:36pm / Permalink
Now that I am lodging a complaint, AND you have my email address, I'm expecting that there will be a knock at the door and several of your comrades will be escorting me away for a "Thought Crime". I believe, as do most if not all of the people that I communicate with, that this package will be a complete crock of sh-t. It will attain the complete distrust of the public, everytime a page is blocked we'll be asking, was that a porn site, or was it against the government and its will. By all accounts I'm already a binge drinker, a religious heathen and without doubt I'll soon be blasted from the Internet for downloading some songs, or responding to a blog against the government, or worst still, for having opinions that are mine. Get out of my life I did not expect communist regimes to form in Australia, whoever gets into government. I wish you well in opposition, that is where you are headed, you will not be forgotten, wherever you aim in your career from here.
Posted by IRA / 22 Dec 2008 6:25pm / Permalink
So, after the latest release from Minister Conroy - "In a post on his department's blog, Senator Conroy today said technology that could filter data sent directly between computers would be tested as part of the upcoming live filtering trial. " - we are now perhaps getting to the crux is the matter. Not as much to do with protecting children as protecing corporate interests; movies, music etc. Why can't these politicians listen to the people and not corporate money?
Posted by Ian of Perth / 22 Dec 2008 6:06pm / Permalink
If you back down now you are letting the kiddy fiddlers win
Posted by jw / 22 Dec 2008 6:00pm / Permalink
You and Chairman Kevin will make China look like a bastion of free speech with this idiotic internet censorship idea. Luckily your government so far has only ormed committee after committee and it will probably take you a decade to enable this ill thought out mess to take place. Go back to the 50's where you belong
Posted by Rob from Tasmania / 21 Dec 2008 1:18pm / Permalink
I had a great argument prepared about the proposed internet censorship but all I can come up with is a big fat raspberry. Rudd, Conroy, put this stupid idea out of its misery. Spend the money on something useful like a hospital. Or three.
Posted by Chief / 21 Dec 2008 1:04am / Permalink
Australia will be joining a motley crew of dictatorships with internet filtering, apparently ,oblivious to the company they will be keeping.Which is one reason why they can not be trusted with this thin edge of the wedge.
Posted by George F / 20 Dec 2008 8:09pm / Permalink
It would be good if the blog, actually were a real blog. There shouldn't need to be such lengthy delays before comments are posted, and what about it being a two-way street? How about someone actually replies to the comments, gets in here amongst the general public whom you say you wish to engage? "we wonder if it is possible for the main focus of the debate to broaden out to consider issues relating to how the Government blogs" - you could start by putting a name to the post so you are not some nameless, faceless, anybody - some human contact, not beaurocratic distance, spin and a pre prepared statement is what I would like.
Posted by debs / 20 Dec 2008 7:40pm / Permalink
A good case can be made that the Enlightenment in Europe created the environment for the rapid development of the West. Central to the Enlightenment was rational consideration of ideas and free speech. One alternative model of government, the awful and failed experiment of communism that required abolition of free speech was parodied by George Orwell in 1984: the stunted and limited language of Newspeak was an essential feature. To refer to internet filtering as “enabling” the digital economy is an excellent example of Newspeak. Another important element is a legitimate legal system, in which the presumption of innocence is an important principle. I’m simply astonished that the current government can consider Internet Filtering. It ignores the facts of history. It will be a technical nightmare. It will preclude Australia from becoming a centre of excellence in the world. Those who want to avoid the controls can do so easily. It makes us look archaic, not part of the modern world. It puts us on a par with China, surely a linkage very few would want. The principle of presumption of innocence is compromised. It makes me very concerned about the decision making process in Canberra. How is it that a number of presumably intelligent people can put their heads together and create ideas like this, and then attempt to force it onto the people, most of whom do not want it?
Posted by Geoffrey - Melbourne / 20 Dec 2008 4:49pm / Permalink
I never thought I would see a Labour Government censor freedom of speech! Mistakenly, I thought the Rudd government had a commitment to the things that matter, not just to the opinion polls! Now, it seems Rudd and Howard are closer than I thought!
Posted by Greg Sky / 20 Dec 2008 2:01pm / Permalink
I sincerely doubt this will be posted, but here goes: I have just emailed this to Senator Conroy. I'll be intrigued as to whether I get a response... Dear Mr Conroy I write to express my heartfelt concern and deep horror at your unprecedented attack on the free speech and rights of the Australian people. Your hell-bent, passionate course of exercising state control over the internet is something I would never have expected any freely-elected Member of Parliament of Australia to introduce. It is the most un-Australian piece of proposed policy I have ever seen. The fact it will make our nation the subject of international ridicule is irrelevant next to the destructive impact this ill-considered, unwarranted act will have on business and individuals in Australia. I own a business that provides income for the families for 12 people in Australia. Our entire business is based on internet communication, the dissemination of news and views on business topics via the internet, and e-commerce. Your incomprehensible desire to implement state control over our primary form of communication will, by the assessment of independent, apolitical experts on the internet and technology, slow the nation's online traffic, place strain on the internet infrastructure, and mask or block numerous sites which are legitimate and legal. I have this morning checked online the definition of the term 'fascism'. Never would I have ever believed that I would have cause to use the term in describing an elected member of the Australian Parliament, a member of a political party holding power. But Wikipedia provides the following definition: "Fascism is an authoritarian or totalitarian nationalist ideology." I cannot think of a better description for your personal political stance on this issue. In the face of enormous opposition from the very people who put you into office, you are over-riding their concerns and arguments in a personal crusade hell-bent on enforcing state control on the internet surfing and e-commerce activities of every Australian. I have never previously supported organisations like Get Up!, which I previously considered extremist and marginal. But this week I found myself joing a growing list - in excess of 85,000 the last time I checked - who have publicly stated their opposition to your fascist crusade. And for the first time in my life I am now contemplating joining a street protest. I will march on the streets arm in arm with ordinary Australians and do everything it takes to fight your fascist ideology, Mr Conroy. It is a truth that very few people in this nation have tolerance or acceptance of child pornography. I am certainly opposed to it and never want to view it. But there are far better ways of addressing this than censoring the rights of ordinary Australians to utilise the most revolutionary communications medium in history. Just talk to people who actually understand the internet and information technology. Clearly you know nothing about it personally. Please, for the sake of law-abiding Australians once protected by the right to freedom of speech, do not allow your fascist agenda, to ruin our rights and taint your democratically-elected government's standing. This draconian, deplorable policy will have no positive benefits in reducing the circulation of child pornography - if you truly believe that you have no qualification to hold the role of communications minister because you clearly have no understanding of technology or the internet. The very people you are trying to block this obscene content from will be able to access it by other online means, off-web. The rest of us will be forced to endure slower internet connectivity, the blocking of innocent sites, and the very real prospect that this and future governments will start to expand the use of the 'technology' to block other views and content contrary to its own agenda. For the sake of the freedom and prosperity of Australia, drop this ill-conceived nonsensical policy as soon as possible. Or forever hold your head in shame in the knowledge you have personally ruined the sacred right to freedom of speech, commerce and expression that you, of all people, as an Australian should hold dear. Robert (Surname withheld) Ordinary Australian resident.
Posted by Robert Andrews / 20 Dec 2008 11:21am / Permalink
The digital economy is ony a subset of what's required by a nation to prosper. There are many more important things such as bullet trains linking capital cities and mass rapid transit systems within Australian capital cities. With efficient public transportation, you can achieve more for each $ spent and increase productivity faster.
Posted by Steven77 / 19 Dec 2008 4:19pm / Permalink
"Please note that all comments are subject to moderation before publication. Please refer to the moderation policy for this blog."
Moderation is also a form of censorship. Just can't help yourselves, can you?
Posted by Phil Adams / 19 Dec 2008 11:00am / Permalink
It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. Minister, you are to Broadband and the Digital Economy what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association. Good luck at the next election. :)
Posted by Nicko / 18 Dec 2008 2:54pm / Permalink
Don't waste the money that the taxpayers of Australia contribute to deliver something that simply won't work properly and is not wanted by the majority of your constituents. What the 'clean feed' will do: it will inhibit access to innocent information, have a chilling effect on information access, damage the internet economy, open the gate for future governments to interpret 'inappropriate' to mean 'things I don't want you to see', damage the perception of Australia as a future-oriented and free society, and cost jobs. That's only a subset of the negative impact of this embarrassing proposal. Just stop it.
Posted by Anthony / 18 Dec 2008 12:52pm / Permalink
That censorship of any form of media is on the agenda of a government of a "free society" is the most baffling thought of all. Please, Senator Conroy, listen to the people you are supposed to represent. Democracy does not end once the election is over.
Posted by townsy / 18 Dec 2008 12:29pm / Permalink
I think that the proposed clean-feed or ISP level mandatory filtering is an absolute joke, and one of the most ill conceived plans ever produced by an Australian government. Why on earth would you waste millions on a project which is destined to fail? Get a grip Senator.
Posted by Oglen Langden / 18 Dec 2008 10:09am / Permalink
I think that the proposed clean-feed or ISP level mandatory filtering is an absolute joke, and one of the most ill conceived plans ever produced by an Australian government. Why on earth would you waste millions on a project which is destined to fail? Get a grip Senator.
Posted by Oglen Langden / 18 Dec 2008 9:56am / Permalink
The following is a comment sent to my ISP on the inadvisability of the Governments internet "Blocking Policy". Senator Conroy, please look at this from a law enforcement standpoint (not just national but international). Such a decision will also impact upon the "digital economy" that you are supposed to be the minister of... My comment was as follows.. "The forced blocking of sites like child pornography will make it harder for the law enforcement authorities to track these arseholes as they will have to resort to other means of distribution. There is no such censorship or checking on such material going through the post and it is harder to track down the source of posted items that internet sites. This is typical governmental reaction to being lobbied by the stupid and uninformed. DO NOT BLOCK BUT SEEK OUT THESE TWISTED ARSEHOLES AND STOP THEM. There should also be approval for the adoption of all porn sites to change to ".porn" as rejected by the bush government. This would make child filtering so much easier !
Posted by Frankly / 18 Dec 2008 9:50am / Permalink
Senator "Dictator" Conroy you really need to start listening to the people who gave you your job, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also needs to listen as we will ensure that you pay for this mistake at the next election. With Australia already being behind the rest of the world in terms of cost and speed for the internet your plans for this filtering will just make this worst. You are opening up Pandora's box here, do you think you can control it once opened? Australia has fought in two world wars to protect our rights for freedom and with one idiotic thought you are disrespecting those the died for our country. How about you spend the money on more important things rather than imposing your values and what you think we should use our internet for.
Posted by Aaron / 18 Dec 2008 8:37am / Permalink
One only has to look at the recent blocking of wikipedia by England's filter to see how easy it is to stuff this up. Honestly, how blind can Sen Conroy be? You want an example of our "digital economy"? Look at the great firewall of China.
Posted by Darren / 17 Dec 2008 10:37pm / Permalink
Censorship? I love it! "1984"? Bring it on! Only kidding, Senator. You don't get my vote.
Posted by Karl / 17 Dec 2008 6:49pm / Permalink
Senator Conroy is obviously angling for a position on the Chinese Communist Party politbureau with these policies. Whatever happened to parental responsibility? It is time we got rid of this nanny state complex that is obviously a hang over from our convict past and told the government to stop telling us what we can and cannot do!
Posted by Retiring / 17 Dec 2008 6:16pm / Permalink
There is only one problem with the Government's plans to filter the internet. That problem is that a single group of people, namely school children, will be the best equipped to get around it. As an IT professional I know several ways that would probably work, but many mums and dads would not. Unfortunately I know that ways around the filters will be found and the techniques for doing so will be distributed in the playground. Alas, we will be teaching schoolchildren to use the same techniques used by others who try to hide their tracks on the internet. We will essentially be pushing our children into the company of *exactly* those from whom the Government is seeking to protect them.
Posted by Steve / 17 Dec 2008 4:53pm / Permalink
I look forward to seeing Senator Conroy dumped during the next cabinet reshuffle, and his stupid censorship policy and broadband failure with him.
Posted by Mitch / 17 Dec 2008 2:52pm / Permalink
Thank you Senator Conroy for removing Telstra from the NBN process. For too long that company has been the bane of many Australians and a proverbial ball and chain on the telecommunications industry. Competition comes through choice and in the heart of Melbourne it frustrates me that I don't even have that, also my parents in Adelaide have a similar problem, yet they cant get basic broadband service. We can all choose our gas and electricity providers and change them if we so choose without lengthy down times let alone the 10-14+ days I would have to go without internet even if I had the choice to leave Telstra. An open access and independant network is worth to much to all us to leave in the hands of one corporation.
Posted by Chris / 17 Dec 2008 6:06am / Permalink