Mark Newton, who works for Internode, is one of the main spokesmen (in an unofficial capacity) against the Federal government’s proposal to setup up ISP-level filtering on the Australian internet. The title of this post is a quote from an opinion piece on the ABC’s website, where he rightly takes Senator Conroy and the Australian Families Association to task for trying to make technically-based arguments when they are technical neophytes:
It’s perhaps not surprising that a family expert who misunderstands technology could get something this basic wrong, because the Minister in charge has blazed a trail of such colossal blinding wrongness that it’s probably difficult for listeners to distinguish truth from fiction.
I’m not talking about normal, everyday wrongness. I’m talking about the kind of wrongness that comes with its own theme music and marching band.
Stephen Conroy appears to base his career on repeating lies and statements that can obviously be shown as incorrect; for instance that several countries have the same type of filtering that we want to adopt (ie. mandatory ISP-level filtering), whereas the countries in his statement either don’t filter or use opt-in industry-sponsored schemes, similar to one that the Internet Industry Association has already created in Australia.
Mark is dead right when he asks “Do you honestly believe that Australian parents are so uniquely incompetent that we, unlike literally every other Western democracy on the planet, need to go down the ALP’s proposed path to protect our own children?”. Someone (perhaps also Mark) said, over the last week, that this is a solution looking for a problem; the internet has been around for at least 30 years, always with a certain amount of dodgey material – p0rn, spam, hate-speech, illegal transfer of copyrighted material, etc. – and civilisation hasn’t collapsed. Obviously an entire generation of Australians has survived without internet filtering. Where is the clear and present danger to the children, that mandates such a large change as the Conroy is suggesting?
Even the UserFriendly webcomic is weighing in on the issue…