The Conroy Rule is a fast-spreading internet meme, similar to Godwin’s Law (well at least similar to the bastardised form of it that I have seen called Reductio ad Hitlerium, and which is also known as Dodd’s Corollary). It basically says that any argument from a politician discussing the internet devolves into simplistic references to child pornography, which in-effect makes that politician’s argument a losing one. A reference from one of the emails floating around today is:
“Note that we will be operating on the newly coined ‘Conroy rule’, a variant of the ancient and practical ‘Hitler’ rule on UseNet: the first person to equate free speech and child porn loses the floor, and all points. This restriction on free speech will hopefully deter flame wars, so we can consider the technical and legal issues for the day more rigorously.”
Basically this all stems from a forum on the new internet censorship proposal being discussed at the UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre. There’s a live-feed blog which has the transcript, and makes for interesting reading; it covers several hours worth of speakers from Catherine Lumby and her ilk, to Donna Ashelford (from SAGE) and other technical people, to various child-porn experts, to various legal/regulatory people from the Classification Board (old OFLC) etc.