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Berg on internet censorship « Previous | |Next »
November 30, 2008

Chris Berg has an op ed in internet censorship in the Sunday Age in which he argues that the claim by the Rudd government that it s proposed internet filter is designed to eliminate child pornography is too tricksy by half. He says:

After all, child pornography is already illegal. And imposing an elaborate filter on every Australian internet connection is unlikely to have a significant impact on the child pornography trade...the biggest problem with the filter isn't technical and it isn't its likely failure to reduce child pornography.The biggest problem is a little word that Mr Conroy slipped out in the middle of a Senate committee hearing. The pilot filter program will not only target the existing blacklisted sites, most of which are child pornography, but will also target "unwanted" content, whatever that means.The Government has developed a secret list of 10,000 unwanted sites (there are only 1300 on the current blacklist).

This is the point where Senator Government becomes tricky. Despite all the indications of the broadening of what is to be filtered, Conroy's, and the Rudd Government's, talking points are that the issue is just about child pornography. It's the politics of deception.

Berg continues:

What does it say about Australian politics that the reaction of both major parties to such a liberating technology is to demagogue about its dangers? Our politicians rave about evils online more than any other liberal democracy. As a consequence, the Federal Government's proposal is far more extensive than any other internet censorship scheme outside the totalitarian world.There is a certain element of Australian political culture that sees censorship and banning as the panacea to almost every social and policy question. But wowserism dressed up in concerned rhetoric about the sanctity of childhood is still wowserism.

It is not just wowerism. What this issue has disclosed is the authoritarian tendencies within the political culture of Australian conservatism. That conservatism is deeply embedded in the ALP Right and it is deeply hostile to Australian liberalism and its conception of individual freedom.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:36 AM | | Comments (4)


The child protection thing has to be removed from the filtering question, and I think anti-filtering people would be wise to focus on the child protection issue, oddly enough.

The child pornographers won't even be slowed down by ISP filtering and that should be emphasised. While the govt slows down the net and prevents us from researching anorexia, the child pornographers will be free to go on doing what they do. Doesn't Conroy care about this? He's planning to spend a fortune hampering innocent internet use, and doing nothing to stop the truly despicable.

Just watching a thing on SBS on evolution.
What do we presume concerning this theory, if we take Conroy to represent the end result.
It's all playing to the mortgage belt morons, as usual...

not even some of the child welfare groups support Conroy's mandatory filtering of the internet. They---- Save the Children + National Children's and Youth Law Centre----are in favour of PC-based filters on their computers and educating kids and parents to empower young people to be safe internet users.

I see that Jack the Insider is saying that

mandatory filtering is straight out of the leftist handbook on public policy: impose a blanket ban, clap your hands together and pronounce the problem fixed.

This an authoritarian conservative policy.