Conroy's filter masterstroke

Summary:Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's Friday filter announcement was obviously designed to get the toxic topic of internet filtering out of the news before the election, giving an impression of progress without a real policy change. Clever, but will the strategy work?

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's Friday filter announcement was obviously designed to get the toxic topic of internet filtering out of the news before the election, giving an impression of progress without a real policy change. Clever, but will the strategy work?

Conroy's announcement had three main threads. A series of changes to the way the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) compiles the blacklist of Refused Classification (RC) material that the filter is intended to block. A comprehensive review of what constitutes RC, which is expected to take a year. And meanwhile some major internet service providers will start voluntarily blocking access to part of the RC blacklist, the child abuse material.

To look at how this might play out, on Patch Monday this week Stilgherrian speaks with Peter Black, who teaches internet law at the Queensland University of Technology and blogs at www.freedomtodiffer.com. While Black thinks the review of RC is long overdue — something we covered on Patch Monday in March — he points out that there's still a chance it could all be derailed.

Earlier this year, Black took a sabbatical to work with Electronic Frontiers Australia on its anti-filter campaign. While he believes that the more passionate opponents of the internet filter will still try to make it an election issue, he has doubts about whether they'll succeed.

Patch Monday also includes Stilgherrian's idiosyncratic look at some of the week's IT news headlines.

To leave an audio comment for Patch Monday, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time: 22 minutes, 52 seconds

Topics: Censorship, Government, Government : AU

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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