Conroy to debate filter opponents tonight

Conroy to debate filter opponents tonight

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will hit the radio airwaves live tonight to debate the Government's proposed mandatory ISP-level filtering scheme with dissenters such as outspoken Internode engineer Mark Newton.


Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will hit the radio airwaves live tonight to debate the government's proposed mandatory internet service provider level filtering scheme with dissenters such as outspoken Internode engineer Mark Newton.

Stephen Conroy

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy
(Credit: NBN Tasmania)

The politician will appear on the ABC's Australia Talks program at 6PM (AEDT). The show will be chaired by ABC presenter Paul Barclay. Also appearing will be Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) vice president Colin Jacobs, UNSW journalism professor Catharine Lumby, Internode's Mark Newton and Michael Grace, regional chief for internet filtering company Netsweeper.

Jacobs and Newton are both seen as leaders in the movement opposing the filter, while Lumby has conducted research on the subject. The adversarial relationship between Conroy and the EFA has run white hot at times.

For example, just several weeks ago, the minister accused the leaders of the EFA of deliberately misleading the public in its campaign against the filtering project.

At the time, journalistic freedom organisation Reporters without Borders had released what it called its 'Enemies of the Internet' report, noting it was concerned that online censorship may enter the nation through the filtering project.

"While one could possibly excuse Reporters without Borders for their ignorance of the government's policy, the same cannot be said of the local ... Electronic Frontiers Australia, who through Colin Jacobs, chairman Nic Suzor and board member Geordie Guy, have run a campaign to deliberately mislead the Australian public," Conroy said in the Senate.

In return, the EFA described Conroy's attack as "extraordinary".

Just last week, Newton mocked what he called Conroy's "hissy fit", publishing a satirical imagined conversation between Jacobs and Conroy in which the minister repeats previously published policy statements.

The news comes as the level of public debate about the filter continues to build. This morning The Punch reported US Government officials had raised concerns about the filter plans directly with the Australian Government.

Topics: Censorship, Government AU

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  • Right wing Christianity has a history of imposing its own moral agenda on those around them. Rudd and Conroy are leading the charge to make federal Labor more right and more Christian than even the big "L" liberals. Where will this leave most centre left heartland voters who do not appreciate being told how to think by the new Labor Christian right. Julia Gillard has only a few months left to rescue Labor from the flow on effects of anti-Labor sentiment arising from the states and get back to basic Labor principles. Internet censorship is the true "thought crime" that will damage Labor for years to come.
  • US reveals concerns over Conroy’s net filter plan.
  • Well ill be watching, cant wait to hear the answers conjob will come up with.

    Hes more technologically illiterate than Krudd; refuses to listen to IT giants such as Microsoft or google, and just like labor continuously goes off on Tangents.

    Lets see how many times Conroy can bring up Child Pornography tonight.

    Tell Conroy to go to Whirlpool forums and see all the threads dedicated to the Internet filter.
  • I'm always genuinely surprised when Governments do stuff like this that clearly doesn't have the support of most people. It's also pretty extraordinary to be claiming this has anything to do with child pornography - when most of this material is shared via file sharing software not via logging onto RC sites.

    Interestingly, it's been speculated that this has nothing to do with protecting children, but the first stage in building the systems that would allow big movie studios and record companies to actually start preventing illegal downloads of their movies and music. Does anyone know if any of those companies have contributed to the Labor party?

    Truly, if you wanted to protect children you would use the money to fund those agencies responsible for protecting children. You're actually not saving children, you're just removing one of the least utilized methods of spreading child pornography.

    It's amazing any intelligent person supports this.
  • Had a listen last night... An interesting point was raised by a caller that pretty much every porn site on the internet will have to be placed on the list due to Australian versions generally needing to be edited. That means the "small" list would immediately grow to about half of the known internet!

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    This follows a temporary order made last week by a court in northern Nigeria preventing Facebook and Twitter being used to discuss the issue.

    Now Conroy and Rudd would have you believe that their "secret" blacklist is not the thin end of the wedge in terms of government censorship. Maybe Conroy would like to filter critisism of the Holy Father over child abuse. How would you know ... it's a secret filter.