NSW calls Conroy on Euro filter fudge

NSW calls Conroy on Euro filter fudge

Summary: An analysis of ISP filtering schemes in Europe has shown that none have adopted mandatory filtering — a claim Senator Conroy has used to justify such a scheme in Australia.

TOPICS: Government AU

An analysis of ISP filtering schemes in Europe has shown that none have adopted mandatory filtering — a claim Senator Conroy has used to justify such a scheme in Australia.

"With the limited exceptions of Germany and Italy, mandatory ISP level filtering is not a feature of any of the countries reviewed," Tom Edwards and Gareth Griffith wrote in a special research note published by the NSW Parliamentary Library Service.

The department provided the research to a member of the NSW parliament who was interested in the subject, Edwards told ZDNet.com.au. He declined to say who the member was.

The authors noted that on 20 October, Conroy suggested a two-tier filtering scheme in parliament. "Mandatory of illegal material and an option for families to get a clean feed service if they wish", Conroy said.

The research went on to address claims made by Conroy where he had compared the proposed mandatory ISP-level filtering scheme to that adopted by Sweden, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

The closest model to that proposed for Australia was the UK, the research found, however, even there, participation by ISPs was "encouraged, under threat of regulatory intervention should it fail to do so."

The researchers also highlighted a weakness in any claim that the filtering would prevent paedophiles from accessing child porn. BT admitted that the UK's "Cleanfeed" scheme was "intended to prevent users inadvertently accessing illegal material, rather than to stop hardened paedophiles."

BT also said the filtering technology would not prevent people accessing content outside the UK's equivalent of the Australian Communication and Media Authority's blacklist, which is managed by a non-government organisation, the Internet Watch Foundation.

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) has pointed out that while the authors said that Italy had imposed mandatory filtering, it was "in fact subordinate legislation — not law per se. It gives effect to an agreement that was previously reached by ISPs and the relevant regulator. To that extent, Italy has not enacted mandatory ISP filtering, either."

The IIA added that Germany's regulation of search engines was implemented by agreement.

A summary of other filtering schemes

  • In Norway and Sweden, the ISP filtering of all child pornographic material had been implemented at Telenora from 2004. Other ISPs had not followed suit.
  • Since 2005, Germany imposed filtering requirements on search engines rather than ISPs.
  • Italy had passed a decree in 2007 which required all ISPs to block access to child pornography websites within six hours of being notified by the National Centre against Child Pornography.
  • Attempts in the US to extend the Child Online Protection Act, which requires federally funded institutions, such as libraries and schools, to block material that is harmful to minors, have been contested on the grounds of free speech.
  • New Zealand's ISPs voluntarily filter content and those that do tend to market themselves as family-friendly. David Cunliffe, the relevant Minister in the outgoing New Zealand Labour Government, said New Zealand would not be following Australia's mandatory ISP filtering scheme.

A copy of the research can be downloaded here.

Topic: Government AU

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Misleading

    So, did Senator Conroy mislead parliament?
  • of course

    He not only misled Parliament on the use, but on suggesting it would be effective is clearly a lie too. The whole affair reeks of ignorance about how the net actually works.
  • NSW calls Conroy on Euro filter fudge

    what can we expect from an ex union thug , its not as if he actually knows anything about his subject portfolio.
    His handling of the Newton matter shows his true colors and how he operates. The problem is why is he still in charge after such behavior?
    This filter must be stopped if Australia is to remain a free country.
    We should be focusing on getting a federal civil rights plan rather than limiting free speech.
    The subject of Rudd's morality policies need to be scrutinized. Who is advising him and how much tax dollars do they get for attempting to impose their will upon all Australians.
    A clue is the Australia Christian Lobby. Look historically for the answers and why Rudd thinks he owes them these measures.
  • huh?

    union thug (far left) and aust.christian lobby (far right). you couldn't get two more opposites. so nice each way bet, ***khead.

    although i do agree, the filtering must be stopped.
  • Conroy hasn't a clue

    This ****head is just trying on another one of KRUDD's ineffective puffery symbolisms, just like FuelWatch, GroceryWatch and the rest. It's not going to work, it's just another piece of ignorant ALP do-nothing while the place falls apart. Conroy needs to get his act together and stand up to Telstra's blackmail before the whole NBN thing falls apart next Tuesday
  • Conroy fudging the facts

    Why would we expect anything more from this moron ? He has no f*****g idea what he's doing .Mind you , neither do the rest of what passes for government in the banana republic.
  • What huh?

    Idiot....you can be far right with regard to moral issues (far right Christian) and at the same time far left with regard to workforce relations(Far left job protectionism etc).
    So the original poster wasn't having a bet each way.
  • Misleading?

    He has two choices, he either knowingly mislead or didn't do his job properly and should not be in it. Either way he should not be in the position he is in.
  • Peter T.

    Helen Coonan was quite incompetent as a minister under the previous government, but Conroy is so bad he is making her look like a super-star!

    We need a minister in this critical area who actually has an understanding of the internet and technology and one who also understands the consequences of decisions that they may choose to take.
  • Peter T.

    GroceryWatch and FuelWatch were both resounding failures, but failures that caused no real harm - just embarrassment to the government.

    However, the decisions for which Conroy is responsible is quite another matter. A poorly implemented NBN coupled with filtering will leave Australia in the technological dark ages . . . and Conroy is showing that he is sufficiently incompetent to achieve this!

    I strongly suggest that everyone watch Question Time and gauge for themselves the inability of this minister.