Last night Sydney radio station 2SER‘s science program Diffusion broadcast an interview with me about the Australian government’s plans for Internet censorship. It’s available as a podcast and MP3 download.
I was interviewed yesterday about Australia’s Internet censorship plans by radio 2SER’s Ian Woolf for their science program Diffusion, which goes to air in Sydney on Monday night at 6.30pm on 107.3 FM, and then around Australia on the community radio network after the news at 4pm Wednesday. It’ll also be podcast once the program has aired.
Last night‘s Stilgherrian Live viewers voted Senator Stephen Conroy (pictured) “Cnut of the Week” by the clearest margin ever. But the actions of his office reported this morning really take the biscuit.
As Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy has been spokesman for the ALP’s policy of ISP-level filtering of the Internet. I’ve written about this before, but it’s back in the news this week because it was discussed in Senate Estimates, as Michael Meloni reports.
Conroy, as in December, was accusing critics of the policy like Greens Senator Scott Ludlam of supporting child pornography — a cheap rhetorical trick at the best of times.
This morning, though, news broke that Conroy’s office had tried bullying other critics.
Internode’s Mark Newton was highly critical of the filtering plan and Conroy’s evidence, but he was speaking as a private citizen. It was totally inappropriate for Conroy’s policy advisor Belinda Dennett to attempt to pressure him via Internet Industry Association board members and his employer.
Last year, Senator Conroy agreed with his Coalition predecessor, Senator Helen Coonan, when she said you get into trouble when politicians start picking technologies. Problem is, the ALP’s “cyber-safety” policy specifies “ISP filters that block prohibited content”. Conroy’s stuck with it. But the filters clearly don’t work. And he can’t be seen to back away from Internet filtering — in a trial program which, ironically, was scheduled by his predecessor — because the ALP needs the votes of Family First Senator Steve Fielding and independent Senator Nick Xenophon for other things.
Poor bloke. What is he to do?