Newton smacks down Conroy, ACL on SBS Insight
Tuesday March 31st 2009, 11:14 pm

SBS Insight covered Rudd’s proposed internet filter tonight. Mark Newton, as usual, nutted the whole thing in a paragraph:

Mark Newton: If Senator Conroy took the word ‘mandatory’ out of the proposal, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with it. No-one seriously argues that there should be an unfettered right for everyone to access child pornography. What we are arguing about is whether there should be government control imposed on this medium that we use for human to human communication in 2009 and onwards. If the government took away that ‘mandatory’ word, we could all pack up, go home and the whole issue would be over. (boldfacing mine. -weez)

The sparks REALLY flew in the (far too) fast-paced online chat after the show, where Lyle Whassisfuck from the Australian Christians out in the Lobby got his arse handed to him repeatedly. In the end, even Lyle agreed that an optional filtering system, where households without children could opt out of the filter, was preferred.

Hard to imagine that Rudd would give away Labor’s control of government over one word- but that’s what it’s worth.

-weez


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The Conroy Rule

The Conroy Rule is a fast-spreading internet meme, similar to Godwin’s Law (well at least similar to the bastardised form of it that I have seen called Reductio ad Hitlerium, and which is also known as Dodd’s Corollary). It basically says that any argument from a politician dicusssing the internet devolves into simplistic references to child pornography, which in-effect makes that politician’s argument a losing one.

Comment by weez 04.01.09 @ 10:43 am

Hi there,

I don’t know if you were at the taping Weez and am not sure if you’re just going off of what was shown on the TV.

I was at the taping and going off only that night – Newton was resorting to Petty geek insults and humour.

He is missing the point – He can hack and put a VPN through the filter – well good for him. It’s for stopping the masses from becoming expoxed to crazy crap on the net.

So far it’s the best we’ve got so why not give it a go…

A lot of us geeks may feel like they’re are treading on our territory but this has been coming for a long time. Where does it say the internet is immune to regulation of illegal material?

I think a lot us aren’t grasping the big picture – lets do our best to protect people from some of the crazy stuff online. It’s not gonna be perfect of course (nor did Conroy claim on the show that it would be), but at least it’s something.

Comment by Nate 04.02.09 @ 11:16 am

Nate, I spoke with Mark after the taping. Yes, SBS cut a bit where Conjob, McPanickin & Pillock started getting abusive. He made this comment on WP:

Conroy, McMenamin and Pillion simultaneously popped arteries and started shouting when I pointed out that Norway, Denmark, Finland, Thailand and Australia had all had their lists leaked and the UK had been shown to be vulnerable to reverse engineering; then asked what kind of idiots would take that data then say, “I know! Stunning idea! Lets make an extra-special-uber-bad list of the worst of the worst child porn material! This time we’ll be able to keep it secret for sure!”

I think they edited it out because Insight likes to present reasoned debate and the debate became distinctly unreasonable for about ten seconds after that point. Total meltdown from the “pro” side.

It’s not just Newton who can run a VPN. Anyone who can change the proxy settings in a web browser can do it. No hacking required.

So far it’s the best we’ve got so why not give it a go…

You would implement a system that doesn’t work because “it’s the best we’ve got”? 😆

BTW, who is ‘us geeks’? Is it you or I?

People don’t need protection from ‘the crazy stuff online,’ ESPECIALLY if there is a government controlled and unappealable, secret blacklist at its core. Nothing that can be seen on a computer screen is going to kill you, curve your spine or lose the war for the allies…

If you don’t like what’s on the net, put a filter on your own computer– or just chuck the thing out if you’re so afraid of that ‘crazy stuff’. Neither you nor the government have any right to dictate to ordinary law-abiding citizens regarding what they can read on the net.

Comment by weez 04.02.09 @ 11:52 am

I was leaning away from the filter going into the night but feel there is bigger picture to take into account.

I realise that anyone who really wants to can break through the proposed filter… but that’s not the point.

You cannot deny that there is horrible, damaging and illegal content on the net. And while you’re right – looking at this stuff isn’t going to kill you. But despite the fact there is no hard evidence or studies – I still think that all of the RC, illegal Etc. stuff they were talking about – right down to most pornography in general – IS very damaging to to people (whether they think so or not), and even more so to teenagers. I work with Youth and know that kids do get addicted to pornography and it escalates and can ruin lives. I don’t think there needs to be a university study to realise that.

And I agree that the system is imperfect, can be hacked broken through, bypassed Etc. BUT saying it “doesn’t work” I think is incorrect. It would still save millions from the destructive influence of porn, let alone the illegal content classified about it.

So yes, despite the filter not being perfect and not working 100%, I would still implement it.

It’s terrible how looking at porn is just seen as the norm these days. Forget for a second the characteristics of males Etc. few people seem to grasp just how destructive it can be to a person – In relationships, families, businesses Etc.

There is so much more to this than “Oh it will never work so i’ll shoot him down”.

Can you not see that IF it could work, it could do some good?

Comment by Nate 04.02.09 @ 12:41 pm

‘Us geeks’ – well yes, me and you.

Heavier net users I guess…

Comment by Nate 04.02.09 @ 12:44 pm

Your ‘appeal to authority’ argument doesn’t fly. I don’t actually care who you work with, unless you are a qualified psychologist working in a university research setting. If you ARE qualified and engaged as such, running around claiming pornography is in any way harmful (or sillier yet, ‘addictive’) would quickly get you called up on a Code of Ethics charge before your peak body. It’s the same as claiming homosexuality is a mental illness.

Pornography is not any more addictive nor harmful than reading a newspaper- and you cannot produce any sound, peer-reviewed evidence to prove otherwise. You even admit as much:

But despite the fact there is no hard evidence or studies – I still think that […] most pornography in general – IS very damaging to to people

So, you think pornography is harmful, with no evidence. Boffo. What else do you believe with no basis in evidence?

Pornography is a part of normal human expression. Not a thing wrong with a little naked skin. If you don’t like porn, don’t look at any- but keep in mind that you have no right whatsoever to dictate to those who do like porn. Again, if you don’t want to see porn, put a filter on your OWN machine, but don’t ever believe yourself important enough to decide what is fit for others to read or view.

The proposed filter not only won’t work to block content, but in fact (proven by the govt’s own lab tests) will ONLY hobble connectivity for ALL users, not just those looking for porn.

If the government implements a mandatory filter, I’ll set up VPN access and provide it at cost for those who can’t be bothered to set up their own.

Civil disobedience takes on a whole new meaning when you wrap about 9000 internets around it.

Comment by weez 04.02.09 @ 1:20 pm

Hey man – I’m not trying to appeal to authority nor do I really mind if you don’t take my non university sanctioned thoughts on board. If you can’t honestly see the impact that pornography has on people (whether it’s in a research paper or not) then we’re just gonna have to agree to disagree. I’m not trying to impress you by saying I work with youth – all i’m saying is that I can see the effect porn has. Both on kids, adults, from personal experience and from other peoples experience. But that’s not the point of this discussion so lets leave it for now…

I kinda feel like there are too many different debates going on so I feel they should be worked through seperately.

I don’t think any Australian has a right to access child porn, beastiality Etc. So I don’t see why it is so outrageous for the Govt to try and block illegal content.

In terms of regular porn and the other things discussed that are on a similar level – Is it not OK that parents could opt in to further filtering to protect their children? I think that is completely reasonable.

Now the filter may not be 100% effective (nor was Stephen claiming it would be – on monday at least), but it will still do a lot of good. I don’t understand whether you disagree with the blocking in theory or are just saying it can’t be done. If it is the latter then why not make that clear and try and make suggestions to the government about more effective ways to reach the same goal. (Ones that may not reduce general net speed Etc.)

If it is the former reason then what you can do is vote against Labor at the next election. That’s the safeguard in a Democracy.

Lemme know what you think

Comment by Nate 04.03.09 @ 5:41 pm

Hey man – I’m not trying to appeal to authority nor do I really mind if you don’t take my non university sanctioned thoughts on board.

Don’t make assertions without evidence and you won’t have your points rejected out of hand.

If you can’t honestly see the impact that pornography has on people (whether it’s in a research paper or not)

You act like you don’t think much of research papers. Anti-intellectualism will only get you so far. Why don’t you fill your petrol tank with water? Those ‘experts’ say your car won’t run on water! Go prove ’em wrong. You’ll wreck your engine, but you will get some respect for people who really do have some valid expertise. Same with this filtering nonsense. It won’t work, well-educated and experienced network engineers are telling you so, but you won’t listen. If you believe this filter will work as Conjob seems to think it will, against all qualified advice, you may as well go fill your fuel tank with Evian.

then we’re just gonna have to agree to disagree. I’m not trying to impress you by saying I work with youth – all i’m saying is that I can see the effect porn has. Both on kids, adults, from personal experience and from other peoples experience. But that’s not the point of this discussion so lets leave it for now…

Porn doesn’t have any effect on anyone, aside from perhaps a little stiffie or sweaty thighs. If there’s life problems and porn use concurrently, keep in mind that coincidence doesn’t prove causation. Anyone who claims a ‘porn addiction’ should be screened for OCD or other mental health disorders.

I kinda feel like there are too many different debates going on so I feel they should be worked through seperately.

I don’t think any Australian has a right to access child porn, beastiality Etc. So I don’t see why it is so outrageous for the Govt to try and block illegal content.

Seems like you’re making the grievous mistake of believing Senator Conjob’s wildly varying claims of what he’ll block. If all they were going to block is child porn, you’d think that would be the only contents of the recently leaked blacklist- which is clearly not the case. Moreover, the good Senator has shifted the goal posts numerous times as to what will be blocked. Do your research. If you think that all that will be blocked is kid porn, think again. There will be blocking of ‘plain vanilla’ porn, gambling, political speech and anything else that the Senator feels like blocking. Other pollies will demand that their pet hated sites will be blocked. Porn site operators will report each other to get a market advantage. The blacklist will be secret and unappealable. This is beyond undemocratic and fully unacceptable in a free society. If the filter actually worked, there’d be no need for it to be secret. One could click all day on links in a publicly available banlist and no traffic would be passed. Simple as this- it won’t work- and keeping the list secret is an admission of that fact.

In terms of regular porn and the other things discussed that are on a similar level – Is it not OK that parents could opt in to further filtering to protect their children? I think that is completely reasonable.

A filter that can be shut off completely or enabled when kids will be using the PC, on the user’s command, is the only acceptable solution- and that’s exactly what was available with NetAlert, until Labor canned the program. There will be no mandatory filtering regime- not without subversion, sabotage and civil disobedience.

Now the filter may not be 100% effective (nor was Stephen claiming it would be – on monday at least), but it will still do a lot of good. I don’t understand whether you disagree with the blocking in theory or are just saying it can’t be done. If it is the latter then why not make that clear and try and make suggestions to the government about more effective ways to reach the same goal. (Ones that may not reduce general net speed Etc.)

The filter will not only do no good, it will cause several harms. Parents will be led to believe that their children will not see age-inappropriate material on the filtered net – and that simply will not be the case. So few sites will be banned that the cliche ‘spit in the ocean’ has a new meaning. We’re talking about 10,000 sites out of several hundred million. Running every requested URL through a filter will slow down ALL access as each URL is compared to the blacklist. Each web page you look at will have a number of embedded, linked objects in it, such that each page will suffer a delay for EACH embedded URL, not just the URL containing the HTML that produces the text of the page. The delay will be significant. Imagine what will happen to reliability when the filtering computers crash- and I can assure you, they will crash!

If it is the former reason then what you can do is vote against Labor at the next election. That’s the safeguard in a Democracy.

The government will NOT only block child porn. We’ve established that. Conjob also either does not know the meaning of the terms he’s throwing around, like RC (which BTW does NOT mean ‘illegal’ or ‘child porn’) or he is actively lying and obfuscating. Conjob will con anyone to get this ill-conceived plan in action. It must never be given an opportunity to get started.

Labor has NO mandate to implement a mandatory filter, no matter what Conjob says. The election promise made was for an OPTIONAL ‘clean feed’ for those households with children who want such a thing. However, given the paltry 2% of internet users who took up NetAlert, it’s plain and obvious that 98% of the people of Australia don’t want a censored internet. Even my vote wound up going to Labor in the last federal election, but I sure as hell never voted for a mandatory censored internet.

Nate, you need to do more research and get your head around what’s really happening here. Conjob is indeed running a massive conjob. So far, you’re fooled.

I’m no fan of conspiracy theories, but there is evidence that governments don’t like critical speech and will go to great lengths to suppress it. When a party is in power, it will favour controlling speech. When dissent is controlled, you get an atmosphere of consent, lest we forget the leadup to the Iraq War, where MSM became cheerleaders, in cahoots with the government of the day, instead of querying and critiquing it. If MSM had done its job in 2003, there’d be no war in Iraq. The Conjob filter WILL be used to suppress political speech. This has already happened when abortion.tv and Wikileaks were put on the ACMA banlist. Neither contained kid porn. Both contained political speech as their primary objective. Whatever party is in power will use the filter to suppress the opposition- and you know, from time to time, opposition parties actually do have a point. A viable opposition prevents the party in power from steamrollering its ideology over the dead bodies of any who dissent. One of these days, your interests will be compromised if this filter is allowed to go ahead.

If you want to protect children from age-inappropriate materials, you arm them with the knowledge that there’s stuff on the web that they simply are not old enough to comprehend. When kids come across inappropriate matter, it’s a great teachable moment. You don’t protect any child from drowning by banning water- you teach them how to swim.

Comment by weez 04.03.09 @ 7:57 pm




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