Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stephen Conroy's hawking his filter to News Ltd now

But first, an op-ed on Stephen Conroy from 2004. He was Deputy Senate Opposition leader at the time. It's not a flattering article.

In contemporary news, from today's Australian we have this: Conroy wades into child porn net flood. Now there's an alarmist headline.

Some interesting quotes in it, such as "Senator Conroy will seek to halt access to child pornography, X-rated and violent material for all home users through mandatory filtering by ISPs so children can be protected from net nasties."

Curious, but unsurprising, that The Australian has lumped child pornography, regular pornography and violence all into one. I expect the confusion between "adult content" and actual illegal content is stemming from Senator Conroy's office. I hope less net-ignorant old media outlets can do better than this confused mess, but I'm not optimistic.

The article also explicitly states that "Senator Conroy has been prodded into action by Family First senator Steve Fielding, and the Australian Family Association, which scorned the former government's $85 million free filters for families package as wholly inadequate." No idea if that's true or just editorialising upon the writer's part. It jibes with what people have been speculating to date though, given the make-up of the Senate come July.

Anything else? The Childwise organisation mentioned in the article as a source of statistics has nothing on its homepage that suggests they're actually on board with this government proposal: they want to stop child sexual exploitation, not just hide the evidence of it from the eyes of other children. Might be worth looking into them further, see if they've been misquoted.

Edit: Oh dear. I guess Bernadette McMenamin of Childwise wasn't misquoted in the slightest. Interesting that she's describing the filter as a blanket means of "blocking child pornography and other illegal content" rather than the "child-safe feed with adult opt-out option" that's the supposed proposal on the table, though. Who's been told fibs? Ms McMenamin? Or the Australian public?

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