Conroy will ruin the internet for Australia

I was just reading some excellent information by @MikeFitzAU about the “clean feed” planned by Senator Conroy here in Australia. I’ve been watching with growing concern as this policy takes on an extremely emotional and disturbing ability to sweep all rational arguments before it and now I think it’s time for me to add my voice… and I hope others do to.

The argument in favour of this “prohibition on internet freedom” goes like this….

1. We MUST protect children from Paedophiles.

Agreed. Duh!

Instead of asking the internet industry how. The politicians decide….

2. We MUST filter the internet to protect children.

Agreed-ish, supervision is best for protection and for positive learning but in the absence of a responsible adult a powerful filter can be suitable.

3. We MUST make filtering of the internet mandatory.

There are many serious implications and better solutions. Frankly this goes too far.

The emotional argument

When an objection is raised about this policy the counter argument is the most concerning. Instead of addressing the concerns the response is purely emotional. The proponents have stated the obvious, of course we must protect children from pedophiles, they’ve then linked it to their goal so anyone that objects to a “mandatory filtering” is denounced as a paedophile or a paedophile supporter. This is a outrageous, a politician should use their elected position to be wise and considered not emotional and ill-informed.

Crafty word-smiths know this response can completely bypass all the facts by getting to the heart of the emotional issue without even focusing on what is best for our children, so it goes something like this…

Don’t you think preventing one case of child abuse is worth the risk of harming the internet in Australia?

My response?

Preventing one case of child abuse with this policy means many more children will be put at risk of abuse through a false sense of security, i.e. assuming the internet (in Australia) has been made safe.

@MikeFitzAU’s cartoon below makes the point about a false sense of security very well….

Senator Stephen Conroy's mandatory ISP filter could be as low as 87 percent effective at blocking 'unwanted material'.

Economic Harm

Testing has been released on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites. Our children deserve better protection – and that won’t be achieved by wasting millions on this deeply flawed system.


Slow your internet by 87%? That would be like going back to dial-up networking for most people. Do you want Australia to go back 5-10 years in terms of internet bandwidth and remain behind every country in the world for ever more? That is not good for our kids.

At the most basic level we all know that the speed of a website is important. If it’s slow we move on. If the whole internet is slow we will use it less, we will buy less online and the evolution of the internet in Australia and all the benefits it has brought over the last 5-10 years will be damaged.

Our knowledge economy will be seriously hampered, all sorts of businesses rely on the internet.

This damage will put Australia at a disadvantage that will grow year after year unless businesses and individuals go to extra efforts to bypass the filter.

What’s in our kid’s best interests?

Not this “mandatory filter” for all sorts of reasons.

  1. It won’t protect children
  2. It’ll put more children at risk through a false sense of security
  3. It’ll harm the economy

Use the money to educate parents and kids about the dangers online so people can understand the need for parental supervision and in-home filtering.

Other links

If you have a relevant link or a comment please post below.

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