tip off

Kevin Rudd wants to filter your internet

The report, just released, can be seen here on the gov website, although it’s struggling from the traffic so it might take a while. Alternatively, Zdnet has it mirrored here as a pdf file.

There’ll be plenty more to say about this over the next week or so, but have a read of the report and keep a few things in your thought orbit.

Firstly, what proportion of 18-34 year olds would realistically change their vote over this? Let’s say (up to) 20% would, yet let’s also assume that Labor will have a 2% swing towards them. As a consequence, Labor wouldn’t actually lose any seats over this, but there would be a number of seats that may not fall to them as a result – Boothby, Hinkler, Cowper, Cowan, Stirling, Ryan, Hughes, Sturt all sit around that area on the pendulum.

So Labor would carry a cost that wouldn’t be felt among existing ALP members – a cost not felt ends up being a hypothetical cost that never happened when the history of these things get written.

Secondly, even though the filtering issue inevitably plays well in the polls among families, there is a stated vs. revealed preference issue involved here. Adult content is a source of major traffic in Australia as it is anywhere else that has a net connection. How many people would quietly vote against Labor over their smorgasbord of pink bits getting restricted, yet continue to say to pollsters that they are pro-filter?

Something previously has been witnessed in this regard – for decades Qld was the most anti-porn of all States, yet also had the highest proportion of residents on XXX mailing lists.

Thirdly, the Libs have already got a line to exploit any anti-filtering vote and it was deployed within an hour of the release of Conroy’s report. It basically goes “The internet filter will not protect kids from nasty things on the net, but will instead give parents a false sense of security leading to the very outcomes that they are trying to prevent”.

Fourthly, what effect will the Greens choosing the pro-filter Clive Hamilton have on the party’s ability to exploit any anti-filter sentiment? Will it come back to haunt them?

I reckon that there aren’t any votes to be won by the ALP on the issue, only votes to be lost. Those that get a bee in their bonnet about the need to censor the net, vote Coalition, Family First and Christian Democrat anyway. Thoughts?

The other thing, which Mark Newton mentioned on twitter, is that this clouds every technological push that Rudd is making- especially the NBN.

Anyway, have a read, chew the fat – interested in your thoughts. I’ll do a whole lot more on this later.


Here’s Conroy’s slippery press release


The last piece of public polling available on the net filter was taken a year ago, over the period of the 8th to the 14th of December 2008 by Essential Media Communications. Sample size was 1000 for an MoE that maxes out around the 3.1% mark. The question asked:

The Government has proposed a system of internet filtering to prevent access to prohibited sites on the internet and protect children from inappropriate material. The system will include mandatory nation-wide blocking on a range of ‘prohibited’ and ‘inappropriate’ material and an option for families who wish to limit access to a broader range of internet content. Opponents of this scheme say it is a form of censorship, will make the internet significantly slower and will not totally prevent distribution of illegal material. Do you support or oppose the Governments proposed internet filtering system?


On the cross-tabs we have:

Respondents aged 50 years and over were more likely to support the Governments proposed internet filtering system (52% total support), while respondents aged 18 – 24 were more likely to oppose the Governments proposed internet filtering (47% total oppose).

Males were more likely to oppose the Governments proposed internet filtering (51% total oppose), while 56% of females support the Governments proposed internet filtering system.


Crikey has a solid list of filter coverage.


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  • 1
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I am totally against filtering on the internet.

    Filter for pink bits, and the temptation is there to filter for political views you don’t agree with also.

    A government would need to be whiter than the driven snow not to try to make it work for them, and even (or especially!) Saint Kev might want to get rid of stuff he thought was not conducive to his version of good government.

    My vote is to leave the bloody thing alone. I’ve not got to unwanted pornography on the net for many years. To think you will get it when innocently typing in a request for, say, dinosaurs for a school project reflects a very strange view of how search engines work.

  • 2
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Searching for “dinosaurs” may not get you pink bits, but you could be in danger of stumbling upon a particular Senator from Victoria :-P

  • 3
    Marcus Westbury
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Will be interesting to see how this plays. I still think the Greens have the most to gain and it could be a statistically significant factor in seats like Melbourne that will/ may go down to an ALP/ Green split because it creates a alrge constituency of potential new green voters. The selection of Hamilton may damage that but not fatally.

    THe larger problem is that it is bad policy, it won’t work. It will neither make the internet “safe” for unsupervised use nor will it be the slightest bit difficult to circumvent if you are determined enough. Expect a lot of “see how badly the filter failed me” stories from the people who might be inclined to support it and the corresponding risk of mission creep.

  • 4
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


    I think you are a bit hot under the collar and have started losing some objectivity.

    20% of youngies changing their vote to Abbott- the least popular and least trustworthy new opposition leader ever.

    I think you have missed you medicine for once. I hope you are OK.

  • 5
    wyvernsridge w
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    The question is not about who is likely to change their vote [who are they going to change to? … The Mad Monk??] but rather, whether they will actually join a campaign to embarrass the government, or even better, to seek the removal of Conroy as Communications Minister.

    Will Anonymous get involved? Will this create so much ongoing and embarrassing publicity that they will have to quietly kill it?

    Of course, the required legislation would never pass in the current parliament, but you don’t know what a double disolution might bring. Overall, there are Senate votes to be had by the Greens and for any other sensible minor party or independent.

  • 6
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m not waiting to make a poll-based decision, I’m mobilizing now. And so should you, blue_green. One does not sit on one’s posterior on such issues, regardless of Poss’s medical condition.

  • 7
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink


    The danger for Labor with the youngest voting demographic is that Abbott isnt known with them like he is with those of us a little older.

    The Senate though is where the action would be – especially for that final spot in each state. Only a few thousand usually decide that.

  • 8
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    This move gives the opposition the opportunity to illustrate that Labor produces poor policy and spends money on ideologically driven whimsy that won’t actually help protect children.

    Put this together with the NBN planning which they describe as a shambles and suddenly they’ve got a story to sell the electorate about Labor and technology.

    Can the Jurassic era Liberal party do this?

  • 9
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    If it is going to effect anyone I think it might be the dirty old men who will lose their porn subscriptions.

    Unless the plan impacts on facebook I cant see anyone gen y getting seriously pissed about this. Maybe some mock outrage but thats it.

    I also can’t see a social conservative like Tony Abbott (or his failed sidekick & comms shadow Tony Smith) going after this regardless of the politics. It will just look ridiculously opportunistic.

    If Abbott had given Briggs the gig it might have made sense.

    I guess it will all depend on how much GetUp has run out of puff.

  • 10
    David Richards
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    The point is, why bring on any possible grief over such an issue? It won’t win them any votes or seats, but could lose them a lot of votes in the Senate and the possibility of gains against the Libs. Not winning those Lib seats only makes the Libs job easier next time. If the ALP were smart, they”d drop this and move Conroy to Meat Inspection instead. When you’re on top, don’t give the other side any solace… keep your foot on their throat. The ALP should be seeking to maximise its advantage, and silliness like this isn’t it.

  • 11
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I can’t see this getting past the Senate. Well, at least I couldn’t up until Abbott was put in charge of the Opposition. Now I am a little troubled that this dog may pass. And God only knows which way Fielding will fall on this one.

  • 12
    Keith is not my real name
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    “Me an my mates don’t really care about it, somebody I know will cracked it in 5 secs so I don’t care, really”

    Two of my sons.. 22 and 14

  • 13
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    @11 just a hypothetical question, what do you think it would take for Fielding to change his vote on ooh let’s go nuts, the ETS? Take a wild guess what a Family First Senator is likely to think about internet censorship…

  • 14
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    From the executive summary of the filtering trial:

    “A technically competent user could, if they wished, circumvent the filtering technology.”

    I’m not sure why you’d bother reading beyond that statement. It doesn’t even work, let alone any downsides it might have.

    Why oh why are they doing this? Of all the controversial things the risk averse Rudd Government could do, this is one they choose!?

  • 15
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    It will just look ridiculously opportunistic.

    Somehow I don’t think that would stop them!

  • 16
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s simple, I’ll be advocating, and *educating* people to preference Labor last in the Victorian senate. I’ll also be advocating that they put Conroy (first on the ALP Senate ticket for sure) last even if they can’t bring themselves to not vote labor.

    Having a hostile senate will ensure this will never pass. I’d prefer this to go the way of other ‘noble’ efforts that the senate has killed (Student unions, ETS, et al). I.E introduce before the next election, have the noble effort fail, go to the election, and then quietly not worry about it for another 3 years.

    It’s time for both Victorian senators called Stephen to leave the red chamber.

    Makes me feel like I’m reading a Tynsdale Bible just typing this.

  • 17
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


    Point taken. Touche.

  • 18
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    As a female (just) over 35 and vehemently opposed to the filtering plans, I’m now trying to figure out just who I can vote for.

    Presuming I rule the ALP out over this issue, I could vote Green, but Clive Hamilton is muddying those waters. And the entire concept of an Abbott lead conservative government is terrifying even as a hypothetical. I guess there’s always the Aust Sex Party, but ultimately there are the preferences to consider…

    More than ever the next election is shaping up as the choice between several evils for those in my demographic.

    (Granted, I’m not sure if anybody is in my demographic apart from me, but anyway…)

  • 19
    Trubbell at Mill
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    We already have neocon-filtered print media, television and magazines. The ‘net is my life and my only source of truth and pink bits.

    The freedom of the ‘net cannot be limited without being lost… to coin a phrase…

  • 20
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I doubt that this is even a second order let alone first order issue.

    By the time the coalition iron out an industrial relations policy, which wont be called work choices, but which might change temporary transitional arrangements to “less temporary” arrangements (according to Tony Abbott a couple of days ago), and arrive at a Climate Something policy that will address the problem that we don’t have and will cost nothing, well, because doing nothing will cost nothing, or, alternatively, doing something will also cost nothing – because the coalition have the worlds most brilliant economist as shadow finance minister – so brilliant that no one else can understand his genius… I don’t think too many people will be too concerned about an ineffective internet filter, especially with the geniuses in waiting still opposing a national broadband scheme

  • 21
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    “A technically competent user could, if they wished, circumvent the filtering technology.”
    I’m not sure why you’d bother reading beyond that statement.

    Precisely. Hot air and a false discussion. When did Oz become the US?

  • 22
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Well, there is no guarantee that any site is free from being banned. Didn’t a bunch of YouTube pages get added into the list that was leaked to Wiki?

    My guess is that “teh internets” bureaucrats will get carried away really quickly, and this will go out of control. I mean, it’s raw authoritarian power. Who wouldn’t? *that is, those who have little developed conscience*

    I believe ‘the kidz’ won’t really care that much. But people like myself, about to launch a start-up, would not be too happy about this. If a Qld dentist can be on the list, then I don’t know if my business will suddenly be banned for no reason. I also don’t care if they have appeal mechanisms. They tend to be watered down first, and the censorship last, if ever.

    I intend to write to Conroy and say that in the next election I will make sure that they don’t get my preferences, first time ever. Hit them where it hurts (or so I believe).

  • 23
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    @gef05 we’ve been aping them since the 1950’s culturally and politically but that’s another discussion.

    The point is, technically, you can get around the filter by using tunnelling and/or encryption of your connection through the network of your ISP. But the ISP is going to be forced to examine your traffic anyway. The point of this law is to force your ISP to monitor you and to prevent you from reaching the sites on the secret blacklist your government is going to give them.

    Several things could happen at this point: you could sign off responsibility for your traffic, but I doubt the law will let the ISP do that. Given that businesses are unlikely to be forced to give up their tunnels/VPNs, my guess is that you’re going to pay up big for a non-censored connection.

    Also, given that the law is going to be administered by a statutory authority, free from direct oversight by the public, when people find a way around the filtering, they will be able to adapt and close off those avenues as they arise. It will be a futile technical war of attrition no doubt, but laws that are passed are very difficult laws to repeal. Let’s avoid the whole thing and make sure they never get passed in the first place.

  • 24
    Sam Bauers
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Presuming I rule the ALP out over this issue, I could vote Green, but Clive Hamilton is muddying those waters.

    Clive Hamilton isn’t representative of the general opinion of the the Greens membership or Greens parliamentarians on this issue.

    The Greens have been quite vocal in their opposition to this and past internet filter programs from the federal government. That position isn’t going to change any time soon.

  • 25
    Jahm Mitt
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    The great thing about all of this religious or “culty” guff, is that all the sheeple groveling in their steeple, they all have “opinions” about what their deity is “saying” and righteously so, but the deity in the last few thousands of years of “omnipotence”, has never once put in a personal appearance.

    You know like if “JC and the Space Cadets” were a rock band – the clueless would have caught on that while the promoters claim that they play in gigs all over the land, but they have never turned up; while the clueless and stupid keep rocking up and buying the tickets.


    So the same overlording us with more holier than thou drivel, is projected into the area of computer games and internet sites.

    Again while people get slaughtered for fun and profit in the movies and the real world, playing computer games doing the same stuff is just not on?


    Am I surprised that the people thrusting their liturgical loins at the censors office for “standards and decency” are not trying to put the shackles on those who choose to have their own autonomous opinions, by declaring them to workers of the devil, sorcery and witches – starting with the jabbings for the devils mark.

    Am I even further surprised that this is now extending into the Great Australian Firewall.

    Perhaps those who cry loudest are those who look forlornly upon the promises of the bible, such as Ezekiel 23: 21 “whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.”

    I mean who wouldn’t want that or to be getting that?

    I mean thank god Conroy is standing up for real Christian family values.

    Jesus said in Revelation 2:22-23 “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”

    So Jesus wants to kill our kids – that’s cool cause it is Jesus.

    Timbo says I Timothy 2:11-14 “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

    So all the women ought to keep their traps shut. I mean it’s in the bible – so it must be true right.

    And God digs killing pregnant chicks by knifing them and smashing their kids brains out on the ground; so the christians have got this family values stuff down pat: Hosea 13:16 “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”

    So Conroy and his catholic buddies have got this right – we have to be protected against them out there on the internet and subjugate ourselves to the righteous christians showing us how their god loves us and how we ought to be kissing his ass, on the basis of their say so.

    Oh did I mention that the old testament is a scammed copy of the Code of Hammurubi? The King of Babylons state laws – and the first 6 books of the bible are bare faced rip offs of this, just rebranded to a diety instead of the king?



    Yep gotta remember them good old christian family values, the true word of god is the bible… except that getting nailed for copyright and plagarisim wasn’t invented then.

  • 26
    Sam Bauers
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    when people find a way around the filtering, they will be able to adapt and close off those avenues as they arise

    I don’t see how they could discriminate between someone making a secure connection to a server in the US for the purposes of administration and someone using the same sort of connection for web proxying. You can’t do content checking on those connections as they are entirely encrypted.


    They would have to block the entire internet except for port 80 (http) for it to not be circumventable (and even then there would be ways around it).

    No doubt the workarounds (which are common IT knowledge for Linux/Unix system admins) would become contraband in some way as well. The rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper.

  • 27
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I won`t vote the ALP at the next election, but I will die, go to Hell, party hard, watch Global Warming make Hell unbearable so much so that God re-locates Heaven one level higher, Purgatory to where Heaven is, and Hell to where Purgatory is, party some, all before I vote for the nutters that seem to have replaced the Coalition.

    Rudd and Conroy and all these Religionists making their morals public policy is disgustingly puritanical. It isn`t just this Net Censorship thingo, it is also the Bill Henson affair, and the general discriminatory social/moral conservatism that this Government shows.

    So I guess I am either donkeying or voting Greens. I am 32.

    Does anyone know if this was even suggested at the 07 election? I am pretty sure it wasn`t, therefore, they have no mandate. It`s this populist crap that had me sick of the last geezer who was PM.

  • 28
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Look at the history of any media,it is a self explainatory process that rules are resisted or embraced dependent on who gains /loses.

    Its called life.deal with it

  • 29
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    “I intend to write to Conroy and say that in the next election I will make sure that they don’t get my preferences, first time ever. Hit them where it hurts (or so I believe).”
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I wrote to Conroy at the start of this year and even sent a helpful guide on how information can be successfully censored (a little book titled “1984”). I received a 3 page letter from Conroy’s officed in response outlining a range of things on the internet filtering area. After reading it I was still unsure exactly what they intended to do, and why they were doing it. I guess now we know WHAT they intend to do, if not why.

  • 30
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how they could discriminate between someone making a secure connection to a server in the US for the purposes of administration and someone using the same sort of connection for web proxying. You can’t do content checking on those connections as they are entirely encrypted.

    I wasn’t actually suggesting they’d be able to inspect inside the packets, Sam. But they can certainly tell an encrypted connection from one that isn’t, and that’s all the information they’d need. What I am suggesting is that the Australian internet will become further divided into haves and have-nots because ISP’s will certainly have to disallow encrypted connections to non-business ie residential accounts.

    Note that this also covers other protocols than web, they can monitor your connection at source. You can try this at home with a handy program called wireshark which can show you what connections are using which protocols and their data. If there’s a way of faking your protocol and hiding an encrypted stream, I’d like to know it.

  • 31
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    The more I think about this, hmmmm, could be a crap hypothesis, but I’ll try while I am a.l.l.o.w.e.d.

    1) This is a big win for the ALP, no matter what the 99% of posters on these sites (it certainly looks like 99%, and of smart people too!) say, for we are washed.
    – women/ mothers will flock to this like <>. It just sounds like ‘protection’ = good.
    – elderly will feel good about this and vote for that nice man Mr Rudd.
    Votes for Ruddy Votes for Ruddy!!!!! Score! #notfail.
    It doesn’t matter if it works or not, it LOOKS like it does. That equals action.

    2) Bigger win for control. While the notwashed celebrate that kids are now protected, “other material” that ISPs get grants for to block, and from a secret list, or from someone saying they don’t like the site, means blocking ANYTHING. Whoohoo. Talk about a blank cheque for control!

    3) Fielding is onside. Abbott cant ‘oppose’ this (he’d love this). Anyway, everyone is wired to ONLY EVER voting for 2 parties. Everyone is trapped *trapped!* into voting for him. Score! *trapped and helpless*

    How could Rudd lose! Noone learns anything, noone changes, it all feels good to most people who think the Internet = Facebook, he’s in.

    Well, he can lose bigtime if certain things happen:
    – people who don’t like this, who , well …. lets see, get interested in something that hasn’t got anything to do with themselves, their friends, how their ex is a dipsh1t, their mobile phones, what parties they went to on the weekend, how they got drunk, what properties they invest in …. get active and write letters, tell people internationally (think god the internet doesn’t end where the beaches end), tell minor parties they are interested in them etc.
    On the positive side, the huge amounts of comments by people saying Labor can stuff it is very surprising to me. So maybe this is the one issue that people will really be unAustralian and think about non-sport/beer/friends stuff for once.

    – the minor parties realise that they could win on this one! I, however, am pessimistic that anyone in the Greens will register this. I’d put it down to ‘more power in your own clique is more important than winning government’. Having heard from someone credible that the ALP headhunted the smartest Greens back in 2006, and that the Greens haven’t got adequate replacements (the activist scene is not the most realistic place to be), they will miss out on this opportunity.
    I’d be more interested in what the ASP will do. They seem to have it smarter, and their website is very youth-friendly.

    But most importantly, the Business world will not like this at all.
    It takes 10 minutes to get the jist of what Australia will be like. Not the left/ right argument, but the fact of a slower internet = less competitive internationally = reduction of sales.
    Every business relies on the internet. Slower speeds can kill some online sales processes. A lot of businesses are solely internet based.
    This bill is too vague, too secretive, with no guarantee that we will have a fast broadband.

    So, given Business will be saying “oi” to this, the smartest people in Australia will not have a bar of this, and it’s a direct assault on anyone who can spell ‘democracy’ …. I think these forces will prevail.

    If Conroy knows this, than this is the stupidest, but probably most highly effective political game which trumps the ETS stuff. This is chess playing at its highest.

    Or if it’s not that, I hope people don’t walk off blank staring back into thinking Tiger Woods is more important that anything else in the world.

    Thanks for reading!

  • 32
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I, however, am pessimistic that anyone in the Greens will register this.

    Thefundingengine, Senator Scott Ludlam is way ahead of you and has been taking the fight up to Conroy on this for some time.

    Ludlam was quoted on the ABC News as saying:

    “It looks very much to me as though this is still a solution in search of a problem,” Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said.

    “The test results themselves say that the filters will be able to be circumvented. So quite honestly I don’t know why the Government is persisting with this policy.”

    He says the more he reads, the more sceptical he gets.

    “At this stage I haven’t seen anything at all that justifies the implementation of mandatory net censorship in Australia,” he said.

    “I think there are much better ways of going about what they’re trying to do. And I think this policy is going to have a very bumpy ride.”


  • 33
    Fancy Dancer
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    This Internet Filter Thingy is sickening on many counts
    (1) It limits “Freedom of Speech”, but as we have no bill of rights, we’re stuffed.
    (2) It defaults to the lowest common denominator, any site with a banned term or image will be entirely banned e.g. YouTube is theoretically banned because of this.
    (3) It can be easy circumvented by the perverts it is supposed to prevent. It is basically like saying everyone on the internet is a pervert, we must all treat you like one, therefore if you try to circumvent this firewall, YOU ARE A PERVERT!
    (4) Pornography is in the eye of the beholder, photos of skinned vegetables will still be available for free on the internet for vege porno hounds, but nude girls for hetero men, nude men for gay men, nude men for tranny men, etc.. will be banned!
    (5) “Why doesn’t any one think of the Children?” is the catch cry of the rabid God botherers, I say why doesn’t anyone expect the Parents to control the little tear-aways
    behaviour set, for god’s sake!

    And Why doesn’t anyone email the f**king hell out of That PRIME God Botherer Senator
    Stephen Conroy to put a stop to this Internet Filter Rubbish, Baffles me STUPID!

  • 34
    cud chewer
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    There is a long history behind this and those who unaware of the ways that the Church tries to control the State should read “The High Price of Heaven” by David Marr. This is no more no less a funnel down which the frustrations of the “devout” are being channelled. This and the seemingly irrational ban on gay marriages.

    I dare say though, that Conroy has done his political calculus. He won’t win votes by having the filter, but he does stand to lose some if he isn’t seen to act. Sadly, a lot of the “devout” are Labor voters.

    And there’s a lot of people who will want to change their vote over the filter issue, but more so like myself, who would love to give Conroy a poke in the eye, but have nowhere to go to. Even younger voters know Abbott well enough to know where he stands on “moral” issues.

    Also, the polling is sadly reflective of the polling question. When people are told it is about “prohibited” and “inappropriate” a lot of people will go “oh, hmm.. ok..”. The real blacklist as it currently stands is actually a mish mash of sources. For a start there are a few dozen sites that clearly were kiddie porn, but which have long since closed – hardly surprising since the source of these URLs is typically law enforcement. Then there are a few hundred URLs, most of which are to do with young looking models, and then there are other adult interests. Heck, one site that made me laugh was merely the fantasy artwork of furry fandom (anthropomorphised animal characters, in some cases involved in improbable sex acts). Bestiality? Hardly any.. and there’s lots of bestiality sites that never make it to the list, because, oddly enough the process usually involves some prude blundering into one and making a complaint. Terrorists and bomb making? Didn’t spot one. And yes there’s lots that aren’t on the list.

    Back to the politics, it would be good to see a Senate amendment that divorces the filter from the content classification rules and instead tries to define prohibited rules not in terms of what you couldn’t see on a TV screen but instead of the legality of the content. For instance, young looking models might get a RC in the strictest sense but there is nothing illegal in what is being shown. Now the reason I’d love to see that debate is that it will expose precisely what this filter is about. Its the continuation of the Christian obsession with smut and about protecting other peoples souls.

    I’d also love to see the Senate try to get some amendments going to force judicial oversight and other strict checks and balances. Lets see Conroy wriggle over those. The Christians don’t want people to know what is in the list.

    Sadly though, this may well be quietly submitted and rejected twice and turn up at a joint sitting to be rammed through.

  • 35
    cud chewer
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Fancy Dancer @36, one of the sites on the famous blacklist was a fairly mainstream Australian gay hookup site, with a fairly innocuous picture on the front and it required registration to actually see the wobbly bits.

  • 36
    David Richards
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    This paranoia about the internet has already cost legitimate users the msn chat room system (which was well policed by hosts, guides, and bots), and the yahoo chat room system (open slather).

    For the sake of a few biblethumpers – thousands of legitimate users lost a great social outlet – with the msn chat system having local social events, interstate and overseas meetups, and community noticeboards.

  • 37
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 6:42 am | Permalink


    Re your fourth point:

    Hamilton was preselected for a by-election the Greens knew they’d lose, to capitalise on the CPRS legislation and impending Copenhagen conference. He lost, as expected, and is now no longer a preselected candidate for anything. Given this, I’m not sure what relevance his views have. When the Greens vote against Conroy’s legislation it’ll be a little hard to suggest they support it, and Scott Ludlum doesn’t seem to be having any difficulty prosecuting his case against the filter. The only possible problem will be if you continue your bizarre propaganda suggesting that Clive Hamilton has somehow made the Greens Senators secretly change their policy and they’re not telling anyone, and if otherwise sensible people believe you.

    Re the rest of your analysis:

    Seems reasonable, although I think you’ve grossly over-estimated the number of people who will actually change their vote over this, and it really depends on what the Coalition decide to do and how publicly they wring their hands about it before deciding. If they support the legislation (probable) then smaller parties will do slightly better on primaries (good for Greens in the Senate, irrelevant in the House, with the possible exception of Melbourne and perhaps Sydney).

    I doubt there will be much effect on the ALP/LIB 2PP result – if the Libs oppose they’ll lose some God-bothers and possibly gain some techies, and if they support it they’ll maintain the God-bothers but make no gains anywhere else. In short, it’s the Senate where this may have an effect, because #nocleanfeed voters have nowhere to go except to the smaller parties.

    The other thing I note is that today’s reports say that Conroy has said he’ll introduce the legislation “just before the next election”, which I guess if you believe him will give us all a handy heads-up for when Rudd will call it :-)

  • 38
    Sam Bauers
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    ISP’s will certainly have to disallow encrypted connections to non-business ie residential accounts.

    That would be extremely unproductive. Many people collect email over secure encrypted ports. VPN tunnels for teleworkers are also encrypted. Not to mention internet banking over SSL (https). Allowing any one of these types of traffic would create enough background noise to sneak through an encrypted proxy over SSL.

    If there’s a way of faking your protocol and hiding an encrypted stream, I’d like to know it.

    So presuming that port 443 (https) is allowed you could setup an HTTP tunnel over it to a remote server. There are programs which will throw in HTTP/S headers to fake normal HTTP/S activity. It would be pretty much indistinguishable.

    Technologically, this is a solved problem. Geeks have been breaking out of what would be much tougher corporate firewalls for years.

    I should add that you can vote with your wallet on this one. If your ISP is cooperating with the government plans then move to one that isn’t. For example iiNet has been a vocal opponent and is a pretty good ISP generally.

  • 39
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Thefundingengine, Senator Scott Ludlam is way ahead of you and has been taking the fight up to Conroy on this for some time.

    Thanks, Luke.
    My thoughts are, though, on an effective campaign to get votes out of this may or may not come from the Greens. Or rather, their ability to strike while the iron is hot and leapfrog ahead. I hope I am wrong bigtime.

  • 40
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    It’s nice to see the New Fascist Cloth of the Labor Party cloaking itself in yet another official NannyState intiative.

    Aside from the continual removal of self-determination and responsibility by stealth advocated by those on ‘teh Left’ (oh sweet irony), this insidious bid to filter not just pron but political dissent should be roundly condemned by all sides.

    Know doubt I’ll drown holding my breath.

  • 41
    Evan Beaver
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    MPM, not that I’m necessarily opposed to this outcome ‘Know doubt I’ll drown holding my breath’, have you read the comments? All the filthy, steaming Leftists above are on your side on this one. I don’t think you can even consider it a left wing policy; Rudd is trying hard here to garner the conservative-right vote.

    The world’s gone topsy turvy! The leader of the Opposition is opposed to free markets and the ‘left’ PM is appealing to the fundies.

  • 42
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Although I am opposed to filtering the internet it’s not a vote changer for me. The ‘net might be a convenient way of obtaining images of pink bits but it’s not the only way.

    The prospect of political censorship does concern me but this is a longer-term issue. In the short-term there are more important issues.

  • 43
    doug hynd
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    this decision may well be poor policy.


    In the terms of the future of the planet, attacking world poverty and doing something to hold both political parties feet to the fire over giving some respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in terms of ensuring effective health and housing this has got to be way back down the bottom of the list of matters to go ballistic about.

    This really is self indulgence on a large scale. Get some perspective.

  • 44
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Alternatively Doug, it’s possible to walk and chew gum at the same time

  • 45
    doug hynd
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Agreed – it is possible to campaign on a variety of issues at the same time. a habit of mine

    but when it comes to switching your vote on an issue which is what most of the discussion has been focussed on that is a different issue. If you say that policy on this issue will determine which way you votes you are saying something about its relative importance vis a vis all the other issues.

  • 46
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink


    In the past 48 hours:

    …the (Labor Left) Premier of Victoria has chosen to ban wet T-shirt competitions and extended Happy Hours in licenced entertainment venues.

    …the (Labor Left) Federal Government has moved closer to its censoring of the internet under the guise of “we know what’s good for you”.

    True conservatives would never have posed such a filter plan…if they did I would (have) voice(d) my opposition just as loudly.

    Do you have evidence they were?

    I find it supremely ironic that governments and regulators see this (feeble) attempt at ‘child’ protection as necessary when that same child can easily get hold of a virtual reality video game and in the comfort and safety of their own bedroom slaughter hundreds of ‘life-like’ people with impunity before school.

  • 47
    David Sanderson
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    This is one of those issues that excites people of an ‘activist’ nature but leaves the vast majority perfectly indifferent. The few voters who might be be lost to Labor will most likely be over-compensated for by the parents who think it is keeping Jimmy, locked away in his bedroom and on the computer, away from the worst mischief.

4 Trackbacks

  1. …] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sophie black, Josh. Josh said: RT @sophblack: I can haz filter? Kevin Rudd is in yr internets — Possum Comitatus on Conroy's announcement: http://bit.ly/8C1Bi2 […

  2. …] Pos­sum Comi­ta­tus, who exam­ines the pos­si­ble elec­toral […

  3. By Dont consult the people « TWAWKI on December 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    …] KRudd1984 says internet censorship coming your way! […

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