Rant: Say No To ISP Filters

Like Richard “world’s biggest luddite” Alston, before him, Stephen Conroy seems to think that he knows better than you or I what we should be able to access over the Internet. It’s very, very easy to shrilly cry “Protect the Children!” whenever issues of censorship come up, seeking to cynically stifle any and all debate about what is, and is not, reasonable.

There are already plenty of laws against this stuff. It’s already illegal, and the mere accusation of being a paediatrician is enough to have an ignorant mob harass you. Well done for encouraging a climate of fear. But then, that’s exactly what you want to do, isn’t it? Have people all fearful and afraid so they stop thinking, and then you can get all the power and control you want? Why not? It worked for the Howard government for 10 years.

And that’s the real reason for wanting to waste millions of my taxes on yet another Internet filter. Awesome. A blacklist of things that are already illegal. Well done. Only it’s not just about that, is it? No, you want to be able to pander to Family First and block all that icky porn they don’t like, don’t you? Oh, and we can’t have the little ones learning about The Gay now, can we? Or all that nasty fetish stuff. Why would anyone think that way about socket wrenches. Eww!

And no, no it’s not illegal. Not as such, no. But no, you can’t opt out of the filtering. Yes, we think all Australian adults should be treated as if they were 6 years old. We know what’s best for you. You just sit there and let us take care of you. Yes, yes, that’s right. Surrender your free will. We’ll keep all the naughty bad-bad on this list away from you.

Oh no, we can’t possibly show you the list! I mean, that might give people ideas. They might suddenly decide that they have to go and look at all this nasty, illegal material. So no, we’ll keep it all quiet and hush-hush back here. We’ll make sure you never find out just how many other sites get blocked unintentionally. We can’t have you thinking that maybe all these millions spent to block 4 people from doing illegal things wasn’t worth it. I mean, compared to spending all that cash on extra police or something. That’s just crazy talk!

Because we couldn’t possibly spend the money on things that are proven to work, like actual police work. Oh no! We have to pander to vocal minorities who are interested in controlling what other people get up to in the privacy of their own homes. We’ll cripple the already below standard internet access available in this country by forcing all the ISPs to put this crap in. Even Telstra, even after being kind enough to accept billions of dollars of taxpayer money to build a fibre based broadband network and maintain their monopoly into the future. A broadband network that won’t be available for at least 5 years, and will be running at 25% capability because Stephen Conroy has to check every packet to make sure it’s not porn!

Meanwhile we’ll continue hoping that China will keep buying stuff we dig up out of the ground. We won’t bother investing in education or service industries. We won’t invest in anything that needs fast broadband to compete effectively with the rest of the world. No, we’ll stay firmly planted in the 20th century while India, China, and Ireland convert their economies into 21st century dynamos.

The computer gaming industry here has managed to build itself up quite well, with no help from governments of any stripe. They’ve managed to do ok, despite the compliance burden of collecting GST on your behalf, and dealing with an astounding array of red tape. It’d be great if the rest of us could do the same without the government doing its level best to scupper our chances. We understand that Telstra and BHP take up a lot of your time. We do. It’d just be nice if you could get out of our way for once.

If you’d like to build an information economy in Australia, write a real letter to your government representative. Make an actual phonecall. Give some money to the EFA.

The tide is turning against the government on this one. There’s quite a bit of momentum already from people who have twigged to what these cretins are up to. Join in and help us stop the wowsers and control freaks from telling you what to do.

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