Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stephen Conroy, internet filters, ACMA, hate lists, blacklists and dead parrots

We normally only tackle loon columnists on this site, but the news that iiNet has pulled out of Stephen Conroy's net censorship trails, on the basis of corporate social responsibility, customer service objectives and their public position on censorship is worthy of a little cake and champagne, and a few lines.

Suddenly iiNet, the third largest Australian ISP, sounds like a gang worthy of doing business with. The iiNet managing director Michael Malone had the honesty and cheek to say that the trial wasn't just about child pornography and such illegal material, but a wider range of issues including 'unwanted material' the government had failed to explain.

And I just loved University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt's description of the Conroy-ACMA blacklist, now leaked to the world, as being interpreted by some as some kind of "government sanctioned hate list".

I have no pity for Conroy. Before Labor went to the election and won, he was told repeatedly by assorted people I know (no names no pack drill) that Labor's policy was an unworkable attempt to outbid the Howard government's voluntary filtering system. And then when Conroy got the gig in a portfolio where many ministers have come and gone, and few have made a difference, he was again told repeatedly that his plans were unworkable and likely to produce a hostile response.

About the only policy strength Conroy has is irrational stubbornness. He didn't allow himself or his department, the hapless, hopeless ACMA, a plan B, and now as the wheels fall off on a weekly, or even daily basis, he's hung himself - and them - out to dry. It isn't a pretty picture.

Apparently Malone called the internet filter a dead parrot. But it's actually Conroy who's the dead parrot. I'm with the libertarians on this one. Whenever a central government tries to bung on a nanny state, it's worse than the anarchy it's trying to over-ride.

By the way, if Primus Communications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce or Highway 1 are your ISP service provider, why? They're still co-operating with Conroy. Now there's a pretty blacklist in the making.

Customer: Look, I took the liberty of examining that internet filter when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting in the computer in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.


Conroy: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that filter down, it would have nuzzled up to that RAM ROM, bent 'em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Customer: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this filter wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!

Conroy: No no! 'E's pining!

Customer: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This internet filter is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!

'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the computer 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!
'Is digitised computational processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig!
'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!


And so on, for the length of the sketch, or for as long as Conroy persists in his folly.

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