The Sydney Morning Herald reported, concerning Stephen Conroy’s really dumb Internet censorship scheme concerning linking your website or blog to a banned site, in Banned hyperlinks could cost you $11,000 a day – Technology – smh.com.au that, well, as the headline said, link to a banned site and you could
cope cop an $11,000 fine.
This whole Internet censorship things reeks of a politician pushing some public servants to do something that most of them do not want to do, and that the politician himself seems not to understand anyway. The usual counter-arguments of “well, if you are against Internet censorship of some sites, you are promoting child pornography” just don’t wash at all.
Leaving aside technical issues, there are simple matters of procedure to work out. For example, if I link to a banned site, I’m fined $11,000. What happens, though, if I link to a site that is not banned, but that in itself links to a banned site? How many degrees of separation will we consider here before we stop persecuting people.
At the end of the day, I have to ask as well, if the prime reason for this is the protection of children and the prevention of the exploitation of them on websites, surely this censorship is not going to work. I would imagine now that most child pornographers would be using secure and encrypted connections with no way of determining what they are hooked up to – or are we going to ban encrypted connections as well?
I find the exploitation of children, especially the sexual exploitation of them, abhorrent and something that should be removed from society quickly and efficiently. I have travelled the world and I have seen children held for sexual exploitation and even now it brings tears to my eyes.
But I do not believe attempting to censor the Internet is going to make one iota of difference to this problem. I fear that politicians may in the future attempt to use these powers to prevent the free passage of information for their own nefarious ends.
If Stephen Conroy wants to do something to protect the children of Australia (and surely they need protection from ‘net predators and exposure to inappropriate material), then rather than censoring the Internet, better to teach the children and their parents how to recognise this stuff and deal with it inside the family. That has the effect of protecting the children at the same time as giving them a very valuable life skill.
Wake up Mr Conroy ((I wonder if I’ll end up on a banned list for having the gall to criticise Stephen Conroy?)) and deal with the real problem properly.