• PM summons Conroy over US filter concerns?

    Apr 7 2010, 12:16

    The Australian is reporting that the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is believed to have summoned the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to a meeting last week after media reports revealed the US was concerned about the Internet filtering policy:

    THE determination of the federal government to go ahead with mandatory internet filtering is not only creating diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Washington but is casting a dark cloud over the beleaguered $43 billion national broadband project. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is believed to have been summoned to a meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week after media reports revealed the US was concerned that this ran contrary to its policy of encouraging an open internet to promote economic growth and global security. One senior cabinet minister is said to have responded to the US reaction by telling Conroy: “With internet censorship you won’t need a national broadband network.”

    Conroy believes internet companies should be required to block blacklisted websites carrying illegal and abhorrent material such as child pornography. His detractors say the impact of this action needs to be weighed against the economic, social and educational benefits of the internet. They also point out that there is a wide range of home-based filters commercially available to the community.

    Google, which has been engaged in a political battle with the Chinese government over internet censorship, claims mandatory filtering may prevent the free flow of information and, in any case, would probably be ineffective in curbing its primary target. It believes the federal government’s policy is of more concern than the Chinese censorship because Australia is a developed country closely aligned to the US.

    Google and other critics of the filtering policy say the broad scope of material contained in the blacklist will slow internet speeds in Australia. Superfast broadband is the linchpin for the success of the fibre-optic cable rollout the government wants to take to 90 per cent of homes, businesses and schools across Australia.

    Read more here.  This is just another indicator of the pressure that Senator Stephen Conroy and his Internet censorship policy are under.