• US Ambassador critical of Conroy’s filter

    Apr 13 2010, 1:41

    The Australian reports on comments the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich, made about the proposed internet filter on Q & A last night:

    CHILD pornographers can be captured and prosecuted without having to resort to mandatory internet filters, says Barack Obama confidante and US Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich.

    The Rudd government has said the mandatory filters are crucial in its arsenal of online weapons aimed at stamping out child pornography and other forms of illegal material.

    Asked on ABC TV’s Q&A program last night whether the proposed internet filter threatened both the US-Australia relationship, Mr Bleich expressed confidence both governments would be able to find “the path forward”.

    Australia had been made aware of his government’s no internet censorship stance, he said, adding that the US has had “healthy discussions” with its Australian counterparts on the matter.

    “On the issue of the internet we have been very clear. The internet needs to be free,” Mr Bleich said. “It needs to be free the way we have said skies have to be free, outer space has to be free, the polar caps have to be free, the oceans have to be free. They’re shared resources of all the people in the world.

    “To the extent that there are disagreements (about) trying to find the right balance between law enforcement and respecting that general principle, we work with our friends, and so we’ve been working with Australia on this issue, we’ve had healthy discussions and … I’m sure we’ll be able to find the path forward.”

    The US had told Australia child pornographers could be nabbed without the use of internet filters, Mr Bleich said.

    “What we’ve said is we have been able to accomplish the goals that Australia has described, which is to capture and prosecute child pornographers and others who use the internet for terrible purposes, without having to use internet filters,” he said.

    “We have other means and we are willing to share our efforts with them in order to allow them to at least look at a range of choices as opposed to moving in one particular direction … It’s an ongoing conversation.”

    Read more here.  The Sydney Morning Herald also reported the Ambassador’s comments here.  And you can watch the show here.

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