• Gillard takes aim at the net’s “dark side”

    Jul 8 2010, 12:11

    In case you were hoping that a change in PM might lead to a change in policy, think again. On Darwin radio yesterday, Prime Minister Gillard continued the Government’s push for mandatory internet censorship, taking aim at the internet’s “dark side”. If there’s any change on this issue, it’s merely a slight shift in the rhetoric to something more prone to Jedi puns. For instance, if one had any hopes that the new PM understands the internet better than the old one, this ought to dispel them:

    But there’s also a set of concerns about the dark side of the new technology, if I can use that expression, and, you know, clearly you can’t walk into a cinema in Australia and see certain things and we shouldn’t on the internet be able to access those things either. So, Stephen Conroy is working to get this in the right shape.

    Minister Stephen Conroy has been describing the debate in the terms of what can be purchased at newsagents, and now the new PM is talking in terms of cinemas. It’s not surprising – though it’s certainly discouraging – that our leaders can’t or won’t take the time to think through the challenges of regulating a global and dynamic communications platform. Instead, they try and cheat by applying old and simplistic ideas to the net.

    Can Conroy get the filter in the right shape? Not without going back to the drawing board and actually designing a policy with a coherent goal, taking into consideration how the internet actually works. Sadly, it looks like the old policy is what will be delivered to the Parliament after the election will be of the “internet as a giant newsagent” variety.