iiNet today pulled out of the filter trial:
AUSTRALIA’S third largest internet service provider (ISP) has pulled out of the Government’s web filtering trials, saying the plan is “no longer just about stopping child porn”.
iiNet says the ambiguity of “unwanted material” is what caused it to pull out of the trials.
“We are not able to reconcile participation in the trial with our corporate social responsibility, our customer service objectives and our public position on censorship,” iiNet managing director Michael Malone said in a statement.
“It became increasingly clear that the trial was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the Government simply describes as ‘unwanted material’ without an explanation of what that includes.”
Of course the history here is that iiNet are fierce opponents of the filter – they openly stated at the beginning of the trial that they were only participating to prove it wouldn’t work. Still, this sounds ominous. Between this and the “inaccurate” leaked ACMA blacklist, it’s pretty clear to me that child porn is a Trojan horse and that the government would like to use the filter for a variety of purposes. Given the presence on the list of several gambling websites (including the completely legal betfair.com) this probably includes enforcing the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which criminalises the provision of online gambling services to customers physically present in Australia.
I accept that there are always aspects of a party’s policies that I won’t like, so there are not many unforgivable policy sins for me. But attempting to gain divine control over the internet is one of them. I preferenced Labor over Liberal in 2007, but they’ll be going dead last next time. I’m going to need a lot of convincing to vote Labor again as long as Conroy has his greasy hands anywhere near the levers of government.
Thankfully, at the moment it’s looking like the Senate can be counted on to kill this ghastly idea. Credit where it’s due to the Greens, who whatever their other shortcomings can usually be counted on to support civil liberties (firearms aside). Also a lot of credit is due to Nick Xenophon, who I cordially dislike, but who has taken a sensible stance on this issue. While I’m sure he’d like to impose internet controls on his pet issue of gambling, he’s had the sense to recognise that the filter is a bad idea which won’t work.