Pirate Party Australia is bemused by the remarks of Senator Steven Conroy, Communications Minister, who recently remarked that he sees “a very positive outcome” for the future of Internet censorship in Australia.
Senator Conroy’s remarks come at a time when Australia’s telecommunications industry has become increasingly cautious of publicly commenting on any of the current regulatory issues being addressed, particularly any preliminary results from the Interpol filter testing underway by Optus, Telstra and a few smaller ISPs.
The Party maintains their stance that there should be no requirement to filter the Internet, but that families and private network operators should be given information on how to install client-end filters if necessary. They also reiterate the technical flaws that filtering has, particularly the ease with which it can be circumvented.
Areas of concern were identified by Delimiter in July 2011 regarding the closed-door implementation of the Interpol filter, where there has been “little notification to customers…no civilian oversight, an unclear legal framework, the potential for scope creep and a limited and secretive appeals process overseen by the agency which drew up the list to start with.”
“No filter will stop child pornography,” said Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia. “It is simply too easy to bypass filters using a variety of technical means easily available. The Government needs to stop focusing on blocking access to the material, and start focusing on eliminating the sources. There should be a reallocation of resources to prosecute the creators, instead of wasting them on a scheme that is ineffective. You don’t stop a leak by catching the water in a bucket.”
“Beyond being entirely technically ineffective, the Interpol filter has no oversight, there is no appeals process and there is no transparency. This is yet another Government-supported affront to a free and democratic society,” he continued.
Pirate Party Australia acknowledges that the Interpol filter, even with its flaws, is arguably less threatening than the mandatory filter that Senator Conroy advocates, however the Party would like to quote Bruce Schneier: “It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state.”