[AusNOG] conroy reaffirms commitment to filter
Eric.Pinkerton at team.telstra.com
Thu Jul 1 15:08:41 EST 2010
My attempt at a political argument that appeals to the non technical, and distils all the various complex arguments in to one simple but salient point. - It put's children at risk!
Of course if failed to illicit a response from a man who by putting both Facebook and Google offside has, in my opinion seriously impaired the AFP's chances of apprehending the very criminals he claims he wants to stop.
10 May 2010
Senator Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002
Back in December I wrote to you <http://www.zdnet.com.au/an-open-letter-to-stephen-conroy-339300074.htm> detailing a number of concerns about your Internet filtering proposal. Dishearteningly the response I received from your office was a template of political waffle which completely failed to address my concerns or the questions I raised.
Given the level of misinformation, waffle and spin it is little wonder that the division between those in support of your filter and those opposed to it seems to be drawn between those who understand the technology (and it's shortcomings), and those who 'don't really care as long as the children are safe'.
In my experience, the latter are typically swayed by the simple fact that for me outweighs every other technical, political, ideological, financial and even diplomatic reason why your proposal is flawed, that being that Your proposal puts our children at increased risk.
Let me explain.....
I believe it is a fair assumption that the key aims of your filter should be to protect children and to both impede/catch criminals, so let's examine how filtering technologies fare in achieving those aims.
Protecting Children: Whilst I concede that a technical solution can stop children from accidentally stumbling upon 'RC material' assuming it is on your list in the first place, it cannot protect children from the real dangers such as grooming by paedophiles over social networking sites. Also a level of complacency amongst parents is the most likely outcome of your continual spin about the effectiveness of this technology. It's very clear that if you want to protect children from the real risks, then this money is far better spent upon education both for the children and their parents and on policing, and I am not alone in this sentiment<http://www.zdnet.com.au/children-s-liberties-groups-protest-filter-339297339.htm>.
Impeding/Catching Criminals: I choose the word 'impede' here rather than 'stopping' because that is all any technical solution can ever achieve. As proposed, the filter can only stop attempts to access websites on the list from direct access via a web browser, it cannot address the many other mediums of transport that many criminals currently use, and as you yourself have stated it is trivial to circumvent for a 'tech savvy user' (though let us be completely open and honest here and explain to the public that by 'tech savvy' user we are referring to a user capable of using Google to find one of the many idiots guides<http://www.wikihow.com/Bypass-a-Firewall-or-Internet-Filter>). Alarmingly the introduction of a technical solution undoubtedly adds to the difficulties faced by authorities both in Australia and overseas, by encouraging criminals to not only make use of the many free existing encryption and anonymization<http://www.torproject.org/> technologies but possibly even to develop and add to them. Also because of the massively broad scope of the material under the RC banner this nefarious traffic will be further obscured by the influx of people employing the very same technologies to circumvent these filters for much less serious or ideological motives, further dashing our hopes of catching serious criminals.
Every cent of tax payers money you spend on the marketing, design, acquisition, installation, administration, maintenance and support of these costly but largely impotent technologies, represents time and money that will not go towards policing or education, two things that will actually make a difference here.
So for the sake of the children, I urge you to reconsider this irresponsible filter proposal before it steals another cent from the worthwhile and proven means of combating this problem.
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