An open letter to Stephen Conroy regarding the proposed changes in censorship of the internet
Dear Mr. Conroy,
As the figure behind the Australian Government’s internet censorship endeavours, I am writing to express concern and disappointment with your plan laid out to date. While no person in their right mind can argue with the intent behind the moves, the actual methodology is futile, doomed to be thwarted by those seeking illicit material and will only harm the access of the wider, well-meaning population who do not use the internet for nefarious purposes.
The core of the issue is your Government seeks to recognise physical borders in a digital realm, a place where the notion of nationality means nothing beyond the suffix of a URL (i.e. .au, .co.nz and so forth). It is technologically impossible to permanently restrict the access of people to any corner of the web short of blocking the entire country in the fashion seen in North Korea – I trust the Labor Government does not wish to see that style of rule imposed upon the Australian populace.
The issues your Government is trying to confront are serious and require a focused effort to achieve the honourable aims. The methodology you are seeking to impose however is flawed and will not stop a trade in illicit materials; indeed it will do little to stem the flow of them either into or out of this country. What it will achieve is the censorship of a people who do not deserve it, who predominantly act within the boundaries of the law, and who, particularly among IT and knowledge workers, voted for your Government in part because of a spirited plan for increased broadband infrastructure across the country, something sorely needed in order for Australians to keep pace with our rapidly changing, increasingly digital world.
If this comes into effect, I can promise you – and please believe that this is a promise not a threat – that come the next election I will personally campaign for any party that seeks to roll these draconian measures back and put in charge of our nations IT infrastructure a person who knows what they are doing. Mr. Conroy, you are, with all due respect, clearly out of your depth on the issue, and I do not look forward to the embarrassment of your Government, nor the embarrassment of our entire country as the world looks on at the most heavily censored nation in the developed world; a nation we have previously been so lucky to call our home.
I look forward to a revised program from your office designed to tackle the issue in a meaningful fashion, and the abolition of your current proposal which, while well-meaning, will achieve few, if any, of its stated aims.
Thank you for your time,