Australia Just Told The World To Get Stuffed Over Internet Censorship

A few weeks ago you might have heard a bit of hubbub around the internet about a top-secret UN meeting to do with telecommunications. Basically, it was the International Telecommunications Union holding a top secret meeting about the future of international telco standards. The hubbub was caused because the ITU wanted these regulations to contain rules about how the internet ought to be governed in future. That's when Australia put its foot down.

You see, after the whole filtering nonsense went sideways on the government, it has had a bit of a change of heart about the world wide web. Senator Stephen Conroy, ex-filter champion and Federal Communications Minister, said today that the fundamental idea of how the internet is governed (i.e.: by everyone) shouldn't be undermined.

As a result, Australia refused to sign the International Telecommunications Regulations — a big document that says how the world's telco networks ought to connect and communicate. That's a big deal. Why? Well because it means Australia — the little country that could — just flipped the bird to every member of the UN who wanted the internet to be regulated by the UN.

Here's the statement from Conroy:

It is greatly disappointing that a consensus could not be reached. Australia worked hard to develop suitable text for the ITRs that would have been acceptable to every Member State. Unfortunately, this was not achieved. Australia’s consistent position has been that the internet should not be included in the ITRs. This is a point on which we would not compromise.
Australia does not support any changes that would undermine the current multi-stakeholder model for internet governance or fundamentally change the way the internet operates. Australia believes that the approach taken by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN), which has input from industry stakeholders, governments and the public, remains the best way to sustain the internet’s growth and innovation.
It remains Australia’s view that for the ITRs to be enduring and useful they should focus on the interconnection of international telecommunication networks.
The decision not to sign the ITRs does not mean that Australia is stepping back from our engagement with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU does great work in connecting the world and we greatly value the ITU’s capacity building work in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world. We are proud to be part of that work.

Why did Australia fundamentally disagree with the new regulations? Because countries like Russia and China — who are also big fans of filtering — are pushing to regulate the internet. Not cool.

Bravo, Australia. [DBCDE]



    Conroy, Mr "Christian Filter", doesn't want to filter the internet? Sounds more like he wants the right for his country to do whatever they want without UN intervention to me.

    'Australia worked hard to develop suitable text for the ITRs that would have been acceptable to every Member State. Unfortunately, this was not achieved. ' Then it obviously didn't have everyone's approval.

    Conroy - we're all proud to be represented by you /s

    Stephen Conroy is no better than a performing circus monkey. In fact a monkey would probably be better, as Im not aware of any "lower" primates that have found religion and are subsequently trying to force it down other monkey's throats. What a hypocritical prick!

      Huh? Your post appears to have nothing to do with this article.

      Protip: This article pertains to the internet and regulation of, not religion.

        Protip: only idiots use the word 'protip'.

        Oh. Damn.

      A politician has changed his position to reflect that of his constituents. That sounds like a man doing his job and in my opinion that is an improvement of this ministers stance. Cynically I think this may be more related to sovereignty rather than net neutrality.

      I agree. How dare the former chairman for Internet censorship in Australia 180 on his opinion and tell the UN to bugger off.

      You're completely correct. It would have been better for him and the rest of us to agree to Internet regulations to avoid being seen as hypocritical by you...

      Seriously, he does something good and completely unexpected and you STILL have a winge? Who cares what his alterior motives may have been, this just happened and it's good. Save your bitching for when he undoubtedly does that something to deserve it.

    We just did this because it's the US's position and we need to fall in line accordingly.

    Seems like a ploy to win more support for labor.

    Who is this man and what did he do with the real Stephen Conroy?

    If Australia Joined this, then our *Ahem* telco's would be forced into line with the rest of the world and possibly be forced to provide better service and decent connections, along with no more supit data caps.

    Ok, so that's not going to happen, but if enough people bitch about it then .... well ... nothing's going to happen.

      I think you need to read the ITU draft has nothing to do with Telco's performance. Only how they are required to monitor traffic etc.

    err isn't this the same Gubbmint that wants to change the law so you can no longer offend people? Can't be Conjob Conroy...I refuse to believe it.

    Where's the evidence that this has ANYTHING to do with censorship at all? Even one shred of evidence?

    As far as I am aware Russia and China want to specifically DECENTRALISE the control of the Internet, so that USA does not call all the shots. This has nothing to do with censorship, in fact in some ways it is anti-censorship, since at the moment US dictates what can and cannot be on the Internet to a large extent; whereas the new proposals would give countries autonomy. This would mean that for instance US companies would have no right to tell our ISPs what our users can and cannot do.

    It's great isn't it? Conroy gets to sound like a freedom fighter thanks to the American ventriloquism and people like the author of this post get to write things like that second paragraph above. Everyone comes out a winner except those dirty commies. Oh and us when SOPA's bastard child and net neutrality come home to roost.

    You give us too much credit, it's all about the US keeping control.

    Seems Abbott is a bit slow off the mark! Don't worry, he'll be on air soon enough taking the complete opposite view, just because that's what he thinks his job is now.!!

      Oh and good on Australia, Keep the commies out!
      I do however think that the US has too much control over it.

    When they say "UN" what they really mean is "USA". And when they say "The West" what they usually mean is the "USA".

    Just thought I would clear that up.

    Last edited 14/12/12 6:12 pm

    Bloody politicians, shouldnt be in charge of the internet... They will ruin it for everyone...

    rubbish, australia pretty blatantly already heavily censors internet, internet filter or not, they'r only declining to stymie any potential uncovering of such BY the UN, ie, the last thing the racist elitist pomstralians want is "peasants" communicating fast, cheap & efficiently Globally, it threatens their corgi "status quo".

      Wow... Unresolved status issues much? ;)...

    "the fundamental idea of how the internet is governed (i.e. by everyone a private company located in Los Angeles, California) shouldn’t be undermined."
    -There, fixed that for you

    I love how it says Australia is "the little country that could" even though (separately) Australia's roughly the size of Europe, the US and China.

      I would think it refers to the 22 million people rather than landmass. Which is pretty much the same as Romania

    While I'm pleased by this stance, Conroy didn't do anything special here - a good third of the nations at the summit sung the same song.

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