Almost three years ago now, Senator Stephen Conroy stepped up to the plate to deliver a bold new vision. A vision of a filtered, "safer" internet. The plan was met by hostility from internet rights activists, poiticians, internet users, internet service providers and interest groups alike. Tonight, however, the Labor government's proposed mandatory internet filter is dead.
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Ah, compulsory Australian Government Internet Filter. Why won't you die? Oh, that's right — because you're still part of government policy. At the NBN three year rollout launch today, Senator Stephen Conroy was asked about the progress of the Internet Filter. His response didn't say much, but it was rather worrying.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's suggested in relation to the Federal Government's controversial — and not popular here at Gizmodo — Internet filter that Optus and Telstra have implemented it. That's not quite the whole story.
Giz is no fan of the current government's mandatory filtering proposal, but the history of Australian government net filtering is rife with wasted money and wasted opportunities. Realistically, though, what should any government be doing?
It's no secret that Giz isn't a fan of the government's filter. Though Telstra has now adopted a more moderate voluntary framework (and Optus soon will), other ISPs like Internode and iiNet call it "security theatre" bypassed with basic DNS tweaks. The latest filter news: NBN Co has confirmed it won't be filtering—that will remain in the hands of ISPs.
Just before the election last year, Stephen Conroy announced that mandatory internet filtering would be placed on the backburner as the country's classifications laws were reviewed. At the same time, he announced that Telstra and Optus were planning on voluntarily censoring child porn websites. That filtering is set to start next month.
John Hilvert over at ITNews has reported that the federal government has closed the branch responsible for mandatory ISP level filtering in the DBCDE, yet remains committed to filtering the internets.
The internet freedom business is doing a roaring trade these days. Things started picking up early last year with Hillary Clinton's landmark speech, "Remarks on internet Freedom," which equated an open internet with human rights and condemned state-sponsored censorship of the net.
The government's internet filter policy caused a huge groundswell of anger and frustration among the tech savvy members of the online community. It even drove some people to attempt a DoS attack on government websites. Which is all fun and games until somebody gets busted, like Melbourne teenager Steve Slayo.
Although the government's proposed internet filter has effectively been delayed until 2013 at the earliest, it still hasn't been scrapped completely. Adding fuel to the fire that would burn the policy to ash is the revelation that Thailand's IT minister has recently admitted to ZDNet that blacklist filtering doesn't work, and that he believes Thailand should scrap their own internet filter.