12 December 2008

Latest on Clean Feed

There's a nationwide series of protests this coming Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm. Take a hat, some sunscreen and a drink and go along. I'll be at the Brisbane one.

A number of bloggers' efforts against the Clean Feed are reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. They missed me, of course...

Conroy is evading questions about the trial, according to the Australian. But on a day when actual child pornographers were arrested through good old fashioned police work, he again tried to justify the filter by "Thinking of the Children". We're starting to hear of "law enforcement, education, content filtering, research, international cooperation and a youth advisory group."

PC World says the backlash has been unprecedented. WA Today says it is in "shreds". Australian Personal Computer calls the standards a "confusing waffle". Global Voices has picked it up, showing that it is doing Australia's reputation no good at all.

Conroy's own new blog has been swamped by hundreds of critical comments against the filtering.

Time, I think, to start thinking about what we should be going after here. Justifying bad policy by appeals to the interests of the nation, the children or the interests of some minority is a time-honoured way to gain control over the populace. Julius Caesar did it, taking imperial powers "until the emergency subsides". Emergencies never subside.

It's enough that there are laws and law enforcement against these crimes. Restricting, and inflicting silly bandaids on, the entire population has no justification at all, even if it were technically feasible. The issue here isn't workability - it's principle. Do we have rights to free exchange of non-criminal ideas without the presumption that a government, or worse, a bureaucrat, has to be looking over our shoulders at all times? Or not?

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