There has been a great deal of publicity in recent days about a letter written by Mark Newton, a network engineer with a leading Australian ISP, to a government Minister concerning the Australian government's proposed mandatory Internet censorship scheme.

The letter resulted in an apparent attempt by the office of the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, to lean on Newton's employers to have him silenced. Nothing could better illustrate the weakness of the government's case than this clumsy attempt to silence critics.

Mark's letter is a well-researched commentary on some of the problems and potential unintended consequences of the government's proposal. We commend it to our members and supporters.

The letter from Mark Newton

Sydney Morning Herald article: Filtering out the fury: how government tried to gag web censor critics

EFA's No CleanFeed campaign

14 comments

  1. Sack Conroy, the man is a little bully boy fascist. I pay 100 dollars a month for piddly 20 gb of data, 800% more than the rest of the western world and most third world nations. Add this fee to my bill and I am going to toss eggs at Conroy every chance I get.

    Comment by Red on 25 October 2008 at 21:36
  2. Is this policy legislated by the government? Does it amend the current Broadcasting Act

    Comment by Jmmj on 26 October 2008 at 02:14
  3. There is no new legislation currently tabled, nor is it known how the government intends to enforce this. It is possible it could be done under the existing Act by replacing the existing IIA code with an industry standard developed by ACMA, or by obtaining the compliance of IIA in registering a new code.

    Comment by Admin on 26 October 2008 at 03:01
  4. I'm strongly opposed to censorship and I want to defend my access to information.

    I'm disgusted with the federal government's tactics to stifle his opinion, but that is business as usual in Australia.

    I have read the letter written by Mark Newton, and while I can't express myself as well he did, I would like to do something.

    He wrote to Kate Ellis, the MP for Youth & Sport. Who should I write to?

    I live in the Wide Bay electorate. The member for Wide Bay is Warren Truss, the Leader of the Liberal Party. Should I address him?

    Comment by Marco Nadal on 26 October 2008 at 11:06
  5. Your local Federal member is the appropriate person to contact, irrespective of which party they belong to. If you can spare the time, it is also worthwhile sending letters to one or more of your state Senators.

    Comment by Admin on 26 October 2008 at 20:09
  6. I'm putting a call forward that we should demand Conroy be sacked, and a law put in place to prevent politicians ever taking away our rights like this again. This is Australia damn it. Religious extremists have no place in politics.

    Comment by Kevin on 28 October 2008 at 06:02
  7. I vote Mark Newton replace Conroy, he would be damn well better equipped to fix our pathetic internet here and has a better political view of this whole debacle.

    Comment by James on 28 October 2008 at 06:18
  8. I wrote to Stephen Conroy as well as Kevin Rudd, who happens to be my local member.

    Comment by Natalie on 28 October 2008 at 10:34
  9. I heard there is there a protest coming up? can anyone provide some info please?

    Comment by John on 28 October 2008 at 20:00
  10. I would like to suggest an EFA sponsored protest. We need to as a people tell these REPRESETATIVES that they ARE NOT representing us. Even all the news readers on the TV this morning are shocked that we are going to be put in the same league as China and Iran. I though Australia was THE LAND OF THE FREE. It seems the Howard years have left Rudd with the will turn keep turning us back into a Penal Colony.

    Write your local member, yell at them in the streets, if they are in your street picket their homes, if they are in your suburb picket their businesses. Mass march on parliment in every city. Ive heard November 1st everyone wants to march their parliment house in each major city. This is not enough, every city, every country town, every school, every workplace.

    WE DO NOT WANT A MINORITY OF DO GOODERS DECIDING WHAAT IS GOOD FOR THE REST OF US.

    AND KEVIN RUDD, DONT LEAVE US IN A RUTT.

    I am an increasingly unproud australian, John Howard ruined this country. Rudd Change It.

    Comment by Steven Spiers on 29 October 2008 at 16:29
  11. I don't see this ever happening.

    At the end of the day the liberal party doesn't support this. Which means you need support from; Stephen Fielding (which they have in spades), Nick Xenophon and the Greens.

    Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam has said "I think it's really quite misguided," and basically the Greens aren't onboard.

    So they can conduct their trials (which will fail). Then write legislation to please the independents and greens. Although the chance of it getting passed is minimal to none.

    Good luck to Mr Kevin "one term" Rudd.

    Comment by Andrew on 30 October 2008 at 10:20
  12. If Mark keeps rocking boats (and I fully agree with his letter) he had better be careful.

    If you are male and you upset the police, judiciary officials too much / too often or repeatedly whistle blow on corruption in QLD, and courtesy of a very corrupt police and CMC using a JP issued search warrant, Child porn will be found on your computer. After that you will have no credibility and the guilty will go on doing what they do. Open your eyes people, and fight for the removal of ALL censorship for private internet use.

    Comment by Andrew 2 on 2 November 2008 at 02:50
  13. Andrew 2: that sounds quite onerous. Is this based on experience? First-hand knowledge? Anecdotes? Be interested to hear about this. Regardless if you want to make yourself safer using the Internet and not be subject to Search-and-Discover action that impunes you having inappropriate content on your harddisk, use a Live linux.

    http://tinyurl.com/live-linux

    Combine the use of a Live Linux, USB Key, overseas-based (Non Google) webmail and Scroogle SSL search facility and you have a very good (not perfect) method of preventing resident traces of any data linking you to any activity (political, religious, social etc) that may bring you to the attention of certain alphabet agencies.

    Back to the story: Clean Feed is a flawed realisation of a noble concept.

    Comment by BDM on 30 December 2008 at 22:40
  14. Labor will not have a second term. The concept filtering is wrong and Stephen Conroy must be sacked. Filtering will not get any pedofiles 1 metre closer to jail and Labor should be held accountable for this.

    Comment by Angus Grogan on 9 January 2009 at 00:01