Cowboy with an ipodPublic interest in the Conroy Curtain is still high. With election season almost in full swing, Australia's political parties will be making their positions known.

In advance, we're getting together to discuss the facts, make some better suggestions for the pollies, and give a few hints on how the filter might be avoided if it eventuates.

If you're in Melbourne on the 25th of this month please come to our free forum event. Due to the fondness of politicians for pretending the internet is a lawless jungle where libertarian nerds roam free, we're going with a "wild west" theme. Panelists including Senator Scott Ludlam will discuss the politics of the matter, nerds such as EFA's Colin Jacobs will discuss fun ways to get around it, and Catherine Deveny will weigh in with her educated opinion on the value of free speech...

We'll also be taking questions via Twitter for those interstate who can't make it.

Check back later as we may add to the speaker lineup and agenda for the evening.

For more details, please visit the event page.


  1. Love the 'Wanted' poster for the event. Is that a cowboy on his horse looking at the Internet to find his way to Brokeback Mountain? I wonder how on Earth that movie ever got passed with an M rating.

    The problem is very much one of the public still not being aware of what the filter will actually do to business, education and research in Australia. This suggests that targets for awareness should be not only the mums and dads, but also the university departments, businesses, and corporations (especially those who do business outside Australia. They will find themselves unable to conduct their normal business because of the Net filter in my opinion.

    And all of that is before we even get to mentioning the limitations on our human rights to access and exchange information.

    Comment by Des on 10 June 2010 at 14:30
  2. Look what Conroy is upto now:

    Comment by Des on 15 June 2010 at 02:13
  3. Below is a comment about internet filtering, parodying what would happen if the government put similar controls into cars, that has not been allowed to be published on Senator Lundy's blog... with a few spelling corrections and changes in word choice.

    Senator Lundy,

    I personally find car drivers who tailgate offensive. They endanger the lives of children as well as adults and property.

    The technology now exists to detect when a car is too close to the car ahead and permanently disable its engine, rendering it safe and harmless. It would also be possible to detect the driver's identity through biometric scanning and take away their license for life.

    While we have laws against tailgating and fund the police to enforce them, taxpayer money would be far better spent on employing a range of measures to prevent this unsafe practice altogether.

    After all, arresting and fining offenders when caught is not a silver bullet. Our society needs to ensure that all drivers, no matter how safe they have been on our roads over their driving career, are prevented from even inadvertently engaging in this vile and illegal act.

    The cost of the sensors, biometric scanners and engine disabler would only be a few thousand dollars per vehicle. Legislation could be passed to make it compulsory to install these devices on every new and used car before sale or transfer.

    An annual recalibration of the settings during re-registration could ensure compliance and potentially add new features over time as Australians get accustomed to having their driving behaviours limited. This could include speed limiters to protect drivers from inadvertent and illegal speeding. It could also include Digital Rights monitoring of music played in cars that may not be purchased in a manner consistent with the copyrights and wishes of our most honourable corporate citizens and politics donors, the music publishers.

    The government could even use the biometric scanners to restrict who got to sit in which cars (useful for limiting the number of teenagers in a vehicle as some state governments already do through law) and eventually, with an upgrade including GPS, could restrict who could travel to which locations based on a secret list of allowed travel destinations.

    The government would be able to monitor the locations of all cars at all times and retain a history of peoples' travel destinations and routes (even recording in-car calls and conversations) for any potential future legal needs.

    I am sure the government and police will find some use for this information that outweighs the risk of this information finding its way into the public domain inadvertently.

    This is almost all achievable with today's technology and would support the government's goal to protect our children, just as the Internet filter does. Anyone who opposes mandatory tailgate monitoring is clearly out to harm our most vulnerable citizens and should be ridiculed by Labor Ministers in public - under parliamentary privilege in order to prevent our fine upstanding Ministers from any risk of being charged with defamation should they, in their righteous passion, not always speak the gospel truth.

    Of course if there is sufficient opposition to these necessary steps, a junior MP could be used to test the idea of non-mandatory tailgate monitoring. This approach would be buffered by having car yards keep a list of those who opt-out that could be accessed by police as needed.

    After a few high profile arrests through covert surveillance of opt-out drivers caught tailgating (inadvertent or not and regardless of whether anyone is hurt) it would be simple to create and manipulate public outrage into making monitoring mandatory, then introduce new features, such as those suggested above, over time.

    Of course a few civil libertarians might complain and even a significant level of public opinion might be swayed by claims that responsible adults should be allowed to drive as they see fit, within the current road rule regime.

    If the government stays on message, ignores public sentiment, conducts phony public consultations to give the veneer of authenticity, allows a junior MP to take a weaker or contrary position (to demonstrate real debate is going on inside caucus - best if the MP was authentic and did not know they were being used in this way) and Ministers claimed publicly that all opponents are evil people who wish to harm children, Labor should be able to successfully pass the tailgate monitoring law before Australians recognise how much of their democratic freedoms have been lost.

    Australians would, of course, have to foot the bill for this in-car technology (installation and maintenance). However given how much safer our roads would become and how many children would be saved, who could complain?

    As for all the people who could no longer afford to buy or operate a car after these measures are in place, the government can count them towards its tough new policies on climate change - offsetting any need for a well thought out strategy to cut carbon emissions.

    Comment by James on 15 June 2010 at 09:39
  4. Have any of the "pro filter" side decided to accept an invitation to speak at this event?

    Comment by L. on 16 June 2010 at 02:27
  5. Funny you ask for feedback re the sexist Time to tell Mum campaign yet you offer no where for comments.

    Yes it is sexist just like it was suppose to be. Good on you.

    It is sad to think an organisation like yours would stoop so low as to play the sexism card to make a point and then turn around and pretend there is no sexisum involved. Even going so far as to blame peopel for seeing the sexisum intrinsict in the campain as being sexist.

    I guess this is what we get when people really are not held accountable.

    You are playing into Conroy's hands. Keep going. Labor will win and we will have that useless filter and you will have just been part of the problem, not the solution.

    Yep, female and yep offend.

    Comment by Jill Shire on 7 July 2010 at 05:57