US Ambassador tells Aust Govt not to filter

April 14th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

It is very rare to have an Ambassador comment on a domestic policy, and even more rare amongst friendly countries. So I was surprised and pleased to see the US Ambassador to speak out against the Government’s planned compulsory :

CHILD pornographers can be captured and prosecuted without having to resort to mandatory internet filters, says Barack Obama confidante and US Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich.

Speaking on ABC TV’s Q&A program last night, Mr Bleich said Australia had been made aware of his own government’s no internet stance and that the US has had “healthy discussions” with its Australian counterparts on the matter.

“On the issue of the internet we have been very clear. The internet needs to be free,” Mr Bleich said.

“It needs to be free the way we have said skies have to be free, outer space has to be free, the polar caps have to be free, the oceans have to be free. They’re shared resources of all the people in the world.”

The US had told Australia child pornographers could be nabbed without the use of internet filters, Mr Bleich said.

“What we’ve said is we have been able to accomplish the goals that Australia has described, which is to capture and prosecute child pornographers and others who use the internet for terrible purposes, without having to use internet filters,” he said.

I like the quote about how the Internet is a shared resource of all the people in the world.

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16 Responses to “US Ambassador tells Aust Govt not to filter”

  1. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    I like the quote about how the Internet is a shared resource of all the people in the world.

    Hmmm… another word for ‘shared resource’ is commons, and as we all know commons can attract tragedies.

    Except, of course, a national internet filter will do absolutely nothing to stop the internet being a commons, nor will it stop child porn! So I have to say I’m not a fan at all of the quote. Seems like a misplaced analogy.

    I am pleased, of course, that somebody in office is standing up and saying something sensible on this issue.

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  2. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    What the hell colour is the “free sky” in this guys world.

    Sees to be very free with others people spaces actually. Bouncehim back to Washington Kev.

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  3. RRM (9,670 comments) says:

    I can’t get excited about the principle of a slippery slope when you are talking about blocking child pornography.

    If the internet is free, then let Australia police the use of it within their land as they see fit.

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  4. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Can you get a bit more motivated when the US says they have free access to your air and sea space RRM?

    What say the Japanese decide that means they can whale off Kaikoura?

    How’s that work out for you?

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  5. RRM (9,670 comments) says:

    ^^^No I agree with you totally Murray. US ambassador should be thanked for offering his advice, and then ignored.

    I meant the slippery slope from censoring child porn one day, to suppressing all free speech the next.

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  6. SHG (370 comments) says:

    No, when someone opines that free speech is important, you AGREE WITH HIM. BECAUSE IT IS.

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  7. RRM (9,670 comments) says:

    SHG – Go to your local video store, try to find child porn in DVD format.

    You won’t find any. Because it’s banned.

    This is a hideous suppression of someone’s free speech, and you should protest. NOW! Hurry up. Since you object so strongly to the equivalent suppression on the internet.

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  8. SHG (370 comments) says:

    I don’t recall seeing the US Ambassador offering advice on how to find child porn at the local video store.

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  9. SHG (370 comments) says:

    Now that I think about it, this discussion is a very good example of Senator Conroy’s misinformation campaign regarding his proposed censorship scheme. This is the way the discussion goes:

    Questioner: why do we need Internet censorship?
    Conroy: I make no apologies for fighting child pornography.

    WTF? That’s not an answer! But instantly the discussion becomes a discussion about the evils of child pornography rather than a discussion about a Government censorship scheme.

    For those of you not in Australia or not familiar with the Australian government’s classification system, in Australia there is a category outside the usual ratings of G, M, MA15, and R called “RC” for “Refused Classification”. Something can be refused classification for any number of reasons, and the things that are refused classification can be perfectly legal. But material can only be published in Australia if it has been classified, so something that is “Refused Classification” is by definition unpublishable.

    Spanking in a sexual context? Perfectly legal to do, but “RC” to publish.

    Discussion of graffiti as an art form? Perfectly legal to discuss, but a publication containing discussion of graffiti may be construed as offering advice on how to commit a crime, therefore “RC” to publish.

    Depictions of female genital arousal? Legally defined as “abhorrent”, so “RC” to publish. (Male genitalia are OK though, because penises are cool.)

    Offering the elderly and terminally ill advice on suicide or euthanasia? “RC”.

    Pictures of women with small breasts? Get this logic: prepubescent girls have small breasts, therefore all pictures of small breasts are pictures of prepubescent girls, therefore “RC”. If you’ve ever wondered why Australian men’s magazines are full of big women with big tits, it’s because they legally can’t show anything else.

    Conroy’s censorship scheme would block all “RC” content. Everything I just listed would be blocked by this censorship scheme. And that’s fucking retarded. It’s also why Conroy’s response to questioning always contains the phrase “child pornography”- because that phrase distracts people from the retardedness.

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  10. RRM (9,670 comments) says:

    Re your 4:45pm – Of course he didn’t, that’s not my point though is it?

    You are clearly the type who picks fights for the sake of it, (you’ll fit right in here) so I’ll explain the two separate issues here really, really simply:

    [1] Censorship of kiddie porn vs freedom of speech:
    Australian government in their wisdom(?) wants to implement some kind of “internet filter” in order to make it harder for users within Australia to propagate illegal kiddie porn on the internet.
    People like DPF and others object to this because it’s a fairly blunt kind of censorship. And a black & white “Freedom of speech must be protected” standpoint is all very well, but it rings a bit hollow when equal if not stronger censorship is in place for the same material in other forms of media (e.g. dvds) and no-one seems to object to that. Where’s the consistency?

    [2] U.S. Ambassador comments on Australian domestic policy:
    The U.S. is free to combat kiddie porn however it sees fit. The U.S. Ambassador is welcome to offer suggestions to Australia on how they should do it, but I hope he appreciates that offering suggestions is as far as his role goes.

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  11. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    The U.S. Ambassador is welcome to offer suggestions to Australia on how they should do it, but I hope he appreciates that offering suggestions is as far as his role goes.

    He’s standing up for the Australian population when their government does something unfair. What’s wrong with a US ambassador commenting on an injustice in another country? Everyone is free to do it about China, Iraq etc.

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  12. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    The idea of a Husseinite being a fan of a free internet is laughable tbh.

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  13. SHG (370 comments) says:

    RRM said: “Censorship of kiddie porn vs freedom of speech”

    Remember the Iranian student protests last year? Remember the widely-publicised footage of Iranian woman Neda Agha-Soltan being shot to death by Iranian security forces?

    The Australian Communications and Media Authority – the Australian Government – classified that footage “RC”. It’s illegal to host it in Australia or openly link from an Australian site to somewhere where it IS hosted. RIGHT NOW.

    Under Conroy’s proposed censorship regime, you just wouldn’t be able to see it. Your http requests would be blocked at the Great Firewall of Australia, installed at every ISP by the Government.

    Sorry, I’ve diverted this conversation away from child pornography. You were saying?

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  14. V (694 comments) says:

    He hardly ‘spoke out’, it was more of a comment.

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s2864512.htm

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  15. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    It was more of a comment that was not somethign that an ambasador should be making publicly.

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  16. SHG (370 comments) says:

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