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Internet filtering is not a freedom of speech issue, Conroy says

27 February, 2009
By Allison Orr

Senator Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has argued that the Government’s plans to introduce ISP-level filtering should not be viewed as a freedom of speech issue, but an issue of classification and regulation.

As part of a series of "super blogs" in The Australian IT section, Senator Conroy has defended the Government’s filtering plans, focusing on the two issues most often cited against the scheme – technical problems and censorship. 

On the technical side, Senator Conroy says the Government will test and evaluate the technology and use the results in implementation of policy However, Conroy does not defend the plan against concerns over censorship, arguing that "the Government does not view this debate as an argument about freedom of speech". 

Conroy explains that like other media, websites are subject to classification and regulation to ensure published material is acceptable to the community.  The Government’s plan, he says, is to filter internationally-hosted content that is not subject to an ACMA take-down notice. 

Conroy continues to meet with criticism from the Internet community on the filtering scheme.  The Government’s Digital Economy Blog, which was launched in December to canvass opinion on the future of Australia’s digital economy, received 2,400 comments, with a "phenomenal amount" of these about the filtering scheme, mostly negative. 

According to an article in ZDNet, the blog became a sounding board for rejection of the plan and included some off-topic abuse of Conroy.

To read all the Super Blog  articles arguing for and against the filtering plan, click here.

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