Filter this! – An open letter to Nick Xenophon

Update – Xenophon has responded, read below.

My name is Daniel Kinsman. I am a South Australian resident and I am against internet censorship. Recently I was very concerned that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, you “want the mandatory filters broadened to include the blocking of hard-core pornography and online gambling sites.”

I am a highly qualified computer programmer, working nine to five for a South Australian owned and run technology company. In my spare time I volunteer my skills for the Open Australia website which parses and indexes the Hansard.

In my professional opinion, the idea of trying to filter the internet at the ISP level is absolutely ludicrous. Personally I don’t understand how the people working on the filtering software can honestly believe they will succeed. I suggest you talk to them, not their managers but the programmers on the ground and ask them what they think their chance of success is.

Just take a look at the so called great firewall of China. Despite the countless resources thrown behind it, even they don’t attempt to examine all http content as it comes through.

I pay my taxes every year, please don’t waste them.

Ultimately, even though the filtering will not work, the mere attempt to curtail my rights and freedoms is abhorrent. You have no right to judge what content is appropriate for me to view. That is not why I voted for you in the Senate.

And the response from the Xenophon camp:

Dear Daniel

Thank you for your email to Nick Xenophon regarding the proposed internet clean feed. Nick appreciates your concerns, and also has concerns that the technology being advocated by the government may not work. There is a real danger based on trials of the technology that have been undertaken that banned sites will get through the filter and sites that were not intended to be banned will be blocked. He will continue to investigate this matter and decide on what he believes is the appropriate course of action in due course.

Thank you for taking the time to write to Nick on this issue.

Kind Regards
HANNAH WOOLLER
Correspondence Officer for Nick Xenophon
Independent Senator for South Australia

So while he may share my technical and budgetary concerns, there’s no mention of the censorship issue. Hmmm, let’s wait and see.

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6 thoughts on “Filter this! – An open letter to Nick Xenophon

  1. I remember writing to Michael Atkinson non-stop about censoring Lolita when it came out. And Ken Park. And video games. Despite the fact that he had seen none of the things he was thinking of banning.
    He wasn’t budging. Censorship is a vote winner, always has been. Narky middle-class lefties who want to expose porn to child while their parents are at work paying the mortgage and not asking question are the enemies of votes.

    I guess I should have given up after he replied to my emails via the post.
    I’m serious – I would email him, and two days later a nice white letter would turn up in the mail with his letterhead.

    Maybe he was one step ahead of Conroy in that he could OPEN emails, but he hasn’t found the “reply” function yet.

  2. How about that? A web server atop the fridge, and a cake server in the silverware drawer! :~) Seriously, great place for the server. Never any danger of it being neglected!

    I believed that Australian society was much more grown-up about sex and sexuality than the nation whose congress impeached a president for lying about cheating on his wife. It’s rather dismaying to be reminded that creating and exploiting moral panics is not unique to the Land of the Free.

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