Monday, March 23, 2009

Crikey by-play

Stilgherrian has been busy over at Crikey again today and yesterday. I'm not going to bother linking to him.

In yesterday's Crikey I had comments published. But in response to the extra I made a contribution which has not yet been published, which reads;

Oh dear. Those anti-filter types just can't seem to follow the story long enough to get anything right. Re: Razer: Conroy should not be surprised at blacklist leak, the good Helen has tried to infer something from the list of six providers announced already as participating in the trial, claiming "Sadly, applicants Optus and iiNet are still waiting. For the first round, Conroy has selected some odd companies." This isn't something being decided in "rounds" as the Minister has explained (at ATUG) there are sixteen applicants and some had simpler applications to process than others. Some ISPs have tried to use the trial as a way to fund equipment upgrades, which, understandably, isn't the Minister's intent.

Meanwhile Stilgherrian should have waited till he'd seen my comment before rushing to print. Wikileaks doesn't have another leak they are just describing how they got the list - and - horror of horrors it had nothing to do with the ALP or the filter trial. It was a copy of the list generated under the legislation and distributed in accordance with the industry code. So nothing in the filter trial was relevant to the list leaking, except the campaign. Most importantly the process supposedly favoured by the industry (end user control, filtering software) was exposed for the inadequate process it is.

And there is an attempt to claim that because a site referred to ACMA after August was on the list that the list must be more recent than its date. This conveniently ignores the fact that the list contained URLs not on the ACMA list, so it could have been there from another source, and also that the anti-filter campaigner reporting the URL has no way of knowing if the URL was already on the list before complaining about it.

Finally, if the Minister has made inconsistent statements about what content the final filter will limit (the existing prohibited list or the narrower Refused Classification) I'm prepared to believe his most recent comments, or at least wait till I see what is in the final legislation

Mark Newton got a reply in today's comments and Stilgherrian had yet another go.

I've submitted my contribution;

Mark Newton (comments) incorrectly states that I suggest the IIA was involved in the leak of the ACMA list. But he does agree the list was leaked from the existing process and the existing legislation - which is the framework the IIA supports. He asks how long the list for the ISP filter would take to leak, and the answer, as I wrote, is that it doesn't matter - as with a filter in place the average joe-blow at home isn't going to be accessing the sites.

I think the issue about whether the list released is or isn't the "ACMA" list is a little weird. Even the first list seemed likely to at least include the ACMA list. But, to repeat, the leak came from a nine-year-old process of distributing the list to filter providers who embedded it in software for furher distribution. Can we all agree that that is a dumb idea? And, by the way, if we plan the filter right we only need to install it on the transit links out of the country rather than in every ISP - that is a lot more efficient and a lot more controlled.

And it really does become possible to institute a process for review of the sites listed on the list. Finally it is strange that Stilgherrian can be dredging up the "Conroy s Big Brother" line (which is matched in the chat forums with claims that the Rudd government is totalitarian) in the ame Crikey issue as John Faulkner's review of FOI laws is reported.

If I was the editor I probably would't bother because I'm not saying anything new ... but then again, neither is Stilgherrian or his colleagues.

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