Mandatory Internet filtering has been met with opposition from many Australians on technical, legal and political grounds.Speaking at the annual ATUG conference today, Senator Stephen Conroy described some of this opposition as "conspiracy theories."
Conroy ridiculed suggestions that the trial is "the thin edge of the wedge" - the beginnings of a Government cracking down on political dissent.
He said the Senate, with its balance of views, will provide the rigorous assessment of any proposed changes to Internet censorship required to achieve positive outcomes.
"There is this argument out there that says - my God! We can't let the Senate have a say on this!"
"The Government of Australia is elected," he said. "If the parliament wants to take this path, the last time I checked, that's ok."
He also countered suggestions the trial is manipulated in some way - suggestions sparked when the first six ISPs trialing the technology were found to include none of the country's major service providers.
Conroy said 16 ISPs applied, but not all of the applications met the Government's criteria.
"Some cheekily used the process to seek an update of their equipment," he said. "There were a few try-ons in the process, so good luck to them."
The fact that only six small ISP's are participating in the first rounds of the trial is "a function of the applications that came in," he said.
Conroy also reiterated that the Government has made clear which content is to be filtered and how.
It will attack RC [refused classification] content, he said, by the same rationale ACMA already classifies content under the existing Broadcasting Services Act for television, radio and print publications.
"There is no political content banned in the existing Broadcasting Services Act," he said.
"We are not building the Great Wall of China. We are going after the filth - like child pornography. Its been done around the world and it can be done here."
How it is done "will be guided by the outcome of the trials."
Most of the assertions otherwise are "patently a scare campaign [against] a policy objective we think is fair and reasonable," he said.
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