Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy has hit back at opponents of his controversial internet filtering scheme, labelling them "frauds" that cannot accept the findings of the Enex Testlab report.
The Minister took time out of his schedule over the weekend to discuss the filter in great detail with iTnews, which is presented in a podcast (below) and features commentary from Crikey technology writer Stilgherrian and Internode network engineer Mark Newton (who speaks on behalf of himself).
Among the issues discussed, Minister Conroy said that:
- Opponents of the scheme were using misleading information to discredit it.
"Organisations that have run campaigns and circulated petitions [and] advertising that there is going to be an 87 percent degradation in speed on the net are frauds. They have been exposed and they are scrambling to try and find new arguments at the moment."
That the ISP filtering scheme would be "scalable" to 100 Mbps, despite the maximum speed tested in the trial being only 8 mbps.
"We have spoken to Enex [TestLab] and we are confident that this is scalable. There is no argument that it is scalable."
That independent tests by Telstra found that a filter could block up to 10,000 URL addresses with no over-blocking and that the impact on internet speeds was only ‘one seventieth of the blink of an eye'.
That the only material blocked is Refused Classification (RC) material - which the Minister insists is only the most deviant and illegal content on the internet.
"What we're proposing to mandatorily block is not the ACMA blacklist. We're only blocking material that is illegal in libraries, in news agents, you can't buy it in book stores, you can't buy a DVD of it, you can't watch it on television and you can't watch it on the cinema. And importantly, it is currently illegal to have it on Australian ISPs."
That a mechanism will be put in place for webmasters to rectify with the classification board should they feel their site has been blocked by mistake.
"We're very conscious of wanting to... greater transparency and accountability measures.
We put out a discussion paper and for all Australians who are concerned about the thin edge of the wedge argument, for all Australians that are concerned that Stephen Conroy or any future Minister might want to secretly slip things onto this list."
- That he does not see the filter as a 'silver bullet' to protecting Australian children.
"We're not suggesting for a moment that this is a full-proof guaranteed way to stop access to child pornography. Nobody is suggesting that. We need education programs - we need education for kids, for parents [and] for school teachers. We need more research in this area. We need more police in this area."
Click here for the full transcript of the Minister's interview.