Making Sense Of The Filter Delay

Making Sense Of The Filter Delay

I was on a plane when the government’s partial about-face on Internet censorship and filtering got announced. But a few hours delay absorbing the news makes the essential fact — that there’s no real change in policy — even clearer.

Lifehacker readers have been opposed to the filter right from the start, so the news that its implementation will be delayed for a study into the question of just what comprises RC-classified content is partially welcome. It’s annoying, given that this was a blazingly obvious problem with the proposal as soon as it was announced, but late is arguably better than never in this instance. (That attitude is pretty obvious in many of the industry responses to the announcement.)

That said, and as Nick persuasively argues over at Gizmodo, that doesn’t change the fact that the Labor government still believes filtering to be a good idea. All it does is potentially hold off the day when some form of that policy becomes reality. It also does nothing to address concerns over related policies such as mandatory data retention.

For that reason, simply assuming that the battle is won would be dangerous. As such, Gizmodo’s Fight The Filter campaign — collecting together the arguments against the filter — seems more timely than ever, and well worth keeping an eye on in the weeks ahead as the inevitable election announcement appears.


  • I don’t believe the government thinks the filter is a good idea, they see it as a necessary political trade off if they are to get pretty much any of their legislation through the Senate. The fact is they don’t want the public to realise how powerless they are in the face of Senator Fielding who is basically driving the whole filter issue.

    The problem is that by advocating the filter the government risk losing electoral support that they may need to get re-elected, but dropping it means Fielding will block anything they put up in the Senate making them a government in name only.

    What to do? Delay the filter until after the election (a classification review lasting a year or more does that nicely), while insisting they still support it and intend to implement it. Meanwhile hope to hell that the people of Victoria turf the Family First creationist out at the next election.

    If Fielding goes down so too will the filter, it’ll be buried faster than you can say NBN.

    So come on Victoria, it’s up to you to do the right thing, the sane thing, the rational thing – put Fielding last on your Senate ballot! Please.

    • Is hard to be pro-NBN but anti Filter… Kick out Family First (otherwise known as alarmist first) and lets get to the Number 1 spot on worldwide internet access….

    • Thank you for that, i was not aware that was the issue, perhaps we need GetUP and Lifehacker to publish a How to fight the Filter or at least point to more to get it out there, i presume they will have Fielding second last in their offical 2010 how to vote cards based on this info (i always used to put FF last anyway) and maybe GetUp needs to organise people in Vic to canvas the election area with fliers for how to fight the filter.

      I was already planing on filling in below the line this year to put conroy last, now ill make sure fielding is 64, i don’t the other 63 boxes yet.

    • I suspected that the Gov was playing games as soon as I heard that it was delaying. Figured it was a ploy to get voted in then put the filter in place! I too had no idea Senator Fielding had so much power, unfortunately being a Queenslander I don’t get much say about his constituency! How do I get rid of him and “Family First” from here, I wonder?

  • Vote ‘him’ out?

    Yes, I am from Victoria, and I am voting Conroy out. He is up for re-election as well and I will be putting him right last, Fielding 2nd last on the Senate ticket!

  • It would appear from my comment being “moderated” (because the views therein were deemed “obnoxious”) that you *are* in favour of censoring speech that you dislike, just not in favour of censoring your searches.

  • Your best bet at this stage is to vote for the Australian Sex Party. They’re the biggest party that’s anti-filter at the moment, since the Greens don’t have a united policy (it changes depending on electorate, especially due to their preferences going to Labor).
    Besides, the Sex Party has some awesome other internet policies as well, so I know it’s who I’ll be voting for!

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