Bugger. Just when Senator Stephen Conroy got back into our good books with the long-overdue inquiry into price gouging, he gets all gung-ho and says the internet filter censorship plan is still actively moving forward with new developments "soon". Stephen, oh Stephen, when will you learn?
At a press briefing earlier today, Conroy was inevitably asked about both the pricing inquiry and the still-on-the-boil filtering issue. Here's what he had to say about the inquiry, starting with the evident problem with different charges in different markets for digital goods and the effect of the rising Australian dollar:
It's not like it's got to be shipped here. There might have been a transport cost issue or a distribution cost issue if it was a book or it was a physical product. So it does become a live debate. I welcome Ed [Husic] leading the debate on this, I welcome his participation. I'll be talking to the chair and to Ed over the next few days. I spoke to Ed yesterday and we agreed to catch up next week. We're keen to try and get them out as soon as we can. This is about highlighting the fact — I think one company has already responded to the naming and shaming. These companies now have an opportunity to explain why there is this price differential. Maybe there is a legitimate reason. Now we have got a forum where we can ask the question as see what they've got to say — or is it just simple profiteering based on a business model when the dollar was at 75 cents rather than a dollar?
And here's what he said about filtering, starting with the voluntary Interpol :
75% of Australian users are being voluntarily filtered with no impact on speed, almost no mention of it having impact. The Internet Industry Association has indicated that they have got a voluntary filter that they were looking to at introducing. I welcome that and I'm looking forward to some discussions with them. So I think we're making good progress in the area We've got the recommendations from the Law Reform Commission, which I've said, and I stand by it, where they fall in terms of what's in RC and what isn't in RC, I don't have a particular perspective . . . I'm very comfortable with what they've bought back. It fairly much aligns with the international list. I would hopefully be progressing that a little bit further soon. I would hope to be able to have some more conversations soon.
Gives with one hand, takes with the other.