Stephen ConroyI don’t know about you, but that old saying about if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck, certainly rings true to me and everyone else it seems with the exception of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the proposed Internet filter for all Australians being planned by the Rudd government.

Conroy, speaking at The Sydney Institute on Monday has described the planned mandatory internet filter as a modest regulatory measure,whilst critics believe it is mandatory censorship, being imposed on all Australians by the federal government.

The Obama administration in the US has already raised concerns about the proposed filter, saying it flies in the face of their policy of a free and open internet, here’s the link to that story if you’d like to read what the US government thinks of Rudd’s plans.

Here’s more of the story on Conroy’s speech:

“The internet is an incredible piece of technology and in our lifetime it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like it again,” he said.

“But for all its technical brilliance, the internet is a distribution and communications platform.

“Having no regulation to combat illegal activity actually weakens all that is good about the internet.”

The federal government’s $128.8 million Cyber Safety policy includes legislation to block access to certain websites and blacklist offensive material.

The policy has been widely criticised by internet and software companies and free speech supporters.

But Senator Conroy said it can’t remain largely unregulated.

“With great opportunity, comes even greater responsibility, and having sensible, appropriate protections in place is also the role of government,” he said.

“There are some who want to argue that on the internet, people should be able to publish anything they like – regardless of whether it contravenes laws in the off-line world.”

Senator Conroy said ISP level filtering alone was not enough to help fight child pornography or keep children safe online, which was why the government supported the block of content such as child sexual abuse imagery and material advocating terrorism.

“This is a modest measure, which reflects long held community standards about the type of content that is unacceptable in a civilised society,” he said.

“Those who claim the government’s approach is akin to the sort of political censorship practiced by authoritarian regimes are simply misleading the Australian public.”

Original Story appeared on Ninemsn

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