Senator Stephen Conroy, Australia’s communications minister is the master genius of all government ministers.
Not only is he still pushing ahead with is universally laughed at “internet filter” plan – where he wants the government to filter and control access to naughty websites around the world (and to note, he has publically branded anyone that doesn’t support this plan as a paedophile – perhaps I should sue for deformation?), he has also come out and publically commented on an active Federal court case.
Its pretty much off limits for any government minister to speak publically about court cases, so it’s eye wateringly imcomprehensible that the minister for comminucations should comment on a Federal court case against Iinet (an ISP which opposes the filtering plan and has recently pulled out of the planned trial) .
Not only has he commented, he has branded Iinets defence (“we don’t know what our customers are doing”) as laughable and something out of “Yes, Minister”
This shows he really doesn’t get it, not at all, in any way, shape or form.
He’s okayed the legal action – which accuses Iinet of not inspecting the traffic flowing over their networks, without realising that this is, in fact, against Australian communicaitons law.
The “Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979” and to quote Electronic Frontiers Australia’s description of it, “This Act prohibits the interception of communications passing over a telecommunications system and prohibits access to stored communications (i.e. email, SMS and voice mail messages stored on a carrier’s equipment) except where authorised in specified circumstances”.
Laws from Conroy’s own department. Idiot.
So Iinet may well be breaking the law if they had moniored and filtered the traffic.
The court case, if one were to apply the same logic – i.e a service provider is liable for actions committed over their infrastructure, might mean that phone operators are liable if crimes are arranged or purportrated using a phone, the post office might be liable if a criminal act was commited by post. Asking an ISP to inspect every packet of informaiton to determine if it’s an illegal act is like asking the post office to open every letter to determine if its contents are in any way dodgy, or like having the government roads department inspect every car on the road to make sure its journey is above board.
Its nuts, and thats why the police are there – to investigate crimes. First, it starts with an accusation, then gathering of evidence, then arrest and prosecution. Monitoring on this scale is like the Owellian 1984 telescreen in every house monitoring every move, action, deed and spoken word incase it harbours desires against the Party.
Iinet are considering whether they should sue Conroy for Libel and damages for deformation- he’s cast them inm a bad light for a trial that s barely even started – its a trial, he’s not allowed to comment, its a legally allowable defence that I hope they win and I hope Rudd fires his sorry arse.