IT Ministers from around the globe converged on Seoul this week to discuss the future of big bucks on the Internet. Australia was just one of many countries to sign the Seoul Declaration for the Future of Internet Economy (PDF) and Senator Conroy was more than happy to put his name to this:

WE ARE DETERMINED to work together to promote ubiquitous access to ICT networks and services enabling widespread participation in the Internet Economy. The further expansion of the Internet Economy will bolster the free flow of information, freedom of expression, and protection of individual liberties, as critical components of a democratic society and cultural diversity.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see where mandatory ISP filtering fits into that and I don’t think Conroy does either. He told the conference:

‘Security and safety on the internet are key issues…. on how we can better manage risks. I am particularly concerned about improving online safety for children and international cooperation is crucial for this to be achieved.

Stephen Conroy

Oscar Marquez, the head technical consultant for security firm Marshal, applauded Conroy’s plans for Australia.

‘What Mr Conroy is saying is obviously very welcome; anything we can do to make the internet a safer place for children is to be applauded. However, yes international cooperation is important, but we also need better cooperation between ISPs, the Government and the IT security industry in Australia if we want to make real progress.’

The technology exists to help users control who accesses what, but we need better education, tighter controls and clear guidelines over censorship and responsibilities at a national level to make real breakthroughs.

Censorship and protecting children always seem to go hand in hand with these guys. And now it’s becoming a business.