Jon Seymour and Stilgherrian replied swiftly to Bernadette McMenamin’s (Child Wise) sickening accusation that Australians who protest mandatory ISP filtering are advocating child pornography.

Jon writes:

Bernadette McMenamin’s business is moral panic. She has a vested interest in it. From her point of view, an ineffective filter is actually a very good thing, because it means the oxygen that sustains the flames of moral panic, and her organization ChildWise, will never disappear.

Perhaps this is uncharitable. Perhaps McMenamin and ChildWise have done worthy work in the past. Perhaps they do some now. But why should anyone continue to be charitable about a person who unapologeticly accuses her opponents of being witting or unwitting supporters of child pornography. That is a completely despicable accusation as McMenamin herself should well know – if her tears about the plight of abused children mean anything at all.

Stilgherrian in Crikey:

Gloves-off time. The purveyors of pervasive internet censorship — handful that they are — have burned their goodwill. It’s time to call them out on their lies and demand to know why they’re not advocating the real solutions to child sexual abuse.


Every single dollar wasted on a demonstrably unworkable filter isn’t just wasting taxpayers’ money in tough times. It’s a dollar that hasn’t gone to the police so they can do what does work. Good old-fashioned policing and the kind of undercover sting that resulted in 19 arrests last week, including a retired QC and a NSW police officer.

That’s the most tragic element of this whole affair. How many children remain suffering at the hand of an abuser as the government and Child Wise fight to introduce mandatory filtering? We might consider Child Wise’s support of a filter as well-intended, but at what point does it become incompetence?

In other news, NZ filter vendor Watchdog says Australians opposing mandatory ISP filtering are overstating the problems. Surprise, surprise.

A modern filter need have no detectable effect on the passage of ordinary traffic, says Watchdog managing director Peter Mancer. The compulsory filtering being considered by the Australian government will relate to only a very small number of sites (in the thousands). Requests including the IP addresses of such sites are diverted into a special stream by the Border Gateway Protocol — the same process used to decide on the most efficient route for ordinary traffic, says Mancer; so there is no overhead.


Watchdog is the Australasian agent for a version of this technology from 8e6, newly merged with Marshal.

Systems engineer Geordie Guy explains 8e6:

The reality is that 8e6 is one flavour of “pass by” instead of “pass through” filtering, where traffic is sent both directly to it’s destination and also through a filtering system.  The filtering system analyses its copy of the traffic and if it detects that “unwanted” content is being accessed, it resets the other live stream – stopping the moral decay almost immediately.

Mancer’s assertion that there is no overhead is obviously patent rubbish, there is overhead if you ever do anything other than have a completely unfiltered and uninterfered with stream.  The problem is that ISPs who implement this technology essentially have to build an entire new segment with systems capable of filtering through a copy of every piece of traffic that they are currently transiting.

He also discusses how it relates to those filters tested in Tasmania.

At the other end of the spectrum, PC based filter vendor Webroot says the Federal government is so hell-bent on discrediting the previous government’s scheme that it has overlooked the portions of the scheme that may have worked, namely the free PC based filters soon to be given the chop.

Elsewhere, Netspace seeks opinions on mandatory filtering and BanThisURL interviews computer security professional Matthew Strahan.

However, I’ll leave you with this one to digest (or cough up): At a gathering of Australian Catholic Bishops on Sunday, Bishop Peter Ingham of Wollongong said he backed the government proposal for a national Internet filter and that others should support it because:

Comparable Western countries, such as the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland already have ISP filtering in operation.


Arguments that civil liberties will be infringed by Internet filtering are absolutely spurious, as the government’s proposal simply aims to ensure that the material accessible on the Internet is in line with the restrictions already in place in regard to DVDs or publications.


Pornography of any kind is harmful to human dignity and often degrading to women. Research shows that Internet pornography is also becoming more and more harmful to marriages and relationships. In particular, every parent knows that much of the pornographic material that can be found on the Internet ought not to be accessible to children.

In line? Pornographic DVDs legally available to purchase from the ACT are commonly illegal to host online in Australia and under ACMA guidelines ‘prohibited content’ Degrading to women, but not men? That sounds like the old argument of needing to protect ‘our little ladies’. Some but not all pornographic content ought not to be accessible to children? You could pick away for years at just the quotes above.