Stephen Conroy: Police has cracked teh interwebs. LOL.

This just in: Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Censorship and Enforced Morality, is ignorant as well as a liar. From last night’s Q & A:

Two days ago, the Queensland police, believe it or not, using technology, cracked peer-to-peer. And they’ve arrested in the last few days, a range of people involved in a child paedophile ring. … [T]here is other technology available to the law enforcement agencies, that is in place today, cracking peer-to-peer and arresting people in Queensland two days ago who’ve been involved in child paedophile rings.

There’s so many egregious errors, beyond Conroys poor grammatical constructs, that this looks like it may be another long post. First off, Senator, I’ll side with the ‘not’s — I don’t believe it. ‘Cracking peer-to-peer’ makes no sense. Peer-to-peer is a term given to a particular type of network communication. It describes the framework in which the BitTorrent protocol operates (and to some extent, the whole of teh interwebs). It cannot be cracked because IT IS A THEORETICAL CONSTRUCT TO DESCRIBE A FORM OF COMMUNICATION. ‘Cracking BitTorrent’ (which we may assume is Conroy’s intention), on the other hand, makes as little sense as ‘cracking telephony’ or ‘cracking SMS’ or (thanks, Simon) ‘cracking English’. These are open descriptors of communication between nodes (people or computers); you don’t need to crack it, because you can DOWNLOAD THE SPECIFICATIONS.

And while we’re at it, WHAT THE FUCK IS A ‘CHILD PAEDOPHILE’? The word paedophilia comes from the Greek ‘pais, paid-‘ (child, boy) and ‘philia’ (fondness, love). So a child paedophile is by definition a child who loves other children. As far as I know, that’s not actually illegal (or at most is a statutory crime, age of consent notwithstanding).

(That said, I am willing to believe that the Queensland police have cracked a paedophile ring which was using BitTorrent (probably with private trackers, hence the ‘cracking peer-to-peer’) to distribute the material. I applaud these officers and the job they do; what outrages me is Senator Conroy’s misappropriation of their good work in defence of an unfair and unwanted policy. Without wishing to speak on their behalf, it would not surprise me if many of them felt the same way about the Senator’s spin on it.)

The biggest problem here is that if the Queensland police have this technology, and it is working, why are we even debating filtering teh interwebs? The technology being used by law enforcement is doing the job it is supposed to do. Conroy has yet again provided evidence against the filter as if it were evidence for it.

Now, let’s extract the little ellipsis from that previous comment:

This is not a policy designed to deal with peer-to-peer … We’re not trying to claim it is. We never pretended it is; we accept it can’t.

Hang on a minute, Senator. This is not what you stated on your blog (which incidentally is no longer online) just three months ago.

Technology is improving all the time. Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial.

Senator, something doesn’t match here. Either it does cover peer-to-peer (and BitTorrent LOL) or it doesn’t. You can’t eat your cake and masturbate in it too. (Or if you did, it would probably end up on the ACMA blacklist.)

This is not, “oh, Steve says it’s a silver bullet” — there’s no silver bullet involved in this.

As far as I know, ol’ Steve is the only person who has mentioned it being a ‘silver bullet’. This is the same straw-man argument he has been railing against since day one. No, Steve, it’s not a silver bullet. It’s not an anything bullet. It’s not even a fucking nerf arrow. As has been outlined by industry professionals since day one, the filter is only going to cause more problems than it solves (i.e., x > 0 for all x, where x is anything and 0 is the number of problems solved by mandatory ISP-level filtering).

On top of all this, Senator Conroy has still failed to explain how this filter is supposed to be effective, claiming only that it is part of a broader plan. Yet he evades providing any answer or evidence as to how it will improve the effects of the other elements of the plan or why the funds allocated to the filter would not be better suited to additional funding of other areas. (You know, like giving it back to the AFP’s Online Child Exploitation Taskforce which received a budget cut of $2.8 million last year.)

[P]arents be given an option that they can then choose what level of controls they want.

Wait a minute, that sounds more like an OPTIONAL FILTER, which might be better implemented ON A PC DIRECTLY, or using a niche-market clean feed like WebShield. Senator, your abuse of the English language is really starting to shit me. AN OPTION, BY DEFINITION, CANNOT BE MANDATORY. If it is mandatory, it ceases to be an option and becomes a CONDITION. If I don’t want your filtering, under your regime, there is absolutely no way that I can turn it off.

Based on Senator Conroy’s complete misunderstanding of his own ministry, I propose a set of MANDATORY OPTIONS for all ministers:

  • You must have worked in or alongside the industry you are representing, even if briefly;
  • You must listen to what professionals in this industry have to say about policies, rather than just listening to your cronies;
  • You must learn basic English skills;
  • You must take a course in basic Logic.

And don’t even get me started on Andrew Fucking Bolt.

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~ by MattR on March 27, 2009.

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