An Open Letter to Senator Stephen Conroy

Dear Senator Conroy,

We have a lot in common you and I, Sir. We’re both filthy Poms (Don’t try to deny or denounce it – we can live and work through this) and we both love the internet and the potential it can offer us.

As the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in the land down under, I imagine you spend a fair amount of time just surfing the web and looking at random stuff. Again, this sums up my job pretty well too.

So I totally understand when you introduced the internet censorship scheme to deny the access to child pornography to the Australian people. It certainly won’t make the problem go away, but why not make life that little bit harder for paedophiles, right?

Then you extended the things you wanted to censor.. drug usage, criminal activies, cruelty, extreme violence or “revolting and abhorrent phenomena that offend against the standards of morality”. I can live without seeing those things on the internet.. especially that last one. Domino’s Pizza really is something wicked.

But then you turned your attention to online games. Now I remember when you had Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas taken off from sale because of that Hot Coffee scandal. This was the first time I became aware that Australia had no rating for adult-only content.

And I guess I can understand that. Us Brits, Senator, do have a reputation for being prudish. But even then, a pot-smoking, homosexual, chainsaw weilding one-eyed pizza delivery boy can still start up his own blog in the UK, and not get blocked.

So really, there’s no reason to hold the moral high ground in Aus.. I mean, they’re just like you and me Senator. Only with nicer weather, better sportsmen and more shrimps to put on the barbie.

Senator – I think it’s time for you to come home and let us take good care of you. It does sound like you’re missing the green, green grass of home, and perhaps it’s time to let mommy love you again. I just don’t want to see you do anything stupid like ban those nice Aussies from online worlds like Second Life.

Because, Senator, I know many of them. And when they get deprived of their second lives, they get a little homocidal and crazy, and I can’t let a fellow Brit face that sort of danger.

I have a spare room that you can camp out in while you find your feet again, Senator. Maybe you and I can work together and take over the running of the British Government? I don’t think anyone can do a much worse job..

Just.. umm.. leave running Internet censorship type of things to me, okay? You can run the House of Commons or something.. that pitifully corrupt lot could use your iron fist.


Prad Prathivi


6 Responses to “An Open Letter to Senator Stephen Conroy”

  1. Brilliant! Just brilliant!

  2. *snickers* Prad… I love you!

  3. Hear hear! Some of my best friends are Australians and they contribute so much to SL.
    Sure, theres porn, nudity and outright bad taste in SL but Linden Lab are making it harder for naughtyunderagers to get there.

    So I agree with Prad. Give SL back to the Aussie public, the pavlova back to the kiwi’s, and get on with stuff that will make the world a better place.

  4. I love the sentiment of the letter but will agree to disagree on one or two points:-

    Mr Conroy, even though I think child pornography is a terrible thing and should be stopped – I’ve never once thought that lifting the carpet and hiding it through censorship is the answer. If the Government can find it, why aren’t they addressing it via one of the International groups that deal with such things. I think you should be looking at resolving the issue, not hiding it.

    While, “drug usage”, criminal activies, cruelty, extreme violence or “revolting and abhorrent phenomena that offend against the standards of morality” may not be something I’d look at, this worries me. Having been given the task of once being big brother in the work place I understand how these topics can be used to block relevant and useful content. I was forever having to point out that just because a site might have the word sex or homosexual or drug didn’t mean it was something we needed to block… some of these sites were relevant for health, counselling and community. And who is defining which sites contain the really bad stuff as opposed to stuff that just offends someones personal sense of right. The problem with censorship is that someone ELSE is drawing the line and often it’s up to their personal sense of morality to a degree – or a committees morality… after all, someone has to decide, right? I would rather have a bit of stuff I didn’t like there than have my access to information that might be relevant restricted by someone elses moral code.

    If you’ve been reading your mail, you’ll know I’ve been disagreeing with this filtering/censoring since last year.

    I am not sure if you are going to restrict online games or not and if indeed you’ll include SL or not – of course, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree with censorship FULL STOP but I particularly disagree with the way you are all going about it – not even telling your citizens exactly what is being filtered? Do you realise you work for us and are answerable to us?

    I want to keep my Second Life… it’s an extension of my first one but I’d really be shocked senseless if you took it away with so many educators and even Telstra in this space. That said, please don’t restrict Australians from accessing online games – and information in general that is available to the rest of the world… we are isolated geographically as it is, must you isolate us in other ways too?

    I hope that the masses of Aussies tell you the same instead of sitting around saying she’ll be right… for them I offer:

    Get Information. Take Action.

    * No Clean Feed Campaign
    * Get Up Australia ‘Save the ‘Net’ Campaign
    * Game Censorship
    * Electronic Frontiers Australia / EFF (EFF represents Internet users around the world concerned with on-line freedoms and rights)
    * "Clean" Feeds on Australian Artists – Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT)
    * Book reviews on ‘Not in front of the children: "indecency," censorship, and the innocence of youth’ by Marjorie Heins Does censorship really protect the children? / Not in front of the children

  5. Only just saw this, I’m with ya

    It wont go away just by restricting it

    parents and educators should be those being (and kept) responsible of how good a job we do at protecting our offspring, not the government, meaning that if kids stumble across anything, it’s pretty much those responsible for their upbringing who should have been paying more attention, be more open to have an informative conversation about its potential good or bad results, or just have a slightly better monitoring over them (I’m not pro for total supervision, but often now there’s too little depending on the topic)

    that being said about “what kids can encounter”, it’s also totally up to our adult selves to choose how we spend our lives, that’s part of something the human race has a tad more then most other living beings: free will (certain animals also have free will on top of their instincts, I’m totally aware of that).

    I know laws exist to help us prevent doing bad to ourselves and society, but when it comes to leisure time, whatever it may be, it’s still down to us to see where good stops and bad begins.

    some things “might” go out of control with “certain” people, but it’s still not up to the government to deny any person something for solely “the possibility of”

    (PS, I’m sorry if grammatical mistakes occured, English is still my 3rd language)

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