Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why the internet filter is a BAD THING

CANBERRA (Reuters) – The Federal Government today announced details of its new Traffic Regulatory and Control System (TRACS) that will drastically slow down and hinder the road system for all Australians, in response to a few poorly-conceived concerns that cars are being driven by potential paedophiles.

“Look, it’s a fact that people are driving, using their cars on public streets and highways, with the aim of committing acts at their destinations that are illegal or immoral,” the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Road Network, Senator Stephen Conroy, said today. "People have told me that. I can't name any of them, but they have, really. I think it was some guy down at the RSL. Okay, it may have been the same bloke who talks about Martian lizards ruling the world - have you met him? - but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's talking about."

“It’s appalling that our public infrastructure is being perverted in this way," Senator Conroy continued, frothing gently at the mouth. "Obviously it’s too late to turn back the clock and return to the horse and buggy, as great as that would be. But the Federal Government can and will put controls in place to make sure everyone is using their cars wisely, and not going anywhere that I personally don’t approve of. Like the TAB or the pub.”

Senator Conroy announced that the Government’s plan will include a Road Safety Family Guardian located at the exit of every house’s driveway to check a driver’s intended destination when they back their vehicle out onto the street. The destination will then be transmitted to a central base, which will check it against a list of 1,300 banned destinations. “These destinations contain material that is just disgusting. We have no idea who lives there, though, despite having their address, and even if we did they're in a different jurisdiction, which of course means we can't do jack shit. We just have to stop people going there,” said Senator Conroy, in defiance of all common sense and international extradition agreements.

Drivers will also be required to pass through a centrally-located checkpoint in each capital city, where they will be required to satisfy the newly-created federal Roads and Traffic Authority that they are not attempting to go to one of the banned destinations.

Motorist groups are outraged, saying that travel times will increase up to 500% under this system, so that a trip which previously would have taken ten minutes could take almost an hour.

Senator Conroy said that "The central checkpoints, where destinations will be verified, will ensure that cars are not being used to access child pornography in Australia." However an independent analysis shows that half to two-thirds of the blacklisted destinations would in fact be legal , if police were to be bothered with the issue instead of being distracted by actual crime.

Drivers will need to opt out of being banned from going to a secondary list of up to 10,000 “unwanted” destinations. The criteria for determining whether a destination is “unwanted” have not been made public.

“It’s not that we think that most Australians are criminals,” explained Senator Conroy to reporters, while motioning a poorly-hidden SWAT team away from the cameras. “We just think that children need to be protected from being exposed to this material. Every time a person exits their driveway, there is a risk they could – inadvertently or not – expose their children in the back seat to unwanted material.” Senator Conroy did not respond to questions about what 'unwanted' actually means and who defines it, how many Australians drive a car with a child as an active navigator, what would happen when a child was not actually in the car, or how the system would help people who don't even have children, but did say that anyone against the system was obviously a lover of kiddie porn themselves.

Spokesman for motorists’ group I Will Drive Where I Damn Well Please, Tim Lamb, pointed out that there were serious flaws in the proposed TRACS system. “All anyone needs to do to bypass it is to go out their back door instead of the driveway. Or go off-road, if you have a four-wheel drive. There are countless other ways to evade these so-called ‘Family Guardians’. I bet any kid could think of a few,” he added. Mr Lamb demonstrated the effects of TRACS by spending half an hour to get to the end of his street, after ending up in a protracted argument with the Guardian at the exit of his driveway, who confused ‘Kidda Place’ with ‘kiddie porn’.

“This will cost a packet to implement, it’ll hurt the economy, and is just plain nonsensical,” said Mr Lamb, “besides being contrary to every bit of road freedom that Australians have enjoyed for decades. Our existing system is fine. Criminals already get caught – paedophiles are arrested almost every week. The policing of the anti-child abuse laws, which we all support, is targeted and effective. The TRACS system is neither targeted or effective, and will do nothing for the average person going about their business except slow them down and subject them to unnecessary harassment.”

Senator Conroy could not be reached for comment on Mr Lamb’s statements. A departmental spokesman said Senator Conroy was stuck in traffic and was not expected back in the office before Wednesday.

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totalfrog said...

That was rad. I am sending to a bunch of people that don't understand why the filter is such a bad idea. Hopefully they'll get it now!

Loquacity said...

Awesome analogy Tim. Thanks :)