Since when is Eric Schmidt a founder of Google? Do Australian politicians ever do /any/ research before spouting forth?
This was not a researched speech, it was impromptu talkback radio.
I disagree with Stephen Conroy's censorship proposals, but overall I think he did a good job of presenting a coherent case. Not many politicians over here (in the UK) would be prepared to put themselves on the line like he did.
His comments about Google were odd though. Time had almost run out, and it's as if he suddenly felt that he had to make those comments.
The whole discussion is interesting. If you can spare the time, I recommend listening to it (via the first link in the article).
I don't have an opinion on the Australian proposals but Google is being disingenuous when it says it doesn't have the ability to filter specific content from large content sites. They have implemented page-level filtering in several ways already. They talk about it in their anti-spam efforts.
And given that the search engine has always algorithmically determined search results in large part on the basis of on-page textual analysis, they clearly have the ability to analyze the contents of documents and determine if those documents comply with standards set by various governments.
Google is essentially arguing that it should be above the law in all nations simply because it's an international corporation. They reserve the right of sovereignty to their search engine, which is completely absurd in today's political spectrum.
Google needs to make their own country. In mars.
Blocking material that can be used as instructions for a crime: So all of those videos showing how to install OS X on non Apple hardware – how to RIP a DVD for personal use, how to rip a bluray for playback on a Mac, how to install DeCSS on Linux etc. All illegal activites in the US, but still on Youtube.....
Imposing more and more per-country filtering is a direct threat to a freedom of Internet. World Wide Web is a single most important achievement of our times and cannot exist and grow in a clustered not-connected, non-global environment. It's a real shame that some people on Australian government do not understand it. Australia is a democratic country, after all – not a China.
I personally don't believe that any free speech should be silenced or banned, even what some consider anonymous or hate speech or even privacy violations. For instance, there's a new wave of people review sites like on dirtyphonebook.com or unvarnished.com that allow people to write any nasty thing about anybody they want to...even anonymously. Some people hate this and I hate a lot of it too but even that should NEVER be banned in a free society. I think a lot of countries like Australia and Canada and Germany that enact so called hate-speech legislation and other controls against free speech are doing the exact same thing that Hitler did and you don't defeat Hitler by becoming him. I think Stephen is off the ball here and needs to get his own house in order. Look at what Australia is doing with their ridiculous filtering plans. Outrageous. I think Google should always stand up for openness and uncensored activity.