The Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) chairman has branded Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, ‘cowardly’ for his attacks on the Internet rights advocacy group.
Senator Conroy has lashed out at the EFA two days in a row during a Senate hearing, claiming the group is waging a campaign of misinformation on the proposed mandatory ISP-level filter.
He singled out EFA’s chairman, Nicolas Suzor, and vice-chairman, Colin Jacobs, and accused them of feeding Reporters Without Borders false information which landed Australia on the international organisation’s “Internet Enemies” watch list.
Today, Suzor fired back, pointing to the Senator’s own shortcomings in disclosing details of the filter plan.
The EFA does not believe the Internet clean-feed is a good solution to protect children from inappropriate content and advocates for more education, better funded police force and increased spending on child counselling as an alternative.
“He attacked us personally and accused us of misleading the public but he has done nothing to respond to our legitimate concerns about the filter,” Suzor said.
Suzor sought comfort in the fact his group's concerns hasn't fallen on deaf ears.
“I’m a little bit heartened he is taking notice of the criticism we have but I’m not particularly impressed by the way he has chosen to respond to us,” he said. “I think its somewhat cowardly to make these allegations – which I think are false – under parliamentary privilege.
"I would much prefer him to respond to our substantive concerns about transparency and the scope of the filter plan rather than make these personal remarks, which I find quite distasteful.”
Despite having no luck securing a time to speak with Senator Conroy, Suzor said he is still open to having a discussion with the Communications Minister “as long as he can keep the vitriol to a minimum”.
The EFA has reiterated its challenge to Senator Conroy to supply evidence that the Internet filter will address its concerns for the safety of online citizens.