Minister for Broadband: How much 'evidence' do you need?

Optus will participate in the government's ISP filtering trial. If I was an Optus customer, I wouldn't be now! Imagine knowing that your ISP was blocking your access to the Net? The Big Brotherness of the whole idea is just unpalatable.

According to the Minister for Broadband, the justification for the trial is to provide 'evidence':
"The participation of Optus will help ensure the government obtains robust results from the pilot, which will inform the evidence-based development of our ISP filtering policy"
Evidence-based policy, as the process is known in policy circles, is meant to provide a rational means for developing policy. It fits comfortably with the ideas of the rational, choice-making individual operating in a market economy. Yet not everyone agrees that policy-making can ever be a rational process.

But the problem is so irrational it must be poking the Minister for Broadband's eye out. How much evidence is needed to prove that ISP filtering is unwelcome in Australia's liberal democracy? Do you really need the statistics to prove that this policy deserves to be scrapped now? Has there been a single voice which supports the idea of ISP filtering? How much evidence do you really need to stop pushing this policy?

This feeble attempt at 'evidence-based policy' should be called what it is: nothing less than a sham.

This post was me exercising my right to free speech. Regrettably, Optus customers may have trouble viewing my post.

Comments

Valeri said…
ISP filtering, why are they bothering with it? I don't know anyone who agrees to it.
Anonymous said…
yes, but unfortunately the ultrachristian conservative technophobic family-firsts haven't gotten the point yet.
Janine said…
I have also heard the term policy-based evidence which turns the notion on its head!
Thanks Janine, found an interesting article about 'policy-based evidence-making' here: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2008/opinion/fuelwatch-evidence-runs-on-empty

Cheers, Michael.
Janine O'Flynn said…
Richard Mulgan gave a really nice workshop on it here at ANU last year some time - maybe he is publshing on it too?
Thanks, I searched for some info and stumbled upon this: http://www.odi.org.uk/RAPID/Bibliographies/EBP/Abstracts/EBP_Abs_08.html

The concepts of policy fields as (1) stable, (2) in flux, and (3) inherently novel; are very useful. Gotta love this means of learning - that fixed a bit I was stuck on!