Australian Censorship Boss Has His 'Series Of Tubes' Moment

from the spams-through-the-portal dept

A few years back, you may remember, that former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens got a lot of attention for his infamous description of the internet as "a series of tubes," as part of a longer talk that repeatedly highlights that he didn't quite understand what he was regulating:
Given the number of folks in Australia who have been submitting this video of Australian Minister for Broadband, Stephen Conroy (the guy who wants to censor the internet in Australia), it appears that many down under feel that Conroy has had his "series of tubes" moment by talking about how computer users are getting "infected by these spams, or scams, that come through, the portal"
To be fair, in both cases, these politicians are extremely inarticulate in trying to make their point. Everyone has those moments. However, it does seem like this "spams or scams through the portal" quote is starting to go viral. When it comes to politicians who are supposed to be regulating the internet, you would think they'd sound a bit more prepared for not sounding like they have no idea what they're talking about.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    The cake is a lie.

    (yeah cliche, but the firs thing that comes to mind when thinking of "portals" and "scams")

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Simon, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    Communications Minister

    I weep

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    bradmoreso (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    well-intentioned, ill-informed

    ... and of the state, so inherent doom looms for citizens.

    This may not be an intentional power grab, but just as setting filesystem permissions wide open "so the app will work" can lead to serious abuses and security violations. And, you know, disastrous results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:16pm


    All part of Valve's brilliant PR campaign. Carry on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    wat, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    Re: well-intentioned, ill-informed

    well-intentioned? it's people like you, bradley, that are just one tier under these idiots that are trying to make decisions on concepts they know nothing about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Easier this way

    In business it is so much easier to supervise something if you are clueless about the subject. If you are lucky you can make a few big, flashy changes that impress your superiors (who are also clueless of course). Hopefully you have a few people working for you who can help you paper over the disasters. This can't go ion forever, but it can go on long enough for you to get promoted out of the job before all the wheels come off. Repeat the process and you will be successful in modern corporate structure where only the short term matters.

    It's probably the same thing when it comes to being a regulater.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Richard Corsale (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 3:06pm


    OMG Mike.. Why don't you post about things you know something about! I had a scam crawl through my portal just the other day! I cant believe you. Your probably on the a shill for the portal industry.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Mike, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Seems like the only thing he did wrong was use the word portal incorrectly. Being infected with spam could just be a turn of phrase.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    It's all the scams coming out of the portal that are clogging up our tubes and preventing from having our movies delivered!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    An Australian.., Jun 10th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    A Portals not a Portal.


    Let see, Last I heard portal, a good 12 years ago, in relation to computer tech, it was a reference to a computer screen, I don't particularly remember it in reference to the net at all...
    Similarly, you can't be infected by spam.. or scams.. thats silly. thats like saying youve been infected by mail, and a bad car dealer..

    The guy is an idiot. and I love that quote.. It's going to last longer than he does.

    So Portal, not a turn of phrase, here atleast. I think he just honestly believes that the internet is magic, and that we can use other magics to control the all powerful net magics, and that knowledge flows through these channels of power, and comes out of the network and into your computer, to be interpreted, and is then displayed on it's magical viewing portal..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    TW Burger (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    The worst part (of Conroy's statement)is not the "spams and scams through the portal". Although inept, it's understandable. The "up to 20,000 regularly getting infected" is the problem. Where did that number come from? What's the rate? Clearly he made it up and is lying to us. Shame on him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Re: well-intentioned, ill-informed

    "well-intentioned, ill-informed"

    Politicians are really out to save the children

    Politicians really care what happens to you

    Politicians never lie

    Politicians always do the right thing

    Politicians never do favor for people who fund their campains

    How many of those do you believe?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Allen (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: dhuaaa

    Sounds painful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    listening to some of his other statements, he really has no idea what he's doing

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: well-intentioned, ill-informed

    I know the answer 6X0=??? what was the question?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    matrix, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 7:54pm

    Nuclear intelligence

    yes folks we must NUKE intelligence now before they gets any smarter and realize all the peeps running stuff are just one big bunch a crooks

    we has to filter the truth now
    go hurry it dont matter who you p[ut doing it GET IT DONE QUICKLY before more smarties become blue...dont eat BLUE eat teh red pill er smarty

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Ash Crill, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 9:55pm

    Conroy claims Googlecould have 'hoovered' bank details

    This is all over the news in Australia today. His latest comment is ridiculous and makes him sound even more ill-informed:

    "(If) you were doing a banking transaction, or transmitting personal information, they could have hoovered it up, sucked it up into their machine," he told ABC TV yesterday." y-e6frgczf-1225876667684

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 4:22am


    So in taking about portals and stuff so cluelessly, he has his own 'tubes' moment by sounding like a tube... (pardon the UK slang).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    georgied, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:48am


    He must be getting his numbers from BP. 20,000 a day! The whole of Australia would be infected within three years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    BBT, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Sometimes I try to imagine just how the average non-technical person sees the internet and computers. Usually it gets triggered by comments like this, or watching "24". "24" always has computer shit be so essential to the plot but it's always the craziest stuff. The way the internet is portrayed on 24 makes me think of some crazy dreamworld like the mages go to in Dragon Age, combined with the streaming numbers of The Matrix.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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