Tag cloud developer cries Conroy foul


A software developer who claims to have written the code behind the controversial tag cloud widget on the website of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s web site has cried foul over what he sees as misuse of his tool.

Conroy’s tag cloud uses a variable font size to display the most popular topics on his site. But it was revealed last week that the phrase “ISP filtering” had been removed from the possible topics. The removal is significant because of the controversial nature of the Federal Government’s mandatory ISP-based filtering plans, which Conroy is spearleading.

In a blog post, Aleks Bochniak, who appears to be based in the UK but was previously employed by a range of Australian organizations such as Griffith University, said he resented what appeared to be the removal of credits from Conroy’s code and wanted the whole thing removed from the site.

“Dear Minister Conroy,” he wrote on his blog, “I would appreciate it if you could remove my JavaScript tag cloud from your website. I do not want in any way to be associated with yourself, your office or your policies. Removal of my code from your website is the only way to achieve this.” He has written

News.com.au has reported that the credits were removed from the code, along with the name of the person who changed it – although it noted that one name was removed at the request of family members for personal reasons.

“Appropriate credit should have been left in place,” wrote Bochniak. “I don’t want to take credit from what they’ve done, far from it. But this is one usage of my code which I would have appreciated them asking my permission, because if I had known the final outcome I would not have let them.”

The news comes as debate around the internet filtering project continues to be heard around the nation, with the legislation to introduce the scheme scheduled to be introduced into parliament shortly.

Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam on Sunday predicted the legislation would have to wait until after the next federal election, due to what he said was a “constipated” Senate, with, he claimed, the Opposition determined to “block everything” passing through the upper house.

And on Friday Prime Minister Kevin Rudd threw more wood on the fiery debate, saying the Government wouldn’t apologise for pushing ahead with the initiative.

Image credit: Office of Stephen Conroy

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