Red undies

There have been some comments in the Australian press on the red undies remark from Minister Stephen Conroy during a presentation he gave for an American audience at the Columbia University in New York City.

Below is a reply of an American telecom analyst on the Minister’s comments

This (comment) fits the American political model, in which a person’s words are carefully selected and taken out of context in order to fit an opponent’s narrative. The entire Republican National Convention this year was built on the theme “You Built That”, alluding to an Obama quote about roads, schools, and other public infrastructure used by business, wherein the Republicans lied and said that he was claiming that the government built their businesses. So taking Conroy’s sentence on its own, it sounded somewhat outrageous.

But taking it in context of the actual speech, it made sense. Here in the US we have bifurcated state and federal regulation of telecom, and the federal side, while mostly the FCC’s, also involves NTIA. And the courts meddle in everything, though to some extent that’s a result of FCC sloppiness. The ITU-T is generally ignored.  It certainly has no regulatory authority here.

Conroy was noting that in Oz, there is no state regulation for him to contend with, and he’s not kowtowing to the ITU either.  So it’s all federal regulation. That was meant to reassure people that the ITU wasn’t going to mess things up for Oz. So in context, he was right, and it was perfectly reasonable for him to introduce a bit of jocularity.

It would not surprise me then if an Australian Linux distro called Red Underpants came out.

Fred Goldstein

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