OK this is serious. It’s been bubbling along for quite a while now but it looks like the Government and Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy are pretty committed to filtering the internet to prevent any material that is ‘refused classification’ from being accessed in Australia.
Why am I against this?
- I think it’s being driven by ideology rather than common sense
- The kind of material that it purports to protect us from isn’t out in the open anyway
- The onus should be on parents to educate and protect their children while using the internet
- The list of banned sites will be kept a secret
- The possiblity for false banning of sites is too high and has already happened (and with a secret list, who will know?)
- The filters won’t be effective at blocking inappropriate content in social media sites like Twitter, YouTube or Facebook not to mention peer to peer systems like BitTorrent
- There are already options for parents to protect their families
- There has been low uptake in the past when the government offered free filtering software (installed locally on home PCs) so why would mandatory filtering for the entire populated be warranted?
This is not about porn, don’t be distracted by that silly Operation TitStorm that just makes filter objectionists look like porn obsessed nutjobs. It’s about wasting government resources trying to reduce available content on the internet to the lowest common denominator.
So if you think it sounds like a bad idea too, head over to http://openinternet.com.au/ to find out more about what you can do. But in a nutshell:
- Contact your local Member of Parliament, but read this guide on how to write a great letter first.
- Sign the petition
Update: See follow-up post for more information if you’re interested.