In a misguided attempt to "protect" Australian internet users from the dangers of the world wide web, federal policy makers led by Senator Stephen Conroy are proposing the mandatory filtering of content. This will see the implementation of filters on the servers of Internet Service Providers across the country. This will result in significantly lower connection speeds (in the order of 80%). And as the filters will rely on a "black list" provided by a government body, it opens the door to potential misuse or political interference.

The government’s own tests have shown that the filters cannot adequately determine the difference between legal and illegal content, and will be completely ineffective against content shared via peer-to-peer systems used by most illegal "distributors" of content or software. Rather than wasting precious taxpayers money on ineffective technology, I suspect we would gain greater communal and economic benefit from some simple technology education. After all, if we are serious about protecting our children from the dangers of the internet, we should start by providing parents with the skills and understanding to determine what their kids are looking at.

Electronic Frontiers have put together a site to help bring our concerns to the attention of politicians. There are a number of things you can do to take action. Sign the PETITION.

Call the Minister

There’s nothing like a personal
phone call to get the message across. Call the minister’s office on
(03) 9650 1188 and let them know your objections.

Write to the Minister

A
personalised letter to the Minister sends a powerful message: We don’t
like the policy, and we care. Letters can be sent to the Ministerial
office:

Senator Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002

Here is a template you may wish to consider using.

Dear Minister,

As an Australian and an internet user, I have serious concerns about your mandatory Internet filtering initiative.

Given the importance your Government has attached to modernising
Australia’s broadband network, pursuing a policy that can only slow
down and increase the costs of home internet access seems misguided at
best. Australian households are diverse, and most do not have young
children, so mandating a one-size-fits-all clean feed approach will not
serve the public well. I don’t think it is the Government’s role to
decide what’s appropriate for me or my children, and neither do most
Australians.

Given the amount of Internet content available, the
Government will never be able to classify it all and filters will
always result in an unacceptable level of over-blocking. I feel that
the time and money could be spent in better ways both to protect
children and improve Australia’s digital infrastructure. Australian
parents need better education about the risks their children face
online. Trying to rid the Internet of adult content is futile, and can
only distract from that mission.