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Internet filtering – Australians fight back

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Wednesday December 10, 2008 )

Australia’s Communications Minister has started blogging and his first post didn’t meet with much of a warm welcome. In fact, hundreds of Australians have blasted him about the government’s plans to censor the Internet through its ‘Clean Feed’ program.

Blogging certainly isn’t for the faint of heart and Stephen Conroy must be asking himself “what the hell have I done?” this evening.

His first post welcoming us all to the “Government’s first online consultation trial” certainly didn’t generate “Hi Stevie, great to see you blogging” type feedback. Currently, there’s over 400 comments in just 2 days expressing outrage over the planned introduction of a mandatory Internet filter in Australia.

While the “big brother” aspect and shifting self-responsibilty and good parenting to the government is troublesome enough, something I didn’t consider about the proposed filtering is how much it could slow down the Internet in Australia.

According to the activist site, the dynamic filters the government plans to use of questionable accuracy and will slow the Internet down in this country by an average of 30%. A government report stated a recent trial showed a slowdown of between 2% and 87% in various products tested. If this does have to happen, it’s something they cannot afford to screw up just on that point alone.

While I’m all for censoring material that is harmful and inappropriate for children and the classification of some is a no-brainer, what exactly meets that criteria according to the government? Nothing is clear.

No other democracy in the world has implemented a similar scheme. A survey run in 2007 found that over 73% of responsdents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the concept and a measly 2.9% strongly supported it. Will this be another Iraq where the will of the majority of the Australian people is ignored?

So, for what it’s worth; here’s my final opinion on the government’s censorship plans in their current form:


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