Internet Filtering in Australia – Freedom restricted?

The internet is buzzing with people using the #nocleanfeed twitter ‘hash tag’ in opposition to the Australian Federal Government’s Internet Filtering legislation which will see an ISP level filter...

The internet is buzzing with people using the #nocleanfeed twitter ‘hash tag’ in opposition to the Australian Federal Government’s Internet Filtering legislation which will see an ISP level filter put in place in Australia to stop access to ‘Refused Classification’ websites.

What are ‘RC’ websites? – The Government lists “child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence including rape, and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use” – which frankly are obvious.  YES they should be restricted, YES they should be monitored, but is a broad sweeping Filter going to do this? No.

There are already restrictions all over the internet – I can’t watch some TV shows on the Internet, they are ‘geoblocked’ using the IP address of my computer to work out that I am in fact in Australia.

Well, even those can be bypassed, and herein lies the problem with this new proposal – this plan, is essentially made to block the worst of the worst from accessing the worst of the worst websites.  Does the Government not realise that these very people WILL find a way around it?

I’m all for it, again – I don’t care because I plan to stay well away from such sites, and frankly even though it’s not made to protect my son from them, the very fact he will be unable to see them sits well with me.

HOWEVER, is $40million (or there about) a wise investment in this?

Would that $40million be much better spent on policing the issue, more qualified and experienced law enforcement is exactly what this issue needs.

Think of it like Speeding.  We all know it’s illegal – and we all know we can get caught, but we also know exactly where the Fixed speed cameras are, so we slow down a touch around them, then pick up again just after.

For the low life people wanting access to these sites, they will know where the filter is in the chain of routing that allows them access, and they will – quite simply – bypass it.

Instead, think of those days on the highway when you see so many police you think to yourself ‘man, they are out in force’ and you just drive the limit all the way.  Now apply that online, where more police are available to scour the internet for these predators and despicable people and perhaps make a few arrests and set the tongues wagging amongst that very underground community.

There is no simple solution here.  But I can tell you this, bureaucracy is not the answer.  The Government proposal allows for a transparent system where sites are submitted, reviewed and added to the blacklist – Come on, give me a break.  How many of us have accidentally come across this filth?  I’ve been online 14 years and have never seen any of the above mentioned types of content.  And if I did, i’d shut it down, not copy, paste and submit, then wait for it to be added to a blacklist.  That’s a joke.

The solution is make it clear this country, this Government does not stand for this kind of surfing, site or content.  And if people are found using, distributing or worst of all creating it, they should face the full weight of the law, and the follow through should be mandated at all levels of the judicial system.

I’m not fussed about freedom and all that, I live a pretty free life and don’t feel that any filter is going to change that.  Just like I am ‘free’ to speed all I like, but know that if I get caught I will pay the price.  So does my freedom feel restricted day to day by that – no?

Is this the right solution, and a good use of taxpayers funds – no.

Do I have the answer – No, but rest assured I will place a filter on my home internet, to be sure I know every site my son accesses and the people who he is ‘chatting’ with online, because as a parent that’s my job.  That’s not about trust, its about parental responsability.

The full ministerial release is here: http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/media/media_releases/2009/115

A short statement from Electronic Frontiers Australia is here: http://www.efa.org.au/2009/12/15/net-censorship-trial-report-brings-more-questions-than-answers/

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Opinion

Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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  • Twitted by iggypintado
    16 December 2009 at 8:33 pm
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