Some will ask why I have decided to post this article on this blog, and not my business blogs. Simply, although I firmly believe that the proposed Internet Filter for Australia will impact my business, my views are deeply personal – it goes to my rights as an Australian Citizen and, as such, I feel that this is the best place to comment!
The Australian Government appears to be at it again. This time, the Australian Government is attempting to ‘clean the Internet Feed’ provided by ISP’s to the population.
The Government is ‘proposing’ to filter inappropriate content from the Internet feed into Australia. A most concerning proposition.
I first really understood the full implication of the proposed Content Filter in an article posted by Computer World – http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;13996352
The article outlines that:
- The Australian Government has earmarked a staggering $125.8 million for its ‘Cyber Space Safety Program’
- There all Australians will be FORCED to use the content filter
- There will be versions of the filter – an illegal content filter or an inappropriate for children filter
Kind of sounds o.k doesn’t it? Let’s have a look a few more facts, as reported in another Computer World article – http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;937690115
Tests conducted by Australian Communications Media Authority of six Internet content filters showed the worst performer allowed through 12 percent of a set list of banned material, while the best blocked more than 94 percent.
When actively filtering, one product chewed up to 75 percent of network resources, three used between 22 to 30 percent and one tool used less than one percent.
None of the products could identify banned material via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing networks, although one product was able to identify blocked material in “media streaming”.
What does it mean? It means that the Internet feed within Australia will be further retarded by the application of filtering devices. In a country that can’t deliver broadband to a portion of its populace, it will further degrade the service…
On a humanitarian note – are we not a democracy? Do we not have the right to free speech? In my mind, censorship of this sort is the thin edge of the wedge when it comes to eroding free speech. Truly, I don’t mind the idea of an illegal content filter – my concern is how do you determine, at an electronic level, what is illegal and what is not? Given the application of the law requires human intervention and often takes months, if not years to sort out – how can we rely on an electronic device to ‘get it right’? This is really concerning.
I’ve seen comments about the fact that Child Pornography should be stopped – and yes I agree. However, look at the measures in place and the effectiveness that these seem to having – is a content filter really going to make that much difference?
It truly seems to me that the Australian Government feels that we are all ‘naughty little children’ who can’t be trusted to make appropriate decisions for themselves. The Government obviously sees themselves as an ‘authoritarian parent’ who MUST discipline their children.
Obviously we can’t be trusted to guide our children through the rocky shoals of growing up and determining what is and isn’t appropriate to watch, look at or read…. Mind you – take a look at what people expose their children to on the T.V or via movies and one wonders where this is all going to lead to.
I remember watching the movie ‘Equilibrium’, where ‘The State’ had removed all emotion and passion from the populace. Want to see where we could be headed – watch the movie….
Perhaps most concerning though is the allegations that the Federal Government is requesting employers to ‘gag’ their employees who speak against the content filter, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, yesterday.
I’m not the only Australian who is concerned either:
Duncan Riley has written on Tech Crunch- Australia Joins China In Censoring The Internet
No Internet Censorship For Australia has further details as well, including links to Stephen Conroys office.
Des Walsh too, has his say in Conroy Lays The First Brick In The Great Firewall Of Australia
What Can We Do?
We should stand idolly by and allow our Government to ride ‘rough shod’ over our rights as Australian Citizens. We need to make sure our voices are heard….
To finish this post, I saw this video on both Allans and Duncans posts – and even though it’s 12 months old…. well, you’ll see. Enjoy….