The petition that EFA are seeking signatures and support for right now relates to the current Australian Labour Government’s plan to implement a mandatory Internet filtering policy which, when all is said and done, equates to an attempt to censor Internet usage throughout the country. As summarised on the EFA website:
The Australian Federal Government has announced that it will introduce “mandatory ISP-level filtering of Refused Classification (RC) rated content.” What this means is that Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will now have to filter the Internet to block access to websites that would be “Refused Classification” under Australia’s classification laws.
The filter will be based on blocking a list of between 1,000 and 10,000 web page addresses (“URLs”). That list is called a ‘blacklist’.
Ummm… did I miss something here?
What ever happened to parents and individuals taking responsibility for the censorship of Internet usage by the kids and minors in their own care? Surely giving the Government the authority to implement a “one-size-fits-all” solution is both impractical and also sets a dangerous precedent. I mean, where will the “big brother” censorship end? The Western World, including Australia, criticize countries like China, North Korea and Burma for the excessive censorship measures forced upon their citizens. So how does one justify the current proposal which tiptoes dangerously down a similar path?
I could go on and on with a number of reasons why the proposed plan won’t work and will be a wicked waste of tax-payer money which could be better utilised in other programs and initiatives aimed at protecting our kids online, but the EFA website already does a damn good job at that, so check it out if you’re interested.
Alternatively, check out this segment from Australia’s “7:30 Report” which looks at arguments from both sides.
Take action NOW!
The important thing is that if you value your independent right to choose what online content you and your family view and access, then the time to act and make yourself heard is RIGHT NOW.
Again, the EFA website provides a great reference list of ways that you can support the “Open Internet” movement through writing to newspapers and other media sources, calling into talk-back radio programs, writing about it in Blogs like this, talking to family and friends about the proposal, or taking your fight to the source by writing directly to Senator Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
A good place to start is to sign the EFA Petition:
For those of you outside Australia
While this really has no consequence or immediate effect on any of my readers outside of Australia, it’s a subject that should still be of interest and concern to each and every one of you.
To this end, I urge you to raise awareness about the situation in Australia amongst your online community. Share this Blog entry link, or the EFA website, on Facebook, Twitter, your own Blog or simply email the information to anyone you know who would have an opinion on Internet censorship. Your cousins “Down Under” need all the support they can muster!Image credits: Background image by Trey Ratcliff (Flickr).