• What you can do this weekend to support an Open Internet

    Feb 18 2010, 9:34

    Although some people are planning street protests this weekend, we believe that there are other things you can do this weekend that will send a stronger, more powerful message to our elected representatives in Canberra.

    The time that you would have spent attending, as well as travelling to and from, any street march, would be better spent doing any one of the ten practical things we suggest that you can do to oppose the filter.

    In particular, if you haven’t written to your local Member of Parliament yet, please take some time this weekend to do so.  If you’re not sure who to contact, you can find your Member’s contact information here.

    If you don’t know what to write, you might want to start with this:

    Dear Member of Parliament,

    As an Australian and an internet user, I have serious concerns about the Government’s mandatory Internet filtering policy.

    Given the importance of 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 approach will not serve the public well. Home-based PC filters give parents the power to choose what is right for their families. And, as you well know, the mandatory filter will not provide any real protection for children from inappropriate content or any other online threat.

    We value our freedom of communication. Given the amount of Internet content available, the Government will never be able to classify even a small percentage of it. 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 objectionable content is futile, and can only distract from that mission.

    Sincerely,

    Internet User

    City, State

    You might also want to have a look at Bernard Keane’s advice on how to write a great letter.

    If you have already written to your local Member of Parliament, write to one or more of the Senators from your State or Territory.  You can find out who your Senators are here.

    Finally, if you still have time this weekend to dedicate to the Open Internet campaign after you have written and sent all those letters, you might want to collect signatures for EFA’s Senate Petition. If you would like to gather signatures for the petition, please download and read the Senate Internet Censorship Petition – Instructions before printing the Senate Internet Censorship Petition. Simply print out the petition and take it to the shops, your kid’s swimming carnival, or your Saturday night party - anywhere you might be able to talk to people about Internet censorship and persuade them to sign the petition.

    We believe that all of these steps are more productive and helpful than marching this weekend.