• Web filtering backlash

    Mar 22 2010, 12:36

    In a good piece in The Mercury over the weekend, Tim Martain discusses the growing backlash against the Government’s plan to censor the Internet:

    But, perhaps surprisingly, the main objections to the cleanfeed filter do not relate to what it does, but what it does not do.

    Search engine giant Google has slammed the idea as being undemocratic and open to the possibility of government abuse.

    Civil libertarians are concerned the secret blacklist could potentially be exploited as a means of stifling public information and discussion.

    And even child welfare agencies are concerned it will not achieve its intended goals and will instead compound the problem by giving parents a false sense of security about their children’s online safety.

    “Curbing freedom of speech will not prevent the exploitation of children,” Save the Children’s Suzanne Dvorak said.

    “This will not protect them. A broad filter might lull parents into a false sense of security, incorrectly assuming their children will be shielded from harm and that there is no need for vigilant parental monitoring.”

    Dvorak said the money being spent on implementing the filter would have been better spent on internet safety education for children and parents.

    Electronic Frontiers Australia  a non-profit organisation representing internet users concerned with online freedoms and rights  has grave concerns about what the filter might be applied to in the future.

    “EFA has never maintained that the Government intends to use the filter to stifle political debate,” EFA’s Colin Jacobs said on the organisation’s website.

    “But the fact remains that, although the filter is designed with a different purpose in mind, what we are going to get is a mandatory and secret system that could one day be used for that purpose.”

    Read more here.  If you would like to help EFA in its campaign against the filter, please think about donating as part of our 2010 Fundraising Campaign.