Saturday, January 05, 2008

China Filtering for Australia

Australia is looking at introducing mandatory filtering of the internet in a similar method to China and Singapore.

For those wanting an unfiltered internet they will have to request their ISP to provide them an unfiltered stream.

Now this may seem ok but what isn't clear is what will actually be filtered - i.e. who decides what is on the black list - and how one objects to something been on the black list.

The only major issue is why the internet needs to be filtered for adults. Adults can easily avoid anything on the internet they do wish to see by simply not clicking on it. Issues such as the trade of child pornography can already be managed by existing controls and laws. Unless one actually goes searching for illegal adult material it is unlikely you will actually stumble on - even if you do a simple click takes you back to legal material.

The filtering system as proposed is easy to avoid as a number of news articles have demonstrated. In fact it is likely that the filter will only stop adults not their tech savy children.

What it also does is give parents a false sense of security as ultimately children are smart enough to work around the filter and the system won't be perfect. One only has to look at email spam filters to see that.

Some important questions have to be answered around the whole filtering process which include:

  • Who manages the blacklist
  • Can anyone view the blacklist to remove a site from the blacklist
  • How will sites get off the blacklist
  • Who will have access to those people who request to be removed from the filtering system.
So if you are in Australia send off emails to your MP now and make some noise.

And if it does get introduced get the filtering removed by your ISP.

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