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GetUp! “Save The Net” Campaign/Petition against Australian Internet Censorship

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If you’re an Australian internet user – or an Australian/global entity that targets Australian users via the Web  – I urge you to sign the GetUp! “Save the Net” petition – and help prevent the Australian Federal Government’s planned mandatory internet censorship filters from being implemented.

The system been largely touted by the government as ‘necessary step’ to prevent child pornography (and apparently ‘euthanasia material’) – and that the existing ‘opt-in’ system for locally installing free/provided filters (known as ‘NetAlert’) is not enough. However, the system won’t actually be able to filter/prevent content being passed through file sharing, chat rooms and other secure or proprietary systems (indicated by child welfare groups as the place this sort of illegal activity generally occurs) – and tests so far indicate it’s completely ineffective at trying to block ‘inappropriate’ content.

Here’s a quick run down of what’s going down, from the GetUp! site – (which offers the online petition – so far signed by 85,000 people) :

The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist.

Testing has already begun on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites. Our children deserve better protection – and that won’t be achieved by wasting millions on this deeply flawed system.

Sign the petition below:

Senator Conroy,
”I don’t want draconian government restrictions on the internet that will hold back the digital economy and miss the vast majority of unwanted content.”

GetUp! has also published a ‘Fact Sheet’ – http://www.getup.org.au/files/campaigns/internetcensorshipfactsheet.pdf  for some more interesting (and disturbing) reading.

The labor gov. has so far been ignoring the huge backlash from the public, various child welfare agencies, the Greens and others who have all also slammed the system as completely ineffective – and sure to take Australia back into the digital dark-ages by severely degrading internet speeds.

The mandatory censorship seems to be a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ system – and done with no real public consultation – and I’m very disappointed to see the Labor government doing this sort of thing. (and definitely not what most Australians who voted for PM Rudd expected). If implemented – we would be the only western democracy in the world to have such measures. (currently similar systems are running in places like Saudi Arabia, China and Iran).

There’s also been absolutely no information provided by the government on how the innocent victims (companies/individuals who run the 1 in 12 legitimate sites that might get ‘accidently’ blocked) can actually appeal/remove themselves from this ‘secret blacklist’. I’ve no doubt that it won’t be an overnight process – and given the governments reputation for being unable to act quickly (or make sensible decisions on anything related to technology ) – it could easily result in companies having their business destroyed while they wait for public servants to muddle their way through a resolution. 

Let’s all hope this system never see’s the light of day.

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Written by mobilewares

December 9, 2008 at 2:18 am

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