No Clean Feed – stop the ISP filter in Australia

December 15, 2009

I normally try to avoid political issues on my blog here. Obviously, I’ll rip into politicians, religious leaders and so on as the mood takes me, but they bring that on themselves. But I usually try to avoid getting involved in campaigns or anything like that. This blog is all about words and stories, after all.

However, this is something that I think is really important and it does carry the possibility of affecting the words and stories available to us.

Basically, the Australian government is planning to implement a “clean feed” that would filter all internet content in every home and school in Australia. Except that it wouldn’t. It would just filter blacklisted websites. Badly. From clever starfish:

The Rudd gov­ern­ment claims that the aim of the fil­ter is to pro­tect chil­dren from inap­pro­pri­ate mater­ial. How­ever, their own report from the fil­ter tri­als reports that while the the filter’s accur­acy in block­ing inap­pro­pri­ate sites is 100% with the ini­tial list of 2000 sites, it falls to as low as 78.8% with an expan­ded black­list – how inef­fect­ive will it be with a list of 10,000 sites or more? Fur­ther­more, the fil­ter only tar­gets web traffic, leav­ing the chan­nels where most child porn exchanges take place (FTP, Bit Tor­rent, email etc) unblocked. Rely­ing on such an inef­fec­tual tool will lead par­ents to be less vigil­ant in mon­it­or­ing their children’s inter­net usage – a false sense of secur­ity that will cause more harm than good.

Not only is the fil­ter largely inef­fect­ive, it brings with it ser­i­ous per­form­ance issues that can­not be ignored. The government’s report con­cludes that the per­form­ance impact for end users is “neg­li­gible” – but the actual num­bers repor­ted vary from an actual speed increase, in one case, to decreases ran­ging from 9% up to 44%. Given how far Aus­tralia lags behind the rest of the first world in terms of net­work speeds, in our opin­ion any decrease in per­form­ance is abso­lutely unacceptable.

Not to mention that a policy of blacklisting websites is the beginning of a very slippery slope into censorship issues that have terrifying implications for freedom of speech. Click the badge below to learn more about the subject and for options on how to have your say. Don’t sit back and let them get away with this – it’s lip service and bullshit that will not do a thing to solve the problems it purports to address.

No Clean Feed - Stop Internet Censorship in Australia
Click here and take action.


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11 Responses to No Clean Feed – stop the ISP filter in Australia

  1. Benjamin Solah on December 15, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I’m loving that so many people have gone nuts about this.

    You’re right about the slippery slope and I’m pretty worried because I wouldn’t be surprised if my blog was targeted further down the track.

  2. Chris Maric on December 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    See, my tinfoil hat looks more and more fashionable all the time Al!

    Since when does the governement decide what is right or wrong for me or my child to look at on the net – are they gonna censor every movie, book or song that details graphic scenes or explains how to build dangerous things?

    Like Copenhagen, the official ‘line’ is nothing more than that – All it does is set the scene for ‘well, if we are going down this road, might as well go all the way’

    The net is the last line of freedom we have and they just began closing the door on it…

    Who voted for these idiots?

  3. alan on December 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Ben – mine too!

    Chris – It doesn’t matter who voted for them. The whole fucked up idea was started by the Howard government before they were ousted for the current lot. It doesn’t matter who’s doing it, what matters is that it’s happening.

  4. Michael on December 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Just saw this morning that the feed can be expanded based on complaints for the public. We must flood them with complaints about sites that publish the Bible because of the graphic descriptions of incest, bestiality, rape, S&M, torture etc.

  5. alan on December 15, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Because you KNOW the Bible-bashers will be complaining about everything.

  6. Pasquin on December 16, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Mark my words, the end of freedom will be announced with these four words: it’s for the children.

  7. alan on December 16, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Reminds me of the South Park episode where the parents are catapulting themselves into the building.

  8. Chris Clarke on December 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I agree with what you say, but its important to take into account that Australian’s have no right to freedom of speech. We only have an implied right of freedom of political communication.

    GetUp is giving people the opportunity to fax or email the minister for broadband, communication and the digital economy. I sent one off yesterday. :)

  9. alan on December 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    That’s true – we really do need a constitution. And yes, everyone should go to Get Up and make themselves heard – I did that a few days ago as well.


    Get Up Save The Net campaign

  10. Benjamin Solah on December 17, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I disagree with the thing about needing a Bill or Rights or some sort of legal protection. The United States has a bill of rights and the first amendment and all of that, but that’s hasn’t stopped the US government from doing all kinds of shit to strip ordinary people of their rights.

  11. alan on December 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    No, but at least with a Bill Of Rights they have a valid starting point for protest.

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