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.