(Wrote this in late 2009. Since then Google have hinted at plans to stop operating in China. Maybe Australia is next in line? )
Anybody looking for slower, more expensive, and censored internet access just had their lucky day, with the Government’s announced plans to legislate next year, a ‘Clean Feed’ scheme which will require all ISPs to block certain types of material.
What’s the Problem?
Sayeth Colin Jacobs of the Electronic Frontiers Australia :
“Technologically, Internet filtering is a real nightmare. Regardless of the scheme adopted, a slowdown in Internet speeds is inevitable, and the more aggressive the filtering, the slower the network access becomes. The Government’s own trials of dynamic filters showed slowdowns on an average of 30% and as high as 76%. Exactly what will be blocked? Who will decide and why is it being attempted in the first place?Government censorship can never be an acceptable substitute for parental discretion.”
From Get UP:
“Testing has been released 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.”
Despite the enormous expense, the proposed clean feed filter cannot achieve it’s aims : the prevention of access to banned material online. There are several easy ways to avoid it, and yet everybody else will have to suffer the extra ISP expenses, slower speeds, and accidental blockage of legitimate sites as a result of the filter being employed.
Sign the petition: http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/SaveTheNet
A guide to writing to Ministers by @BernardKeane: http://is.gd/5pjGo
And The Internet People Said:
( A collection of comments via the #nocleanfeed tag on twitter. )
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” — Mark Twain
@unsungsongs : The point of a filter that doesn’t make the net “safe” for unsupervised use, but is easy to circumvent is what exactly?
@NewtonMark: Fascinated to observe that the Govt clearly doesn’t believe #nocleanfeed circumvention will show up as a point-and-click firefox add-on.
@zdnetaustralia: An open letter to Stephen Conroy from an Australian IT security consultant: http://bit.ly/8WUgP9
@Glebe2037: Journos: Please do investigative piece on Christian Lobby’s unrepresentative influence on Fed Govt policy
@EFF: Stephen Conroy gives go ahead to mandatory ISP blocking law, raises Great Firewall of Australia: http://eff.org/r.e7b
@unsungsongs : Will use of an international VPN be a crime? If so, corporate Australia will be screwed. If not, filter is useless.
@leowings: Isn’t Optus network already slow enough?? Optus supports ISP filter.
@jamesdrax: The Australian Government will probably advertise jobs for internet filterers – they’ll need a LOT of them.
@SoldierBeetle: Looking forward to seeing if Stephen Conroy will have the balls to block Facebook and MySpace, to protect our children.
@stilgherrian: No, people, don’t add a fucking #twibbon to you avatar! Write a letter to your MP! Something USEFUL.
Here is some excellent reference material for when you write that letter to your MP. #nocleanfeed http://icio.us/doljsa
I vote and I disapprove of your #nocleanfeed filter, and I will march in the street against it (Please tweet your support)
etc etc etc The issue is generating quite a lot of activity, and getting noticed around the world:
@mediahunter: In the United States, Fox News ran with the headline: “Joining China and Iran, Australia to filter internet.”
@PolitikP : Finland makes broadband a legal right and Australia tries to censor the internet!?!?! @mediahunter: London’s Telegraph led with the headline “Australia plans Chinese-style internet filtering”
@SirElmo: RT: So I can’t get married. I can’t surf web freely. Can’t even play R18+ games. Fuck this, I’m moving to Iran.
@harleyd : Americans would be gobsmacked to hear about Australia’s Internet censorship proposal & #nocleanfeed. I really hope US media covers it.
And yes, you may have heard of this company called GOOGLE :