Internet Censorship in Australia

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
“Who watches the watchmen?”
– Juvenal, Satires, VI, 347

From Electronic Frontiers:
Mandatory Internet Filtering Fact Sheets

Labor’s mandatory ISP filtering plan has generated much debate, and an equal amount of confusion.

In an effort to combat some of the misconceptions and to set out some of the real concerns with the scheme, Electronic Frontiers Australia has prepared the six single-page fact sheets to bring politicians, media and the public up to speed.

For instance:

Will the filter prevent children from seeing adult images?
Will the filter slow down the Internet for Australians?
Who will oversee the administration of the blacklist?
Will the filter help police target traffickers of illegal material?
How does the scheme compare to those overseas?
The fact sheets cover the following areas:

Overview: What is the scheme, how did it come about?
Cyber-safety: Will the filter protect children and how?
Technical issues: How will the filter work and what are the technical difficulties?
Filtering overseas: How does this scheme compare to those in other democracies?
Combating illegal material: Will the filter crack down on the distribution of child abuse material online?
Filtering and free speech: Does the scheme pose a threat to our democratic freedoms?
EFA welcomes any feedback on the content of these so we can keep them up to date and help drive the debate forward.

And from No Clean Feed–Stop Internet Censorship in Australia:

What is the Government’s plan?

Although the final details of the filtering plans have been kept under wraps, the Minister is on record as being firmly committed to a mandatory clean-feed internet to Australian homes, schools and public computers. A trial of filtering software by the ACMA has already been performed, with a “live” field pilot to follow later this year. We must act fast before millions of dollars are squandered on this technically impractical and democratically unworkable solution in search of a problem.

What do we know so far?

Filtering will be mandatory in all homes and schools across the country.
The clean feed will censor material that is “harmful and inappropriate” for children.
The filter will require a massive expansion of the ACMA’s blacklist of prohibited content.
The Government wants to use dynamic filters of questionable accuracy that slow the internet down by an average of 30%.
The filtering will target legal as well as illegal material.
$44m has been budgeted for the implementation of this scheme so far.
The clean-feed for children will be opt-out, but a second filter will be mandatory for all Internet users.
A live pilot deployment is going ahead in the near future.
What we don’t know is just as important…[continues, with notations, at the website]

We recommend reading both websites.

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