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Look at the time, 1984 already! [Nov. 3rd, 2008|01:38 pm]


My boyfriend sent this letter regarding the proposed internet filter to our local member here in Perth, but felt it necessary to get the word out.  There were protests this past weekend, though the one in Perth was not well-attended. 

Sorry if this isn't allowed here - mods feel free to delete.  This has been cross-posted to numerous Australian communities (so I'm sorry if you see this multiple times!)

Dear Dr. Dennis Jensen,

I'd like to register my concern about Senator Stephen Conroy's plan for Australia-wide internet filtering. I believe it's all well and good to try and protect children, but I strongly resent the government holding my hand and preventing me from looking up a review of A Clockwork Orange (cited for violence and sexual content), especially since I am 21.

Previous software based filters have cost $89 Million in development, which makes me wonder if this new filter is wise. The previous filter also had a projected usage of 2.1 Million people but only achieved a maximum usage of 130,000 people and currently is used by 30,000 people. The proposed filter will also slow the internet by 20-30% and block 1 in 100 sites incorrectly, and these are conservative government estimates. The proposed filter is also being decried by various ISPs due to the extra infrastructure it will take and the price, which will be passed onto the consumer. Surely an education campaign of tv ads warning parents and telling them to have your children's computer out in the family room would go further to combat more problems than just objectionable material, including the rising problem of cyber-bullying.

As for protecting the community, this type of proposed filter also is easily obfuscated. There are many open source (read: free) platforms available used to circumvent this type of filtering in other more oppressive countries. My worry is that this type of filtering will create an arms race type of situation on the internet. With criminals become more covert in response to this filtering, this will create even more work for the AFP. Ultimately this filter does not combat crime on the internet, and it's ultimately damaging to waste money on this in the current economic climate. Also of concern is the political morass this could create if, while trying to block access to terrorist related sites, legitimate citizens were blocked from seeking religious council.

But what really worries me is the underlying filter than no one will be able to opt out of. It is a non-disclosed list of blacklisted domains and subject matter that no one will be able to get a hold of. Even the list of banned books is published, but this however will not be. Already we have politicians trying to silence people such as Belinda Neil; imagine if such people had access to the blacklist for the whole country. Even if the current generation of politicians do not abuse it, we have just put into place infrastructure that is the greatest threat to freedom that this country will ever face. This underlying filter would put us on par China in terms of freedom.

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