Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) today expressed alarm at the news that the Government's “Clean Feed” Internet censorship plan will not allow Australian adults to opt-out.
The filter, which will be mandatory for all Australians, was initially touted as a “cyber-safety” measure for homes with children. However, recent comments by experts have revealed the existence of a second, secret black list, that would apply even to homes that managed to opt out of the child-safe filtering scheme.
“The news for Australian Internet users just keeps getting worse,” said EFA spokesperson Colin Jacobs. “We have legitimate concerns with the creeping scope of this unprecedented interference in our communications infrastructure. It's starting to look like nothing less than a comprehensive program of real-time Internet censorship.”
The scheme seems at odds with the Government's campaign promise to improve the speed and availability of Australian Broadband. The Government's own research has showed that filtering lowers speeds by 30% or more even under ideal testing conditions. The same data raises serious questions about the accuracy of filters, with even the best performers over-blocking hundreds of thousands of innocuous web sites.
EFA questioned the overall wisdom of having Government policy change the architecture of the Internet. “Australian parents that want filtering can easily acquire it for their homes. Filtering the entire Internet is a bad policy, but makes even less sense technically.”
Most worrying of all is the ever-increasing scope of the filtering scheme. “The definition of inappropriate material has never been well defined,” said Jacobs. “With Government-mandated software monitoring each Internet connection, we expect the scope to expand further as time goes by. How will the Government resist pressure by Family First or other special interest groups to permanently block material considered by some to be harmful?”
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- Background information
- Contact details for media
EFA analysis of the proposal: https://www.efa.org.au/censorship/mandatory-isp-blocking/
EFA clean-feed site: http://nocleanfeed.com
About EFA: Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. (”EFA”) is a non-profit national organisation representing Internet users concerned with on-line rights and freedoms. EFA was established in 1994, is independent of government and commerce, and is funded by membership subscriptions and donations from individuals and organisations with an altruistic interest in promoting online civil liberties.
Mr Dale Clapperton
Phone: 0416 007 100
Email: dclapperton at efa.org.au
Mr Colin Jacobs
EFA Board Member
Phone: 0402 631 955
Email: cjacobs at efa.org.au
Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc — https://www.efa.org.au/