Internet engineer Mark Newton has published a followup to his earlier letter and meeting with his MP, Government Frontbencher Kate Ellis. Many of our members and the public have written to their MPs about this issue and have been frustrated with the responses they have been getting, which are basically boilerplate containing the same misleading assertions they were complaining about in the first place.

EFA has been supportive of Mark's credible and well-reasoned activism against the filtering proposal, and his latest letter continues in this theme. He raises a point that has concerned us and many others, the still ambiguous nature of what is to go on the secret blacklist:

It is further interesting to note that the Minister has now added the term “unwanted” to his rhetoric, after having had it pointed out that the ACMA blacklist he keeps waving about is not actually a list of “illegal” material . I trust you will agree that his replacement term, “illegal and unwanted,” reinforces community concerns about the scope of the ALP’s proposal, especially given that the Minister has refused to clarify what, exactly, the new term means, and who gets to decide what is “unwanted.” 

He then goes on to lay out the case against the filter, which is worth repeating here.

  1. The Government has failed to identify a need for this policy.
  2. Even if there was a need, the Government has failed to demonstrate that its solution is wanted by the public.
  3. Even if the public wanted this solution, it won't work.
  4. Even if it could work, it's too expensive.
  5. Even if it wasn't too expensive, it'll be implemented poorly.
  6. In the unlikely even that it's implemented perfectly, it will enable child abuse.


In the last point, Mr Newton is pointing out something that the Government ought to be aware of. If the secret blacklist is supplied to every ISP in the country, then it is bound to leak, probably very quickly. Assuming the list contained only child pornography, we might discover web sites overseas hosting the official Australian Government list of child pornography links - a disastrous outcome for all concerned.

The letter also addresses the issue of the Minister's attempt to silence Mr Newton's efforts to publicise his objections to the scheme which shocked many in the community, including us.

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

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