Ever since I became campaign manager for the EFA's campaign against the Government's mandatory Internet filter two and a half weeks ago, I have been overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm and support for the EFA's campaign. Accordingly, the most frequent question I have been asked is "what can I do to help?" Given this level of support and the desire of so many Australians to help defeat the Government's policy, I thought I'd suggest ten things you can do to help the EFA's campaign against the Government's mandatory Internet filter.
1. Sign the Senate Internet Censorship Petition.
Last week the EFA launched a petition gainst the Government’s mandatory Internet filtering policy that will be presented to the Senate of the Parliament of Australia. You can sign the petition electronically by going to this page and leaving your name, postcode and email address.
2. Collect signatures for the Senate Internet Censorship Petition.
In addition to signing the online petition, we are also looking for volunteers to collect printed signatures. If you would like to gather signatures for the petition, please download and read the Senate Internet Censorship Petition - Instructions before printing the Senate Internet Censorship Petition. Simply print out the petition and take it to work, parties, and anywhere else you might be able to talk to people about Internet censorship and persuade them to sign this petition.
3. Participate in the Great Australian Internet Blackout.
This week is the Great Australian internet Blackout, a week long online protest against imposed online censorship. Over 500 groups and thousands of individuals are blacking out their websites and profile pictures to inform a wider audience about the Government's plan. Learn how to black out your website here, and learn how to black out you profile picture on Twitter or Facebook here.
4. Renew your membership or donate to the EFA.
The EFA relies on membership fees and donations to fund its activities. Renew your membership or make a donation so that we can continue to fund our campaign against the Government's mandatory Internet filter.
5. Write to your Member of Parliament.
By letting policymakers know just what we think of the Government's mandatory Internet filter, we can bring about a policy change. You can help by writing to your local Member of Parliament and explaining why you are opposed to the current policy. If you're not sure who to contact or what to say, we have some information and suggestions here. You might also want to have a look at Bernard Keane's advice on how to write a great letter.
If you receive a form letter reply from your Member of Parliament, Mark Newton has drafted a form letter that you might like to send in reply.
6. Create content.
You can help spread the word by creating content online that illuminates the flaws in the Government's policy. Write a blog post, create a YouTube video, or draw a cartoon that comments on the proposed filter. Disseminate your content virally by tweeting about it and/or posting it on Facebook. Use the #openinternet or #nocleanfeed hashtags to make easier for people to find your content online. We are also looking for content for our new campaign website, so please email me at [email protected] and let me know about your content.
7. Talk to your friends and family.
Talking personally with your friends, family and colleagues is probably the most effective way of communicating what is wrong with the Government's mandatory Internet filter. We find that people who work and live on the Internet every day understand why the Government's policy is flawed, but we need to do a better job of communicating to people who don't necessarily have the same familiarity with the Internet why the Government's policy simply won't work. This is why talking to your non-technology savvy friends about the Internet filter can be particularly effective. You might like to explain that:
- The category of 'refused classification' is much broader than child sexual abuse material.
- The key to protecting children online is education, empowerment, supervision, and voluntary filtering.
- The key to combating child sexual abuse is to fund police and foster international cooperation.
- There are technical issues with the proposed filter.
- There are free speech and censorship concerns with the proposed filter.
Learn more about what is wrong with the proposed filter here.
We are always looking for volunteers. Anyone who is passionate is able to help us make a difference, so please let us know. In particular we are looking for:
- People to collect signatures for the petition (see point 2).
- Graphic designers to create logos, postcards, posters, banners.
- Web developers and designers to create web applications and websites.
- Community managers, project managers, or anyone else with skills or ideas to help us organise this campaign.
- People to take delivery of a stack of postcards and distribute them to people who will write a message and post them back to us.
9. Follow the EFA on Twitter and Facebook.
10. Send us feedback.
Please contact me at [email protected] with your ideas and feedback. We'd love to know what you think is working and where you would like the EFA to focus it resources. We know that we won't be able to please everyone all the time, but we are working to hard to persuade the Government and the Australian people that the Government's mandatory Internet filtering policy is a mistake that will waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and will not make anyone safer.