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.

8. Volunteer.

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.

Follow the EFA on Twitter for updates @efa_oz and become a fan of the EFA's Facebook page.

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.

16 comments

  1. Why not complain to the ACMA that Sen Conroy's webpage advocates legislation that will increase the risk of children being exposed to inappropriate content through reduced online supervision?

    Comment by Huey Black on 25 January 2010 at 22:08
  2. About that volunteering... when you going to get back to us? I'm happy to help but you need to let me know what you want help with. It's been weeks now with no reply.

    Comment by John Sherwood on 26 January 2010 at 03:59
  3. I'm still shocked that this hasn't made headlines on the news after all this time... especially on television. Is it just me or people just can't see the bigger picture here?

    Put a door frame in place and someone is bound to come along and put in a door.

    Comment by Chris Southgate on 27 January 2010 at 21:51
  4. Dont waste money on a pointless exercise

    Comment by Mario Marafioti on 28 January 2010 at 06:16
  5. Won't someone please think of the children?!!??!?!?

    I'm sick to death of being told by idiots with no idea what is and isn't good for me, a law abiding 31 year old Australian.

    Internet monitoring SHOULD be left up to parents and not forced upon EVERYONE.

    Comment by Steven Green on 28 January 2010 at 23:16
  6. Leave the monitoring to the parents.

    Comment by Gerald on 28 January 2010 at 23:42
  7. I have signed the petition. NOW STOP CLUTTERING UP MY SCREEN. I am sick of having to get rid of your popup.

    Comment by mconstance on 30 January 2010 at 00:03
  8. recently,hillary clinton,referencing china,made disparaging comments about internet censorship.i emailed her, to ask her, for her help against our own commisars.perhaps many could do the same,and other public figures of whom one could expect support.love you all,thomas

    Comment by thomas vesely on 30 January 2010 at 01:54
  9. We need political representation. Gain the balance of power, and government in this country is unworkable. We'd be hated, but we'd be free.

    Comment by The patriot... on 30 January 2010 at 03:47
  10. don't give them the power to deny you knowledge.
    perhaps,give our support to the party that opposes this? i could not participate in politics,i've been a decent person too long.

    Comment by thomas vesely on 30 January 2010 at 04:01
  11. Three words:

    Comment by A Person on 30 January 2010 at 09:22
  12. Even better than writing to politicians? Call up their offices and make an appointment to talk to them face to face. Be open, honest, respectful and not defensive or angry. You'd be surprised how well those that you can get in to will actually listen and discuss the topic with you.

    Comment by Kath on 30 January 2010 at 10:09
  13. To those concerned, thanks for all your efforts.
    As an artist I will plead with other artists in our country to keep our internet free from censorship.
    As a mother of two I would stand by my determination to know my children and trust they make the right choice of viewing content on the computer and in life.
    As a home educator I would like to invite other home educators (especially Christian) to remember that they - not the state has the God given right to raise and educate their children.

    Comment by Julie on 1 February 2010 at 00:28
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  16. There are 3 different petitions online about this censorship thingy.

    Comment by Nigel Colhoun on 27 February 2010 at 01:43