Electronic Frontiers Australia today launched a new campaign against the Rudd Government's mandatory Internet filtering plan.

The Open Internet campaign emphasises that Australians want an Open Internet that is free from an impractical and costly policy of Government imposed mandatory Internet filtering.

"This policy has caused considerable anxiety amongst Australian Internet users," said EFA Vice-Chair Colin Jacobs. "The idea that the Government will be inserting itself in every Internet connection in the country is a tough one to swallow, especially without a workable policy goal behind it."

"Australians support an Open Internet that empowers individuals to decide what they view online," said Peter Black, EFA's campaign manager. "Australians support an Open Internet that trusts parents to monitor what their children view online."

The campaign is centred around a new website, OpenInternet.com.au, blog, and Facebook fan page, that together will act as campaign hub for all the different individuals and organisations that are campaigning against the Government's mandatory Internet filtering policy.

The policy, which will see all Australian Internet connections subject to a Government-controlled blacklist of banned sites, will apply to all Australian Internet connections within 12 months of the legislation being passed. Although originally touted as a "cyber-safety" policy, the resulting filter will not filter out all material unsuitable for children, instead targeting a select list of "refused classification" material, which would include content dealing with crime, drugs and certain types of adult material.

Concerns with the list include its broad scope, its secret nature, and the inability of Australian businesses to know if and when they have been placed on the list. "One of our main concerns is how the list might expand in the future," said Jacobs. "It's hard to imagine both this government and every government forever, resisting temptation from special interest groups as well as electoral and media pressure."

The Open Internet campaign marks an escalation of opposition to the plan, which will continue throughout the year. "Our goal is to ensure the Australian public know what they're in for," said Black. "It's important that such a major and expensive policy gets the public scrutiny it deserves. And we believe that Open Internet portrays a positive and understandable message that will resonate with Australians who are yet to form a strong opinion on the Government's policy."

- Ends -

Below is:

- Background information
- Contact details for media

* EFA's Open Internet campaign
- http://openinternet.com.au/

* Electronic Frontiers Australia
- https://www.efa.org.au/

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.

Media Contacts:

Mr Peter Black
Campaign Manager
Phone: 0421 636 496
Email: pete.black at efa.org.au

Mr Colin Jacobs
EFA Vice-Chair
Phone: 0402 631 955
Email: cjacobs at efa.org.au

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