“Safer Internet Day” has come and gone, and the Government’s trial of mandatory filtering has finally been announced, with six small ISPs participating. The trial, with poor results practically inevitable, will do little to dampen discussion about this policy. The stated rationale for the new filtering regime, to protect children, has ensured the debate remains emotive and controversial.
Many of the filter opponents have focused on the many technical flaws in the plan, or its worrying implications for free speech. This has led to the perception that opponents of the plan put internet freedom or technological costs ahead of the welfare of children, as if opponents are all ideologues and childless nerds. Ill-informed filtering proponents have branded organisations like Electronic Frontiers Australia “extreme cyber-libertarians” and implied they oppose filtering because it seeks to impose a restrictive sexual morality on the country. The real question is not “should we do something about child abuse material” or “is protecting children worth the trouble?” but “will filtering actually protect children?” Since we are, in fact, all on the same side when it comes to protecting kids, let’s examine the proposal from a child-welfare perspective. (more…)
It’s when they stop talking about you, that’s when you’ve got to worry. Or so the old saying goes. Perhaps, then, we at Electronic Frontiers Australia should be gratified that filter-backers such as Clive Hamilton still hold up EFA as the epitome of “extreme cyber-libertarianism”, a gang of internet anarchists who don’t care what happens to children as long as Government keeps its hands off our Internet.
While we do appreciate the mention, as ever, it’s a bit dismaying that such misrepresentations still find their way into print. EFA’s objections to filter are well known; it’s an ill-defined policy mess, it won’t deliver for kids, it won’t aid law-enforcement, it’s overly secretive, and technical problems abound. In fact, just about the only argument we haven’t made is that filtering is a bad idea from a purely libertarian perspective. (more…)