Australian Activists Fight Filtering Measures

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's recent announcement that Australia's upcoming filtering scheme would not allow Internet users to opt-out was met with great opposition from the Australian public, as well as some from ISPs.

The scheme has also received criticism from Australian activist groups. An Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) editorial by activist blogger Michael Meloni (Somebody Think of the Children!) argues that the idea of a high-speed national network is a "step in the right direction" but that the filtering scheme will slow down Internet access and raise costs.

Meloni also questions the Australian government's definition of "illegal" and the methods used for blocking such material: "As for banning websites that are 'inappropriate', is the Government really in the best position to decide what that is? Does inappropriate include information on sexual health, breast-feeding, drugs and abortion?"

Therein lies the problem for most. How can the government guarantee that only illegal sites will be blocked? With fine lines between nudity and pornography, drug education and drug use, sexually educational and sexually explicit, how can any filtering mechanism appropriately filter material?

Activist group No Clean Feed designed their site to "focus public scrutiny and action on to abandoning or severely modifying this policy." Their web site, which refers to the "Great Firewall of Australia," offers a number of ideas Australian citizens can
implement to protest the filtering scheme.

Additionally, a YouTube group related to the site shares videos made in protest of Australian filtering.

Despite the myriad efforts taken thus far to protest the filtering scheme, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has not responded to his constituents in any way, and has been accused of attempting to silence his critics.

Image Source: No Clean Feed