The Coalition isn’t convinced net filtering will protect kids
Australians see 26 January as a day to celebrate the diversity and tolerance of Australian society.
So why did hundreds of our favourite websites fade to black this Australia Day?
It’s apparently the Great Australian Internet Blackout.
Webmasters across the country are protesting a sobering Rudd Labor promise, one that restricts our right to choose and cedes parental supervision.
Labor promises to legislate to block access to websites “refused classification” by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The blocked list won’t be publicly available. Cute – we won’t know what we can’t see.
Labor says the filter will protect our children from offensive content online but can’t explain how. It rides roughshod over internet vagaries, and proper roles for law enforcement and parental supervision.
Dissemination of child pornography, sexually violent material and racial hate is deplorable and, rightly, illegal.
But just as you can’t buy illicit drugs from the supermarket, you don’t find illicit material on popular blogs, or mainstream websites.
The criminal underworld of Australian society operates largely “under the radar”, as does the criminal underworld of the internet.
Labor’s legislation makes police of internet providers, blocking any website on the list. But how will a filter stop illicit material in areas where it’s most prolific?
Experts say the greatest risk lies in the corners of the internet immune to filters: private file sharing networks, email and conversations in private internet chat rooms.
Nor is the technology especially accurate.
A leaked version of the “blacklist” last year showed websites of a tourism operator and a Queensland dentist, listed alongside others containing child pornography, rape and extreme violence.
Yet what a filter will do is give false security to hopeful parents; seduced by Government spin and wanting to believe their children are safe to explore online, free from a watchful eye or guiding hand.
Labor knows its policy is flawed. It’s taken the Minister two years to produce his plan and release results of filtering trials. He knows it’s too complex and won’t work.
The Coalition isn’t convinced that mandatory filtering will be effective. Let’s see independently audited filtering trial results, and hear from experts in the field before deciding.
Educating parents in internet dangers and sensible supervision will go a long way to protecting children, as will supporting our police and intelligence agencies to better combat criminal activity online.
Contemplate that, if you get an internet blackout when you login.
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