Mandatory Filter – some history


First, China. Next: the Great Firewall of… Australia?
– New article in Time magazine on the government’s proposed mandatory Internet filter.
If you are unsure what the filter is, read the ALIA policy.

Minister Senator Conroy has long had an issue with safety for children on the Internet, one could even say he had a mission. It has been suggested that this whole mandatory filtering argument has a genesis in a gathering of 20,646 signatures in Australian churches by the Australian Christian Lobby organised and delivered through the offices of Stephen Conroy.

From Senate estimates on 23/05/2006 and on other occasions in Parliament we can see that libraries and the Internet is an area about which Senator Conroy personally feels very strongly. Libraries on the other hand feel very strongly about providing access to information, opposing censorship, as well as educating the public and children on how to stay safe online.

Senator Kate Lundy is also working on the subject of filtering and has written numerous blog posts on the issue. Senator Lundy is proposing an amendment to the manadatory ISP policy that will make the filter opt-in.

However, a report in the SMH today, has the opinion that the whole policy will be shelved until after the next election.
It will be interesting to see whether filtering appears in any party manifesto’s for this election.

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The Great Australian Internet Blackout

The campaign against censorship steps up this Australia Day week with a campaign appearing across numerous Australian websites coordinated by http://www.internetblackout.com.au/

Librarians have a dog in this fight as they are the guardians of information and the champions of access.

The Australian Library and Information Association therefore has a statement on online content regulation at
http://www.alia.org.au/policies/content.regulation.html which says:

Libraries and information services facilitate and promote public access to the widest variety of information, reflecting the plurality and diversity of society. The selection and availability of library materials and services, including online content and services, is governed by professional considerations and not by political, moral and religious views.

Libraries and information services support the right of all users to unhindered access to information of their choice regardless of format.

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

also has this to say:

The global interconnectedness of the Internet provides a medium through which this right may be enjoyed by all. Consequently, access should neither be subject to any form of ideological, political or religious censorship, nor to economic barriers.