Despite months of lobbying, a Google and iiNet-backed industry group, the Safer Internet Group (SIG), has been unsuccessful in meeting with the communications minister, Stephen Conroy, to discuss their alternative to the Government’s proposed mandatory ISP-filter.
According to a spokesperson for the group, Laurel Papworth, the group has made contact with the minister’s office, but has yet to secure face-time with Conroy to put forward its proposal to keep children safe online, while maintaining freedom of the Internet for adults.
Papworth said that the group, which also includes Yahoo, the Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Internet Society of Australia, Internode, the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) and the Inspire Foundation, was bound together in their unified lack of faith in the Government’s proposed ISP-level filter.
“The Internet filtering issue has compelled us to come together more formally on this. It’s about creating a future, an outcome for all Australians and the focus on building a sustainable internet, a sustainable future internet for future Australia,” she said. “The mandatory ISP-filter that they’ve proposed so far doesn’t work."
Alternate solutions put forward include, education, comprehensive policing of illegal content, industry tools, promotion and support of broader participation in ongoing solutions, targeted research of risks and opportunities for young people on the Internet.
Papworth said the communications minister’s office knew that there were "substantial questions" the Australian public needed answers on relating to the mandatory filter.
“We’d like to see direct dialogue with the community, we think that there needs to be more research into what does work and better education," she said. "This is an intelligent government, they’ve bought this issue out they’ve made it a focus. For the first time, Australians are seriously thinking about the kind of future Internet they want for the next generation.”
Along with its five core principles, the lobby group has also published a number of ‘fact sheets,’ detailing the ISP-filter debate, titled <i>Empowering Parents and protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape</i> from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Another is the report by the University of NSW, Edith Cowan University and Queensland ‘sUniversity of Technology on the scope of content caught by mandatory filtering.
SIG has also completed research into the reasons mandatory filtering won’t deliver real child safety and also what other countries are doing.
Their website provides active tools for being e-Smart, has information about safe places for kids online and a number of useful links to organisations and experts in the field of Internet safety.
The office of communications minister, Stephen Conroy, has been contacted for comment.