Opposition calls on Gov to heed Cyber Safety Committee evidence

Education of parents, teachers, and children and greater resources for law enforcement should replace filter

Evidence heard at the Cyber Safety Committee roundtable in Melbourne has been cited by the Greens and the Opposition as further reason for the Federal Government to drop its controversial mandatory ISP-level filter.

Member for Mitchell, and Deputy Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Cyber Safety, Alex Hawke, said evidence from parent groups, ISP providers, teacher unions, Internet peak bodies, such as the Safer Internet Group and the Internet Industry Association, had reinforced the need for better education of parents, teachers, and children and the need for greater resources for law enforcement such as the Australian Federal Police.

“All of the evidence from key affected groups before the Committee has been that a filter is too simplistic, will not achieve the objectives the Government is seeking, and will do nothing to prevent illegal and inappropriate online behaviour,” Hawke said in a statement.

“Senator Conroy should examine the evidence that the committee has heard, in particular that the best way to protect internet users online is to train children and adults to learn to use the filter between their ears.”

According to Hawke the Cyber Safety Committee heard that ISP-level content filtering was ineffective at solving problems such as identity theft, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, and many of the other concerns of Internet use.

“Senator Conroy’s claims that a mandatory Internet filter is about child pornography are a complete sham in light of the evidence heard by the Cyber Safety Committee in recent weeks,” Hawke said.

“Senator Conroy should examine the evidence that the committee has heard, in particular that the best way to protect internet users online is to train children and adults to learn to use the filter between their ears.”

Greens Senator and ICT spokesperson, Scott Ludlum said the evidence heard directly contradicted Prime Minister Julia Gillard's support for mandatory Internet censorship.

"Prime Minister Gillard should have taken time to hear the evidence before throwing her support behind the unpopular net filter," Ludlum said in a statement. "Why establish a cyber safety committee if you plan on ploughing ahead regardless of the evidence it receives?"

Ludlum called on the Prime Minister to put the Government’s Internet filter plan on hold and take the time to review the evidence presented at the Committee that the filter would not work.

"There is a wealth of research and considered opinion in the cyber safety field that stands in direct opposition to the clumsy, expensive and pointless proposal for ISP-level filtering,” Ludlum said.

"The friendless net filter proposal is one policy that the ALP will probably regret taking into the 2010 election. There is still time to work with industry, online advocacy groups, child protection groups and other political parties to adopt a truly evidence based approach."

Tags cyber-safety planisp filteringisp-level internet content filteringPrime Minister Julia GillardSenator Stephen ConroyJulia Gillardcyber bullyingScott Ludlam

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1 Comment



The comments left by strelaoz while off topic and personal in attack against an individual who works for Symantec, are I think a classic example of why the government's proposed internet filter will not work. The Cyber Committee are correct when they argue "lazy parenting", I've been arguing this for awhile. But the rants by strelaoz demonstrate also that the internet is not like a magazine or public movie theatre or television or any other current medium that has classification and this is because it is more akin to the household telephone. Ironically for most connections it is the household telephone, how does a government expect to a achieve a filter on a system that has so many methods of communications, so much traffic without monitoring every phone connection, classifying and then filtering it in real time. If real timeis what the government is proposing then why don't they understand the fear within the community that the government would weld this power improperly, oppressing proper debate and freedom of association...and if not this government what the next if they are to inherit such a system? This is censorship a bridge too far. If the concern is really for the children there has to be a better way, one that involves parents and makes them responsible for the task of monitoring and protecting their children from an imperfect, often dangerous world that we all live in.

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