Vent IT: Is Internet content filtering feasible?

Is our government's proposed Internet content filtering scheme putting your civil liberties at risk?

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has pushed ahead with the controversial national content filtering scheme with a $125.8 million budget allocation announced this week.

The plan has provoked criticism from Senators, Internet Service Providers, IT managers, the Electronic Frontiers Australia, and privacy groups who previously attacked the scheme when it was announced in January, dubbing it a technically impossible token gesture.

Conroy said ISP content filtering will be part of a wider plan to fight child pornography, including $49 million to aid Australian Federal Police law enforcement.

Electronic Frontiers Association chair Dale Clapperton said the government should do more research into the feasibility of content filtering before allocating funds.

"We are disappointed that the appropriation of money seems to prejudge the question of whether it is feasible to implement content filtering," Clapperton said.

NSW Council of Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said the scheme is a token gesture and will do more damage to freedoms than restrict child pornography.

"This is the way China goes about stopping its people reading illicit material and by substance of the proposal, Senator Conroy is the same," Murphy said.

"Parents need to take more responsibility for what their children view.

"There is no proper classification process for this kind of content blocking. The technology is not up to it, whether it is linguistic-based or Web site-based."

What do you think?

Is Internet content filtering feasible?

Will it be used for the purpose Senator Conroy claims it will be used for, or will it do more to damage freedoms than restrict child pornography?

Should the onus be on parents, or ISPs to block what children can view online?

Are we following in China's footsteps?

Tell us what you think....

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