Gen-Yers will use social networks to bypass Internet filter, critic says

Once a workaround is found to bypass the government’s Internet filter, it will spread like wildfire on social networking sites says Internode engineer Mark Newton

The Federal online content advisory body Net Alert was introduced in 1999 to provide free in-home content filters for ACMA’s list of banned content.

Senator Nick Minchin, shadow communications minister, says the existing system is adequate and responsibility for legal activity should remain with users and content hosts.

“The case has not been made that we need to go further than the current legal arrangements or that going further is likely to be effective, or will not have quite serious side effects,” he said.

“Parents have a responsibility to be monitoring the sorts of sites their children are accessing and the traffic that is on those sites. In a free society you accept, regrettably, that there are going to be some elements you simply cannot control,” he said.

Minchin said that the government monitoring could never keep pace with technology and online social trends.

“It’s such a fast moving field that you take six months to bring in a law, and then of course the goal posts have moved. I think it is incumbent on the industry and in its own interests to ensure that its codes of practice keep up with the moving of the goal posts,” he said.

Senator Minchin also said he was concerned by the possibility for abuse in a state-imposed censorship scheme, and its impact on civil liberties.

“I think it has serious implications for the prima facie right of all citizens. Within the law, people should be able to view sites they want to see,” he said.

Senator Conroy’s office was not available for comment.

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