Librarians voice opposition to Internet filter

Group concerned filter could give parents a false sense of security

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the latest to join a swathe of groups opposed to the Federal Government’s plans to introduce mandatory ISP-level Internet content filtering.

The policy, announced by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in December last year, will block URLs that received a Refused Content classification by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

In a statement, the association said Australia needs to take action to ensure that internet users, particularly children, have a safe experience online, but it voiced concern that the policy may give parents a false sense of security and encourage them to reduce their supervision.

“As a large proportion of child sexual abuse content is not found on public websites, but in chat-rooms or peer-to-peer networks, we know the proposed filtering regime will not effectively protect children from this objectionable material,” the statement said. “We are concerned that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide. Filtering all RC material could block content with a strong social or educational value.”

Last week, a conglomerate of Australasian computer science academics voiced opposition to the Internet content filtering policy.

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