Why should non internet users care about the filter?

Posted in #openinternet by skepdadblog on February 15, 2010
Tags: , , , , ,

This question was posted on Twitter by a @victamildew: “Someone in #nocleanfeed Please point me to site to explain implications of Govt’s censorship on a non Internet user and why they should care”. Good question.  Short answer: there’s no reason they should. Unless of course they know any children they care about, or they value free speech, or they pay tax.

As a taxpayer, do you care about the government wasting tens of millions of dollars on totally ineffective schemes to appease lobby groups?  Money that could be better spent on effective action?  Conroy himself agrees that the filter will be almost entirely ineffective at filtering the vast majority of content that you wouldn’t want kids to see online.  His response is that it is “one of a range of initiatives”.  Unfortunately, the money wasted on the filter, which will be utterly ineffective, is money taken from those other effective schemes.  Your tax dollars at work!

Do you value free speech? Maybe you don’t care about euthanasia websites being blocked, or information about safe drug use.  I don’t blame you.  But once the filter is in, ACMA will be required to assess every website that is reported to it – by anyone – against their classification guidelines.  If the reporter can make a case to have it blocked, it will be.  And the assessment criteria can change.  And the scope of blocked material can be expanded beyond just RC content.  And ACMA is not immune to political lobbying.  Maybe next year it will be something you or someone you love cares about.  By then, it will be too late.

Are there any kids you care about? They will use the internet, even if you don’t.  Many child welfare advocacy groups, including Save The Children, are vehemently opposed to the filter.  They argue that it would prevent kids accessing educational information, but more importantly, would likely result in more exposure of kids to horrible online content.  Why?  Because the government has been irresponsibly advertising the filter as “making the internet safer” – and lulling parents into a false sense of security, which will lead to reduced online supervision.  The internet is not a safe place for kids, and the filter does not make it safer.  But some parents will believe it does and their kids will be at a real risk.

Even if you don’t use the internet, I challenge you to ignore what it will do for free speech, how it will put kids at risk, and how it will waste taxpayer’s money that could better be spent elsewhere.


One Response to 'Why should non internet users care about the filter?'

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  1. Victa said,

    Thanks for this post. I asked and received links to many excellent sites. Most links were technical and if I showed them to a non Internet user, they would not understand.

    Trying to tell people who do not use the Internet (which there are a lot of in Australia) about the censorship plans with technical terms is a waste of time.

    Your post is simple, easy to understand and is not 15 pages long. It is straight to the point and prints out on one sheet of paper.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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