March filter 'protest' canned for picnics

Summary:The 6 March street protest planned by anti-filter groups Block the Filter and Stop the Filter has been ditched in favour of more "family-friendly" activities, such as picnics.

Correction: The story originally said that Stop the Filter was also moving from street protests to picnics, however, that group has said that it still intended to hold its protests.

The 6 March street protest planned by anti-filter group Block the Filter has been ditched in favour of more "family-friendly" activities, such as picnics.

A spokesperson from BlocktheFilter.org, Phil Brown, told ZDNet.com.au that the group had decided to have a "national day of action", including cyber safety picnics in parks across Australia to raise awareness about issues surrounding the filter.

Brown said that picnics would be a more family-friendly form of action than a protest. Furthermore, the groups agreed that delaying the protests would give them more effect down the track, as there would be more mainstream awareness of the issue.

"We feel that the current political situation is not appropriate for protests at the moment and the concept of a street demonstration should be later in the process, like when the Bill passes through the House of Representatives," Brown said.

"A protest could be delayed as late as 12 months down the tracks, it's hard to say," Brown said. However, he stressed that a protest at some stage was still "highly likely".

The group made the decision after consulting with Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) and its change of mind has coincided with the EFA's launch of a new campaign, openinternet.com.au, which aims to educate the broader community about the filter.

"The EFA has never supported street protest," EFA spokesperson Peter Black told ZDNet.com.au.

According to Black, the No Clean Feed campaign and Internet Blackout Campaign were useful in persuading technologically-savvy internet users, but had limited effectiveness in reaching a more mainstream audience. "There was a feeling that the campaign had stalled," he said.

Topics: Censorship, Enterprise Software, Government : AU, Tech Industry

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