March filter 'protest' canned for picnics

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, Phil Brown, told 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,, which aims to educate the broader community about the filter.

"The EFA has never supported street protest," EFA spokesperson Peter Black told

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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  • Hmmm

    This pretty much confirms the fears I have that the pro-filtering a-holes would surreptitiously take over any anti-filtering organizations and sabotage them.
    This seems to be direct proof that this is already occurring.
  • More mainstream media buyin on the issue

    Until such time as the mainstream media start to publically comment/denounce and make this issue front page news, the average Australian voter is not going to understand what is at stake here.

    But then, why would the likes of Channel 7 give this issue proper coverage when Stokes and Conroy do deals in the snow?
  • This will do nothing.

    Bring on the full on protests.
    At least Anonymous is doing something.
  • Stop the Filter, Melbourne

    The information in this article is false; we're not affiliated with Block the Filter, nor are we having a picnic. On March 6 at 12pm, on the steps & lawns of the State Library, we're organising a mass public event against Sen Conroy's internet censorship. There will be speakers from across all political groups & organisations against the filter, there will be information fliers, posters & banners, there will be performers & media & a chance to speak out. The event is 'family-friendly' insofar as anyone can come, & we will be promoting the event among parents' & teachers' groups alongside the already-active left parties. Apologies if any of this was not already clear; we've been rapidly organising only in the last week (i.e. since we found out that nothing else had been planned by anyone). Please see our facebook site, , for the latest updates.
  • Think Positive, Act Wisely

    I think it's a great idea, and we need the support of less technologically savvy people.

    Parents need to know that not only censorship is a problem, but this filter will actually be detrimental to child welfare.

    With the filter:
    1. Parents will become complacent
    2. It will distract from catching predators which are not using HTTP to distribute CP

    Moreover, education about safe internet usage has been shown to be more effective. Parents need to know that ICT staff are trying to help and they need to join in with that, rather than being bombarded with Nanny state crap.

    The picnic hits the Conroy propaganda right in the nose as well as being useful to families and the broader campaign.

    Anonymous' attack, however, was publicised as being pro CP, which is detrimental to the campaign and Anonymous itself.

    Wisen up. When a protest is most effective, it will happen. For now, let's sign the EFA petition and block it at the source
  • Stop the Filter

    If you're not affiliated with Block the Filter, you should be. Work with your comrades in the fight against the filter.
  • Stop the Filter Perth still having a rally

    Hi everyone. I founded Stop the Filter in Perth on 9th Feb and although under much pressure from Block The Filter and The Pirate Party ever since, in Perth we are still holding a rally and are calling it a rally and have not changed our format in the slightest.

    We only started organising in Perth and Melbourne when nothing else had been organised in those cities by BTF.

    We can't have street marches due to the lack of time to organise them now - they require giving police more notice and having people to act as 'marshals' on them. There may be a possibility of a march through the malls in Perth if that is what is wanted by the people there on the day.

    We are a skeleton crew in both Perth and Melbourne but considering STF Perth formed a week ago and STF Melbourne 6 days ago - we aren't doing too badly.

    We always intended to hold events with speakers and some entertainment to break it up, with information tables and petitions for the Senate and the House of Reps and that is still the format of both events in Melbourne and Perth.

    The reason Perth has decided to keep calling our event a rally is because we as group feel that the people who are most likely to show up will be put off if we call it something else. We also think that there has not been enough work done to promote the NDA in family type organisations - so it is ulikely that families not already intending to come would come no matter what it is called.

    By choosing venues that are centrally located we hope to draw in people passing by our events, so that new people hear the issues, and hopefully join us in a long term campaign.

    We seem to be damned if we do and damned if we don't so my plea on behalf of STF is to please just let us get on with organising our events on 6th March and help us promote our events in both Perth and Melbourne.

    We are borrowing money and using our own money to put these events on. We need support not criticism. Please help us fight the misinformation that is going around and promote our events. They are happenning! Please come and please make a decent donation on the day if you can so that we can recoup some of our costs - and continue the campaign for as long as it takes.
  • We have tried to work with BTF

    We have tried to work with BTF but they will not be content unless we blindly obey their orders and hold our events the way they say they should be held.

    We promote their event in Sydney as much as we can - they don't promote ours - they tell people that they are holding picnics and that that is all that is happenning, even though there is no evidence of anything having been organised anywhere with the possible exception of Sydney.

    We only started organising rallies when we heard from BTF organisers themselves that nothing had been done in Perth or Melbourne.

    There will most likely be no events in Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart and even maybe Adelaide if we just leave it to BTF, going by their recent efforts.
  • No pro-filterers in STF

    I can't speak for any other groups but STF.

    We are a new organisation that sprung from our own frustration that nothing had been organised in any city except Sydney for the NDA with under 4 weeks to go.

    Now there is less than 3 weeks to go. Please help us promote our events.


  • Conspiracy Theories

    I can't believe this change of tactic (which will make the cause more accessible to PEOPLE WHO DON'T ALREADY KNOW ABOUT IT) is believed to be a conspiracy theory by pro-filter groups to sabotage the anti-censorship movement. Come off it! If you really want to sabotage the cause, ignore the advice of the EFA, launch DDOS attacks and then hold a hastily organised protest a week after the DDOS using the SAME NAME for the Operation - talk about stupidity! How are politicians and parents and anyone who doesn't already know about this issue (ie non-net savvy ppl) going to react positively to THAT!? We need ongoing, regular events that the media can report about in a calm, accessible way ie "Another public meeting was held this week in Xxxx to educate parents about the dangers children face online and how the Govt's mulit million dollar policy will do NOTHING to address them" instead of "hackers behind the DDOS attack against the Federal Govt's parliamentary website last week, were arrested this week at street protests around the country that were against the mistaken idea that small tits in porn will be banned by the Govt" - I mean, come on people!! Think about it! This is ridiculous. Best of luck to everyone, but try and use your head!
  • It's plasible.

    Aren't you knee-jerk dismissive?

    A womans appearance is used to judge her age when classifying pornography so they aren't mistaken that small breasts will be banned. Look it up. Her APPEARANCE is used to judge her age.

    It's also plausible that the DOS attacks are the government sabotaging the EFA too. But upon asking most people know what Anonymous did and don't know about what the EFA even does. It's just a matter of burying stuff.

    You can't dismiss a plausible theory. It's a theory. It'll be tested eventually. Till then it's free reign buddy. Either way when it comes to any sort of issue theres always different groups doing different things.
  • Not plausible in the slightest

    its gunna look bad for ALL groups when protesters get arrested on Feb 20 for the DDOS attacks (or under anti assoc laws) - personally, i am 100% behind the EFA on this one

    i really doubt the DDOS attacks were the Fed Govt /pretending/ to be Anon - i mean, it was all over the web, much discussion in IRC and it's still on encyclopedia dramatica. Look it up.

    this 'paranoid conspiracy theory' crap that has started to bleed into the anti-censorship movement is just as laughable as it is harmful to the cause.
  • The porn issue is minor & won't win us support

    Derailing the issue to make it about censoring small tits is so counter productive. We need to win over mainstream Australia and there are dozens of Real Issues they will respond to in regards to mandatory net censorship (ie wont make kids safer, will mess with the economy, will block legit sites, will align our communcaiton policies with non-democratic nations, will impair network speeds, not technically feasible etc etc) yet Anon wants to make it all about porn - this will turn off 90% of people we want to win over and is a stupid, stupid idea.
  • Ain't all porn.

    Saying Anon wants to make it all about porn just shows you've just browsed headlines and not read anything they've released really.
  • Cancel the rallies

    'We need support not criticism.'

    Wrong, Trish. Protest rallies are *not effective*, will *not* be attended, as far as I know *opposed* by every major anti-filter group and will almost certainly be *hijacked* by far-left groups diluting the message with their own pet causes, and to whom the public is desensitised.

    A poorly attended protest (as this will certainly be) will send a signal of public apathy to the mainstream media and play directly into Conroy's hands.

    Simply put: doing it wrong is *worse* than not doing it at all.

    The planned protests have been hastily arranged, and every attempt to discuss them rationally has been rebuffed with 'we're doing it anyway so shut up'.

    *There are better alternatives*

    WRITE to your representatives.

    TELL your family, friends and community about the issue, especially those who are unfamiliar with it. Bring it out of the Twitter echo chamber.

    LISTEN to the wise voices of the EFA, Mark Newton, Stilgherrian and other commentators who are well informed politically and technically and have substantial, rational advice.

    ACCEPT that everyone else feels as strongly as you about the filter and is criticising you for good reason.

    COLLABORATE on action that stands a better chance of making an impact on both the politicians and the less well informed majority of the public. There are better ideas out there.

    We don't need the People's Front of Judea. We need rational collaboration and discussion, not arrogant stubbornness.

    Stop the Filter, *please*, cancel the rallies for the sake of rational, united progress. It's our only hope.
  • No

    Letters, emails, faxes...these do nothing. Letters and faxes go in the bin unread. Emails are just deleted. They are ignored.

    You can't ignore a rally. You can't delete it without reading. You can't put it in the bin. You can try to break it up, but it still gets noticed.
  • We Should Do Both

    In my opinion, we should write letters, sign petitions... and protest.

    Protest takes many forms.

    We should definitely stop harrassing each other for not agreeing on the form of protest that each group chooses to participate in.

    We are all on the same side.

    As for the 'far left' and other groups. Both STF Perth and Melbourne have decided that to keep to the issue, and not muddy the waters - no information tables from other groups will be set up at either event.

    We have also all agreed as individual activists to leave our agendas at the door and just fight the filter.

    For the record, I have never told any of the small group of people that feel compelled to keep sending me messages, and telling me to cancel my rally, to shut up.

    However, the time has come to move on now, so please do.

    Stop the Filter!!
  • Pussyfooting Around

    All this "Protest or no protest" is going to achieve nothing. People have to get out there and be counted, whoever their official banner may be (even anonymous). Only have to look at the Victorians over their high street parking rebellion for an example. They happily took to the streets, megaphones and all. Letters, faxes and emails go STRAIGHT in the bin, stand up and be counted for goodness sake.
  • Re:We Should Do Both

    This is totally right - leave your own agendas and opinions at home. Turn up and protest the filter and the filter alone, it's the common goal that we ALL want.

    200 people under 100 different banners is better than 25 people under one.
  • Democratic country should have democracy online as well

    As you know very well criminals are always one step ahead so there is no easy way to sort things out so it is the easiest to leave things to sort out themselfs, in democratic way so everybody watch what they like, as no filter could work corectly and a lot of small web sites and blogs could be filtered without any reason as they phisicaly could not be rated due to lack of resources so we are heading toward totalitarisam and we saw it already where Russians got in just 70 years of folowing so I give my voice for freedom.