A number of Australian children's civil liberties and
other groups have launched a significant protest against the
Federal Government's plans to censor the internet through a
"We oppose the government's plan to censor the internet through
mandatory ISP-level internet filtering technology," the groups said
in a joint statement today, noting it planned a TV advertising
campaign against the filter plan.
The statement was signed by the Australian Library and
Information Association, Civil Liberties Australia, UTS University
Librarian Alex Byrne, GetUp!, Liberty Victoria, the National
Association for the Visual Arts, the National Children's &
Youth Law Centre, the NSW and Queensland councils for Civil
Liberties and Save the Children.
"While we wholly support measures that effectively prevent the
distribution of material refused classification under laws that
properly respect free speech, this proposed filter does not meet
that aim," the statement said. "The proposed filter fails to meet
the test of an effective child protection measure that respects the
rights of children. Mandatory internet filtering curtails our human
rights without offering any effective protection for children."
The organisations claimed the filtering scheme would block a range
of "perfectly legal" material, and would be shrouded in secrecy,
with "no effective oversight" of the blacklist of banned
"Any limits on the rights and freedoms of Australians must be
accompanied by rigorous transparency and scrutiny; this proposed
system does not allow for either."
Furthermore, the system could be easily circumvented, the group
claimed. The funding for the scheme should instead go to measures
like PC-level filtering software, and police and educational