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Children's, liberties groups protest filter

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 filtering scheme.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor on

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 filtering scheme.

"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 material.

"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 resources.

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