EFA launches 'tell mum' filter campaign

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has launched a website asking people to tell their mum about the government's plans to censor "refused classification" material from the internet.
Written by Ben Grubb, Contributor

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has launched a website asking people to tell their mum about the government's plans to censor "refused classification" material from the internet.

The EFA has been working with Adelaide-based agency Fnuky to come up with a new campaign against the Federal Government's filtering proposal. The campaign centres on a website that asks users to tell their mother about the government's plans. "The whole board are pretty excited about what we've come up with," EFA vice-chair Geordie Guy said.

A screenshot of the timetotellmum.com website

A screenshot of the timetotellmum.com website
(Credit: Ben Grubb/ZDNet Australia)

The site, timetotellmum.com, includes a video with comedian Akmal Saleh speaking out against the filter. "From a mainstream perspective, we know a few things about the proposal as rock solid fact," Guy said. "Firstly that people support the idea of protecting kids, secondly, mums know what's best for their kids, and thirdly, kids are likely to be the mentor for technology in their family.

"Most importantly, we know that once people understand the proposal, they go dead cold on it."

According to the website, at 10am today 2400 people had "told mum" about the filtering proposal using one of the methods listed on the website. Methods include Skype, Facebook, email or SMS. The SMS method lets users message their mother for free with the alias "ConcrndKid", and attach whatever message they wish. The website of the campaign is also included within the message.

Asked if the SMS function had been abused, Guy said the EFA had not seen a problem with it.

"People can abuse all sorts of things online," Guy said. "We haven't seen anybody abusing it. If it turns out that someone does see the potential for that to be abused, I guess we'd have to take action, but as it stands at the moment it looks like people are doing the right thing."

In announcing the plan on the EFA blog, Guy said that the group hoped the campaign would "reach some new people, and further highlight the myths about [Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's] filter". He was, however, met with one commenter who said the campaign was broadly inaccurate, offensive to certain groups and provided misinformation.

"I can't even tell if it's serious or not and you're using it as an opportunity to sell crappy merchandise," the commenter under the alias William said. "Tell me exactly how much EFA spent on this horrible initiative and which corporations funded it?

"I want the $100 donation I made to you guys earlier this year back."

EFA's Guy told ZDNet Australia that the person who left that comment was someone who had "been a pain in the neck to the EFA for a long time".

"The [Internet Protocol] address is from somebody who regularly comments on the bottom of anything to do with the censorship proposal, it's run through a US VPN, and there's a different made up email address each time," Guy said.

"The comment has been removed," Guy said at 10:30am this morning. However, at 11am the comment remained on the site. At 11:30am the comment appeared removed.

Asked how much the campaign cost the EFA, Guy would not reveal the price tag, but said both the agency and comedian were paid.

"The campaign was highly cost-effective because a lot of people who were working on it were supporters of the issue. Obviously, we don't go into details about how much individual actions cost. We do in our annual report each year talk about what some of our expenditures were, but showing everybody the price tags of things as we do it is not common practice."

The EFA recently defended claims by Conroy that it "misled" the public on the filtering proposal.

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