The fledgling Pirate Party has attacked the opt-out amendment being proposed by Labor Senator Kate Lundy to the government's filtering legislation as "censorship lite", saying it was a "hollow response" to the community's concerns about the project.
Filter fighter, Kate Lundy (Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet.com.au)
The news comes as the party stated that it was only 100 memberships away from being able to formally register as a party with the Australian Electoral Commission.
"Opt-out may seem marginally more palatable than the current proposals; however, in some respects it is actually worse — it is totally unacceptable because it breaches the fundamental right to privacy," said Pirate Party Australia secretary Rodney Serkowski in a statement issued late yesterday.
Serkowski said the net effect of Lundy's proposal would be that individuals seeking the "open internet" option she is putting forward would have to request permission from a stranger to have the choice to view content that may not be to everyone's taste, but is not in any way illegal for an adult in Australia to view.
Pirate Party president David Crafti said effectively, requests for censored material could be linked directly to individuals under Lundy's scheme.
Though the government has stated the aim of the filter is to block content that has been refused classification in Australia — in other words, it would be illegal to distribute locally.
Serkowski described Lundy's proposal as "an attempt to mitigate the impact of one of the Australian Labor Party's most unpopular policies".
"There is still nothing to prevent a future government from simply terminating the 'opt-out' option, and returning us to the blindness of a government-imposed and controlled internet censorship infrastructure," he said. "There is still nothing to prevent an expansion of what is censored by the scheme."
The government has planned to introduce legislation regarding the filtering scheme into parliament in late February or early March. However, various forms of protest by Australians continue to take place.