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The Net is Under Threat

By Emily Clark

Community advocacy group GetUp is running a new campaign against Australian Federal Government plans to censor what we view on the internet. The ‘Save the Net’ campaign is gaining momentum, with over 55,000 Australians already signing a petition to Communications Minister Senator Conroy voicing their outrage over the Government’s ill-considered ideas.

The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can also add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist. According to GetUp, testing has already begun on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to one in 12 legitimate sites. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been allocated to developing this deeply flawed system which will see adult content available only on an opt-in basis, despite claims from child advocacy groups that there is no evidence to suggest children have been accidentally stumbling across child pornography sites whilst surfing the net. In the face of harsh criticism and fierce opposition from the Liberals, the Greens, the internet industry and the wider community, live trials of the filters are expected to begin before the end of the year.

Have your say against internet censorship by signing GetUp’s online petition and get involved on Saturday 13 December 2008 when people nationwide hit the streets in protest. Marches have been planned for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth. Visit the ‘Stop the Clean Feed’ website for more details.