[clug] OT: Protesting the proposed clean feed?

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Fri Oct 24 00:09:57 GMT 2008

Lana Brindley wrote:
> 2008/10/24 Nathan Rickerby <rickerby at gmail.com>
>> On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 09:26:01AM +1100, Dale Baldwin wrote:
>>> Brett Worth wrote:
>>>> Jack Kelly wrote:
>>>>> Hi List,
>>>>> I hope you don't mind the OT'ness of this post, but here goes:
>>>> 48 hours - 71 follow-up posts. Could this be the longest OT clug
>>>> thread EVER?
>>> the ABC have picked up the story
>>> http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/10/24/2399876.htm
>> That's great to see, but I'm a little disappointed the story wasn't
>> about a 71 post OT thread on the CLUG list.
> As was I.
> Still, it's nice to see some mainstream coverage in the "filtering is bad"
> vein. Also spotted this little gem: http://viv.id.au/blog/?p=2345 It would
> seem as though Ludlum might be worth cc'ing a copy of your letter to (along
> with Bob Brown).
> L

Seems to me that there are two issues involved here and that it might
be prudent if the Govt. dealt with them separately.

Firstly, the Govt. has determined that some content can be classified
as "illegal" (eg. child pornography) and having made that decision, they
now need to enforce the law. Whether a Govt. should decree some
material to be illegal or not is not really at issue here - they do and
it covers many other domains than just the Internet (eg. public
notices/adverts, TV programs, books etc.).

We all know that "filtering" sites is not going to stop those people in
our community who really want to access that sort of illegal content.
So maybe we should help come up with other alternative solutions to
the proposed filtering of illegal content, if we agree that that sort
of material should be "banned".

The other issue is "inappropriate" material. This is a whole different
kettle of fish. Why do we want to trust the Govt. to determine what is
appropriate and what isn't? However, many people apparently do want
the Govt. to play a role here. Filtering (or only offering a limited
Internet) may be a good solution here, especially for the younger
kids, as they generally aren't going to try and break out of the
"sandbox". But it needs to be done in a way that is tailored to the
individual situations of each home or classroom. Whilst I allow my 12
year old to view some material on TV that we can then talk about, I
sure don't want my 4 year old viewing it!

 From my point of view, this is great opportunity for enterprising ISPs
to offer an Internet feed that best suits what their customers are
asking for. That is, to provide add-on services to homes, schools etc.
tailored to what the customer actually wants. Some ISPs are already
doing something along these lines, but getting the Govt. involved
is distorting their business case and hampering the innovation.

We all have a role to play in helping to protect the vulnerable in
our community which includes children of a vast range of ages and
"maturity", as well as many others. Parents and teachers are not the
only ones who need to be involved in this process: all adults need to
play a part. Sometimes this means some sort of inconvenience to our
otherwise "mature" adult citizens (eg. you need to go to Fyshwick to
buy your porn instead of rocking up to the local Big W etc.).

In summary, I don't think the Govt. should filter the Internet. They
should "go after" the illegal material (and those viewing it) - eg.
follow the money trail etc. and they should help ISPs who want to
provide some of their client base with a customisable "clean feed"
to get that set up. Otherwise, they should leave my packets alone.

Anyway, that is my A$0.02 (about US$0.0133) worth for now.


Bob Edwards.

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