In a world controlled by laws, governments and powerful corporations, the internet is the last completely free media left. It’s not owned by anyone, so it’s one of the few ways for us to exercise our right to free speech.
However, the Australian Government is about to change the internet landscape forever…
They are about to introduce a mandatory filtering system to block ‘unwanted content’, which means certain websites will be blocked at an Internet Service Provider level and won’t be accessible for any Australians. While the Government’s intentions are honourable (preventing access to inappropriate material like child pornography), this filter will have a crippling affect on the web industry and sets a dangerous precedent for internet censorship.
The filtering technology is far from perfect and innocent content will be inadvertantly blocked. In recent test conducted by the Government, only 92% of the banned websites were blocked successfully, with a failure rate of 4% which saw harmless content blocked as well. So there is a huge risk that legitimate sites will be blocked, potentially denying Australians access to important information and resources.
Also, the filter will slow down internet access for all Australians. Depending on the technology used, this could mean a drop in speed of anything 2% to 40%. Obviously slow internet access will inconvenience internet users, but it has much more serious ramifications – businesses that rely on the internet will suffer significant financial losses because their customers won’t be able to access their site properly.
Website Standards Association Inc. strongly objects to this filter because it undermines our right to free speech, harms online business and takes our internet speed back years. We believe that there is content on the internet that is damaging and inappropriate, especially for children, but this mandatory filtering system is not the right way to go about blocking it.
We want all Australians to be informed about how this issue and how it affects them. Here are some resources and articles that are well worth checking out: