Internet lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has expressed “disappointment” at the government’s decision to fund the “clean feed” Internet plan in this week’s budget. They’ve also launched a campaign website at nocleanfeed.com.
“At a time when the Government is cutting services to fight inflation, it’s bewildering that they would decide to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a filter before feasibility trials are even complete,” said EFA spokesman Colin Jacobs…
“Australians are very uncomfortable with the idea of having the Government decide what’s appropriate for them and their families,” said Jacobs. “In fact, in a survey of 18,000 Internet users, only 13% agreed with the policy. That’s why we feel it is a shame, when the Government has identified real needs for better education and policing, that their approach to Internet policy is so skewed towards the filter initiative. There are greater risks to Australian children online, and real steps can be taken to mitigate these risks. That’s where the funding should be going.”
Unfortunately EFA made a fundamental mistake which could allow critics to dismiss their arguments. They talk about the Cyber-safety Plan costing $24.3m this financial year and rising to $51.4m next. However only part of this is for Internet filtering. There’s also things which critics could say EFA would support: AFP investigations and plenty of education programs.