Essay: The Case of a Filter; Down Under

Essay: The Case of a Filter; Down Under
April 13, 2011 Comments Off on Essay: The Case of a Filter; Down Under Academic Papers on Information Technology,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

Argument of the Australian Government

In 2006, the then Australian government announced a proposal that would mandate all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia to install an Internet blocking system. This proposal was retained by the next government of Kevin Rudd. In their policy statement for 2007 election, Rudd’s Labor government said that Cyber-safety is a priority to them. Recognizing the fact that the Internet has made children ‘digital natives’, it argued that the number of incidents involving online identity theft, cyber bullying and addiction to computers was on the rise and this could lead to both short-term and long-term effects such as physical harm, anti-social behavior, depression and financial impact. Therefore a blanket of protection was necessary for all Australian children and had proposed a nationwide filter which would block all contents, deemed harmful by the government. It also proposed a children education program which it said will help them become more responsible Internet citizen. (Labor’s Mandatory ISP Internet Blocking Plan, 2008)

Concerns against the Filter

Against the government argument, various children and human rights group and experts have raised their voices. They have pointed out a number of issues as to why the filtering done by the Australian government is not a good idea (LeMay, 2009).

Technical Issues

The IT Experts in Australia have maintained a view that the complete content filtering is not even remotely feasible. The Internet does not work the way that can make a filter effective and it contains far more content that could ever be effectively rated by the Australian government. A number of technical issues are also there. A comprehensive filter would require all ISPs to examine all traffic which would create an enormous burden in term of expense and technical glitches. A study conducted previously, has shown that a filter can slow down the Internet access in Australia by at least 30% (Australian Communication and Media Authority, 2008). Furthermore, blocking of the website would not solve the problem at all. It has been shown that any determined user, including children, could pass the filter by using an anonymizer service, open proxy or a VPN.

Violation of Free Speech

Though marketed as a tool for protecting children from the dangerous content on the Internet, It violates the free speech right of the Australians that ensure everyone has the right to express and seek information. As the list of the filtered site will be kept in secret, no one will be able to find out what is being filtered. This could result in the filtering of the content whatever the Australian government seems appropriate such as topics on Euthanasia and Anorexia which are currently being touted by the Government MPs as ‘should be banned’  (SMH, 2008). Filtering like this would result in people not getting access to content they are entitled to, bringing human right disrepute to Australia. It should not be in the same club as Burma, China and North Korea (No Clean Feed Website, 2009).

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