Tiara (divabat) wrote in brisneyland,

Thoughts on the Aussie net filter + today's protest

(x-posted to divabat)

Today I was at the rally against the proposed Clean Feed (Internet filter), which is being implemented by the Aussie government under the guise of "stopping child porn". (If you were there: I was the Malaysian speaker in black with the "Do Not Want" sign)

Never mind that this doesn't actually stop child porn - they'll just go underground. Find other ways to distribute their rubbish. It's not like there's going to be extra funding being given to the groups actually responsible for prosecuting child pornographers anyway.

The rally mainly concentrated on geeky things, very lefty things - pro-marijuana decriminalisation, anti-government sites, etc. They're definitely at risk of the filter; however, saying that those sites will be affected won't help our cause. The rest of the world doesn't care about our LOLcats.

However, since there's no way of knowing what exactly's going to be filtered (all we know is child porn, adult porn, euthanasia), there are potentially many sites that are going to lumped into this filter:

* Sites about Islam (OMG TERRORISTS ALQAEDA!)
* Sites advocating for rights for sex workers
* Sexual and reproductive health, including cervical/breast/prostate cancer
* Independence and ethnic struggles
* Sites by dissidents of other countries - for example, if Australia plans to have a trade agreement with China, China may demand that their blacklist be applied in Australia, and that they should go find any Chinese dissidents hiding in Australia. Money or freedom?
* GLBT rights and support networks
* Academic studies on pornography (hell, even a report on why people make child porn in the first place) or any other "controversial" topic
* Sites by minority religions and other small groups
* Support groups for drug users and drug addicts
* Sites dealing with radical politics, including anarchy
* Support sites for people who have dealt with abuse (including child exploitation survivors)

basically, anything that could potentially rankle others. It happens in Malaysia - the land where an upside down JPG of a flag is a "threat to national security". This is why the filter idea pisses me off; I've seen how it goes back home, seen the danger. Ironically the Internet isn't actually censored in Malaysia - they just arrest those that speak out and scare the others into submission. Fun.

And what if some old auntie got hit by spyware because she thought she was opening an e-card by her niece? Spyware that dials up child porn? The logs would point to her and she'll get in trouble - but the spyware people go free. My aunts and uncles have computers FULL of spyware because they don't know well enough not to click on "You won this today!" or "Free icons!".

All that money and effort spent on the damn filter, which doesn't seem to have any advantage at all but just breaks technology, could be spent on:

* Actually going after the bad guys in the first place
* Educating the public about Internet safety and Internet use
* Getting parents, schools, childcare people, etc to work out how to take care of kids collaboratively
* Give kids more things to do and get involved in aside from the Internet
* Working out other methods of going after child porn/hate sites/etc together with ISPs and hosting companies and other Net techs
* Connect communities together to care about each other's livelihood and keep kids safe from exploitation
* Create better tech that blocks spyware/malware/viruses/etc

The filters hurts most and helps none. You want to fight child porn? FIGHT CHILD PORN. Closing our eyes doesn't make child porn disappear.
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