Joining the Australian Internet Blackout

Along with folks like the Samba project I’ve joined the Great Australian Internet Blackout, so the first time (and only the first time) you visit the site you’ll get the notice about the protest. Here’s why the proposed mandatory filtering is a bad idea from the Great Australian Internet Blackout website:

  • It won’t protect children: The filter isn’t a “cyber safety” measure to stop kids seeing inappropriate content such as R and X rated websites. It is not even designed to prevent the spread of illegal material where it is most often found (chat rooms, peer-to-peer file sharing).
  • We will all pay for this ineffective solution: Under this policy, ISPs will be forced to charge more for consumer and business broadband. Several hundred thousand dollars has already been spent to test the filter – without considering high-speed services such as the National Broadband Network!
  • A dangerous precedent: We stand to join a small club of countries which impose centralised Internet censorship such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The secret blacklist may be limited to “Refused Classification” content for now, but what might a future Australian Government choose to block?

If you’re using WordPress with a theme that supports widgets then participating is as easy as adding a text widget (or using one you already have) and add the single line of HTML to activate the blackout.

To paraphrase Kryten from Red Dwarf, it has just two minor flaws. One, it won’t work, and two, it won’t work. Now I realise that, technically speaking, that’s only one flaw but I thought it was such a big one it was worth mentioning twice.