The Day the Internet Slowed…

On last Tuesday (15th Dec) the Australian government elected to move forward and implement a filter on the Internet.

We are very concerned about this.  For the first time 15 years the very nature of the freedom of the Internet is being threatened.

You will hear in the press and from the government that this is mainly to protect the Australian people from the evils of the Internet.

Just think about that for a minute, we have not had any protection for the last 15 years that the Internet has been in commercial operation.   Why do we need it now?   The government states now it’s just to protect us from information that is illegal, and we shouldn’t be accessing anyway.   Do we need our government to treat us like children and be constantly tell us what to do?  We are adults after all.   I ask where do we draw that line in the sand for what will be filtered, and who draws it?

For example not so long ago abortion was illegal in parts of Australia.  If this filter had been in place at the time – every site related to abortion would have been blocked.   Now what is to stop something like that happening?

You may also hear from various Internet Professional Industry Groups supporting the filter.  This is because these groups are basically in between a rock and hard place.  Their members are the ISP’s that are being forced to implement the filter, like it or not.   They are basically taking the lesser of the two evils and towing the government line.

Filtering is not a Good Idea.

There are a lot of ideological issues when you force this type of censorship upon you the Australia people. Some of them are technical.   Some will affect every business on the Internet.

  • The filter technically will be ineffective as it is only targeting the web traffic and not the other mediums of the Internet that are known for transporting all the “illegal” information (such as FTP, Bit Torrent, email and the like).  However you can bet the cost of your Internet connection will rise as a result, as your ISP recoups costs of the implementation.
  • The filter is mainly only been trial on a limited number of users over a very small pool of ISPs. This is a concern.  The government tells us that the effect of the filter will be “negligible”.   The real facts are that the government report states speed increases to a decrease of  44% in speed.   Now we all know that Australia has an Internet network that is very poor in comparison to the rest of the first world.   Why then are we reducing it even more?  If we want to compete online in world market it makes sense to have the best Internet speed you can get.

Should you be concerned?  Yes you should, this is more than just the Government protecting your children from the evils of society – which parent should be doing anyway, not the Government.

This is about interfering with your business and the removal of another right.   All this in the name of just feeling a little “safe”.

Good News – It can be Stopped.

The good thing is this can’t happen overnight.  Legislation needs to be introduced into parliament next year in order to make all this happen.

Anyone that runs a business on the web or has a web site needs to stop this filter, its no longer time to wait for some else to do something.

You can do this a number of ways:

  1. Support Electronic Frontiers Australia.
  2. Write to your Senator or Member of House of Representatives and express your views against the filter.
  3. Comment on the consultation paper on mandatory ISP filtering.