So you're probably getting the picture that I think this is a serious problem. Today there's been an interesting podcast interview of Internode's Mark Newton by Ben Grubb at Tech Wired Australia (via STOTC). It touches on all the pertinent points about why the Government's proposal is simply unworkable.
After the Rudd-Labor victory at the 2007 federal election I had high hopes that the days of Government ignorance around internet policy which we had seen under the Howard Government, and especially with Sentator Helen Coonan as Minister, were behind us. However, as Labor continues to pursue the deeply flawed policy which aims to implement ISP level internet filtering from which users cannot opt out, increasingly my hopes seem to have been ill founded. Mark feels the same way:
The current government is shaping up to every bit as beligerant as the previous government in this area. The previous government almost never publically announced something until they had already decided to do it...It seems to me that Senator Conroy is following exactly the same tac.
The interview again highlights that the proposed solutions will be very expensive and totally ineffective. Not to mention the problems that censorship raises. I'd already considered how expensive the implementation is likely to be, but Mark notes that support costs will be raised as huge numbers of users start ringing up asking why a totally innocuous website has been blocked when it shouldn't have been.
The whole interview is well worth listening to, but here are Mark's excellent suggestions for how you can help stop this crippling of the internet in Australia:
I think writing letters to MPs is probably more effective than email campaigns. I think the typcial MP will look at the amount of effort that a citizen has expended to express their point of view and judge that point of view accordingly. And if someone has just fired off a three minute email message or ticked a box to join an online petition or somethign like that, I'm not sure that's really worth much. On the other hand, writing a real letter, printing it out on real paper, putting it into a real envelope with a real stamp and putting it into a real mail box will get your voice herad a lot more effectively.
Organisations like GetUp! have an effect because they get heard in the halls of power in Canberra. GetUp! have a campaign address, I'm not affiliated with them, but I've noted it on their website they have a campaign address and you can send to email@example.com. I'm sure that if they get enough public response out of this issue theyl'll take it up, because that's what they're for, that's what they do. They take issues where the Government has pitted itself against citizens and they represent citizens to the Governement. [My emphasis]