Topic: Do you agree with the Government's plans to filter the internet?
Weiss has neatly summarised both the pervasiveness and the freedom of the internet: "each day, thousands of Australians utilize the internet for a vast and diverse range of activities. These include learning, networking, trading, business and leisure. One of the key advantages of the internet is that people can post virtually anything they so desire without repercussions or editing."Ã¯Â¿Â½ This, of course, contrasts with the censorship of other media, including television, radio and books by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, intends to broaden state censorship to incorporate the internet in 2011 by forcing all Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to switch on a mandatory filter which will in theory restrict access to all prohibited and illicit materialÃ¯Â¿Â½. Such content will include underage pornography, bestiality and portrayals of other confronting illegal activities.
What are the problems, benefits and issues associated with this plan to filter the internet? This essay will examine its deficiencies and short-sightedness, arguing that it is neither feasible nor desirable. Specifically, this essay suggests that the model of an ISP content level filter is fundamentally impractical in that it simply could not achieve the task for which it is intended, coupled with the fact that it would have an adverse affect on internet speeds. Further, and importantly, due to the inherent subjectiveness in the terms of classifying material, content which remains not technically illegal would be subject to filtering.
Analysing initially the technological facet, it must be asserted that a preceding attempt at voluntary censorship, titled Net Alert, was unsuccessful. When Net Alert was originally projected there were also proposals to establish it on an ISP-level, but there was a raft...