Even mainstream child welfare groups are now coming out against the federal government's proposed Great Firewall of Australia.
This misguided initiative must be opposed with all our vigour. Leave aside the growing consensus that it is unlikely to have any beneficial effects in protecting children from genuine dangers, and is therefore useless (but horribly expensive) legislation. Leave aside that this useless legislation may cause a dramatic further decline in the speed of the internet in Australia. Important as those points may be, the essential point is that such legislation would hand the government a power that should never be entrusted to it. Once it starts providing a clean feed that cuts out some unspecified range of ... well, I assume the appropriate word is "dirty" ... content, who defines what is "clean" and "dirty" in the future? I realise, of course, that there would be an ability for individuals to opt out of the clean feed, but there is a second tier of restrictions proposed that you won't be able to opt out of, one that compulsorily excludes a harder core of material (essentially this is supposed to be about child pornography).
Despite the fondness that Senator Conroy has shown for smearing every critic or opponent as a friend of child pornographers, this is not the real concern. Once you provide for massive, technologically-enabled suppression of websites on secret grounds, you give the government and its agencies a power that could be exploited, even in the relatively short term, by moral panic merchants of all kinds (for example, it's easy to imagine the suppression of sites that discuss, advocate, or advise upon such things as euthanasia). We already have wingnuts in the Senate wanting to block gambling sites and hard-core porn sites that don't include child pornography. In the longer term ... are we really going to trust the diverse and unknown governments of the future with this kind of power to control what we can and cannot view on the internet?
The only way to respond to such a proposal is to oppose it every single step of the way - every bloody millimetre - as forthrightly as possible, and starting at the earliest possible time. Don't leave it until it's too late, as so often happens with oppressive or ill-advised laws. Once the Great Firewall of Australia has been built, it may be politically impossible to tear it down. Don't let our ever-so-benevolent masters build it in the first place. Join me, and express your anger now.