The Rudd Government has dumped a $125 million program to provide families with web filtering software as it prepares to test a mandatory web censorship scheme. The NetAlert program, introduced by the Howard government, allowed families to download free web filtering software to prevent children from seeing inappropriate content on home computers. A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said there were only 26,000 copies of the software still being used in November last year. Mr Conroy's spokesman said the previous government had spent $15.5 million to promote the program, but avoided questions on where the remainder of the money allocated to the program would be directed. The Howard government allocated $125.8 million to the program over four years. It was launched two years ago. Shadow communications minister Nick Minchin said Australians families were now less protected than before. The Rudd Government is preparing to trial a mandatory web filtering scheme with internet service providers that would block illegal and inappropriate content. Under the Government's plan, all Australian internet users will be served a "clean feed" with sites on a secret blacklist maintained by the communications watchdog blocked. Internet Industry Associated Peter Coreonos said , "You couldn't possibly impose that level of control at an ISP end without significantly degrading the network for all users." A secondary filter to block material inappropriate for children will also be introduced, however users will be able to opt-out of this system.
The Government's ISP-level filtering scheme has come under fire from opponents worried the system will slow internet speeds and accidentally prevent access to legitimate websites. Anti-censorship advocates are also concerned that the secret blacklist of websites to be blocked for all users could be misused or expanded for political reasons.
Australian politicians have a strange priority. You can opt out of protecting your children, but you will be forced to be screwed by your isp !!! I'm tempted to ask how much financial influence took place?