iiNet & internet filtering

make your voice heard

clearing up the confusion over the proposed government internet filtering policy

I'm very keen to clear something up. It's been recently reported that we're (and when I say "we", I mean iiNet as a company) supportive of the Federal Government's plans to legislate the introduction of ISP internet filtering. We are not.

What we did welcome was the Government's announcement in December, because it was a vast improvement on what they were originally proposing. But that's all we welcomed. We welcomed that their plan was better, but still not something we support or endorse.

So let's be clear. We don't support the Government's proposal. We never have. But once the Government announce it was going to legislate the changes regardless of industry and community concerns and proposition, we made some important suggestions to the Government on how to improve on the bad idea. We figured that if the Government is determined to proceed, it will be better that it is based on clear policy, had defined process and is open and transparent. We insisted on these things. Thankfully, they have adopted all of our suggestions. So the bad idea is marginally better, but we're still of the opinion it's a bad idea.

So, why don't we support ISP internet filtering? Because it doesn't work and it won't fix the problem the Government is trying to solve. I would like to again reinforce that we deplore the abuse of children and already cooperate with authorities in policing illegal activity. The reality is paedophiles and criminals do not use public websites to distribute their illegal content and the planned Government filter is currently only proposed to block website addresses or 'URLs' - so it won't prevent this kind of activity.

In fact, a danger of the current proposal is that it may give parents and guardians a false impression and sense of security that the Government is protecting their children from this kind of illegal activity on the internet. They are not and can't do it with the proposed filtering framework.

We've always said the best protection against illegal activities of this kind is education and optional software filters at the computer level. We have supported and continue to support Government and industry initiatives to make these kinds of protection mechanisms more readily and affordably available to those that want them. That's a much more effective and appropriate response. We will continue to press the Government to provide more funding and support for these initiatives.

If the Government continues to proceed with their ISP filtering plan we will continue to oppose it and seek to make their bad idea better by suggesting improvements. But we'll hold fast in our view that it will still be a bad idea that simply won't work.

If you wish to express your opinion on the matter (keeping in mind, it is not law yet and hasn't yet been introduced into the parliament), there is still time to make your voice heard - you can do so by contacting your local Federal Member of Parliament, writing to the minister or registering with an organisation like GetUp.

Steve Dalby
Chief Regulatory Officer

iiNet Ltd.