12 July, 2010

Friday's filter announcement - full steam ahead

Regarding Minister Stephen Conroy's net filter:
... To our great surprise, the Minister appears to have endorsed several of the best ideas received in their review of filter transparency, by agreeing to several measures (including some suggested by us that attempt to lessen the corrosive effects of a secret blacklist. Conroy announced that:
  • Australian site owners will be notified when their content is added to the blacklist;
  • A standard block notification will be shown, making it clear the page was deliberately blocked by the government;
  • The Classification Board, rather than ACMA, will decide on the RC status of submitted URLs;
  • An annual review of the list will be conducted.
It's good that the issues have finally got some attention, but it is important to note that nothing has really changed here as far as the value of this policy is concerned. Firstly, the filter still has no clear policy goal; it will still neither help parents nor prevent the spread of illegal material. Secondly, a secret blacklist, the scope of which could easily increase over time, is always going to be a big worry...
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