ANAT Communications on Mon, 27 Oct 2008 21:35:24 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime-ann> "Clean" Feeds on Australian Artists


"Clean" Feeds on Australian Artists

The Australian Government will soon introduce a whole of Internet
filtering system under the auspices of child Cyber-Safety, requiring
Internet Service Providers to filter out content identified as
prohibited by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
As every Australian home already has access to free filtering
technology, the scheme not only provides meagre additional safety for
children - it also could result in long-term damage to the Australian
emerging media and new technologies industries.

The Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) Executive Director
Dr Melinda Rackham comments "I strongly believe that this misguided
scheme will have a severely adverse affect on our creativity, our
culture and our economy."

Whilst there is a need for additional protection for the worlds
children online, perhaps more thought needs to be dedicated to this
issue by the Government.  Industry studies have shown that the
mandatory filter could slow down network speeds significantly and block
sites that are neither harmful nor inappropriate for children, nor

There is significant difficulty in identifying what would be banned
material in streaming media or via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing
networks. Artists who traditionally work at the leading edge of new
technologies will most likely be caught by the "inappropriate" net.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) expressed alarm, with Spokesperson
Colin Jacobs stating that "the Clean Feed will be mandatory in all
homes, schools and libraries throughout the country - and concerns
remain about who decides what is banned."

Phoebe Knowles from the Human Rights Law Resource Centre comments: "The
scheme would limit our rights to privacy by monitoring the information
we access and our freedom of information. Free flow of information is
essential to a healthy democracy, civic debate and artistic endeavor."

She continues, "Protection of children is undeniably extremely
important. However, in the absence of a federal Human Rights Act, this
scheme is not rigorously justified as being necessary in all the
circumstances having regard to the competing rights. Where the filter
blocks material that is neither child related nor illegal, it would be
an unnecessary and unjustified limitation on freedom of expression."

Fee Plumley - ANAT's portable platforms and emerging technologies
Program Manager comments, "To ensure the world is a better place for
Australian children, why not invest in widespread education and
lower-cost access to the networks? These will enable children to use
current and future systems responsibly and to learn how to protect
themselves in our increasingly networked world."

The Internet redresses our nation's tyranny of distance, easily
situating Australian creative content and intellectual property in the
global domain; and to stifle that is a significant step backwards. Not
only is our reputation for innovation in artistic and cultural arenas
slipping, but our Human Rights Record - tarnished over the past decade
of Desert Detention centers and the Pacific Solution, is looking
decidedly unhealthy.

For more information and information on this policy and what you can do
about it, visit the EFA clean-feed site


ANAT is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia
Council its arts funding and advisory body, by
the South Australian Government through Arts SA and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an
initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

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