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The program which saw Australian families given the option of obtaining a free content filter for their home computers has been axed by the Rudd Government.
Under the cover of the festive season on 31 December the Rudd Government quietly closed the program established by the previous Coalition Government which saw all Australian families have access to a free p-c level content filter under the NetAlert initiative.
“This was a practical program which gave all Australian families the option of complementing their own online safety arrangements with a free filter which they could tailor to the needs of their individual households,” Mr Costello said.
“This option has been taken away as Communications Minister Stephen Conroy presses ahead with his plan for a mandatory filtering system at ISP-level (Internet Service Provider), which the experts say will be ineffective and will slow down the internet.
“Many people who have contacted my office find this big brother approach to internet filtering by the Rudd Government offensive.
“Here you have Senator Conroy closing an optional content filtering program because he says the take-up rate is too low, but pressing ahead with plans for a mandatory program to filter all internet users,” Mr Costello said.
“The take-up rate simply reflects public demand; some people choose to install filters and others don’t and if the Rudd Government was serious about online safety the option should remain.
“Adult supervision should be front and centre of all online safety efforts, supported by additional tools such as optional, pc-based filters, while sophisticated and well resourced law enforcement is the most powerful way of tackling illegal activity, such as the production and distribution of child pornography,” Mr Costello said.