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Saturday, July 22 2017 @ 08:32 AM AEST

Say NO to Clean Feed Internet

At first, this post might seem somewhat off topic. I assure you it isn't.

Australian Labor Party Senator Stephen Conroy is attempting to introduce mandatory Internet filtering at the ISP for all Australians. His proposal is for a two tier system. One will be targeted toward families and children, and it will filter the Government's own blacklist of sites as well as additional material that may be considered offensive. The other will only filter the Government blacklist. Every Australian Internet connection will be subject to one or the other of these filtering schemes.

Senator Conroy says that the schemes will also filter out "illegal content". Unfortunately, we don't know exactly what he means by that. The current blacklist, maintained by ACMA, has roughly 1300 entries. The Senator suggests that this list will grow to over 10 000 entries. Clearly, there is intent to seriously curtail access to a vast body of content on the Internet. The blacklist has been exempted from being discoverable via FOI requests, so we'll have no idea what's actually on it. Already, Family First Senator Steven Fielding is drooling at the idea of an Australia wide censorship regime, and is pushing for sites dealing with anorexia and euthanasia to be added to the list - sites that aren't actually illegal. Additionally, the filtering infrastructure will allow the Government and ISP staff to snoop on all your Internet activity (including Internet banking and online shopping), ostensibly to log and report on attempts to access content they deem illegal.

What does this have to do with rocketry? Many Australian rocketeers have an interest in propulsion research. While the greater body of researchers are offshore, it follows that most websites that deal with the topic are also offshore. It's only a hop, step, and a jump to seeing propulsion research websites being classified as explosives manufacturing sites and then added to the blacklist. In it's current form, Senator Conroy's plan for Cyber Safety doesn't include any method of appeal to have sites removed from the blacklist.

I urge all rocketeers, indeed all thinking Australians, to educate themselves about this proposal. There are many reasons for opposing this plan. Contact your local federal member of Parliament and express your disgust at what can only be described as a censorship and snooping scheme of Orwellian proportions.

Further information is available at:-
No Clean Feed website
System Administrator Mark Newton's letter to Hon. Kate Ellis MP

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