Thursday, June 22, 2006
Australian Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Senator Helen Coonan announced on Wednesday that the federal government would be spending AUD$116.6 million on a package of measures to protect Australians from inappropriate material on the Internet. Dubbed "Protecting Families Online", the package includes free filtering software for all families.
The government claims that its National Filter Scheme will be central to the package. In addition to providing families with free filtering software, the government will also provide libraries with filters for Internet terminals. It is hoped that the filters will ensure that children using the Internet from libraries can do so without being exposed to inappropriate material.
As part of the package, the government's Internet safety and advisory agency — NetAlert will be located within the Australian Communications and Media Authority — the chief regulatory authority for telecommunications, radiocommunications, Internet and media services. The government will also give NetAlert an additional $5 million to spend on advertising to promote its services.
In addition to the Protecting Families Online package, the government will again examine Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering. A trial will be carried out in Tasmania to determine its effectiveness. According to Senator Coonan it is the fourth time the government has undertaken such a trial.
As part of the trial, the ACMA will be required to report on ISP level filtering around the world and work with NetAlert to investigate advances in filtering technologies.
Senator Coonan assured Internet users that the initiatives were only to protect children from inappropriate material and the government wasn’t dictating what adults could access. "This is not a one-size-fits-all approach to protecting Australia families and we are not dictating to every Australian Internet user what they should and shouldn’t see," she said.
== Sources ==
Media Release. "$116.6 million to Protect Australian Families Online" — Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Junbe 21, 2006