Australian budget tackles online safety

The Rudd Government has committed $49 million to cracking down on child sexual exploitation on the internet as part of new budget measures announced yesterday.,,23696923-15306,00.htmlau: ISP filtering to get Fed Govt subsidy: Budget 08
Internet Service Providers will be granted a one-off Government subsidy towards the cost of installing filtering technology, as part of the Rudd Government’s AU$125.8 million Cyber-safety plan.The plan, as pitched during the Rudd Government’s Election campaign, will move the emphasis from parents onto Internet Service Providers to filter “inappropriate content” from the Web surfing experience of Australians.To read this ZDNet story in full click here.Great Wall of Australia: Industry cops sanitised Internet – Content filtering gets budget go-ahead [IDG]
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has pushed ahead with the controversial national content filtering scheme with a $125.8 million budget allocation announced today.The plan has provoked a wrath of criticism from industry and privacy groups, who previously attacked the scheme when it was announced in January.;1437589201;1437589201;1437589201 Vent IT: Is Internet content filtering the high road to China?
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has pushed ahead with the controversial national content filtering scheme with a $125.8 million budget allocation announced this week.The plan has provoked a wrath of criticism from Internet Service Providers, IT managers, the Electronic Frontiers Australia, and privacy groups who previously attacked the scheme when it was announced in January, dubbing it a technically impossible token gesture.;1864542989;1864542989$129m to keep Australian children safe from cyberporn
The Federal Budget has allocated $128.9 million over four years “to create a safer online environment for Australian children.” Law enforcement alone will get $49m and the government will press ahead with its controversial ISP filtering plans, but has stopped not confirmed earlier suggestions that this would be mandatory. Working Group to improve Cyber-Safety [news release]
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced the members of the Cyber-Safety Consultative Working Group as part of the Government’s $125.8 million program to improve online safety for children.”The Group will consider those aspects of cyber-safety that Australian children face, such as cyber-bullying, identity theft and exposure to illegal and inappropriate content,” Senator Conroy said.”It will also provide advice to the Government on priorities and measures required by government and industry to ensure world’s best practice safeguards for Australian children engaging in the digital economy.””The Consultative Working Group is a key component of the Australian Government’s $125.8 million Cyber-Safety plan.”The Group will have representation from community groups, internet service providers, industry associations, business and government. The first meeting of the Group is scheduled for late May 2008.”Government policy needs to be responsive to the evolving online world and the widespread use of new technologies in the digital economy. The Group will assist Government to prioritise its responses,” Senator Conroy said.”I thank the members of the Group for their commitment to assist with the vital work of protecting Australian children in the online environment.”A Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee will also be established to investigate and report on cyber-safety issues.”The Australian Government is committed to working closely with industry to address any concerns about implementing the cyber-safety plan. These concerns will be carefully considered and will inform implementation of the Australian Government’s comprehensive cyber-safety policy,” Senator Conroy said.A list of members of the Group is from the news release at provides policing for internet safety [news release]
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced a targeted plan to create a safer online environment for Australian children.”Although the internet has opened up a world of possibilities and benefits to Australian children, it has also exposed them to continually emerging and evolving dangers that did not previously exist,” Senator Conroy said.”That is why the Australian Government has committed $125.8 million to a comprehensive range of cyber-safety measures, including law enforcement, filtering and awareness, over the next four years.”The Government’s cyber-safety funding will provide $49 million to law enforcement, ensuring that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Child Protection Operations Team can expand its capacity to detect and investigate online child abuse, with 91 additional AFP members dedicated to online child protection by 2011.The funding will allow the AFP to establish a victim identification and support capacity, to aid in the recovery of child abuse victims nationally and internationally.This initiative will also provide for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to handle prosecutions and related activities arising from the increased investigations of online predators flowing through from the AFP’s investigations.Central to the Government’s plan to make the internet a safer place for children is the introduction of Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering of material such as child pornography.The ISP filtering policy is being developed through an informed and considered approach, including a laboratory trial, extensive industry consultation, and close examination of overseas models to assess their suitability for Australia.”ISPs in a number of European and other countries are already filtering child abuse material. While there may be technical and cost hurdles, the message from other countries is that these can be overcome,” Senator Conroy said.A real world ‘live’ pilot involving ISPs and their customers will follow an Australian Communications and Media Authority laboratory trial due to be completed in June 2008.In addition, the Government is developing a range of measures to help empower children to be responsible online participants. It will provide parents, teachers, trainee teachers, librarians and children with up-to-date, comprehensive and age-appropriate online cyber-safety resources and assistance.”Cyber-safety means helping parents and teachers as well as educating children to be good cyber-citizens,” Senator Conroy said.The Government will:

  • overhaul the existing online safety website, making to make it easier to use and ensure it provides the best available information;
  • develop a new web site specifically for children;
  • provide education resources and a dedicated cyber-safety helpline;
  • expand the terms of reference for the Cyber-Safety Consultative Working Group to include all aspects of cyber-safety;
  • support further Australian research into the online environment; and
  • facilitate a Youth Advisory Group to ensure programs remain relevant and on target.

“The Youth Advisory Group will advise the consultative working group on cyber-safety measures from a young person’s perspective. This will ensure young people have a clear voice on cyber-safety concerns and solutions,” Senator Conroy said.”Ongoing research into the changing digital environment will assist in identifying issues and targeting future policy and funding.”The former government’s National Filter Scheme which made home-based PC filters available via download or from a CD-Rom will be closed to new users from 31 December 2008, with existing PC filter users to be provided with support from the PC filter companies until 30 June 2010.”This program had a very limited take-up and only 20 per cent of those who did download the filter continued to use it,” said Senator Conroy.”Funding will be redirected to support ISPs making available a filtered internet service, or ‘clean feed’, to all homes, schools and public internet points accessible to children.”This news release was sourced from decries money wasted on Internet Filtering [news release]
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) today expressed its disappointment at the Federal Government’s decision to fund its mandatory “clean-feed” Internet in the 2008-09 federal budget.”At a time when the Government is cutting services to fight inflation, it’s bewildering that they would decide to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a filter before feasibility trials are even complete,” said EFA spokesman Colin Jacobs. “Given the manifest impracticality of the clean-feed scheme, I’m sure this money could have been put to much better use,” he added.The 2008-09 budget allocates $24.3 million to the Government’s “cyber-safety” initiative, with the number to rise to $51.4m in the 2009-10 financial year. A media release from the Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, confirmed that the clean-feed remains a budgetary priority for the Government. Some funding will come from the Government’s now-defunct NetAlert filter scheme, which made PC-based software filters available for free to all Australian homes. “Funding will be redirected to support ISPs making available a filtered internet service, or ‘clean feed’, to all homes, schools and public internet points accessible to children,” said the Minister.”Australians are very uncomfortable with the idea of having the Government decide what’s appropriate for them and their families,” said Jacobs. “In fact, in a survey of 18,000 Internet users, only 13% agreed with the policy. That’s why we feel it is a shame, when the Government has identified real needs for better education and policing, that their approach to Internet policy is so skewed towards the filter initiative. There are greater risks to Australian children online, and real steps can be taken to mitigate these risks. That’s where the funding should be going.”The Minister’s announcement will undoubtedly rekindle concerns amongst the Internet industry about the priority the national filter has been given, and the effect this will have on data services in Australia. EFA has launched a web site to highlight the concerns and educate Internet users about the Government’s plans, at news release was sourced from

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