The NSW Government has missed an opportunity to protect children from the harms of online pornography by rejecting the recommendation of a cross-party inquiry to push for internet filtering.Read more
Momentum is gathering for available technology to be used to protect children from porn after a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry this week recommended the introduction of internet filtering.Read more
18th November 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has applauded British Internet Service Providers' action on filtering pornography – with 20 million families having to make a decision by the end of 2014 whether they will have a filter or not.
ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said The Daily Mail is reporting TalkTalk and Sky are now telling all customers they have an unavoidable choice on whether they want access to online pornography.
It’s understood ISPs BT and Virgin are set to introduce a similar family-friendly filter within the next two months.
“It’s heartening to see such positive action to protect children from harmful images on the internet so soon after British Prime Minister David Cameron rightly elevated the issue in July,” he said.
“ACL urges the Abbott Government to take a closer look at the initiative in the UK to safeguard children from inappropriate material on the internet,” he said.
Mr Shelton urged the Coalition to re-evaluate its position against internet filtering.
“In the Coalition’s response to ACL’s election questionnaire it said it would focus on supporting teachers and parents in their work to protect children online. While this is welcome, unfortunately the issue is too big a problem for just parents and teachers to deal with and requires government intervention,” he said.
Mr Shelton also welcomed news that google, bing and yahoo have agreed to introduce changes to prevent depraved images and videos from appearing in search results.
For release: Friday 6th September 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the Coalition to rethink its opposition to internet filtering, Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.
“Initially we were heartened to hear that the Coalition had come to the position that only two months ago that British Prime Minister David Cameron had come to - that internet filtering was a necessary government intervention to protect children from exposure to pornography,” he said.
“For a fleeting moment last night it looked like the Coalition was in agreement with its colleagues in the UK.”
Mr Shelton said it ISP filtering is far too important an initiative to be turned into a political football.
“In criticising the Coalition’s back flip on ISP filtering, Labor has ignored its own culpability on the issue – only last year did the Labor government renege on its 2007 and 2010 election commitment to introduce mandatory filtering of illegal content such as rape porn and bestiality porn from overseas,” he said.
In July, the ACL welcomed news that British Prime Minister David Cameron would introduce mandatory internet filtering if ISP’s did not act to protect children.
“Extreme libertarian views within politics leave children exposed to harmful content. Filtering technology has been proven not to slow the internet and effective at providing better protection. A civil society should deploy it,” he said.
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed moves by British Prime Minister David Cameron to crack down on the proliferation of child abuse images and pornography on the internet.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Mr Cameron’s speech yesterday acknowledge that parents feel powerless when it comes to preventing their children from seeing porn and that government intervention is needed.
“Mr Cameron spoke of how government has ‘neglected our responsibility to children’ and called for internet service providers in Britain to automatically block access to pornography sites unless customers opt in,” he said.
Mr Shelton said the ACL will be asking political parties how they intend to deal with the proliferation of pornography on the internet as part of an election questionnaire.
“ACL will be asking this question along with many other topics including asylum seekers, gambling, poverty and family in the questionnaire which will be available in coming weeks on australiavotes.org.au,” he said.
“Last year ACL was disappointed to see then Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy renege on the government’s election promise of a mandatory ISP clean feed to block illegal material, despite Government trials showing it worked without slowing the internet
“Parents are looking for clear and trustworthy commitments from the government and genuine action to protect children on-line,” he said.
For release: Friday, November 9, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has said that the federal government’s announcement that it will require internet service providers (ISPs) to block a list of child abuse websites is welcome but falls well short of the internet safety commitment it gave prior to the last election.
In answer to ACL’s 2010 federal election questionnaire, the ALP committed to “introduce mandatory ISP level filtering of content that is rated Refused Classification”.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that while it was positive the government was enforcing the obligation of ISPs under the Telecommunications Act 1997 to block illegal child abuse websites on the INTERPOL list, this did not obviate the need for more widespread filtering of other harmful online content.
“Although child abuse material is the most heinous element of the Refused Classification category, it is just a part of the prohibited online content the government committed to blocking at the ISP level prior to the last election,” Mr Wallace said.
“Having ISPs block only illegal child abuse material does not meet the government’s cyber safety election commitment to mandatory ISP filtering of Refused Classification material.
“The government’s decision not to legislate to the full extent of its commitment is a great disappointment.”
Mr Wallace also said the fact that there are no reports of adverse impacts on internet speeds and congestion by the several Australian ISPs already blocking sites on the Interpol list for over a year made a nonsense of the scare campaign perpetuated by civil libertarians against ISP filtering.
It also proved that it was technically possible to block further harmful content where there was political will to do so.
A recent media report cites easy access to internet pornography as one of the probable causes of highly sexualised behaviour amongst Australian children and teens. Schools are reporting problems of sex-based taunts, explicit text messages and physical assaults, aimed at students and teachers.
The report quotes Dannielle Miller from Enlighten Education, a group which works with adolescent girls. She says that schools have not yet grasped the gravity of the sexual assault problem, and that the sexual behaviour of many boys, influenced by pornified music, TV, films and the internet, was highly problematic.
These disturbing reports, which seem to be appearing more regularly, demonstrate the need for tighter regulation of media, especially music clips and internet content. Mandatory filtering at the ISP level of the worst of the worst online content is a practical and sensible first step in securing a safer media environment for young Australians.