Duplicate content filter will hurt family-friendly ISPs

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Duplicate content filter will hurt family-friendly ISPs

The federal government’s proposed Internet content filtering scheme duplicates substantial existing efforts by the Internet Industry Association (IIA) and will adversely impact participants in that scheme, the System Administrators Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU) has warned.

The Guild’s president, Donna Ashelford, has called on the government to leverage its existing relationship with the IIA to support and promote the Family Friendly ISP program.

Participant ISPs currently offer ‘clean feed’ services to customers who desire them and have been doing so for several years, Ashelford said.

The $44 million budgeted by the government for ‘clean feed’ services could instead be provided as grants and subsidies to already participating ISPs, enabling them to offer their ‘clean feed’ services at price points that are competitive with the services offered by more traditional ISPs, she said.

“A model similar to the Australian Broadband Guarantee, wherein a participating ISP is subsidised for each subscriber, will stimulate this sector of the industry and consequently improve the quality and accessibility of the services they offer to the Australian public,” proposed Ashelford.

“The government could also use its resources to assist with the promotion of both the IIA Family Friendly ISP programme and qualifying ISPs. This is consistent with the government's election promise to provide 'clean feed' services with an opt-out for adults.”

Implementing duplicated ‘clean feed’ efforts will likely have a negative impact on the family-friendly ISPs that have already built brands around the IIA-led filtering initiative.

“The most likely side effect of the Government's proposal will be to cause many of the companies who have done the most to promote ’clean feed’ services to close their doors,” added Ashelford.

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