Conroy goes back to school on Internet content filters

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Conroy goes back to school on Internet content filters

Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy is looking to shore up support from the people most likely to find a way around the government’s content filters – school students.

Conroy’s department said today that it will bring together students from 15 schools nationwide to participate in a Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-Safety.

“Students from these schools will have the opportunity to advise the Government on cyber-safety issues currently faced by their peers,” Conroy said.

“Young Australians are well immersed in the digital world. They understand the great potential of the internet and are perfectly positioned to guide the development of effective responses to cyber-safety risks.

“I look forward to hearing their comments,” said Conroy.

The Youth Advisory Group will begin in the first half of 2009.

The group will consider and communicate to Government the cyber-safety risks faced by Australian children, how best to address these and how to communicate cyber-safety messages to other young Australians.

The Government has committed $125.8 million over four years in the 2008-09 Budget for what it calls ‘a comprehensive cyber-safety plan’. It includes controversial content filtering at the ISP level, which has been criticised widely by the Internet and IT communities.

Telstra’s chief operating officer, Greg Winn, is the latest high-profile executive to criticise the plan.

“To think that we’ll be able to centrally filter everything is a pipe dream,” he said last week.

“It’s going to be difficult to do and as soon as you install it someone will find a way around it.”

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