Democrats launch anti-filtering site

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Democrats launch anti-filtering site

The Democrats party has launched an anti-censorship web site in the hope of rallying the opponents of internet filtering to its cause.

The party, founded on the basis of 'keeping the bastards honest', has launched a site at which presents its alternative policies on online safety and a forum for the community to provide their own solutions.

Australian Democrats National President Julia Melland told iTnews the party feels the ALP Government's approach to censorship provides "the illusion of safety to parents".

"Its not actually going to protect their kids, just help them feel protected," she said.

The Democrats want to reflect that part of the Australian demographic that "care(s) about children AND Internet freedom."

Melland says the party is seeking solutions that will work, solutions that "don't interfere with the privacy and freedoms of Australians." 

"What we need is an evidence-based policy that protects children without costing the earth," she said.

Melland says that personally, she sees parental education as the key.

"We need tools by which parents can tailor choices they want for their children, not just blanket solutions," she said.

The most popular forum on the site so far (which has only attracted four posts) is devoted to support 'home-based filtering'. Home-based filtering has already been introduced in Australia as part of the Howard Government's voluntary NetAlert scheme.

Melland says she believes the Government has good intentions.

"I don't think [ISP-level filtering] is a calculated move to crack down on political dissent," she said. "But it's open to all of that - Governments can change, somebody else can get behind the controls."

The party claims it will use the information submitted for forums on the new site, combined with input from industry experts, to form the basis of a cyber safety policy proposal that will become part of the Australian Democrats platform at the next Federal Election.

Politically, the Democrats are at a low point at present, the party's only representation being a single sitting member in the Upper House in South Australia and a Chancellor in Ballina Shire Council on the North Coast of New South Wales.

The first post on the anti-censorship web site is a call for supporting The Democrats party as it attempts to "recruit and reorganise."

"The Australian Democrats are coming back," the site reads. "We're rebuilding the party - not simply to "keep the bastards honest" but to bring balance and reason back into the policy debate."


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