Iarla Flynn, a member of the policy team at Google Australia, has raised concerns with the Federal Government's plans to introduce a mandatory filtering regime for ISPs.
"Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide," said Flynn, in a blog posting. "While we recognise that protecting the free exchange of ideas and information cannot be without some limits, we believe that more information generally means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual."
Flynn agreed that child pornography was "obvious" material to block, but said moving to a mandatory ISP filtering regime with a scope that went "well beyond such material" was "heavy handed" and could raise "genuine questions about restrictions on access to information"
Referred to in the posting was a report released Wednesday by Professors Catharine Lumby, Lelia Green and John Hartley entitled Untangling The Net: The Scope of Content Caught By Mandatory Internet Filtering.
The report found that a wide scope of content could be prohibited under the proposed filtering regime, Flynn said.
"Refused Classification (or RC) is a broad category of content that includes not just child sexual abuse material but also socially and politically controversial material -- for example, educational content on safer drug use -- as well as the grey realms of material instructing in any crime, including politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia.
"This type of content may be unpleasant and unpalatable but we believe that government should not have the right to block information which can inform debate of controversial issues."
"We should all retain focus on making the Internet safer for people of all ages.
"Our view is that online safety should focus on user education, user empowerment through technology tools ... and cooperation between law enforcement and industry partners."