While the focus of the election from a geek standpoint has shifted from internet filtering to the NBN given the fact the Libs and Greens have both promised to block the filter in the senate, that doesn't mean online safety has gone away as an election issue. The Greens today announced their policy, and to give them credit, it's a common-sense approach.
The Greens announcement, which is more of a suggestion on what the government should be doing with the money they've already budgeted for online safety, has an emphasis on PC filtering, more money for police, more research into online risks and online education.
Here's the announcement from Senator Scott Ludlam today:
Greens propose a more comprehensive approach to protecting young people online
Greens communications spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam, today proposed a more effective use for the $40.8 million the Government has budgeted for cyber safety – an approach involving PC-based filtering, further research into cyber safety risks, strengthened law enforcement, and online education.
"I've long been on the record as a critic of the Government's proposed mandatory ISP level filter. This has always been due to the simple fact that it won't work, and it risks a number of negative impacts on the speed and performance of the internet in the process," Senator Ludlam said.
"However, I have no hesitation endorsing the need to protect young people from exploitation or distressing and harmful online experiences, and today I will outline practical ways to make a real impact on these problems.
"Filtering has a role in preventing accidental exposure to material that is inappropriate for a young audience. But rather than filtering a very limited range of material at the ISP level that does not include, for example, X rated pornography or gambling sites, let's place an obligation upon ISPs to offer PC-based filtering solutions that can be customised to block a much broader range of content at the local, individual PC level.
"It is also important that we take steps to truly understand the nature of the threats to young people online – threats such as cyber bullying and grooming, which have resulted in loss of life. The Greens would put more money into research into such threats and the best way to combat them, as recommended by experts in the field.
'The response that most people would like to see to child abuse is law enforcement. They would like to see the people responsible identified and prosecuted. The Greens advocate earmarked federal funding to boost cyber crime units in State and Territory police forces, and the establishment of a single, online contact point for cyber crime reporting and cross-jurisdictional coordination of the police response.
"Finally, young people must be assisted to develop the skills to critically evaluate what they encounter online, and respond in a way that keeps them safe and comfortable. We need comprehensive, consistent online education and media literacy skills taught throughout our schools.
"These initiatives will do far more to protect our young people online, with none of the heavily-criticised drawbacks of the Government's proposed filter," Senator Ludlam concluded.