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Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Submitted by donna on 23 October, 2008 - 20:20

Dear Minister Stephen Conroy,

I'd like to add voice to a growing chorus of disdain.
Please don't implement mandatory filtering of the Internet.

I have three key areas of concern.

1. It will be ineffective and slow down connection speeds for everyone.
2. The government should not decide what I can and can not view in the privacy of my own home.
3. The very concept of "illegal information" needs to be examined.

As a member of Australia's open source industry I'm fortunate to work with many talented IT and network security professionals. Many of them have indicated how trivial it is for someone with the right knowledge to work around the proposed system. Many have expressed concerns regarding how badly it will slow network performance. Given we already have poor Internet connectivity compared with the rest of the world, this seems counter to the government's strategy to improve and develop Australia's broadband network.

Who determines what is art and what is pornography? The distinguishing line for border cases is purely subjective. Who decides what information about conflicting political viewpoints should be illegal?  Information regarding abortion? euthanasia? contraception? communism? astronomy? guerrilla warfare? anarchism? extreme-capitalism? religion?

It is not the information which is dangerous, it is how that information is used and actioned. Surely it is the action which is criminal, not the thought? NO matter how repugnant, subversive or dangerous the information itself may be, the government has no business blocking access to it. The fact that a labor government is proposing to do so astonishes me.

What is illegal information? Banned books? Mein Kampf? Mao's little red book? Lady Chatterley's Lover? Friedman's Economics? The Satanic Verses? The Wealth of Nations? Animal Farm?

It's a really really really dumb idea. Can it. Please.

Instead... continue with a campaign to educate parents about supervising their children's use of the internet... and let the rest of us get on with being grown up responsible citizens.

Donna Benjamin

Lindsay Tanner - member for Melbourne
Malcolm Turnbull - leader of the opposition
Bob Brown - leader of the Greens party
Rodney Gedda - editor of

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