Google, Yahoo Protest Australian Internet Filter

    February 16, 2010

Google and Yahoo have stepped up their opposition to a proposed Internet filter meant to protect children in Australia.  Together, the two companies joined the Australian Library and Information Association and the Inspire Foundation, and set out some "Core Principles for Effective Action for a Safer Internet."

All four organizations are concerned that a mandatory filter designed to block "Refused Classification" content will fail to be effective.  Indeed, they believe it’ll both block useful content and let objectionable material remain available through things like chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks.

Google LogoSo the groups have suggested other ways of protecting children online (and Google also said that it won’t remove content from YouTube unless required to by law).

First up would be "a national comprehensive cyber-safety education program for children and parents."  Then, a simple increase in online oversight and policing might have a big impact on the distribution of illegal material.

Finally, they argued, "If the government and the broader political system are determined to implement technical measures as part of online safety efforts, then we believe Australia can learn from the approaches adopted in peer countries, particularly in Europe.  The strong consensus internationally is for ISPs, police and government to work together in partnership targeting a clearly defined and narrow band of child sexual abuse material."

Google, Yahoo, the Australian Library and Information Association, and the Inspire Foundation are now hoping to receive a response from the Australian government.