Australia risked being left behind on internet safety if the community failed to back the federal government’s plan for Internet Service Provider (ISP) filtering, a Catholic Bishop said today.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) delegate for media issues, Bishop Peter Ingham, said other countries were miles ahead of Australia when it came to keeping the internet as safe as possible for children.
“Comparable western countries, such as the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland already have ISP filtering in operation,” Bishop Ingham said.
“In many of these countries, the ISPs themselves have initiated the filtering in order to live up to the community’s expectations that illegal material or material that is harmful to children should not be available on the Internet. It is disappointing to read reports that Australia’s largest Internet provider, Telstra has said it will not participate in trials of the federal government’s national internet filter.”
Bishop Ingham said the ACBC held the position that whatever could reasonably be done to filter out illegal sites at ISP level, should be done.
Claims that ISP filtering would slow down internet speed should be weighed up against the example of those countries where such filtering already existed, he said.
“Arguments that civil liberties will be infringed by internet filtering are absolutely spurious, as the government’s proposal simply aims to ensure that the material accessible on the internet is in line with the restrictions already in place in regard to DVDs or publications,” Bishop Ingham said.
“Pornography of any kind is harmful to human dignity and often degrading to women. Research shows that internet pornography is also becoming more and more harmful to marriages and relationships. In particular, every parent knows that much of the pornographic material that can be found on the internet ought
not to be accessible to children. We call on the community to get behind the federal government on this
important issue and support its attempts to keep pace with the rest of the world when it comes to cleaning up the Net in a fair and reasonable way.”
Source: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference