NetAlarmed was today included in The Australian’s article on mandatory filtering – the first real update on the situation since Conroy confirmed the plan. And in case your wondering, no, he’s not backing down.

Some important bits from the article:

Senator Conroy has been prodded into action by Family First senator Steve Fielding, and the Australian Family Association, which scorned the former government’s $85 million free filters for families package as wholly inadequate.

It called for automated content filtering technology to scan for objectionable content, and a new “grey list” of sites, such as those promoting anorexia.

Mr Fielding: what is a grey list and how will it work? In Internet terms, a grey list relates to spam. How will it work under a website filtering scheme; temporary restriction on all websites that have not been reviewed by the ACMA? Another occasion in this outrageous debate where a politician has called for action but with zero information on how they intend to do it.

While the article stays clear of most Internet hyperbole, it does report:

Various international groups have estimated the number of child pornography websites alone to be in the millions, while one local internet service provider told The Australian it could be as high as 30 million sites globally.

There’s certainly a possibility that 30 million single pages could exist, but for that many ‘sites’ to exist would be unheard of. One would need to know how the ISP estimated that number, but I expect the estimation is considerably off the mark.

NetAlarmed is included towards the bottom:

Mass blocking at the ISP level has prompted an outbreak of protest blogs, including NetAlarmed, a satirical website, created by Michael Meloni.

“I started the site last September to show voters what the ALP was planning, and how far internet censorship can go,” he said.

“It may start with an opt-out provision, but once they have that control, in future anything can happen.”

The Brisbane-based internet production manager said Senator Conroy had dismissed free speech concerns, basically branding “those who disagree with him as child pornographers”.

“I find it amusing that the site Mr Rudd used to help win the youth vote,, could well be banned under the scheme because it contains content that requires an adult perspective,” Mr Meloni said.

A little bit of extra info on my last comment: Under ACMA Internet content regulation guidelines, a site which contains material that deals with issues or contains depictions which require an adult perspective is cause for prohibiting it. YouTube falls under this category as it contains topics discussing drug use, sex, and abuse to name but a few.

Thank you to journalists, Karen Dearne and Fran Foo, for including the web effort in their story. You can read the entire article here.

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– Mike