Opposition communications spokesman Bruce Billson says Rudd and Conroy’s mandatory clean feed plan is an ill-conceived measure by a government that believes only it has the authority to decide what’s appropriate or inappropriate content for computer users.

He labeled it a “Harebrained, half-baked policy dreamt up in the lead-up to an election”.

Billson was responding to Senator Conroy’s criticisms of the Howard Government’s optional filter scheme which called it a failure.

Only 144,000 copies of the NetAlert filter product have been downloaded or ordered on CD-ROM since August the Sun Herald reports. A clear sign very few Australian’s want a filtered Internet service and for those that do: software that is more effective than mandatory filtering already exists for free.

On the No-Censorship list, Sarah wrote:

Yes Senator the program has clearly failed because no one really wants it. Haven’t you gotten the message yet? Australians do not want their internet censored.

Australia is supposed to be a democracy and here you have a clear democratic statement made by the people yet you continue to ignore the fact that Australians do not want the government intruding on their privacy.

Despite $15 million being wasted by the previous government you seem set on wasting even more of the taxpayers money on providing them with something they clearly don’t want. How much of my money are you going to waste before you come to realise what most have known for the last ten years.

Conroy will now assess the NetAlert program during Senate estimates hearings Monday. ISP level filtering trials will be completed by the end of June 2008, with a test in a real world environment to follow.

Contact Bruce Billson and outline your own concerns. The opposition’s support is something we can’t do without.

Update: The Rudd Gov is also considering a three-strike policy (like one proposed in the UK last week) for Australian Internet users who download music illegally. The only way such a system could work is if ISPs were forced to monitor all of their customers Internet activity or if copyright organisations monitored downloads and passed on IP addresses (a method which would see innocent people accused of infringement).

When is Conroy going to wake up, turn on a computer and realise that no matter how many of our rights he steps on, he will never be able to control the Internet?