Senate committee to call for public net filtering views

Lundy, Fletcher, Ludlam on senate filter panel that will also look at identity theft and privacy breaches

A Senate committee will call for the public's views on the controversial Internet content filter

A Senate committee will call for the public's views on the controversial Internet content filter

The public will have the opportunity to present their opinions on the Federal Government’s controversial Internet content filter to parliament.

The Joint Select Committee on Cyber Safety will today issue a call for public submissions on topics subject to legislative review including Internet filtering, identity theft and privacy breaches.

The committee will request a parliamentary public review once submissions are reviewed.

Liberal MP and former Optus regulation chief, Paul Fletcher, said the committee will inform government on crucial issues about Internet filtering, and renewed Coalition calls for an independent audit into the proposal.

“I remained to be convinced that filtering is viable,” Fletcher said.

“There has been a lot of bold talk about how the plan will protect every child and parent.”

The 12-member committee is chaired by South Australian Labor Senator, Dana Wortley, and deputy chair is NSW Liberal Party MP, Alex Hawke. Labor senators Kate Lundy and Guy Barnett and NSW Independent Robert Oakeshott MP are also on the panel.

Western Australia Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, an avid filter critic, secured a seat on the committee after previously losing a spot by two votes to Family First Senator Steve Feilding.

The committee will investigate:

  1. the online environment in which Australian children currently engage, including key physical points of access (schools, libraries, internet cafes, homes, mobiles) and stakeholders controlling or able to influence that engagement (governments, parents, teachers, traders, internet service providers, content service providers).

  2. abuse of children online;

  3. exposure to illegal and inappropriate content;

  4. inappropriate social and health behaviours in an online environment;

  5. identity theft, and

  6. breaches of privacy

Debate over the technical political and moral grounds of the filter plan have raged since the election of the Rudd Government in 2007.

The filter was proposed under the then Beazley-led Labor Party 12 months prior to its election, while then-Communications Minister Helen Coonan had criticised the plan and offered the now scrapped Net Alert home Internet content filter.

Fletcher was the telecommunications advisor and chief of staff to former communications minister, Richard Alston, in 1996 and worked at Optus from 2000 to 2008.

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