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My brother Nate continues to fight stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma. He's just 31, with a wife and baby girl. They have no active income (since he's been unable to return to work), no insurance, and cannot afford the treatment he needs. Nate and his family need your help. Please consider a donation, every dollar helps. Thanks.
Ruby Report abuse
Dear Mr Allan Internet filtering Thank you for your letter dated 4 January 2008 concerning internet service provider (ISP) filtering. I appreciate your concerns relating to this important issue and I apologise for the delay in replying. I am aware that the proposal for ISP filtering has attracted some criticism from those, like yourself, who are concerned that it will lead to censorship of the internet. However, the Australian Government has no plans to stop adults from viewing material that is currently legal, if they wish to view such material. The government regards freedom of speech as very important and the Government's cyber-safety policy is in no way designed to curtail this. The internet is an essential tool for all Australian children through which they can exchange information, be entertained, socialise and do research. The ability to use online tools effectively provide both a skill for life and the means to acquire new skills. However, while the internet has created substantial benefits for children, it has also exposed them to a number of dangers, including exposure to offensive content. As such, parents rightly expect the Government to play its part in the protection of children online. The Government has committed $125.8 million over the next four years to a comprehensive range of cyber-safety measures, including law enforcement, filtering and education. Measures include: * Australian Federal Police (AFP) Child Protection Operations Team - funding to detect and investigate online child sex exploitation; * Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions - funding to help deal with the increased activity resulting from the work of the AFP to ensure prosecutions are handled quickly; * ISP level filtering - funding to develop and implement ISP filtering, including undertaking a real world 'live' pilot; * Education activities - funding to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to implement a comprehensive range of education activities; * Websites / Online helpline - funding to ACMA to improve current Government cyber-safety website resources and to make them easier for parents to use, and to provide up to date information. ACMA will also develop a children's cyber-safety website to provide information specifically for children, and improve the online helpline to provide a quick and easy way for children to report online incidents that cause them concern; * Consultative Working Group - funding for an expanded Consultative Working Group. This group will consider the broad range of cyber-safety issues and advise the Government, to ensure properly developed and targeted policy initiatives; * Youth Advisory Group - funding for a Youth Advisory Group which will provide advice to the Consultative Working Group on cyber-safety issues from a young person's perspective; and * Research - funding for ongoing research into the changing digital environment to identify issues and target future policy and funding. These initiatives will tackle the issue of cyber-safety from a number of directions to help clean up the online environment and protect Australian children from the dangers of the internet now and into the future. This approach recognises that there is no single solution to ensure children can access the internet safely. A key part of the Government's plan to make the internet a safer place for children is the introduction of ISP level filtering. Filtering would cover illegal and prohibited content using an expanded ACMA blacklist of prohibited sites, which includes images of the sexual abuse of children. Consideration is being given to more sophisticated filtering techniques for those families who wish to exclude other online content. The Government's ISP filtering policy is being developed through an informed and considered approach, including the ACMA laboratory trial, extensive industry consultation, and close examination of overseas models to assess their suitability for Australia. A real world 'live' pilot involving ISPs and their customers will follow the laboratory trial. The Government is committed to working closely with the industry to address any concerns, including costs and internet speeds. These concerns will be carefully considered during the pilot and will inform the Government's cyber-safety policy. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I hope this information will be of use. Yours sincerely Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy