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Anti-filtering protest blackout turns websites black

Anti-filtering protest blackout turns websites black

But anti-ISP filter turnout not as big as hoped for with some businesses avoiding the protest

An online protest to turn the Internet “black” for Australia Day was joined by hundreds of websites, but many companies are being careful not to take on the Government.

The protest, which was joined by the Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens, showed visitors a black background and information pop-up screen from the EFA that argues against the Government’s proposed ISP filter.

EFA vice chair, Colin Jacobs, said while many websites had joined the protest for its launch, the relatively late notice had prevented others from coming on-board.

“We’ve had a few hundred websites sign up, including those of the Australian Greens and the Democrats,” he said. “We’ve had many expressions of sympathy, but certain companies, especially those with public stakeholders, find it difficult to commit to a political viewpoint.”

Jacobs was reluctant to say companies and stakeholders were avoiding the protest due to a potential loss of business, but admitted only “one or two” ISPs had joined the protest.

“We’re a little bit disappointed when anyone says no, but that’s their right and they may choose not to sign onto political dissent,” he said. “In some cases it was too short notice for all the stakeholders in the company to agree to standpoint and others didn’t want third-party javascript applications on their front pages.”

The vice chair expected the movement to grow in strength as awareness increased and added the aim of the campaign was to educate the wider public about the filter.

“Many in the IT industry certainly have huge reservations,” Jacobs said. “We’re a little bit disappointed when anyone says no, but that’s their right and they may choose not to sign onto political dissent.

“This is the first step of raising awareness. The EFA is not organising physical demonstrations at the moment, but there are people that are passionate and pretty keen to take direct action,” he said.

The protest officially runs from January 25 – 29, including Australia Day.


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