The IT industry needs to be more involved in anti-Internet filtering initiatives, according to filter hacking teacher and reseller, David Campbell.
The Newcastle IT professional and The Pirate Party member has led several Internet filter hacking masterclasses for the elderly at events run by euthanasia advocacy group, Exit International. Campbell’s last lesson wrapped up at a Melbourne workshop on April 12.
Exit International’s website was listed on last year’s leaked ACMA blacklist. The list is slated as a basis for the Federal Government's proposed Internet filter, which is also intended to block refused classification (RC) content and explicit sexual material such as child pornography.
Campbell has been represented through his IT consultancy company, Clear Computers, a one-man hobby business. He also works full-time as a high-level IT technician but declined to name the company due to the controversial nature of the filter hacking classes.
“I do think the IT industry doesn’t push anti-filtering action enough,” Campbell said. He blamed hesitance on fear of being stigmatised as a child pornography supporter.
“I was really hesitant about this and a lot of people were ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ about it but I really wanted to get this information out there and people really need to get behind it,” he said. “I was quite scared of being labelled in with the paedophiles since if you side against anything supposedly blocking child porn, you can get lumped in with them in the public eye.”
Campbell believed this was also the big reason why many organisations the Pirate Party approach to do Internet filtering circumvention classes were reluctant.
Campbell hasn’t experienced any adverse ramifications from the class and said he was heartened by the industry’s support. He hoped his filter circumvention lessons opened the floodgates for more IT professionals to step out and contribute to anti-filtering efforts.
“I couldn’t have predicted the response a few weeks ago,” he said. “It has really excited me to be an Australian.”
The founder of Exit International, Dr Philip Nitschke, criticised the Federal Opposition’s weak stance on the issue and lamented that only smaller political parties, such as the Greens and a number of independent MPs, were fighting against the issue.
He had also expected more organised opposition to the proposed filter and claimed people within the IT industry with expertise to beat it could do more for the anti-clean feed cause.
“We are trading away one of our fundamental rights – free speech – and I hoped this would arouse more passion and fight than we have seen since just about everybody has a stake in this,” Dr Nitschke said. “If there is anything that can be done to stop the filter, it should be done right now.
“Many other groups such as Google have done the right thing in putting forward submissions in the Internet filter public consultation process] but I think it has gone past that and there is need for somewhat direct action.
“I’m not sure what these actions can be but right now we see our particular proposal in getting people to stand up and say ‘look, I’m an elderly Australian and I am going to deliberately go out of my way to bypass this initiative’ is at least one way to draw some attention to the issue.”