The Australian government has admitted that the AUS$85m it spent trying to protect kiddies from internet porn was AUS$85m too many.
Little more than six months after Oz rolled out a free internet filter for concerned parents across the country, Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has dubbed the $85m scheme a "failure," reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
This porn-filtering effort is the centerpiece of the government's $189m NetAlert program, designed to keep Aussie minors away from sexual predators as well as less than wholesome online content.
When the free filter made its debut in August, officials predicted that 2.5m households would use the software within the year. But within minutes, a clever kiddie cracked its protection wide open. And as of today, only 144,000 copies have been downloaded or ordered on CD-ROM.
And of those 144,000, only 29,000 are actually being used.
"The program has clearly failed, despite over $15m being spent in advertising to support it," Conroy told The Sydney Morning Herald, before adding that filters aren't everything. "Labor has always said that PC filtering is not a stand-alone solution to protecting children from online dangers."
Then he added that the government has a new plan for battling unsavory online material - and it's all about filtering too. "The Government has a comprehensive cyber-safety plan that includes the implementation of mandatory ISP-based filtering to deliver a filtered feed to all homes, schools and public internet points. Education for parents and teachers as well as children is a priority."
We give it about six months. ®