It was a campaign that bugged me. I was especially disappointed that there was such a big focus on filters and so little practical advice. I couldn't tell whether they were simply out of touch, or whether they were playing on parents' fears and deliberately fueling the fire. Despite my unease, I struggled to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with it.
Enter Tom Wood.
Thanks to Crikey, I discovered The Wood Verdict - a blog written by a 16 year old student who got some media attention after easily cracking one of the filters funded by the Government.
Turns out he's not just a geeky schoolboy trying to show up the Government and show off his skills. He's actually articulate and is campaigning for change. He has written a comphrensive analysis of the NetAlert programme: the filters, the funding, the website, the campaign and the politics behind it. His writing would benefit from proofreading and better grammar, but his content is excellent. I can only find minor points to quibble with.
One thing I like is that he's focused on the topic, and is carefully evaluating and criticising policies from both major parties, rather than bagging the Goverment without reasoning. If this continues, he'll have a promising future in the political arena. (Poor kid!)
I'm not holding my breath, but Helen Coonan's department would be wise to follow the advice of Tom Wood. All it requires is a willingness to admit mistakes (not a strong point of many politicians) and reallocation of some of the funding set aside for filters.
Why is this so important? Because it's about the safety and well-being of our children. The Government is very good at telling us how dangerous life is for kids online, but rather weak at helping us keep kids safe. I'd prefer real safety.