Balancing Online Safety and Privacy: Pirate Party Australia’s Alternative to Mandatory Age Verification

Pirate Party Australia is a political party committed to defending digital rights, privacy, and internet freedom. The Party is deeply concerned about the government’s push for mandatory online age verification and advocates for a more balanced and privacy-respecting approach. Miles Whiticker, President of Pirate Party Australia, asserts “While we recognise the need to safeguard children in the digital realm, we must not compromise the privacy and autonomy of all users in pursuit of this goal.”

The implementation of a digital identity scheme for age verification raises serious concerns regarding data privacy and security, as it could expose users to identity theft, privacy breaches, and unauthorised surveillance. Additionally, this approach may disproportionately affect marginalised communities, who are more vulnerable to the repercussions of such privacy intrusions. Mr Whiticker’s passionate stance underlines the urgent need for a more balanced and privacy-conscious solution to protect children online, without sacrificing the rights and freedoms of internet users.

Pirate Party Australia advocates for a comprehensive strategy that encompasses the reform of classification and classification review boards, the introduction of a co-regulatory classification model, and generalising this model to cover online safety. As we move toward a future where the distinctions between various media become increasingly blurred, it is essential to establish a versatile classification system capable of managing all types of media.

The proposed co-regulatory classification model calls for the industry to take responsibility for classifying their own content while working in conjunction with the government to establish classification ratings. This approach, inspired by the European PEGI model and the American ESRB model of voluntary classification for media, would be expanded to include websites. Websites would opt in to display clear visual labels and incorporate metadata tags for easy identification. This would enable parents to effortlessly block access to websites that have not opted in, or not been labelled at the desired classification, at the device level, offering a flexible and efficient solution for safeguarding children from age-inappropriate content.

It is important to consider that this approach is likely to inadvertently block websites that are appropriate for children but have not opted into the system as we saw with the Kevin Rudd’s 2009 attempt at a “Great Australian Firewall”. While these websites can be individually whitelisted by parents, we would encourage the government to coordinate with international partners to ensure that this system can be widely adopted globally. The Party believes that this universal approach will effectively safeguard children online while upholding the privacy and autonomy of all internet users.

In addition, the Party encourages open communication between parents and children, as well as digital literacy programs and online safety education to support a secure online environment for children.

2 thoughts on “Balancing Online Safety and Privacy: Pirate Party Australia’s Alternative to Mandatory Age Verification

  1. The word for children ‘baal’ is also the word for ‘devil worship’ which is akin to the sheer insanity that enters people when trying to design around children. Often at the peril of adults and often to design their image of an even harder target much more in the future ( remember we’re talking about children here). And often for profit. Yes, that ID will become a payment processor for websites.

    Knowing that is key. When we know that we will not fall for the fake it’s not safe for children logic.

    The word devil is not used here lightly as it may be nearly criminal to quote children as an excuse to peril adults and other humans.

    Keep children safe. Keep them in increasingly open mazes around their homes. Keep trackers in their backpacks and belts. There is no limit to that.

    Similarly use opendns if you’re serious about content classification. It has to be an initiative designed by schools and even religion. There is nothing better than OpenDNS or even required.

    Let us remember that previous proponents of free speech like search engines have turned the single largest apartheid systems in the history of mankind. Yes shutting down political opponents systematically and censoring around 100 million people daily and denying them services on a whimsical basis they call AI.

    Yes, these people ask for a deathly captcha when using a VPN. Let us remember that a new VPN technology is being built inside Linux called Wireguard that is twice as fast as OpenVPN.

    So this is all an attempt to play Wireguard on the front foot.

    This is the same goulag that wants to ban work from home. Yes, the words “VPN is banned on a nationwide scale” is being thrown around a lot.

    Moral of the story. Call it out for what it is. Use a non tracking search engine. Use brave search engine. Use OpenDNS.

  2. A lot of the problem with the perception of age verification is that the verifier service gets the best complete copy of the transaction ‘data’. We all know that this will be used for data harvesting and govt surveillance depending on whether it’s the govt as verifier or twitter as verifier.

    To get round the problem the public consumer needs a non commercial, civil network to act as the Trusted community verification service. It’s not just for our kids, we all need it as well.

    Why don’t the civil consumer advocates get together with their memberships and setup a ‘digital commons’ aka data portability in the GDPR and provide a community service for managing our own digital consents. When you deconstruct age verification it’s all about authenticating consent to a service contract.

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