Quite a different sort of protest will take place this Australia day as dissent grows around the Government’s internet filter.

As part of The Great Australian Internet Blackout (TGAIB) more than 150 website owners will modify their sites to raise awareness. Website owners will run a script, provided on TGAIB website, showing a significantly darkened version of their websites with information on the internet filter overlayed. Users will be able to close this and will only see it once. Many more web owners are expected to sign up for the protest, taking place from 25 to 29 January.

The internet filtering report had been completed and was ready to publish in October but it wasnt made public until just before Christmas, said protest organiser Jeff Waugh. I was quite frustrated by that because I knew the news wouldnt go very far, but then I realised that Australia Day was coming and we had a really great opportunity to raise awareness about it.

The site encourages those without websites to blackout their profile pictures on Facebook or Twitter.

We just want to get the message out there about what all of this means, beyond the tech-savvy folk who already know about it, to the general public… This filter will be ineffective and expensive but what has been proposed wont actually protect children online, said Waugh.

Google Australia’s head of policy, Iarla Flynn said Google is concerned the scope of content to be filtered was too wide and socially and politically controversial material could be banned as part of the scheme.

The campaign is transposed from a similar New Zealand initiative in protest of mandatory internet disconnections for those accused of copyright theft. This protest resulted in the removal of those laws.