The government today announced that it would begin developing a whitepaper on cybersecurity to inform policy and Australian citizens.

Work on the paper will take at least a year and it will be available in early 2012.

Taking the government’s CyberSecurity Safety Strategy of 2009 as a foundation, the paper will deal with crime, safety, security and consumer protection.

The “Cyber White Paper,” as the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is calling it, will “outline a vision for Australia’s digital future based on Australian values,” following a similar effort in the United States to outline digital strategy with regard to freedoms and security.

Unfortunately, history shows that an Australian approach is likely to overemphasize security and ignore the fact that the freedom and anonymity provided by the Internet have made it the essential household utility that it is today.

That the paper is a collaboration between the Defence Ministry, censorship supporter Conroy’s ministry and the attorney-general’s office — an office pushing a policy that would require ISPs to retain tracking of user movements online — is only more evidence that Australian citizens can’t expect this effort to produce favorable or representative results for them.