This can’t be good. In 2008 Australia will become the only democratic country in the world to broadly censor the internet on a national basis.
And how do they justify such a policy? To protect the kids, of course.
The Labor Party’s policy was announced prior to the Australian Election in November (release here) and was justified on the basis that the previous Government’s policy of providing free copies of NetNanny to all Australian households who wanted it didn’t adequately protect children.
Originally the plan was to have an “opt-in” system where a household would elect to be part of the national censorship program.
Now, however, the Minister of Telecommunications says participation will be mandatory, allowing people to “opt-out”.
The problem of course then becomes if you opt-out questions will be asked as to why you want out, which in itself may lead to Government monitoring.
The data to be censored by the government is described as the ever popular “pornography and inappropriate material”. Of course, the limits of “inappropriate” will be in the eye of government censors.
I wonder if it will include cynical American bloggers who write about stupid censorship moves by the Australian government? Or in-country bloggers writing on the same topic?
I feel sorry for the Australian people. But on a more selfish note, I sure hope this doesn’t give our current administration’s ministers of censorship (aka the FCC) any grand ideas.