wasting bandwidth since 1999

Big Brother Arrives in Australia

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.

australian, censorship, internet, filtering

Previous

Where To Start?

Next

A Few Naive Questions

3 Comments

  1. > In 2008 Australia will become the only democratic country in the world to broadly censor the internet on a national basis.

    You mean, ‘besides all the rest’, right?

    There are the obvious examples of countries that censor the internet on a country-wide basis, like China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba…

    But even less obvious countries do it. The United States, for example, which systematically cleans the internet of (a) copyrighted material, and (b) child pornography. Presumably, things like snuff films are also removed. Most other western democracies have more or less tolerance for the same sort of thing.

    The accusation that ‘only so-and-so’ censors the internet (or anything) is a fiction. The only variable is the sort of thing that is censored, and the obviousness with which it is censored.

  2. Tim

    Do you think Stephen would consider me any less naive if I had said that “Australia will become the only democratic country in the world to blatantly censor the internet”? :-)

  3. Dave

    This is one of those things you can’t really stop. People who intensely want uncensored will develop ways around it, which will eventually become easy enough to use that casual users will start using them. On the plus-side, government-imposed obstacles and challenges have traditionally been a very strong catalyst for developing new technologies.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén