The great thing about the Internet is that is an opt in society. Not everybody is connected to the web and nobody is being forced to surf. So when I hear about a government getting involving in Internet Censorship it makes me so livid. We all know places like China and Iran which are famous for blocking sites at the drop of a hat but that’s to be expected from undemocratic regimes. Australia on the other hand is a western democracy that ought to act with a little more humanity when it comes to treating citizens with common decency and respect.
Unlike the UK’s Digital Economy Bill, an amateur attempt at securing rights for copyright holders and making the web a more money-passing friendly place to be, the Australian Internet Censorship idea is a blanket site filter for the entire nation, cutting many net users from sites that are not even harming the economy, copyright holders or any type of misdemeanor at all. Simply put, the Australian Government want to control what sites its netizens visit.
The Wikipedia entry on the issue lists some genre of sites that may be blocked by the “Great Australian Firewall”. I won’t repeat all but only those I have great concern for.
The Australian Sex Party
I haven’t visited the site but it is apparently a political party in Oz. Sounds a little undemocratic to me. I am no way a supporter of the British National Party but even I feel blocking their website would be contradicting the very morals a democratic nation stands for. I guess Australia doesn’t like free speech where the s-e-x word is mentioned.
The mandate will block downloadable video games, whether flash, off-line, paid or free. Words cannot describe for me why this is an issue. What is also a joke is sites that sell physical copies of video games that haven’t passed the gaming authorities approval will be banned. There goes eBay and all stores that allow for outsider listings.
Avoiding The Firewall
It will be a criminal offence to provide advice as to how you can access sites blocked by the great firewall. This means a lot of IT and networking technology courses in education establishments across Australia could be breaking the law just by… teaching.
I can understand the decision to block sites that advocate illegal activity such as how to build a bomb, but according to the wikipedia page this includes all depictions of sexual activity. I had no idea porn was illegal or that sex was such a taboo subject in Australia.
The system won’t work either. I’m not sure if every URL on the internet will be human verified or technology will be the order of the day. Either way it won’t work, there are hundreds of millions of sites on the net, no human can thoroughly assess even one site nor will automated technology do. I have already mentioned the ‘s’ word and the ‘p’ word so is that doom for the entire Anphicle brand? Beyond that though, is it doom and gloom for Australia and the end of freedom on the internet?