"Cyber-Safety" - Censoring The Internet  

Posted by Big Gav in

While Rudd has done some good things I think Labor's plan to institute mandatory censoring of the internet (regardless of how they spin it) is enough for me to recommend "vote anyone but Labor" at the next election. From Computerworld - No opt-out of filtered Internet.

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government's pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say. Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

Pundits say consumers have been lulled into believing the opt-out proviso would remove content filtering altogether.

The government will iron-out policy and implementation of the Internet content filtering software following an upcoming trial of the technology, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the filters will be mandatory for all Australians. “Labor’s plan for cyber-safety will require ISPs to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by children,” Marshall said.

“The upcoming field pilot of ISP filtering technology will look at various aspects of filtering, including effectiveness, ease of circumvention, the impact on internet access speeds and cost.”

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) contacted by Computerworld say blanket content filtering will cripple Internet speeds because the technology is not up to scratch.

Online libertarians claim the blacklists could be expanded to censor material such as euthanasia, drugs and protest.

Internode network engineer Mark Newton said many users falsely believe the opt-out proviso will remove content filtering.

“Users can opt-out of the 'additional material' blacklist (referred to in a department press release, which is a list of things unsuitable for children, but there is no opt-out for 'illegal content'”, Newton said. “That is the way the testing was formulated, the way the upcoming live trials will run, and the way the policy is framed; to believe otherwise is to believe that a government department would go to the lengths of declaring that some kind of Internet content is illegal, then allow an opt-out. Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked — end of story.”

Newton said advisers to Minister Conroy have told ISPs that Internet content filtering will be mandatory for all users.

4 comments

I'm sure this will work just as effectively as the Chinese government's attempts at filtering internet content.

Sure - everyone who wants to access forbidden material will just learn how to use anonymous offshore proxies and the like.

The problem is that the government will inevitably start to use this to clamp down on free speech. Another step down the road to serfdom...

Gav - what's that saying - "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"?

While this sounds as a good intention I think the potential is for something that is really bad.

Again it is a case of parents not supervising their children properly. My daughter uses our central computer that is in clear view of everybody and has an internet filter fitted that she cannot bypass. She is not allowed an unsupervised computer in her room.

The problem comes when she goes to someone else's house that does not have such restrictions. We cannot count on everyone having the same restrictions as us. Parents used to able to trust other parents and trust that other parents would look after your kids like their own.

I am torn over this. As a Labor supporter I hate the idea of any internet filtering however as a parent I that cannot trust other parents this could be something of a good thing.

Also since when was freedom defined by your Internet access? The Internet as we know it has only been in existence for 20 years or so and people were free long before this.

The problem is the misuse. We cannot trust the lizards that rule us to be good either.

Freedom of speech, and freedom of access to information; these two tie together, and each complements the other.

It's not true freedom of speech and access to information if it's restricted by medium. The internet is simply another medium. It should be no more restricted than books, film or spoken word.

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