Censorship - Mandatory ISP Filtering in Australia?

just fyi, from a list I’m on …

Australia to Require Mandatory ISP Filtering of “Inappropriate” Content


Greetings. Can excessive ultraviolet light exposure cause brain
damage to politicians? One might think so after reviewing the
Australian government’s plan to require ISPs to perform
Chinese-style blocking of Internet sites that the government
considers to be “inappropriate” for children — based on a
government blacklist
( http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,248... ).

Down in the merry old land of Oz, this mandatory blocking would
apply by default to all home and school Internet subscribers. ISPs
would have to be contacted individually by users who wished to
obtain an unblocked feed by being added to an opt-out list (which I
suspect would rapidly become known as the “pervert list” by the
Australian overlords of Internet decency).

I won’t insult your intelligence by listing here the myriad
reasons — you know them as well as I do — why such a plan is doomed to
failure (but I will note that even the so-called “Great Firewall of
China” Internet blocking infrastructure leaks like a sieve — and
that’s in an environment where penalties can be very harsh indeed).

Obviously, what we’re actually looking at in the Australian case is
political grandstanding of the most base sort. To make censored
feeds available upon request is one thing, but to make censorship
the default and then require persons to specifically identify
themselves to opt-out is turning the concept of freedom of
communications on its head.

Speaking of heads, it wouldn’t hurt the politicians down under to
stay out of the summer sun, or at least wear hats more often. Fried
brains are not conducive to the creation of sensible Internet (or
any other) policies. And since the inane COPA and similar Internet
censorship laws are still bouncing around the courts here in the
U.S., the same prescription might well apply to our own politicians
as well.

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

Lauren Weinstein
lauren@vortex.com or lauren@pfir.org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
– People For Internet Responsibility – http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
– Network Neutrality Squad – http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum – http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren’s Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

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