No Clean Feed – Internet Censorship in Australia

CKnocleanfeed If you use Twitter, you may have noticed a bunch of people are using avatars with an X across their mouths. This is a protest against the Australian Government’s plans to implement an internet content filter. This plan places a blanket of censorship across the internet which will, no doubt, have unforeseen consequences – and puts our access to information on a par with China and Iran. (My friend CK, pictured, has joined in, and I would encourage others to do the same.)

For example, when travelling in China I found that I was unable to access my blog. It is not like I write dissenting material. I put it down, in the end, to the title of the blog – Servant of Chaos. It seems China does not approve of chaos. And I am concerned that this “new Australia” may follow suit.

Furthermore, once internet filtering is in place, what safeguards will we have over excessive filtering? What rights of recourse will we have to follow to have our websites “white listed”? And how much will this cost? Is this perhaps a veiled attempt to “control the conversation” emanating from a growing and more vocal constituency via blogs and social media?

While this may be alarmist, remember, we are now just emerging from a time where political debate was managed according to “core” and “non-core” promises. It is disappointing to think that some of the first digital steps of a new government are those being contemplated by Stephen Conroy. It is frightening to consider where this may lead, or more importantly, what impact it will have on our nation’s innovation and place in a global knowledge economy.

There are more details on The Australian’s website where I left the following comment:

So our government is aiming to spend more than $40 million dollars of taxpayer money on technology which can be circumvented and does not achieve their stated aims?    
Why not invest this money in the FUTURE of our country? Put it into the ailing education systems and teach our kids how to safely use the Internet. Or use it to bulk purchase the XO Laptop — which would deliver 200,000 computers into the hands of kids who cannot afford them.      
As the saying goes, give a man a fish and his hunger will be satisfied (for now). Teach him to fish and he will feed his community.      
We have just had 12 years of feeding. It is time to fish.

Update: Get Shouty’s "future husband" (wouldn’t they make a lovely couple if they had met) Angry Aussie gives us the lowdown on why this is a bad idea and why it won’t work.

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5 thoughts on “No Clean Feed – Internet Censorship in Australia

  1. curious – are you hosted on typepad or on your own webhost? seems to me that when in china i can see some typepad users, but only if they’re independently hosted. asking because i’m interested in figuring out why i can see some wordpress/typepads but not others. doesn’t seem to be filtered by content to me. but i could be wrong.

  2. censorship – is it always evil?

    I don’t mind that my children cannot view pornography in a library.I wouldn’t mind the US Government shutting down a terrorist website – via proper legal channels.I would however, be deeply disturbed to learn that my government or ISP was…

  3. Absolutely awesome post – as is Angry’s original. Best dissection of the arguments against I’ve seen so far. It’s getting circulated to all those who’ve said to me ‘What’s the big deal? NZ and the UK have it.”

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