Why It’s Important…

Time for another blog post on the subject of the Australian Governments plan to force all Australians under mandatory Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering of the internet.

I had been planning to go to a meeting tonight in Brisbane of people interested in working out how we can prevent this from happening, but unfortunately I’ve not been well today and had to come home, so I’m going to take some time to do another blog post, and I’ll catch up tomorrow with updates from the meeting and where to go from there.

Ok, let’s start by sharing a very clear, plain-language website which explains the internet censorship plans, and gives you straight-forward steps you can take to have your say on the matter:

The Gift of Censorship

If you click on no other links, click on that one.  It is the clearest, simplest explanation I have seen so far.

Secondly, I know many people are asking why we Australians should be concerned about this policy the government are introducing.  Well, here are a few reasons:

  1. Mandatory censorship of our internet will draw us in line with countries such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  These countries censor what their citizens can access and use on the internet.  People are not allowed to read or talk to each other freely and openly on the internet.
  2. The government are telling us that they are doing this to protect children.  However they are not only planning to filter child pornography, but also anything that has “refused classification”.  This includes anything of an adult nature that you and I can consent to view and access that does not fit the somewhat narrow ACMA guidelines.  This may include things like computer games (adults over 25 are the highest consumers of gaming in Australia – NOT children), legitimate adult sexual material, information on abortion, euthanasia and drug use and/or portions of interactive websites that may contain these subjects (which means YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc).
  3. The government are not making the list of blocked sites public.  This means that you can be censored for something and not even know about it.  They can just display a generic “error” message that makes no sense to the average internet user, and you would never know what was on the other side.  What is to stop them from blocking anything they like?  Want to speak out against the current government  (or indeed, possibly even future governments) like I am here?  You might find your own site blocked.  That’s right – even your blog, or website can be blocked, and labelled “refused classification”
  4. This internet censorship will not stop child pornography.  All it will do is make paedophiles more creative in how they traffic their filth.  It will not protect children, it will not prevent child pornography from being traded, and will make it harder for the police and other authorities to track, find, prosecute and punish paedophiles.

As someone who works in an industry where our whole philosophy is behind serving the community with information, literacy and education, the idea of the government censoring any form of media and information is totally abhorrent to me.

We can not be living in a democratic society if our government is censoring us and keeping information from us.

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December 21, 2009. Australia, censorship, children, choice, democracy, ethics, freedom, information, internet, literacy, morals, No Clean Feed, technology.

2 Comments

  1. Kate replied:

    I completely agree with you, Kath. It angers me that as a childless tax paying adult, my ability to access any form of what the government is classing “adult content” (including information on euthanasia, abortion etc) will be restricted. Why should I suffer in the name of ‘protecting the children’ when that responsibility should lie with their parents?

    And the worst bit is we don’t know who will actually be responsible for deciding what content is ‘inappropriate’ and goes on the blacklist, and whether the classification will change in the future and lead to further blocked content.

    As a mature adult, I have the right to choose what I do or do not see. It is not the government’s place to decide this for me.

    For anyone who wants to show their support there are going to be nationwide rallies on 30th January 2010 (locations TBA). There has been a Facebook group set up which will advise time and place.

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=200213317223&ref=mf

    Now is the time you need to stand up and be heard.

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      Absolutely. I will be doing some more blogging on the rallies and other events as they get closer.

      I think even people with children need to be concerned about this mandatory filter. It’s not going to actually protect their children, and is going to prevent them from accessing sites themselves on their own computers.

      As someone who is responsible for providing a safe environment for public access internet, I know there are a LOT of other measures out there we can take to provide a safe environment and still have clear and free access to information.

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