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Australian government to censor web

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Saturday November 1, 2008 )

While Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are moving towards safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy, the Australian government is preparing to block “undesirable” online content from reaching Australian users.

The Australian government has stated the filter will be mandatory – there will be no opting out.

The plan is intended to block out child pornography, but our the government hasn’t said it will confine the filtering to that specifically. According to Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, Mr Conroy, it will be “mandatory blocking, where possible, of illegal material.”

“Illegal material” covers a wind range of stuff – for example, information promoting euthanasia. What’s legal now could also be illegal tomorrow.

I’m really in two minds about this – I’m all for dealing with the the low-lifes who use the web to nourish their sicknesses, but by the same token, I want access to all information; to make the decision myself as to what is undesirable. If I stumble across something that disgusts me, I close the browser window. If I came across content such as child pornography, I’d have no hesitation in reporting it.

I guess many parents might welcome this move by the government, but as I’ve always stated – the Internet is not a baby sitter. It is a tool. Like a chainsaw, it can be used productively and it can also inflict great damage.

Children should be supervised at all times when using the Internet and there’s a wide range of products already available for filtering at the home level.

And let’s face it – regardless of what politicians do, the really nasty stuff will still get around. That’s the problem with bureaucrats, they simply do not understand the web and seem hell-bent on taking the very admirable quality of self-responsibility away from us.


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