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Great Australian Internet Blackout

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Tuesday January 26, 2010 )

The Great Australian Internet Blackout is currently under way – a protest against looming censorship of what comes down the tubes of the Interwebs in the Land Down Under.

The Australian Federal Government is going ahead with plans to make Aussie Internet Service Providers act as censors for all Australians. Targeted at what the government labels “Refused Classification (RC) –rated content”, testing to date has shown the system to be ineffective and has also filtered out some sites that hardly classify as such.

This “Clean Feed” initiative is costing Australian tax payers millions and Australia will have the dubious distinction of having joined a censorship club that includes China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Aside from it being ineffective, concerns have been raised as to how broad the “Refused Classification (RC) –rated content” label will become. It’s important to understand that the system will not provide protection to children from viewing adult material.

Politicians and the Internet have never mixed well, particularly when it comes to attempting to control the online world – most pollies just don’t “get” the web.

During this week, hundreds of Australian web sites will “fade to black” to help further raise awareness of the threat of government imposed censorship.

Visitors to participating sites will see a description of the Great Australian Internet Blackout demonstration appear above a significantly darkened version of the page they land on. Visitors will need only close the blackout box to continue using the site as normal and the message will only appear once. The effect is generated through a snippet of code added to a web site’s pages and employs an effect known in web development as “lightbox”.

Learn more: Great Australian Internet Blackout


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