Net censorship, round two - Google versus... Australia!

30 March 2010

Bitterwallet - Google logoHaving retreated from China because of the country's determination to manipulate its citizens, Google is now under attack from the Australian government. In the name of freedom, the government intends to introduce legislation to force all ISPs to block a blacklist of "refused classification" websites for the whole of the population.

According to reports in the Australian press, the country's communications minister said in a radio interview yesterday that the blacklist will "largely include deplorable content such as child pornography, bestiality material and instructions on crime".  The problem is that the word 'largely' leaves a lot of room for maneuvering. Not only are academics, technology companies and lobby groups opposed to the filters, which they say are too broad in their scope and will do little to safeguard children or the country at large, but the public don't seem too interested either - the majority of callers to the radio show objected to the proposals.

Unsurprisingly, Google agrees with that particular point of view; they have stated that in interviews with the Australian public, "the strong view from parents was that the government's proposal goes too far and would take away their freedom of choice around what information they and their children can access". There's also a possible impact on internet speeds, the accidental blacklisting of medical information and a likelihood that parents will assume a child's use of the internet is suddenly risk-free.

Ultimately, it's an issue that comes down to freedom of choice and, in terms of the duty of protecting children, responsible parenting. The Australian public doesn't seem too keen on taking those first steps towards Chinese censorship, no matter how well-meant the intention is.

[The Age]


  • Nobby
    They will also be filtering any sports results when England beats the Aussies. This will employ an otherwise unemployed Aussie for two hours per year.
  • Spark
    First computer games and now this. That country will be like 1984 with surfboarders before too long.
  • John G.
    Nobby, I think that would classify as "deplorable content" for an
  • The B.
    Responsible parenting???? Surely not, did you not know that everything is the fault of google, social services, the government, etc? It's true, I read it in the Daily Mail.
  • It’s B.
    [...] news from Down Under now; when they’re not trying to be just like China by restricting internet access to protect children and country, Australia is busy publishing ads like this on the internet to [...]
  • Jimmy H.
    This is sick Western culture. High crime and decay in morality in the name of pseudo freedom. You would rather trust Google than your own elected government. When you call police, do you trust that they will come?
  • Shooter M.
    "You would rather trust Google than your own elected government" @ Thundercats Ho: I'll take Google over that lank haired glass eyed cunt every day

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