By Richard Phillips
World Socialist Web Site
14 January 2008
Under the guise of “protecting children” from pornography and X-rated violence, the Australian Labor government has announced that it will attempt to censor local internet access. Labor’s plans, which were mooted by Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy on December 31, constitute a direct attack on freedom of expression.
While the government has not yet provided exact details, Conroy told the media that it would censor online child pornography and other “inappropriate material” by compelling local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block websites listed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The blacklist would be updated by the government regulatory body in consultation with the Australian Federal Police, and international agencies such as Interpol and the FBI.
“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the Internet is like going down the Chinese road,” Conroy told the media.
“If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree,” he insisted, implying that anyone opposing these measures was aiding child pornographers.
When Labor’s Internet censorship policies were announced just prior to the recent federal election some commentators suggested that the filtering system might not be compulsory—i.e., that individual users would have to notify their provider if they wanted to have their content blocked.
Conroy made clear on December 31, however, that this would not be the case and that the system would be mandatory. Those who don’t want their content filtered will have to inform their provider. This means that people choosing to “opt out” will be noted, and could face ongoing government scrutiny of their Internet use.
Notwithstanding Conroy’s denial that the government was “going down the China road”, Labor’s proposals are strikingly similar to those used in that country, as well as in Iran, Singapore, North Korea and Burma, which prevent open access to the Internet.
Hi Bazra, thanks for your input.
this is exactly what i expected from the (c)rudd replacement to our former dictator. it was to be a seamless change. out with the old, in with the new. just aqs in amerikkka it is a long time since the two party political system had any connection with ‘common people’. they see themselves as our rulers and they act that way.
worse, they tarnish the reputation of the majority of australians by instigating laws that can only leave (at least) a feint impression that most of us aussies are (or would-be) pedophiles. i for one, object to that whole propaganda gambit. it’s bullshit. within australian society pedophilia is still largely frowned upon while pornography has been a staple of men’s literature and locker-room decor for decades.
everybody knows there’s shitloads of porn on the net, but the % of folk who go there specifically looking for images of and contact with young people is, in my humble opinion, minuscule. what we DO see is a preponderance of the judicial and the so-called justice INDUSTRY in general (in conjunction with the carnivalesque msm), to inflame and inflate this whole dialogue.
it is well documented the ‘elite’ have a penchant for marrying with there own families and child sexuality. no doubt they will still be able to access all their proclivities.
this is obviously because the internet represents the ONLY opportunity for free speech within this country.
Nope, not surprised. We’ll be right behind them soon.
We have arrived at the point of no return I’m afraid. What it would take to reverse what has gone on here, is far too tough a medicine for current America. We will watch the world change radically, right before our eyes, even more, and our citizens will still be chuggin beer and watching football – and buying more shoes.
I wish I had hope. But, the more I think about it, define hope. How long to we want this ancient battle to continue. Is it in our best interest to keep fighting against the inevitable? I don’t think so. At some point, we can just sit quietly and let it be. Knowing that Grace is with the Peace Makers and all is well.