Australia on the Slippery Path of Web Censorship

Published Saturday, March 13, 2010 -

Australia the land of opportunity for some entrepreneurs is becoming a no go zone for those looking for fairness in business without interference from big brother. Australian citizens have been saying for a long time now that they want the internet left alone. Complaints from various sources confirm the public is outraged by the interference the current Aussi government is imposing on the web activities of ordinary people doing ordinary surfing on their computers.

Senator Conroy has the distinction of being the worst internet censor in the country owing to his plan to have ISPs block 'nasty' content on the internet, making sure that no one in Australia, gets a chance to play online casino games or read 'questionable' material available on the web. The fact that poker and gambling sites are painted with the same brush as porn and criminal activity is one area that has the freedom of the internet groups ready for a fight. Peter Coroneos, managing director of the Internet Industry Association said, "This regrettably puts Australia on notice that, despite the Rudd Government's best intentions, any mandatory filtering policy is likely to be perceived internationally in ways that will not benefit our reputation as a free and open society," Coroneos, added, "It will likely be used by less open societies as a vindication of their internet censorship regimes, despite any domestic attempts to draw distinctions. Mandatory filtering is mandatory filtering by whatever colour it is painted." There are many web freedom violators including the governments of Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Russia and Turkey. David Drummond, a senior manager of Google, said there was an "alarming trend" of government interference in online freedom. 

Australia's plan is a classic example, "the wide scope of content prohibited could include socially and politically controversial material". Australia, Drummond said, "is an example of where these benign intentions can result in the spectre of true censorship".

"Here in Europe, even in France, at this very moment, some are tempted by this slippery path of network filtering."

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