Hello? Can you read this?

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The Australian Federal Labor Government want to do what few other countries except, China, Vietnam and Iran have thought necessary to do; censor the Internet feed into the country.

The Federal government would say it’s to protect children from and to get rid of  “…material that is deemed “objectionable” or “unsuitable for minors”…” which sounds fine until you realise that Google and other search engines already block child pornography in their searches.  Google is even doing more than that by blocking items that go against our local laws like this example for aboriginal and ecyclopedia noted by Marketing Pilgrim.  You’ll see the following statement at the bottom of first search screen:

In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at ChillingEffects.org.

It makes me wonder what sort of things the Government wants us censored from.  In China, any searches on the Tiananmen Square massacre would come back with no results.  Are there any Tiananmen Square’s that the government would rather we not be bothered with?  The list that I’ve seen of items the Government wants banned seems to not be the sort that would bring down civilisation as we know it.  As we are a democracy, I find that thought very concerning.

“He [Jullian Assange] said secret censorship systems were “invariably corrupted”, pointing to the Thailand censorship list, which was originally billed as a mechanism to prevent child pornography but contained more than 1200 sites classified as criticising the royal family.”

And this is the main issue with censorship.  Once you start the process of deciding what I can’t know, can’t write or think about, where does it end?

“It is not the function of Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.”

-  Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U.S. Judge

So  Government, you have this issue wrong.  Leave the Internet alone.  No one who is using it honestly and innocently is going to find anything  that they shouldn’t.  The only offensive thing I’ve found on the Internet is this topic of censorship.

Looking for more information check out the Great Australian Internet Blackout. Sites supporting anti-censorship will be going black in th cause.

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4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Postscript: Hello? Can you read this? « Blug…

  2. Just a update on this topic for my future reference. Google has made a submission on mandatory ISP filtering which can be found:

    http://google-au.blogspot.com/2010/02/our-submission-on-mandatory-isp-level.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OfficialGoogleAustraliaBlog+%28Official+Google+Australia+Blog%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

    The three points which are the crux of their argument are listed in simple language in case you’re a little confused what all the fuss is about. Still confused the argument by ALIA (link found on the google page above) is also pretty comprehensive.

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