Wednesday, March 18, 2009

censorship has arrived

When Senator Nick Xenophon (Independent, who made his name a few years ago with a no-pokies campaign in South Australia) announced last month not to support Conroy's mandatory filter then I thought that was the end of the matter. With the Liberals and Greens against Conroy's proposal, then with Xenophon also in opposition, it did not have the numbers to become law.

Hence, it's especially disturbing to discover that we already have censorship of non hard core porn sites in Australia.

ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) has just threatened an ISP with an $11,000 a day fine if they did not remove a link to an anti-abortion web site.

Furthermore, pages to Wikileaks, which describe the Danish internet censorship list and the Wikileaks press release about this have been blacklisted by ACMA. As Wikileaks comments:
The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship.
- Australia secretly censors Wikileaks press release and Danish Internet censorship list, 16 Mar 2009
Wikileaks has demonstrated through the publication of the censorship lists in Denmark, Thailand and Finland that:
  1. these lists leak
  2. invariably these lists are expanded from pornography to other material, including political material. For example, the Thai list contains sites banned for criticising the Royal Family.
In more news:
Reporters Without Borders, in a report on enemies of internet freedom last week, added Australia to its 'watch list' of countries that might be imposing anti-democratic internet restrictions that could open the way for abuses of power and control of information. The main issue cited was the Australian government's proposed internet censorship scheme
- Australia's internet censor bares its gums
As I wrote earlier:
I see this as part of a more general pattern where the "caring parties" advocate policies which end up destroying our freedom and initiative - net nannies, risk aversion, artificial inclusion, welfare dependency, cultural relativism (the freedom of other cultures to suppress women, practice honour killings, genital mutilation etc.), the State as big brother who will keep an eye on you under the guise of protecting you. The caring collectivist parties like the Australian Labour Party are far more likely to support these sorts of policies than the parties that are more ideologically aligned with the notion of individual liberty.
- Do you really want to be free?

1 comment:

John Larkin said...

The actions of ACMA also disturb me. I voted for the ALP as I had found the foreign policy and treatment of refugees of the previous government abhorrent.

Yet, i feel uncomfortable when I see that the Australian government is seemingly deciding what one can read or view in such an underhand manner. Surely education and commonsense are the keys to this issue.

I was bemused and also angered to read that a website concerned with school canteens and the website of a dentist had both been included on their blacklist. Surely ACMA has heard of referrer spam? Why don't they contact the webmasters of the sites and offer their assistance to combat the spammers? What sort of "holier than thou imbeciles" work for that organisation?

These developments worry me.