societies have laws or traditions to protect children from
exploitation. However, modern society is grappling with what to
do when implementing such laws introduces government-sponsored
censorship of the media and online world.In China, such
practices are well
publicized and long standing. However, Australia and France
have quietly taken steps to adopt similar internet filtering, both on
the grounds of piracy and child protection.In Australia, the
Labour party has defied critics on the left and right and repeatedly
tried to enact legislation to censor the internet, filtering out what
it deems harmful websites such as those hosting content that depicted
or condoned child exploitation. Such legislation was considered
to expensive and overreaching, and was shot
down in 2008.However, in December 2009, the legislation
was reborn; this time the government agreed to public trials that
would shape the final bill, raising its likelihood of approval.
Meanwhile, the government is pursuing other means to censor offensive
material; the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
actively is using takedown notices and threats of fines to prevent
Australian-hosted sites from linking to a blacklist of prohibited
sites.In France the debate is similarly
raging. The French Assembly passed a
bill entitled "Bill on direction and planning for the
performance of domestic security" last Tuesday. The bill
contained provisions to filter internet traffic to filter out child
pornography. It passed by a 312-214 vote. The bill now
awaits a reading in the Senate, in which the government, who
sponsored the bill, has a majority -- in other words it looks likely
to pass, and soon.Both the Australian and the French
legislation would force ISPs to filter their traffic, a potentially
expensive proposition. Some are opposing it on a grounds
of its scope. Google, which filters sites that promote child
exploitation, criticized the Australian legislation in a blog,
characterizing it as too broad. It writes:
Google we are concerned by the Government's plans to introduce a
mandatory filtering regime for Internet Service Providers (ISP) in
Australia, the first of its kind amongst western democracies.* Our
primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too
wide....Exposing politically controversial topics for public
debate is vital for democracy. Homosexuality was a crime
in Australia until 1976 in ACT, NSW in 1984 and 1997 in
Tasmania. Political and social norms change over time and benefit
from intense public scrutiny and debate. The openness of the Internet
makes this all the more possible and should be protected.
criticize it as being too hard to implement accurately.
According to the legal sex
industry in Australia, many filters mistake small breasted women for
minors and block legitimate adult entertainment.Protesters
have fought the legislation via a variety of means. Last
demonstrated in Sydney, Australia's most populous city.
They unfurled flags and handed out materials pointing out the bill's
flaws. Online, the group Anonymous fought
the legislation in a much more destructive manner, using
distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks to cripple government
sites. States a group member, "The Australian government
will learn that one does not mess with our porn."Ultimately,
both the French and the Australian filtering proposals raise a common
question. With support mounting in industrialized "free"
(democratic) nations internationally, could the U.S. become the next
to embrace such internet censorship? As unbelievable as it
sounds, some are already calling for similar
government legislation to force ISPs to monitor traffic for
infringed materials. As much as the U.S. strives to be a leader
and not a follower, a lot hinges on how the plans in Australia,
France succeed -- or don't.
quote: According to the legal sex industry in Australia, many filters mistake small breasted women for minors and block legitimate adult entertainment.
quote: Perhaps I found it funny that software can't tell the difference between the two. You know, the whole point of the quoted sentence.
quote: Only when we reach that critical mass will they learn that you cannot beat the internet.
quote: Good thing the kiwi's just south of the aussies still are free and clear.
quote: That is, assuming they don't route their data through Australia first. I'd be heartbroken if New Zealand caved in; such a beautiful place that is.
quote: Personally Steven Conroy our Minister for broadband is the biggest *Beep* *Beep* *Beep* to ever enter Parliament... I would rather a monkey doing his job.
quote: quote: People throughout history have consistently exchanged freedom for security Mikhail Gorbachev would laugh at you. Hard.
quote: People throughout history have consistently exchanged freedom for security
quote: When people don't have restrictions, they do harmful things to each other. Anarchic, open platforms, like the PC and the Web, are inevitably replaced by closed platforms because they're more civilized. People throughout history have consistently exchanged freedom for security. It will be no different with the PC and the Web.
quote: It will be no different with the PC and the Web.