Sunday, 16 November 2008

Another reason not to emigrate to Australia

I was amazed to read the following on a post entitled "Top 10 Countries Censoring The Web":

Bonus: Australia

The rundown :
Discovering that countries like Iran or Yemen are censoring the web is not a big surprise. Most forms of independent media are already restricted there, and their levels of human rights are among the lowest in the world.
But what if we told you that Australia, one of the richest countries in the world, is also trying to censor websites inside its borders? Now that is scary!

How does the censorship work?
In 2007 a bill passed giving the federal police the power to block the access to any website. They already had a filtering system is place, but it was very limited in scope.
Many privacy groups and critics from the around the world claimed that this decision will directly threaten the freedom of speech on the Australian web.

What kind of content is blocked?
The government claimed that the police will be blocking mainly phishing and terrorism related websites. The problem is that the law brings a much broader definition for the potential targets: basically they can block any content that encourages, incites or facilitates criminal activity.


I always knew that Australia was a nanny-state but this seems to be taking things a little too far in a country where freedom-of-speech is espoused.

You may also want to take a look at the No Clean Feed site from Australia.

6 comments:

David McVay said...

It is getting worse than you write about. The Federal Government is trying to put in to effect a new proposal that would put a permanent firewall in place that would filter out illegal (okay, not so bad) and 'unwanted' content!

We at Geek Actually are trying to find out what unwanted means as the government will not say. The question we pose is unwanted by whom?

If this filter gets made law, about 10,000 sites will be blocked and our internet speeds will be slowed down.

David

PS. I'm so glad you and others are talking about this, I am so mad about it.

Arthur said...

@david - Thanks for your comments. Is Big Brother watching you? Blocking illegal sites is not a bad thing but this would have to be determined by a representative body reaching across the broad spectrum of society. What is regarded as 'unwanted' content?
If I determine, according to my morals and values, that a certain site is 'unwanted', can I impose that on the rest of society?
These are interesting times indeed!

roygbiv said...

Hi Art, this is something I raised in the 2nd Jan (http://eishcoza.blogspot.com/2008/01/australia-to-lose-unrestricted-internet.html) and it's amazing how our eye can be taken off the ball.
Let's hope, for their own sake, the Australian public become vocal enough to make an effective stand against this law ... for the children's sake. How's that for irony?

Arthur said...

@roygbiv - thanks for your comment. Do you think the Australian public is vocal enough to make their voices heard or have they become too accustomed to government having a say in so much of what they already do?
For all the hiccups we have in South Africa with our digital infrastructure, we still have the freedom to choose what we do with it. Long may this last!

Anonymous said...

If I want to stay permanent at Australia, do I need to find a permanent job first or just stay long enough to have the permanent visa at Australia? Or emigration to Australia.

Furthermore, any idea to get a job fast enough to get a long term permit?

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