January 07, 2008

Australia to Require Mandatory ISP Filtering of "Inappropriate" Content

Greetings. Can excessive ultraviolet light exposure cause brain damage to politicians? One might think so after reviewing the Australian government's plan to require ISPs to perform Chinese-style blocking of Internet sites that the government considers to be "inappropriate" for children -- based on a government blacklist.

Down in the merry old land of Oz, this mandatory blocking would apply by default to all home and school Internet subscribers. ISPs would have to be contacted individually by users who wished to obtain an unblocked feed by being added to an opt-out list (which I suspect would rapidly become known as the "pervert list" by the Australian overlords of Internet decency).

I won't insult your intelligence by listing here the myriad reasons -- you know them as well as I do -- why such a plan is doomed to failure (but I will note that even the so-called "Great Firewall of China" Internet blocking infrastructure leaks like a sieve -- and that's in an environment where penalties can be very harsh indeed).

Obviously, what we're actually looking at in the Australian case is political grandstanding of the most base sort. To make censored feeds available upon request is one thing, but to make censorship the default and then require persons to specifically identify themselves to opt-out is turning the concept of freedom of communications on its head.

Speaking of heads, it wouldn't hurt the politicians down under to stay out of the summer sun, or at least wear hats more often. Fried brains are not conducive to the creation of sensible Internet (or any other) policies. And since the inane COPA and similar Internet censorship laws are still bouncing around the courts here in the U.S., the same prescription might well apply to our own politicians as well.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"


Posted by Lauren at January 7, 2008 05:29 PM | Permalink
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