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Proposed Internet Censorship

Internet Censorship

Internet censorship comes in many forms.  Cuba and North Korea have some of the most extreme; neither the present level of Australian censorship nor the proposed mandatory filtering by the Australian Government comes anywhere close to this level of censorship.

At present the government can ban specific sites on the internet, and there is some requirement for internet service providers to not allow illegal content.  Actual banning is mainly done after complaints

The proposed censorship would be in the form of mandatory filters.  There would be an opt out provision which would allow access to a wider range of sites, but still not to all.  That is there would be a choice of the level of censorship.

I have no doubt that the present government is totally well intentioned in this for they are all Honourable Men and women.  However, the possibility exists for the misuse of this by future governments.  I am certainly not suggesting that Kevin Rudd or any of his ministers would do anything wrong, for they are all Honourable Men and women.

However, looking at governments of other places in the past, I can see plenty of instances where governments have made good intentioned laws which have reflected the views of the government or the leader but which other well intentioned people might not agree with.  For example, in the 1930's the German Leader made the keeping of Goldfish in bowls illegal.  The Leader at the time was a vegetarian teetotaller who loved animals.  While not suggesting that the Leader was in anyway malicious, for he was an Honourable Man, he tried to enforce views not shared by everyone.

With the Australian Government filter, would it, for example, filter out my sets of pictures entitled Naked Ladies and More Naked Ladies, or disallow my Video of Naked Ladies.  I would ague that these are artistic, humorous and informative, and not in anyway pornographic, but would our beloved leader agree?

I am sure our present leaders would not do anything as extreme as banning the keeping of Goldfish in bowls, but what about future leaders?  The legal framework of censorship would be much easier to change from a reasonably harmless thing to an instrument of repression.

Despite some relaxation recently, the Chinese Government attempts to control the access to unfettered information the internet potentially allows.  Governments want to stay in power, and internet censorship is one of the tools used by some regimes.  Not of course that I am suggesting that our present leaders would either do this, or try to impose its views on everyone, for sure they are all Honourable Men and Women.

I leave you with the words of Robert H. Jackson, U.S. Judge

"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."

Steve Challis

Iran  Censors The Internet
Germany in 1930's
Lend Me your Ears
US Judge
Cuba has extreme
internet censorship
They are all Honourable Men and Women
View  from inside The Forbidden City, looking out onto Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Robert Houghwout Jackson Leads the US prosecuting team at the Nuremburg Trials.