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Australia Enacts Partial Censorship of the Internet

January 2nd, 2008

internet-censorship.jpg While searching through some Internet news articles, I noticed this article from Mashable.com reporting on a disturbing move by the Australian parliament that forces Internet service providers to block pornographic sites or any other material that the government deems “inappropriate”. Fortunately for freedom lovers, individual users will be able to opt out of the government censorship and still receive unrestricted access upon request.

Although no amount of State censorship could be considered a good thing as far as I am concerned, others have pointed out that this latest insult to our liberty is still not as onerous as restrictions imposed by other countries such as China, where the censorship is so widespread that it often suppresses opposing political views. However, it still gives the government unnecessary power to determine exactly what constitutes “appropriate content” and what doesn’t, while the possibility of governments tracking opt out requests could raise privacy concerns. It also sets a bad precedent that other governments may be encouraged to follow, especially since Australia is considered by many to be relatively free and democratic.

The bottom line is this: no government should be trying to block access to the Internet, period. Things like filtering pornography from children are simply not in the government’s purview, as these issues rightfully belong in the realms of parental choice and individual responsibility. Although the apparently sheepish Australians seem oblivious, it is actually the responsibility of the people in a so-called democratic society to determine what is “appropriate content” for the government, not the other way around.


Related article: Pornography, Free Speech, and the Internet


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