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Thu, Oct. 16th, 2008, 06:54 pm
A link-filled post, in memory of the freedom of the internet. R.I.P.

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/10/15/australias-great-fir.html
& http://community.livejournal.com/melbournemaniac/2529802.html
& No Clean Feed activist site

The Internet is apparently going to be censored, China-style, in Australia.

"In a move that seems to be happening without comment from the Australian media..."

Well. There are quite a lot of those moves.

http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1399635276

"...users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material."

notarebel and nsanity_au don't seem to think it's physically possible for them to do this, and they both know much more about computers than me. nsanity_au wrote: "The idea thinking they can filter Australia's inbound internet bandwidth - without strangling it to a point where its not functional - is laughable. ... They'd have to whitelist it to be cost-effective, and well - that doesn't work so well in a dynamic content world. Hence it will have unrepairable gaping flaws in it and they will eventually give up." - http://community.livejournal.com/melbournemaniac/2529802.html?thread=29065738#t29065738 - that sounds logical to me, but i don't know enough to know whether or not they might have some other way to do it.

It may be worth remembering that Chinese censorship depends on state security forces having the ability to crack down on an internet user, and on sell-out companies like Google playing along with it - afaik they don't successfully block all the sites they want to block, despite the name "Great Firewall of China". But who knows, the Australian Federal Police have wasted taxpayers time and money "cracking down" on hackers in the past. Maybe increased "state security" is the next step...?

For the moment, let's assume they can do what they say they want to do. What does that mean?

We don't know what they're really going to block, in practice. I don't want some dude in the Australian Federal Police deciding what is and isn't "illegal" for me before-the-fact. "Illegal" doesn't even map straight onto "immoral" in the first place.

In fact, literature which shows support for terrorist organisations is illegal under the still-un-repealed Terror Laws. So, for example, if you were to set up a website showing sympathy for a person who fought back against a military force (such as the US army) that regularly kills and maims civilians, Australians may not be allowed to see what you have to say. I'm a pacifist, just so you know. But nobody will ever be banning a website that advocates US incursions, even though the same logic is used; the ethics behind the terror laws (behind all terrorist legislation) are designed to support whatever the current government supports, and the same sort of people would be the ones who decide what is and is not censored. A fairly simple combination of the terror laws and the Labour Party's censorship proposals can end with a genuine banning of political speech.

The point is that they get to decide what is appropriate and what isn't - and whether their values match yours is a bit of a gamble. Their values demonstrated so far definitely do not match mine. And let's not even start on the concept of an opt-OUT net-nanny. Can you think of a stupider way to handle pR0n?

I can't stand these people (the modern Labor Party). I mean, all the tacit support for murder and slavery overseas is bad enough (China, East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, free trade agreements). And then you have all the bad, bad, BAD policies they're trying to set up in Australia (appalling education 'reforms', ongoing gestapo-esque union crackdowns, the retention of WorkChoices under a new name, geosequestration being prioritized over clean energy, still no restoration of the (anti)Racial Discrimination Act for aborigines (but hey, suck on that Apology for a while), and almost no sign of positive intentions for the environment (Kyoto targets are, quite frankly, a little meaningless nowadays), on welfare, on foreign affairs, on the terror laws, on progressive tax reform, or on healthcare).

And now, on top of that, they want to (but hopefully can't) introduce censorship on an absolutely massive scale! I mean, it's just another bit of awfulness to add to the heap, at this stage.

We may as well not have had an election at all. I have a feeling Rudd & Gillard & Co. are actually going to give the Liberal Party a run for it's money, by the time their four years are up.