Sunday, 2 November 2008

AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring of the internet

This is really important to all of us ......
I found this on: which is a US site and also on:,21985,24568137-2862,00.html

I think this is something we may need
to kick up a stink about.

"AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring
of the
internet under plans put forward by the Federal Government.
The revelations emerge as US tech giants Google, Microsoft and
and a coalition of human rights and other groups unveiled
a code of
conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.

The government has declared it will not let internet users opt out of
the proposed
national internet filter.
The plan was first created as a way to combat
child pronography and
adult content, but could be extended to include
controversial websites
on euthanasia or anorexia.
Communications minister
Stephen Conroy revealed the mandatory
censorship to the Senate estimates
committee as the Global Network
Initiative, bringing together leading
companies, human rights
organisations, academics and investors,
committed the technology firms
to "protect the freedom of expression
and privacy rights of their

Mr Conroy said trials were yet to be carried out, but "we are talking
about mandatory blocking, where possible, of illegal material."

The net nanny proposal was originally going to allow Australians who

wanted uncensored access to the web the option of contacting their
service provider to be excluded from the service.

Human Rights Watch has condemned internet censorship, and argued to
US Senate "there is a real danger of a Virtual Curtain dividing
internet, much as the Iron Curtain did during the Cold War,
some governments fear the potential of the internet, (and)
want to
control it" Groups including the System Administrators Guild of Australia
Electronic Frontiers Australia have attacked the proposal, saying it would
unfairly restrict Australians' access to the web, slow internet
and raise the price of internet access.

EFA board member Colin Jacobs said it would have little effect on
illegal internet content, including child pornography, as it would
cover file-sharing networks. "If the Government would actually
come out and say we're only targeting
child pornography it would
be a different debate," he said.

The technology companies' move, which follows criticism that the

companies were assisting censorship of the internet in nations such
China, requires them to narrowly interpret government requests
information or censorship and to fight to minimise cooperation.

The initiative provides a systematic approach to "work together in

resisting efforts by governments that seek to enlist companies in
of censorship and surveillance that violate international standards",
the participants said.

In a statement, Yahoo co-founder and chief executive Jerry Yang
welcomed the new code of conduct.
"These principles provide a valuable
roadmap for companies like Yahoo
operating in markets where freedom
of expression and privacy are
unfairly restricted," he said. "Yahoo was
founded on the belief that promoting access to information
can enrich
people's lives, and the principles we unveil today reflect
our determination
that our actions match our values around the world."
Yahoo was thrust into
the forefront of the online rights issue after
the Californian company helped
Chinese police identify cyber dissidents
whose supposed crime was expressing
their views online.

China exercises strict control over the internet, blocking sites linked
Chinese dissidents, the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement,
Tibetan government-in-exile and those with information on the 1989
Tiananmen massacre.
A number of US companies, including Microsoft,
Cisco, Google and Yahoo,
have been hauled before the US Congress in
recent years and accused of
complicity in building the "Great Firewall of China".

The Australian Christian Lobby, however, has welcomed the proposals.
Managing director Jim Wallace said the measures were needed.

"The need to prevent access to illegal hard-core material and child

pornography must be placed above the industry's desire for unfettered

access," Mr Wallace said."

Also check out

EFA´s (... Electronic Frontiers Australia) Chair, Dale Clapperton, was
interviewed on Channel
7´s Sunrise program on 29th October about
government´s proposed mandatory filtering policy. A phone-in survey
on the program revealed that 80% of respondents
were opposed to
the censorship plan.

(Additional comment by David:)
Very much so. One of the not-mentioned aspects of this filtering scheme
is that it will also be vetting your connections to secure sites like banks
and other financial institutions, ie, your net banking username and
password will be able to be obtained by your ISP.
This is a ridiculous
scheme the government is proposing, will be almost
totally ineffective at what it is trying to do, will slow down your Internet
connection by around 30% (if you are lucky), and will block a large
number of legitimate sites.
Please contact your local federal member to
protest about this, and letters to the prime minister and minister
for communications would be helpful too.
You can get their addresses by ringing the local member's office.

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