Yes you have heard it right. We will now see internet censorship from a country known for democracy, human rights and freedom, i.e. Australia. Internet Censorship is spreading like fire, surprisingly in more developed countries like Turkey announced its plans to censor internet from 22 August, New Zealand approved the plan to censor Torrent and P2P Sharing Sites, Malaysia Recently blocked 10 top file sharing websites, Disruption in accessing thepiratebay.com in USA, Iran banning access to several websites, China censoring almost all the world’s top websites, while at the same time encouraging clones to rise and censorship plans in several other countries are still on table.
Australia, now joining the race have announced its plan to ban at least 500 and more websites from next month. the criteria of filtering 500 websites is that they contain or might contain Refused Classification (RC). Refused Classification would include content on Child Abuse, Bestiality, Sexual Violence, Content related to crime, euthanasia, violence, drug use and promoting terrorist activities would be banned.
What we are witnessing here is the same confusion that we saw in the announcement of ban and internet filters in New Zealand last month. New Zealand authorities did not know what they are going to ban and what does the actual ban mean to internet users, they just went about doing that, hence facing huge back lash from internet users in New Zealand and around the world. Same goes with Turkey, Turkey announced its plan to ban internet, but it faced huge protests on Internet and on the Streets of all major cities.
Very rightly claimed by Google’s Australian Head of Policy Larla Flynn that, there is so much on the YouTube as well, will Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) go about censoring that as well. Larla Flynn, does not at all mean that there is lot of content on Child Abuse or Bestiality on Youtube, but what she wants to point here is that, there are several NGOs or Volunteer organisations that use content on drugs and child abuse, not for promoting it, but for educating masses and advising them to not to indulge in something like this.
Critics go on claiming that, the method that will be used by ACMA will be very immature, it will only need certain changes in the URL, for the website to be unblocked. Plus there are hundred other methods available to bypass content filtering like Proxies, Google DNS, VPN, Tor and several other circumvention tools. Critics also claim that the Child Abuse, Bestiality and Drug is more common to be shared on Peer to Peer Networks rather than Open Web. The is to educate the masses and not to force them to follow what you think is right. Censoring or Force would only motivate frustration and back lash in the Australian masses like it did in the Turkey, Malaysia, New Zealand and several other countries.
Contrary to what Mr. Conroy (father of Australian Firewall) claims that all ISPs are supporting his plans to ban Refused Classification (RC), iNet one of the bigger ISPs in Australia rubbishes Mr. Conroy claims of iNet supporting his plans to censor internet in Australia. This is exactly what we are witnessing now, iNet is not the part of initial Censorship step. Telstra, Optus and two other smaller ISPs are part of the Censorship/internet filter that is about to start next month.
This is not what educated masses need on internet, it is the violation of the basic human rights to access information on internet, plus it will bring in several controversies, illogical content bans and censorship of websites that are completely unrelated to what ACMA wants to ban. Adding to this, there is no proper body, which can be reached in case your website has been banned for no reason and it does not contain any content related to that. It is still not illegal to bypass the censor in Australia as claimed by Mr. Conroy, but this censorship is not to stay on these 500 or more websites, it is sure to grow and later stricter censorship and filtering measure would be taken, that will then violate the basic rights to access information (if in case it is not for you now). I do not support Child Abuse, Bestiality, Drug use or any of those things that are in the Hit List of ACMA. What I support is that this will not limit users or criminals to access these censored websites. You will only block the direct way to access those websites, that too on Open Web only, what about the indirect ways and the Peer to Peer Networks?
There are still some serious limitations in the Australian Censorship Plans. It needed to be more thought out before execution to avoid any back lash or Anti Government/ACMA Sentiments. If Australia or ACMA still can’t learn from the mistakes of Turkey, Malaysia and New Zealand, I don’t think anything else would make any difference!
Please let us know of your take on the situation in the comments.
Latest posts by Mark (Posts)
- Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside UK | Top 10 VPN - September 15, 2011
- Shared IP VPN | More Accessibility, More Anonymity but Shared Price: - September 14, 2011
- Best VPN to Stream Hulu, iPlayer, Zattoo, iTV & 4OD - September 14, 2011