Feeds

Google weighs in to Aussie firewall row

Not so vocal on China, lads?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google has criticised the Australian government's forthcoming mandatory ISP censorship system for targeting a "too wide" a range of content.

While supporting blocking of child abuse material, Iarla Flynn, Google Australia's head of policy today wrote that "moving to a mandatory ISP filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information".

Google said its intervention was motivated by its "bias in favour of people's right to free expression".

The Australian government yesterday announced laws to impose the filters, following trials.

As well as child abuse material, the Australian filters will block "bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act". The blacklist will be drawn up by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which also regulates broadcasters.

Citing instructions for safer drug use and sites about euthansia as examples of content that may be blocked, Flynn wrote: "This type of content may be unpleasant and unpalatable but we believe that government should not have the right to block information which can inform debate of controversial issues."

Google's influential voice adds to opposition to the laws, which has united civil libertarians, ISPs and the Australian Sex Party.

Commmunications minister Stephen Conroy, who has driven the filtering scheme, has so far dismissed concerns however. He is backed by Christain groups.

Conroy said popular comparisons with China's Great Firewall, which is used to suppress dissent online, are "baseless". Google's principled criticism makes no such comparison, despite the fact that China is a massive emerging market for its search engine. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.