Google weighs in to Aussie firewall row
Not so vocal on China, lads?
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. ®
That's the problem
With any new law like this it starts off with...
"We will only be targeting A"
Few weeks down line...
"We are considering adding B C and D to make things...you know... safe and stuff".
Few weeks down the line...
"Now the law has been passed we will be adding E,F,G,H,I,J,K, L and M to make the world safer"
Few weeks down the line
"We are now banning everything except Z, enjoy your new found freedom...erm...oh wait"
This kind of law is an epic fail and thank god for all the ways around it!
To Aussie Christian Groups
Not all that is unlawful is sinful. Not all that is sinful is unlawful. Finally since Australia is a secular democracy, the christian groups need more than themselves before this should become law. Having the christians dictate national policy spits in the faces of all Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jedis, Evnvironmentalists, Athiests, Agnostics, Taos, Voodoos, Snake Oils, etc.
On a more important point, I still can't understand how 1 man in a democracy can set policy for an entire country when the majority in that democracy is opposed to that policy. Take ID cards here in the UK for instance - ok it's a bit more than 1 man, but you get the point.
Flame, cos I'm going to hell anyway.
You're a bit wrong there mate
Australia is a democracy in name only. On every newspaper poll in the country on this subject the percentage of responses against the censorship proposal ran to around 95 - 96 %. That's an overwhelming majority of the population against this thing. We've written letters to politicians, campaigned on Internet, TV and newspapers, held protests - all to no avail. The government is going ahead with it anyway (unless the Senate rejects it). So how exactly can our people influence the government again?
Australia is more like China than you think. It's just a tiny bit more subtle about how it pretends not to be.