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Australia’s Internet Censorship Regime
The first big concern for 2008 is that the newly-elected Rudd Labor Government in Australia has introduced laws requiring across-the-board filtering of the internet by ISPs. While the plan may have some good intentions behind it, if implemented in the way currently envisaged it will almost certainly make the internet in Australia slower, make internet services more expensive and likely infringe on privacy and civil liberties of Australian net users (seriously, a PIN number of equivalent to log on to the internet – why not have just been honest and kept the Australian ID card?!).
For an overview of the changes, see Bookbuster; and for a good wrap-up of the increasingly negative media response, check out Peter Black’s solid overview here. Facebook users might want to join the Australian ISP filtering plan is stupid! or People against mandatory internet filters in Australia groups.
Update: As you might expect, the most sensible response thus far from an Australia politician to Labor’s internet censorship plan has been from Senator Andrew Bartlett:
As with every aspect of the measure, until the full details are known its impossible to judge. However, comments like Conroy’s make it much harder to be confident that the government is doing anything other than populist pandering, putting up a feel-good measure which will have no practical impact but create the illusion of doing something effective.