Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Censoring the Internet

There is growing opposition to the plans of the Government to censor the internet. Almost twelve months ago, following a statement by the Minister for Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy, ALIA issued a press release. It was headed ALIA's Ten questions on censorship for Senator Stephen Conroy. But we still don't know the answers to ANY of the questions.

Senator Conroy said in a recent interview on Radio National's The Media Report (30 October) that the government will first determine what kind of filtering or blocking of internet content is feasible, and then decide what will be blocked. He said ". . . a whole range of people have said, 'Hey, lets expand this', That's a debate that we will come to. What we're trying to establish at the moment, we're no further than establishing at the moment, whether it's technically feasible." So we don't know what the government plans to censor, and neither yet do they.

In the meantime, a number of organisations have taken up the issue. The No Clean Feed website and blog is organised by Electronic Frontiers Australia, which also covers internet censorship on its own site. Another site is the blog Somebody Think of the Children: discussing censorship and moral panic in Australia, and another very thorough personal site is Irene Graham's long-established site. Australians Against Internet Censorship, a Facebook group, is planning a nationwide protest on 13 December. There is also a Getup! campaign on this issue, and 89,000 people have signed their petition. Getup! has an interactive widget you can embed on your web page or in your blog. So there is a lot of action.

ALIA is a player in this, and we have an online content site. Let me know what you think ALIA should be doing. This is an issue which is very important to us, because libraries have always taken a strong stand in opposition to censorship.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

This is totally speculative, so please indulge me, but I am hoping that the Government is stalling for time, so that they don't need to do an obvious backflip on the issue, after investing so much in it already.

In this Twitter post, "KevinRuddPM" (which I'm led to believe is his official Twitter account) has commented somewhat diplomatically, which provides some optimism that there, indeed, will be more "info online" (coincidental choice of words?)

The Government's recent decision to change their plans to close the National Academy of Music gives me at least a little hope that they'll listen to lobbyists...