Internet Censorship in Australia

Welcome to the internet. Home of the free. Land of the brave. Um, I can't use that. Allow me to start afresh. Here resides all & any information that may be desired. Right at your fingertips. Ahem, most information. Come surf the rich ocean waves of the world wide web. Well, paddle between the flags. Let us not quabble over semantics. All this & more ....

A salesman would get nowhere with this pitch. Hamburgers with no meat. Doors would slam endlessly in his face. Something else is missing. A bit of magic & exuberance. To fill the empty bun in one hit.

Enter - the touchstone of anal politics - Family Values. Ah, things have become a whole lot easier now. Family values can mean pretty much anything the speaker wishes. The tone of voice. A pump of the fist. So many possible interpretations. Family values covers all bases. Most importantly, home base. No need to push any further for ideas.

What is scary? This is actually how simple the debate has occurred. It is over and has been won. 1995 saw the introduction of garbage laws to this end. Australians far and wide have a vested interest in over-turning this hideous refereeing decision.

Protecting children and families is a vital matter for coalition senators, and it is also something that Senator Fielding, the Leader of Family First, has raised with me on a number of occasions. The government has a three-pronged approach: we legislate, we regulate and we educate to protect all Australians, and particularly young Australians, from inadvertent dangers of the internet.
Senator Helen Coonan 2005

It is quite reasonable that the vast majority have not noticed the effect of censorship. It covers 'Australian-hosted sites' only. Overseas websites are not legislated against, yet. Thus, it is typical for Australian content to be posted on overseas sites. The whole situation is very Monty Python. As well as being a total joke, it is deadly serious. And economic stupidity.

Under the WA Act, police do not even need a warrant to search the premises of Internet Service Providers, which obviously includes all records, logs, private E-mail messages and other data contained on the provider's system.

The opposite of family values? Freedom of expression comes close. It is a workable answer. Merely that. Freedom of expression needs a juice-up too. A trick of words will not suffice.

Freedom of expression is vague. Everything is covered, like with family values. All the negatives are included, also - the freedom to be offensive, explicit or shocking. FV conveniently ignores the same pitfall, it is more personal.

Offensive, explicit & shocking are not entirely negative. There is one clear upside to being so. Money or fame. Yep, it is okay to be any of these as long as you are not a useless nobody (by public estimation). Radio DJs, singers & artists are easy examples. The family crowd will sneer viciously at the individual. Equally, be in awe of the cash potential that dwarfs their own. The sneer will match the envy.

Freedom of expression now has a very rigid definition. A real oxymoron. The only acceptable reason to pursue freedom is to make money/fame/both. Failure to correctly walk the tightrope will result in expulsion. Chalked up as a win for the clattering imbeciles. This cannibalistic act will not be registered as such.

Money, in particular, matches family values pound for pound (pardon the pun). For the most part, they share the same dressing room. FV is nothing without the influence to spread it. Also, new toys/technology for the kids etc only heightens the risk of new content that may violate FV holy law.

From a completely circular argument, the counterpoint to family values is defined.

Get on the phones, the match to family values has been found.

From the figures in China, most internet users do not actively try to get around their country's well known policies. I read it as 'could not be bothered'. This is not a criticism of Chinese internet users. The point is that legislation/dictatorship of this kind, allowed sufficient time, will fester. It will drastically reduce the citizen's interest in a free internet - even if it could be switched on overnight. This is far more horrible than the censorship itself.

Publication or transmission of objectionable material
    (1)     A person must not use an on-line information service to publish or transmit, or make available for transmission, objectionable material.
Penalty:     240 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years.

Right now, spin doctors and their ilk are getting big dollars. Of taxpayer's money. The advertising is coming. The early talk campaign has been waged.

Ah, no delete that comment. I never said it

Internet censorship is well and truly on the cards. 

Internet censorship is a ghastly apparition.

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